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I need help ! extremely picky eater & basically wont eat anything !

I have a sister & she wont eat anything ... No cheese , no meat other then chicken nuggets :/ No sauces , veggies , fish , sea food , Its impossible to try and get her to eat .. I try and help my mom with ideas to try & sneak some healthy stuff in her dinners but it usually doesnt t work , . She will eat rice , plain pastas , beans , usually she will eat arroz con pollo , gallo pinto ( we are spanish so she will eat stuff like this) but after eating so much shes starting to get tired of eating the same thing , i cant blame her . we have ran out of ideas to feed her & i was just looking for any recipes or tips that we can use ! Please no rude or disrespectful comments because this is serious . i cant stress that enough . she is also not spoiled although it may sound like it , she just doesnt like the taste & textures etc of some food . she hasnt since she was born .

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  1. Quit letting her eat junk and when she gets hungry she will eat anything.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kengk

      We have been doing that for a while but she refuses to eat anything , its not that shes spoiled or anything its just that she doesnt really that many foods , the taste , textures etc.. At this point we just give her anything as long as she eats something.

      1. re: cookiemonster002

        We are going through same with our son will only eat weetabix and tomatoe soup which now found is full of sugar. Tried going the route of feed or go hungry he didnt eat for 3 days and started to look poorly so gave in. Its easy to say not so easy to do.

    2. Put food out, no choices, don't give her a choice about what's availlabe. She will eat or be hungry, and that's ok. Children will fall into line when they know the boundries are firm. I am a teacher, so I deal with this often...

      3 Replies
      1. re: breakfastfan

        Thank you soooo much for a serious respond !! Literally everyone has been rude & disrespectful & calling my sister names so it is so nice for you to actually try and help !(: Again thanks , we will make sure to try this !

        1. re: cookiemonster002

          Cookiemonster002... I'm SURE that felt good to get that off your chest! I'd never call people "names"... especially NOT a CHILD! BUT I grew up in a time when ya ate whatever was put on the table. If she doesn't like it and won't eat it... she's NOT gonna starve to death. I wouldn't make SEPARATE dishes just for one person. Let her eat what she wants... but don't let that be total junk! When my niece was 4-5, she was a HORRIBLE eater and her mother did NOT make matters any better by trying to MAKE her eat stuff. It always ended up as a crying, coughing, puking episode.

          You sound like a bright young person with a good head on her shoulders. Don't let comments get you all fired up... remember... sticks and stones!!

          1. re: kseiverd

            Haha Yes i did ! i feel bad because im never like that ! ever ! but i really do get fired up when it comes to disrespect towards my family ... & yeah , i get what you mean , My sister was like that too , she grew out of that , just not the picky ness . & thank you (: haha ill make sure to keep my temper under control !(:

      2. When I was younger I was an only child. I had dinner put in front of me and was made to eat it. The only substitute was when my parents had certain fish they knew I truly despised, they'd buy me fish cakes. I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished it. It sounds cruel, but it's the reason why I appreciate food and cooking so much. My brother was a little like your sister. Much pickier and my parents were too tired to fight. We never "stooped" to nuggets of anything like that, but many nights he had a different meal. The one thing you have to realize is that if you cater to a child's desires for any length of time, you end up with an irreversible situation.

        I noticed another poster got nasty and while you're right to get angry, you did somewhat set yourself up for some abuse. When you said her age and that she only eats junk, you basically threw yourself and your mother under the bus. I'm assuming this young child isn't the one doing the shopping, so the problem lies right there. Leave a bowl of fruit out. Have veggies in the fridge. Try to substitute the nuggets with grilled chicken or even breaded chicken. Try panko if she likes the crunch.

        You might also want to include her in the cooking process. Give her jobs, like shelling peas, husking corn, mixing things, etc. It will make her interested in what the things she "cooked" taste like. She might find she likes more things. You can also maybe mimic some of the junk she likes into something more healthy.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jhopp217

          Yess , i did set my self up , But at the same time they didnt have to post anything at all if they were going to be disrespectful like that . & we as a family have been fighting with this for a long time & like you said we are just to tired to put up a fight with her . & thank you for give out ideas and helping out ! We will make sure to try this stuff out & who knows maybe she will like helping out & eating what she cooks (: Like i said thanks so much for the tips !

          1. re: cookiemonster002

            I don't know why you've been fighting it. She will eat or fix something herself that she wants to eat. No one has ever died from too many Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches. And after all this is the internet so you have to expect the neg. comments. I was a picky kid too, and we went through many a dinner-time battle of "you will not leave the table until you eat this". "THIS" included things like brussel sprouts, peas, saurekraut, spaghetti cause (yeah I would not eat pasta coated in anything) etc........often leading to long sits at the table and/or barfing. And we got no after dinner snacks. But I grew out of it in adulthood and many of those "awful" things as a kid I buy and eat now. But you cannot run your household mealtimes around this. You just can't. I think the idea of getting her to help cook the food is fantastic. But I simply would not fight it, my folks didn't. And I mean that in a way that they didn't put up with it. No serparate meals, no special cooking. You know what really put an end to it was as an older teenager if you were out with other kids or at a friend's' house.....you had to eat what was there. And when you go to college, you eat what the dorm fixes or you don't eat.

            PS.....if you feed peas.....make sure you check the glass of milk. They sink and can be easily hidden there for disposal later.

            1. re: Atochabsh

              LOLing at your P.S. My brother and I did that to my younger sister (she *hates* peas!). The screech of "MOM!!!!!!!!!!!" when she got to the bottom of the glass of milk is legendary in my family. :-)

              1. re: LindaWhit

                My hiding/disposal operation depended on the cat. I, too, had to sit at the table until the (now congealed) food was gone. Liver was the worst. The cat loved me. Wasn't until years later that I found out that Mom knew all the time.

                1. re: pine time

                  C'mon. Moms have eyes in the back of their heads. They *always* know.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Moms also remember having pulled the same stunts when *they* were kids.

                    It makes me laugh to see kids pulling *exactly* the same stuff we tried to pull at the same age, with the same expectations that they'll get away with it.

                  2. re: pine time

                    I was master crafts woman by age 5 behind the teeth and spit it out before used btjroom at dinner but my case was I was full and grandparents where visting and trying to over stiff me if I took good bite didn't like it dad let me leave it their but I always had texture issues so dad knew better then to even try to force it.

          2. I'm sorry to hear that your family is having this problem. Now that the perfect parents have weighed in, let me give you some thoughts from a parent that's not so perfect, but not so judgmental either. Both my kids were picky eaters in their own way and now they have decent diets. Not perfect, mind you, but decent. Your sister won't be thanking you for a plate of kale, but she can improve her diet.

            First, kids don't need sauces or fancy composed dishes. Keep the food simple and separate. Second, she needs to be given boundaries and you (or the responsible adult in your home) needs to stick to them. With my kids, they absolutely had to take three bites of everything. Didn't like it? I'm sorry to hear it, but you will eat it. You need to let her know that she's not in charge, that just like doing her homework or going to bed on time, this is non-negotiable. Without question, this will SUCK for the first couple of weeks. If you stick to your guns, though, she'll eventually get the message and just do it. I could never let my kids go hungry...I tried it many times and they always, ALWAYS outlasted me. We had some battles royal over those three bites, but I stayed true and they stuck.

            Other things that helped with my kids were to make foods similar to what they already liked and then ease them into different versions. They liked fries, so we made roasted potato sticks, then wedges, then baked because the interiors were now similar. Get the idea? I also involved my kids in deciding what's on the menu. When they feel like they have some ownership in the process, they're more likely to participate.

            Also, it is entirely possible that your sister has an issue with the texture of vegetables. My son hated the feel of them in his mouth at an early age. He's fourteen now and still doesn't like them, but he eats them because he knows that he has to. Who knows, maybe one day he'll learn to appreciate them.

            Good luck and in the meantime, get her some multi-vitamins and talk to her ped.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Christina D

              Thank You so much ! All of this is soo helpful ! Boundaries , We need to work on that . Cause in our eyes shes the baby of the family , so its kind of hard for us to lay down the law , but it needs to be done . I really do appreciate the Help ! We have talked to her ped & she said that its just a phase , but honestly its been going on too long to be a phase . The next few weeks will be hard but Its for her own good ! Thanks again for the help !!(:

              1. re: cookiemonster002

                Even though it's hard, you need to be firm and set boundaries with your sister...and I'm not just talking at the table. Otherwise, you all are in a world of hurt come the teen years. Good luck, cookie. You sound like a great big sister.

                1. re: Christina D

                  Yeah , its extra hard for me because my parents are always trying to be firm on the boundaries ,so she sees me as kind of a push over .. Its hard for me to say no cause shes my baby sister haha , But from now on thats gonna change ! cant wait for the teen years :/ haha Thanks & Again , Thanks (:

                2. re: cookiemonster002

                  Ask the pediatrician for a referal to an occupational therapist who specializes in picky eating. Don't just ask - demand it.

                  Your sister has an extremely limited palate (under 12 foods, right?) that's been in place since infancy. That's not a phase, and it's not normal, and it could be totally curable.

                  1. re: Ulyyf

                    Picky eating is not a disease; it's a mindset that most people grow out of. I can't imagine anything worse than treating this kid as though she's "sick."

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      There are a lot of issues surrounding picky eating well beyond food strategies,. I'm really dismayed that the mods have seen fit to delete some of them. Many, but not all of us are not able to prescribe about this issue, but it really needs to be recognized that there are solutions beyond recipes. There's a desperate question here.

                      1. re: sr44

                        I don't think there is a "desperate question" here. As humans, we approach food as individuals, usually guided by the people around us. However, personal taste is involved, and I do not believe that any child should be made to feel inadequate because they don't like the food that everyone else does. Keep offering small tastes of different foods cooked in different ways over time, and everything will work out over time.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          And if there's a genuine issue?

                          It's no more an issue of "inadequacy" than dyslexia is! But if your approach to dyslexia is "oh, gosh, I'd hate to get him labelled, let's wait and see if he learns to read THIS year" then you're doing your child a disservice. If your approach to severe - and this does sound severe - pickiness is "oh, it MUST be normal" then, again, you're doing your child a disservice.

                        2. re: sr44

                          this is chowhound, not a medical board.

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            Yes, but we don't exist in a vacuum. I think the possibility of non-chow solutions needs to be mentioned.

                        3. re: pikawicca

                          No, picky eating is not a disease.

                          Sensory processing issues can keep you from eating, though. Severe reflux or allergies can keep you from eating - especially if you only know of a small list of foods that are "safe" to eat. Coordination issues can keep you from eating.

                          From the OP's comments, this child is suffering from more than just run-of-the-mill "pickiness". I'd rather see the kid get actual help than be put through "eat or starve" if there's an actual medical issue going on.

                          1. re: Ulyyf

                            I agree with this. I'm convinced to this day that my "picky eating" habits were a side effect of my ADD. With ADD you cannot control your focus, and you can hyperfocus on strange things. I think that I would hyperfocus on unpleasant (or even just unusual) textures and tastes or sometimes even IMAGES associated with the food, and that would cause me to refuse to eat certain things. The stress of being told I "needed" to eat it and to try a few bites would upset my stomach (my inevitable response to any stress), and then send me into a spiral where it became all but impossible for me to eat something. A couple of times I even threw up - and it definitely wasn't on purpose! I was not diagnosed with ADD until I was almost 30, so I did not have a way to navigate what I was experiencing. As an adult, I can isolate the issue I'm hyperfocusing on and put it out of my mind, but as a kid, I was unable to do that.

                  2. She likes chicken nuggets, so I'd try fish nuggets, then slowly switch to unprocessed breaded/battered food, which are similar to nugget in external texture, e.g. cutlets. Battered deep-fried mushrooms, although not exactly healthy, was my mother's way of getting me to start liking mushrooms. In the same way, battered fried shrimp introduced me to seafood. Felafels (deep-fried balls of ground chickpeas or fava beans) also have a nugget-like feel to them.

                    I'd basically try to mimic the textures and flavors of the "junk" she eats, using healthy (or at least, healthier) ingredients.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: david_ipse

                      Thanks for the Tips ! We will try and start to switch her off the chicken nuggets ! She has tried the fish nuggets and she just doesnt like it . I personally dont like sea food either so for us thats something we wont force her to eat . Other then that ! Thanks so much for your help ! We will make sure to try that !

                      1. re: david_ipse

                        This is funny......the fried texture thing is pretty hard to beat. I have a step daughter that was a nugget fiend. So I deep fried tempura style green beans, carrots, broccoli and asperagus and put it in front of her. At first she would not touch it. But that fried crispiness was still calling to her....she could not resist and guess what??!! She liked it!!!! Doesn't solve the whole issue, but it was kind of funny.

                      2. If she likes chicken nuggets, maybe try chicken meatballs made from seasoned ground chicken and coated in panko bread crumbs and fried?

                        I agree with most people, though. Put the food out and if she doesn't eat, she doesn't eat. That won't last long.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          Mhmm , ill make sure to try that soon ! Thanks for the tip ! & yeah , i guess so . Thanks again !

                        2. If she's tired of eating the same thing then offer her other things. I was a picky eater but when I got hungry I would try things and eat some. I have never heard of a picky eater starving but you might want to give her a vitamin every day.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: escondido123

                            we arent worried about her starving or anything . haha , but yeah we will definitely try and see if shes willing to try new things , healthier alternatives . Thanks for the help !

                          2. Did you mention how old she is? It may have been in a post that was deleted...

                            If she's old enough, helping with the shopping and cooking is a great way to introduce her to new foods. Supermarket scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids looking for ingredients. Introduce her to the fruit guy, fishmonger, meat manager. I take my daughter (16 months) to the supermarket and she knows the people we interact with often and she usually gets excited and says hello. Deli guy will give her turkey, fruit guy some grapes, dairy manager will open a yogurt for her, and she will happily eat any of it, even if it's not something she typically likes.

                            Like others have said, involve her in the cooking process. Yes, it's messy and takes longer, but it's worjth it. Depending on her age and abilities, she can measure, mix, dip into egg or crumbs, cut fruit or vegetables, or just arrange something on a tray or serving dish.

                            Does she eat yogurt? PB and j? Ask her what she wants. Honesty, you never know what kids will say. A friends daughter refused all vegetables for months, and when her mother asked what she'd like the answer was "broccoli not too mushy." and she ate it. Twice a day for a loooong time.

                            Finally, have her evaluated by her pediatrician or food therapist. There may be a reason as to why she's so picky.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: cheesecake17

                              Yes it was mentioned before but people started making rude comments and calling her a brat because of her age so I decided to take that off . She's just starting to go into 1st grade so I think that school lunches will kind of force her into earring new things , also I love the supermarket idea ! We will try that out next time , maybe she might like to help cook as well (: thanks cornets help !(:

                              1. re: cookiemonster002

                                She doesn't have to LIKE to help cook or shop. She is old enough for certain of these tasks to be assigned chores. Some supermarkets even have kid-sized shopping carts. She may not be tall enough to reach upper shelves but once she can read, or recognize the packaging, she can fetch packaged items from the lower shelves (you or parents will have to reconnoiter to make a list of the reachable things that are standards on your grocery list). She can be the one to stand and wait at the deli counter. My mother did not drive. She took a cart to the supermarket twice a week but once I was in kindergarten, it became my job to get a rye bread from the bakery that I walked past on the way home. Although this was a bit of a scary responsibility at age 5, it made me feel like a big girl and I was proud, too. Mom always gave me a quarter and a dime, and my litany did not vary: "A sour rye, no seeds, not sliced, please." These days people would be horrified that kindergartners walked home without adult supervision, but the 10-minute walk involved no traffic lights or crossing main roads, and there were always at least 2 kids walking together.

                                Whoever is selecting produce can explain criteria, e.g., that you want pineapples and melons to smell sweet, that peaches should have no greenish tinge, etc. After a few trips, casually quiz her to see how much she is learning. These will be useful skills when she is an adult. At home, she can do some of the unpacking. She can use a vegetable peeler for carrots and potatoes. She can peel onions by hand (hint: when the skins are superthin, soaking in cold water first makes peeling easier). She can wash produce, check over bunches of grapes to remove any mushy or moldy ones. She can make and butter toast, and assemble simple sandwiches, even if they are not for her. Thank and compliment her for the foods she helps make. The more she handles different foods, the more likely she is to want to try them.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  Exactly along the lines of what I'm thinking. Kids love to be involved and praised, no matter what the task. A friend of mine had her kiddos (around your sisters age) make placemats and set the table each night. They were in charge of arranging the silverware, folding the napkins, pouring water, making place cards...

                                  Also, your sister is getting into a more structured school setting. She will get used to lunch in a lunchroom, where its eat it or eat nothing. Keep presenting new items and twists on favorites at home and she will eventually try new things. Keep the negative vibes away from her

                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                    My friend also did the "involve the child in the process" thing. However, she made it very clear that the child did NOT have to eat what they jointly made. I think just that bit of freedom loosened up the control issues, and her daughter began to eat a wider variety and now loves to shop and cook. So, there's light at the end of that long tunnel, cookiemonster.

                                2. re: cookiemonster002

                                  I find around 2nd grade that kiddos start becoming more adventous and willing to try something new.

                                  1. re: cookiemonster002

                                    She is still pretty little even if she doesn't want to help cook habe her in kitchen with you guys while you cook and encourage her while cooking is happening to play with some of food. If she takes a bite great if not don't sweat it but playing with food really could be good start for her

                                3. I understand completely, being the mom of a picky kid (really, just give him food and make him eat it? Gee, I never thought of that!!) A few ideas:

                                  - Some kind of pancake or fritter, with small pieces of veggies mixed in?
                                  - Fruit? Yogurt? Maybe in a parfait?
                                  - Chicken nuggets with tiny minced pieces of veggies mixed in, or maybe even just a little bit of parsley or cilantro?
                                  - Would she eat meatballs?
                                  - Gallo pinto can have onions and peppers mixed in?
                                  - Will she eat eggs?
                                  - Raw veggies? Veggies with dip? On a stick? On a skewer? Grated veggies?
                                  - Soup? You can do all kinds of things with soup...

                                  Just trying to throw out some ideas for food served in different ways, or with different textures than what she might normally get. Good luck.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Pia

                                    Hahah exactly ! & wow thanks for all the great ideas ! she will usually try anything fun ! If that makes sence lol . Like pancake that has faces on them or anything on a stick , but since she thinks she's a big girl now she's startin to grow out of that :/ but we will try those ideas for sure !! Thanks !! (:

                                  2. Anderson Cooper dedicated a whole show to this issue. I think he only likes about 10 things, try to see the show as a psychologist or food expert assessed his issues.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                      Thankks , ill make sure to check that out !

                                      1. re: cookiemonster002

                                        My friend, Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic wrote an open letter to Cooper after that show that you might find helpful, A five-step plan for overcoming picky eating,

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Entertaining too, Stephanie used to be a Chow contributor. Here's more about picky eating.


                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Woww ! Thank you so much ! Very helpful (:

                                              1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                Stephanie has also just put out a book called 'Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate". It's a very fun and quick read, but full of a lot of information about how to overcome pickiness. (A note to all those who say to force the girl to eat the foods she hates: research shows that that is an *awesome* way to make sure that she remains picky/food-averse for the rest of her life. But there are other, more successful ways to help broaden the palate.)

                                                I'd strongly recommend this book as a way for you and your mother to help understand what your sister is going through, and to learn some ways of addressing it.

                                      2. re: Ruthie789

                                        As I recall, he conversed with a therapist on that program, and it came out that the pickiness developed soon after his father (or maybe brother) died. He was a preteen at the time. Before that, the family always ate dinner together. Afterwards, that tradition was dropped (why was not explained). It's easy to see that his pickiness developed as a coping/control mechanism.

                                        None of us knows enough to diagnose the root of the OP's sister's problem. There's a range of possibilities, from indulgent elders to physically-rooted problems to psychological disorders. If neither the structured lunchtime of the school environment, or the family's efforts yield improvement, she should be evaluated by her pediatrician and perhaps referred to a specialist.

                                      3. Honestly, I would take away the carb-only food choices and let her get hungry.If she was really tired of the same foods she would be motivated to find new ones. Why won't she eat meat? Maybe work on getting her to try new things. All meats don't taste the same of have the same texture. Same with sauces... they aren't all the same.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: beagles8mydough

                                          Shes only 6 years old ... i get what you mean though . shes going into 1st grade so that means her 1st year of all day school so i think her eating at school will probably force her into eating new foods whether she likes it or not so i think thats going to help alot with her eating issues .

                                          1. re: cookiemonster002

                                            My son was a very finicky eater. You might have success if you do put the unwanted food on the plate and establish, a rule would be that she has to have at least 3 bites of each food on the plate. A dietician on TV recommended this. It at least imposes a bit of tasting. My son bought into this theory for a period of time. Food and kids can be a sticky issue, it can become a control issue on both sides. Good luck on this, its not easy.

                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                              and I remember reading that it takes 3-6 times of trying a new food before young kids decide they like it.

                                              So it may be several struggles to get her to eat those three required bites...and you may have to repeat it several times before you actually get her to eat it!

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                Thanks for the info ! Really appreciate it !

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  I've heard that number can actually be closer to 17....either way, I think a lot of the ideas are basically just based around these things being far more than trying something once or twice.

                                              2. re: cookiemonster002

                                                in my daughter's case, it made it worse.
                                                she used to eat everything--vegetables, fruits, yogurt, etc.

                                                once the girl's cliques at school took control of her life at lunchtime, the only acceptable food was pizza.

                                                until she got into a class with a different set of girls, not having pizza for lunch would have made her a complete social outcast on the schoolyard at lunch. i full year of sending pizza every day--i barely survived it.

                                            2. I don't have children, myself, but, since the time my nephews and niece were toddlers, I'd take them out for meals. I would always make sure to take them someplace (other than fast food) that had their chicken tenders; however, I had one rule. They had to try one thing they'd never tried, before. If they liked it, they could eat it, if they didn't they could spit it out. No pressures other than they had to taste. Most of the time it was an instant spit-out, but every now and then, something new stuck, sometimes to my own loss. I remember the time I took my then ten-year-old nephew to a steak house. He ordered his chicken tenders, I ordered filet, medium rare. The steak was his taste. He took the bite with a "yuck" expression on his face. He chewed once, the expression changed to confusion. He chewed again, and that was it. I would up with his chicken tenders and he wound up with my filet. Um, his folks weren't all that happy with me because every time they took the family to a restaurant that served filet, he'd order it.

                                              Similar stories with the other two kids. The kids are now 14, 16 and 19 and we still have the same rule when I take them out, and they actually look forward to "testing" a new food. By the way, their parents are the least adventurous eaters I know.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                You sound like my dad when I was little I really like you to bite it just to taste but it ok if you just take big lick do whay ya gotta if don't like it,

                                              2. I've never had to deal with a very picky eater, but the "three bites" plan seemed to work.

                                                I agree with many other posters, though: this is an issue you need to deal with right away. If you cater to her desires, she'll realize that *she* is in control of the situation--Mom or Dad is not. My niece treated her firstborn as if the child was the center of the universe; the eight-year-old is now self-centered, demanding and obnoxious.

                                                When your sister goes to first grade, she'll find out that no one is going to bend over backwards to accommodate her--unless she "forces" her mother to pack a some-old same-old lunch every day. In which case, she is still in control.

                                                Good luck!

                                                1. Do you or a good friend have a garden? Try planting some veggies, start with peas or beans and some herbs. Get her involved in planting and caring for the garden. We have a school garden project going on and as various families are helping to care for it over the summer months many of us are finding that the kids are quite happily picking and eating things that they refuse to try if they show up on their plates. I don't think that any of us are out there forcing the kids to try these veggies, the kids are just curious.
                                                  At the table I agree with here is dinner, eat it or don't. My 6 yo is not as adventerous as I would like, but the rule is she has to have a bite of each thing on her plate, if she doesn't like it she doesn't have to eat any more of it. She's a bread lover, so if we're having bread with dinner she must eat a set amount of veg before she gets bread.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: cheesymama

                                                    sadly no :/ we are moving to a house now & that is something we would definitely want to do ! We are currently workin on the "try one bit" and seeing how that works out .. Thanks for the ideas !(:

                                                    1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                      Try planting basil or parsley in a small pot. It can be kept inside in the winter. Kids love to see things grow and use them in food they'll eat

                                                  2. My daughter is 5 and has always been very picky and I know how frustrating it is. I don't usually force her to try new things until I am at the very end of my rope, then we have an evening of crying at the dinner table that ends in her trying something new and hating it or finding out that she actually likes it. I have stopped catering so much to her tastes and she usually just ends up eating whatever carb I'm serving. If she really doesn't like anything on the table she can have peanut butter on toast. It's not something she likes very much, but I don't want to give her lots of options. If she is willing to try something that stretches her tastes a little I'm usually willing to let her have something she likes that I can grab quickly like a yogurt or cheese. I used to prepare a special plate for her with raw veggies, fruit, cheese or nuts, and a carb, thinking it was better for her to eat a balanced meal than to have her just eating plain rice for dinner all the time, but now I try to give her those things at lunch and hope that she'll get sick of the boring dinners eventually.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sarahcooks

                                                      my sister is exactly like that . shes starting to like fruits alot more now so we are kinda doing the same thing (preparing a special plate) hopefully she will get bored of it soon. Thanks for posting !

                                                    2. I know several people who have difficulty eating because their teeth aren't aligned properly and chewing is a much bigger effort than it needs to be. Could that be a part of the problem?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sr44

                                                        noo . her teeth are fine.. i think its more of a taste/texture type of problem with the foods ..But Thanks for posting !

                                                      2. I'd probably give her a couple more years before I start panicking.

                                                        If she is a tiny person, applying psychological pressure by constantly making fun of how small she is and how eating better would make her grow might bully her into a better diet.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                          Wow. Really? Make fun of a child because they're small? Please tell me this was written in jest.

                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                            not so sure about that .. i wouldnt want her to start developing self image problems from this young of age .. or any age for that matter .. i think tough love will work for now ..

                                                            1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                              My sister was incredibly picky through middle school. In high school she gave up red meat and in college she became a vegetarian. As a veg she learned to eat lots of different things. She is now eating meat again and had really blossomed in her mid twenties. She tries things and I can't even really call her picky. She is healthy although she has struggled with some weight issues over te years (over not under) she controls it now with weight watchers and exercise. Don't stress too much.

                                                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                omg...bully a five yr old into eating...wow.

                                                                1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                  strongly disagree with the "body-type shaming" that FoodPopulist suggests.
                                                                  strongly agree with Linda Whit to avoid this at all costs ESPECIALLY with girls.

                                                                2. Hi cookie,

                                                                  maybe whole wheat pasta or whole grain pasta (Barilla piccolini brand, or others) tossed with a little olive oil and butter (if she doesn't like red sauce) with salt and pepper, and little bits of white breast chicken meat?

                                                                  If she likes gallo pinto, maybe gallo pinto (will she eat gandules verdes?) with a little egg scrambled in, wrapped in a small tortilla?

                                                                  Does she like any any any sauces or seasonings? Ketchup? Sour cream? Media crema?

                                                                  My mother let me put all the ketchup I wanted on my string beans as a kid, to get me to eat them. Now I LOVE string beans, and eat them raw, but that method worked when I was a kid.

                                                                  How about fruits? Banana? Grapes? Yogurt covered raisins? Yogurt?

                                                                  1. I applaud your effort to correct your sister's bad behavior now, cookiemonster, because I've seen the absolute nightmare that is possible when its not handled while they are young. I occasionally have to feed a child that learned early that if she behaved poorly when she didn't want to eat something that people would cave in and get her what she wanted. She had made full blown scenes not only at home but in restaurants- whining and crying at the table- even downright sobbing- because she didn't want to eat what is for dinner. She was pulling that routine up until a little over a year ago, she just turned 15.

                                                                    In addition to explaining why I will not buy or make some foods (lack of nutritional value, what the "bad" ingredients are and how they effect health, etc.) I incorporate veggies into foods in undetectable ways while we work on getting her to both eat better foods and learn some manners when she doesn't want something.

                                                                    Steamed carrots and red peppers can be pureed in the blender and added to tomato sauces for pizza, spagetti and lasagna. She swears she hates mushrooms but I saute and then either finely chop or puree them and add them to all sorts of things- if she doesn't see them she eats them just fine. Meatballs, muffins, sauces and smoothies are all great ways to hide healthy ingredients. In addition to her getting the nutrients she needs, if you start with small amounts it helps slowly develop a taste for the ingredients and then you can add more.

                                                                    There are a couple of books with ideas and recipes (hiding veggies from children isn't a new idea,) and probably even some websites. You might try searching Google for things like hiding vegetables in food for kids. I think one is called The Sneaky Chef or something like that.

                                                                    Good luck and stay strong!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                      If I'm not mistaken, one of the most recent books was penned by Jerry Seinfeld's wife -- here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Deceptively-Del...

                                                                      Double the suggestion of whizzing up veggies in sauces -- I still whizz spinach into tomato sauce (or the ricotta) for lasagna.

                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                        Thank You (: When she was 3 she started making scenes in restaurants , homee .. & we had to stop her right then and there , i know i wasnt the best chilld when i was little & i felt it was unfair for my parents to have to go though that again so i tried to get her out of that habit asap ! haha , i think pureeing and sneaking veggies is a great idea ! Thanks so much for the help ! we really appreciate it (:

                                                                        1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                          I can hardly remember EVER going to a restaurant as a child. Not even McDonalds. It just wasn't done in my family. We did not go out to eat. Meals were at home, cooked at home. Lunches were bagged and taken to school with you (my folks never paid for school lunches).

                                                                      2. I only skimmed through all the responses and your replies, so I apologize if this was brought up, but...while you are trying to get your sister to try new things, you and your mom should be trying new things as well, to see if your sister likes them.

                                                                        My husband's mother swears, left right and center, that he (her son, my husband) is a very picky eater because he didn't like many of the dishes she made when he was a kid. The truth is, there are a few select things that my husband doesn't like that his mother cooks with a lot, that made him appear like a picky eater. For example, he HATES onions. Hates them, in any amount or form. His mother made almost every meal with onions, insisted that he'd never be able to taste them, then got annoyed with him when he'd only eat a little bit because, to him, the taste of onion was overpowering.

                                                                        When he moved out of her house, he started trying different types of food. As it turns out, he has a rather broad palette -- I would say even more broad than his mother's. His mother hates anything with any amount of spice, from jalapenos to black pepper. Yes, black pepper is too spicy for her. This automatically rules out whole types of cuisine, including Indian, Thai, and Korean, which my husband has come to love...as long as they don't include onions.

                                                                        My point is, make sure you are offering your sister a wide variety of choices, including things that you don't think she'd like or that you may not like yourself. If it turns out she likes a dish that you don't like, you may be able to come up with a compromise that you both like.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                          Some kid-friendly ideas you can try:

                                                                          Cereal -- keep on hand in case she refuses dinner.
                                                                          Minute Rice -- teach her how to microwave her own. Also keep Kraft mac-n-cheese microwavable cups on hand -- she doesn't HAVE to use the cheese packet.
                                                                          Scrambled eggs (plus, she'd old enough to learn how to cook 'em!)
                                                                          Peanut butter (with or without jelly) and bread or crackers
                                                                          Any kind of "Assemble Your Own" meal -- tacos, burritos, nachos, Mongolian BBQ, possibly even salads. She can leave out things she dislikes. There's no reason you HAVE to put cheese on a pizza, after all.
                                                                          Shish kebab -- it's on a stick.
                                                                          Those old standbys, hot dogs, hamburgers, Sloppy Joes, canned soup, and canned pasta (yecch).
                                                                          Raw veggies with Ranch dip (worth a try)
                                                                          Sandwiches? Wraps? Again, she can make her own.
                                                                          Meatballs on a stick (start with chicken, since she likes chicken nuggets)
                                                                          Since she likes chicken-and-rice and beans with rice, try cooking some variations -- Chinese cashew chicken with rice, Cajun red beans and rice, Cuban black bean and rice, Indian lentils and rice, chicken pilaf, jambalaya, chicken-and-rice soup (possibly with beans!), none of it too spicy. I once bet my hubby that every culture that traditionally has both chickens and rice has a signature chicken-and-rice dish, and I was right. :)

                                                                          Have you tried tricking her into demanding whatever you're having for dinner? As in, "This is a special dish, and you can't have any" (while having some in reserve for her)? How about "That's okay, more for us, yum yum!" when she refuses one?

                                                                          Could your Mom be overcooking the vegetables? I thoroughly despised vegetables growing up because my mother, a traditional Southern cook, boiled them to death so they had no texture at all. My first trip to a Chinese restaurant (that I remember) was a revelation. I've cooked veggies crisp-tender ever since (unless they HAVE to be cooked to mush).

                                                                          1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                            Thanks for the help ! my mom isnt very adventurous when it comes to food , but me and my dad Are !! haha we try and get her to try as many different things as we can . I was amazed yesterday because she saw my dad eat oysters and she wanted to try them !! she said she liked them but i wasnt sure about that by the look of her face hah , but yes we will try and give her alot of different variety ! Thanks so much for the help !(:

                                                                          2. To add to the voices of reason, the Toronto Star did a series involving one of their staff, Katie Daubs, who is apparently a supertaster, a kind of genetic thingy (that's the technical term) that makes one physiologically react differently to food than other people.

                                                                            There's a bunch of articles, but these may be of interest:


                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. My son survived for years on Cheerios, grapes, pretzels, and bacon (not exaggerating). I had watched my parents turn every meal into a battle ground over my older brother's pickiness, and I decided not to make an issue of food. My son is now a young adult and eats everything except dairy.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                Since shes still young we are going to see if she starts excepting different foods , maybe she will be like that when she grows up too ! Thanks for posting !

                                                                                1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                  The French approach is to insist that children try 1 bite of a new food. If they reject it, the parents say, "That's okay, you'll like it when you're older." They retry the new food cooked in different ways over the course of (sometimes many) weeks. Of course, all kids want to be "older," so this is a positive motivator. Worth a try.

                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                    I'll have to remember that phrase, it's a good one!

                                                                              2. Folks, just a reminder that we're a food site, rather than a parenting site or a medical site. We'd ask that your answers focus on recipes and suggestions for things that a picky eater might like to eat, rather than behavioral issues or medical advice.

                                                                                1. Lots of good good suggestions here. I would try to make some 'base' dishes that are easy to add to and adjust as you start introducing new ingredients. I'm thinking pizza crust, maybe a fried rice. If she can start to enjoy those, it might not be as hard to slowly add new ingredients. As others have said you guys should try some new foods too in front of her so she can see others doing what you want her to do and who knows, you might find something that she likes that you haven't tried yet. So glad you're doing this early. I once had a 25 year old dinner guest who had never tasted garlic, seafood or tomatoes and refused to try them. Good luck and do report back!

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                    She lovess fried rice ! we are trying to see what else she will try and eat , we try to mix in new things into the rice so she can different ingredients in it .. Thanks for the help !!

                                                                                    1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                      I think fried rice is your holy grail -- you can put *all kinds* of different things into fried rice!

                                                                                      Just cut it all in very small pieces....and I think that will hide a lot of perceived evils.

                                                                                      You could even steer it down a "dirty rice"-type path....rice, pico, and small pieces of whatever this week's food of the week is....

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        I r,emember having a teacher who stressed "food of th week"
                                                                                        Every week she would choose a food, hang up a poster of it, and explain where it came from, how to eat it, why it's good for you.
                                                                                        She would take suggestions from the class, and every Friday shed attach a slip of paper with next weeks food to our homework.

                                                                                        Perhaps you can try something like this at home. It may get your sister excited and involved

                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                          I like this idea. And the fact that you remember this teacher doing this for the class? Great teacher.

                                                                                      2. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                        perfect vehicle to carry so many other things. . . .

                                                                                    2. she's only in 1st grade! oh, i thought she was an adult! and i'm not kidding bc i had a roommate in college and he would only eat 4 things. plain pizza, hamburger with nothing on it, chocolate and bread.

                                                                                      i would focus on what she is willing to eat and surround her foods with other foods she can try. if she doesn't like homemade chicken nuggets then you can mix the ones she likes with homemade ones at first.

                                                                                      a good fun way is to get those plates that are separated or even use an empty ice cube tray. you can put all sorts of things in it. she may not try it but at least she'll look. whatever you do don't force her. imagine you not liking something but being forced to like it? it just doesn't work.

                                                                                      she's so young that there's a good chance grow out of this if given the opportunity. whatever you do don't stress out bc she'll stress out.

                                                                                      we have friends that are preschool and kindergarden who barely eat anything. one friend only eats peanut butter sandwiches and milk. another friend only eats boxed mac and cheese, cheese sticks, and grilled cheese.

                                                                                      here is a really good article on fussy eaters. whatever you and your family choose, do not force her to eat or make her feel bad for not eating. http://auntannieschildcare.blogspot.c...

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                        Thanks for the help !! I think the ice cube tray is a really good idea ! I completely understand what you mean about the Whole "Forcing her to eat things" I would absolutely hate that so we arent planning on doing that . Again thanks for the help !

                                                                                      2. I haven't read through the entire thread, but I get the point that your sister is a youngster dependent upon others for food, not an adult.

                                                                                        Well, since she seems to like rice, pastas and other starchy stuff, use that as a vehicle to start introducing her to new food. Try, for instance, spaghetti with very mild red sauce and tuna. It's delicious. Or try making a very simple fried rice and throw in some beans and corn. Before you know it, you're adding more vegetables to it, and that kind of thing.

                                                                                        Yes, she'll holler, but like many others have responded, you sort of can't give her too many choices, or she won't change her eating habits. Try to work with her by adding to the things she likes, but ultimately have her eat what's on the plate rather than catering too much to her, or she'll never change.

                                                                                        1. I can't believe people were giving you grief over this. I was a picky eater as a kid, definitely not spoiled, and I would have turned this into a major battle. In fact, my parents taking a hard line on this kind of thing likely led me to avoid certain foods far more than I ever would have normally. I'm fairly severely ADD (only diagnosed in adulthood) and I suspect this had something to do with it. I would hyperfocus on textures and tastes that I didn't like and it would just put me off whatever was on my plate. And if you're stressed, you're just not going to like a food - you'll associate it with the terrible feelings that come with battling your parents. Cripes, your sister is 6 - she's just a little kid.

                                                                                          I eat pretty much anything now, except for fish (still trying to like it), celery and organ meats. Oh and okra. Okra is gross.

                                                                                          Try cutting up grilled chicken breast into strips, with a dipping sauce (not ranch or anything cheesy). Try making spaghetti sauces with many veggies pureed into them. Same goes with soups. Try roasting vegetables - the carmelization may appeal to her.

                                                                                          What textures bother her the most?

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                                                                                          1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                            Yeah , alot of posts were deleted because they were saying so many awful things , but anyways , i think what bothers her the most is probably cheesy textures ... melted , not melted , also the smell of certain foods plays a be role in why she wont eat some foods , Thanks for the help !(:

                                                                                            1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                              I have a friend with a very sophisticated palate who simply will not eat cheese and never has. She's Italian-American, so this was of course viewed as pure blasphemy by her family. But she just simply does not like cheese, its taste or its texture, and she never will. She's 36, has multiple Ivy League degrees and is an overall lovely and successful human being. Disliking cheese has not exactly held her back. Pretty sure your sister is gonna be fine:D

                                                                                          2. I was picky growing up. My mom made small changes to accommodate me, such as leaving out the onions, or letting me eat salad without dressing, or giving me raw veggies to eat in place of the cooked ones. She did give me a hard time about it, though.

                                                                                            I realize now that it was her cooking that ruined food for me; boiled-to-grey-mush vegetables, large chunks of undercooked onions where they shouldn't be, etc.

                                                                                            When my son pretty much stopped eating at about 1 1/2 years old, I took him weekly to eat "toothpick food" at the grocery store (this was during an era of LOTS of samples!). He ate everything there, so for a while we cut his food to look like samples and he ate it. Eventually he began to eat more enthusiastically - after about a year of eating "samples".

                                                                                            When he got older, we had a one-bite rule and told him that if he didn't want more after one bite, that was just fine. He rarely stopped at one bite.

                                                                                            I now eat a lot of different types of food and so does my son. Oddly, my mother has proven herself to be very picky - she who chastised me for being too picky as a child! Turns out that the person cooking the food can keep their own dislikes out of the system - !

                                                                                            EDIT: One more thing - don't don't don't become passive-aggressive here, by repeatedly serving foods that the poor kid REALLY doesn't like; we all have things that hit us wrong and you're not going to accomplish anything by forcing these foods on her. Observe her tastes and expand on them slowly.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              My kid (16months) will eat anything served in Costco. Doesn't matter what it is, but if it's handed to her by an employee, it goes straight to the mouth!

                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                Mine did that, too...took me a few visits to figure out that the fact that the sample got eaten does NOT mean that buying the food will result in the food getting eaten.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  We started going to sams club & they give out samples at every corner & her eyes lit up when she saw all the food she tried almost everything ( spit out almost everything too .) but at least she tried & so now we are shopping there alot more ! Thanks for the help everyone !(:

                                                                                                  1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                                    exactly - -she's *trying* them...that's a really good sign.

                                                                                              2. Have you thought of teaching her cooking techniques and giving her a meal to cook for the family? That way she's in control of what she's eating and she might gain a bit more empathy when it comes to what it takes to get things on the table.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                                  she's only 6 or 7 (first grader) -- old enough to help with small tasks, but not old enough to take on a whole meal by herself.

                                                                                                2. On Cook's Country yesterday, they did their own chicken nuggets. It was not complicated, and certainly better nutrition than the frozen and fast food versions. The recipe will be free at their website. You have to register (free), but you do NOT have to enroll for a trial membership. Look carefully at the button links and you'll find the path.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                    I have periodically made chicken "nuggets" and used them in veggie-filled salads with a fruit/soy vinaigrette, toasted almonds, and crunchy noodles. This Americanized "Asian" salad was one of my son's favorites growing up. I used flour, panko, sesame seeds, and powdered ginger in the breading.

                                                                                                  2. If she eats so few foods, I seriously suggest that your parents speak to the pediatrician about this. There are resources, including counseling and therapy, to help extremely picky eaters.

                                                                                                    There might be any NUMBER of reasons she eats so poorly. For example, if she has extreme sensory issues, certain textures might be literally nauseating. Or, if she has reflux, some foods might make her feel very sick... and since she doesn't know which ones those are, it's safer for her to only eat from her small list of foods. Therapy can help find out what the problem is and the best way to solve it. From what it sounds like, she really is eligible for actual help... not just one-size-fits-all advice from the internet.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Ulyyf

                                                                                                      i dont think she has sensory issues , its just the normal "Ew this taste gross" or "eww This smells weird" but we have been to her pediatrician & she said is was "no big deal" she didnt bother really try and see if anything was wrong , literally it was a 10 min trip most being waiting in the waiting area .. but thanks for the help !

                                                                                                    2. If she likes french fries, you might be able to sneak these past her. My three-year-old devoured them without even noticing, and she will go to great lengths to avoid eating anything even remotely green. I did use yellow squash, though - mostly because that was what we had, but in retrospect, the lack of Evil Scary Horrible Green (sigh) probably helped.


                                                                                                      They're really good, actually. If she doesn't like marinara, I'm sure they'd also be good with ketchup or ranch dressing.

                                                                                                      We ask her to try one bite of everything, and if she doesn't like it, she can have a PB&J (with no special requests!) We find that this eliminates a lot of the control issues, and once she has the sandwich in front of her, half the time she'll eat the thing she originally didn't like, because she no longer "has" to. Don't have a big battle about it, that's the important thing. My sister-in-law had a cousin who ate nothing but hot dogs and hamburgers until she was sixteen and started going out to eat with her friends - peer pressure can be a wonderful thing! Good luck!

                                                                                                      1. I'm Hispanic and was an extremely picky eater as a child. This frustrated my family to NO END. My parents were raised with very little and the thought of not eating your dinner was very foreign to them. I only ate a handful of food when I was a kid: white rice, pollo guisado (only the breasts), sweet plantains, pb&j, ham and cheese sandwiches (only with the american cheese from the bodega), bread, scrambled eggs and bacon.

                                                                                                        My mother would berate, bribe, guilt, and beat me into eating my food. Out of my own choice I would go to bed hungry. I'd even go to school hungry! My pickiness came out of disgust and an inability to eat the food. The textures, flavors and smells disgusted me. And my mother was/is an amazing cook! A lot people on this board are saying that you should just put the food in front of the kid and they'll eat but I'm sorry if you're a true picky eater you WILL NOT EAT IT. Its not a matter of choice, you just cannot even open your mouth to eat it. I was such a picky eater that I was very underweight for my age and sitting for a meal was so anxiety inducing I'd just as much fake a stomach ache or something.

                                                                                                        I believe it was a matter of maturity. I loved watching cooking shows and seeing people cook, but I just didn't like to eat. As a child I loved seeing people get excited over things they loved, especially food lovers. When I was around 9 years old, my older brother and his friends took me to a diner and he allowed me to order whatever I wanted. I was always told what to eat and when to eat but for the first time he let me choose. So I looked around the diner and saw a woman eating a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato with a pickle. She looked so so happy eating it. So I went ahead and ordered that. I wanted to impress my older brother by being independent and mature so without making any fuss I took a huge bite out of my sandwich and LOVED IT.

                                                                                                        I think having my brother (and other folks) in my life allow me to choose different foods and seeing people eat happily made me want to try new things. I am now a remarkably adventurous eater despite my extreme habits when I was younger.

                                                                                                        So without further ado here are my suggestions: 1) expose her to people that love to eat and talk about food with sincerity--kids can smell a plot a mile away, 2) watch cooking shows with her 3) find out what she does like to eat and incorporate new things (example: arroz con pollo and some guandules, pasta with cheese, rice with corn). I hope this works.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: bamboozledpickle

                                                                                                          Its the same exact thing with my sister ! my mom makes the BEST central American food & my sister will (MAYBE) eat some gallo pinto with frijoles refritos, Shes starting to open up alot more now ! Thanks for the suggestions ! (:

                                                                                                        2. My little boy who is the same age is 47 inches tall. Most waterslides and a lot of amusement park rides have a minimum height of 48 inches. I keep telling him he needs to eat a lot of fruits and veggies so he can grow big enough to do the big kid stuff.

                                                                                                          1. You left out an important bit of data---how old is your sister?

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                              she's posted it a few times, but it keeps getting blitzed -- the sister is just starting 1st grade -- 6 or 7.

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                Yeah ive taken it off quite a few times now , it just starts pointless argument about either shes "spoiled" or a "brat" etc..

                                                                                                                1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                                                  Cookie - I have seen this issue with adults and children. It is a control/attention issue not a food issue. I promise it will get better.

                                                                                                                  She will not starve. She is 6, at 6 you have very little power/control over anything in your life. Your sister is very smart and has figured out that she has power - yes power- over you entire family when she decides not to eat something.

                                                                                                                  My brother ate NOTHING but cheeseburgers and peanut butter sammies for over a year (he was 8). My parents would stop for a McDonalds cheeseburger on the way to where ever we were going. That is power and control.

                                                                                                                  I am happy to say that my brother grew out of it - so will your sister. Just remember, It is not about food rather the reaction she gets for not eating the food.

                                                                                                                  I wish you all the best!

                                                                                                            2. I love Ellyn Satter's book "How to get your kid to eat---but not too much." It's a keeper. (note: it requires maturity & consistency on the part of whomever buys & prepares the food.)

                                                                                                              1. One of my daughters was a very picky eater and very skinny as a little girl. When she wouldnt' eat the family meal (and I am a pretty good cook) night after night we went on the 'yogurt diet'. She could have what we were having or she could have a yogurt. After about 2 weeks of mostly eating yogurt, she came around. We allowed each of our kids three "I won't eat that" foods. If I was cooking those, they were free to go for yogurt or pb&j. They are both young women now with a love of cooking. The one who was more picky is now the more adventurous of the two.
                                                                                                                Don't give up and be consistent is my best advice.

                                                                                                                1. The OP says that her sister "doesnt like the taste and textures of some food". I don't see this as the problem that some others seem to - heck, I don't like the taste and textures of some food. I don't eat them - and I'm 62, not 6. No-one calls me a picky eater because I exercise my choices.

                                                                                                                  The youngster seems to me to be eating the basis of a very healthy diet - good carbs, low on fatty stuff, white meat, etc. Sure, it sounds like it'd be good if she could eat some vegetables but she's eating a more balanced diet than many in the developed west. And I think cookiemonster and her mum are doing exactly the right in trying to sneak more healthy stuff into what she will eat. Keep doing that - maybe a little veg into the gallo pinto or trying to increase the veg in the pastas, or trying the chicken in a new but still simple and familiar way. .

                                                                                                                  Oh, and to cookiemonster - no, your sister doesnt sound at all spoiled to me. She's got a caring mother and sister who cook her good food and I'm sure she has no serious nutrition issues. Time will be the great changer as she gets older, mixing with other kids at school and seeing what they are having for lunch, and so on.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                    Thank you so much for that (: i think just her starting school full time will open her up alot more when it comes to food , Shes going to be there for a while shes going to get hungry and shes not going to get a choice or any special treatment so that will do her good (: Thanks for the help !

                                                                                                                    1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                                                      and there's a lot to be said for peer pressure at that age (some good, some bad) -- she won't want to stick out, so she'll be a lot more likely to eat what all the other kids eat. (Hope your school cafeteria is at least decent!)

                                                                                                                  2. I have to wonder if she is on the Asperger's/autism spectrum. This behavior is very common in kids like this. They are really picky about textures and can eat the same foods over and over. My son is also very picky and while I don't have any brilliant ideas, I can say that he will simply not eat if he doesn't like what I've served. There are some kids who really won't eat, even when they're hungry, especially when they're on the autism spectrum.

                                                                                                                    I try to have whatever my son is currently eating around the house. Lately, he has been into those Amy's frozen burritos. They're full of nutrients and he can microwave them himself. He'll also eat mangoes, but someone else has to chop and peel them. He'll also eat goldfish crackers, which are crap in terms of nutrients, but he does need the calories.

                                                                                                                    For fruits and veggies, will your sister drink smoothies? I make a smoothie for my son that has blueberries, strawberries, orange juice, and raspberry jam. He loves it, and it's mostly fruit. Since he is underweight, I really don't care about the sugar in the jam. My view is to do whatever it takes--add sugar, ketchup, any kind of sauce--to help them eat new foods.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                      Interesting that this angle popped up after about 120 replies. Those who know about the spectrum will appreciate it. My son is on the spectrum as well, and there are a host of foods that will, simply put, prompt a gag reflex. I don't mean "Ew, that will make me puke.". I mean "go ahead. Try it. I'm warning you.". Instantly the person who just new Drew would love peaches if he would just try them is wearing peaches. Over many years we have made a lot of inroads. Canned country style green beans, eaten like fries with ketchup. A frittata with nothing too weird in it, it like a slice of pizza. Many things that trigger the gag as raw fruits or vegetables work ok as juices or cooked into a less in your face format. Celery, onions, and carrots are out of the question, even with ranch, but as a soffrito used in a Bolognese, they are ok. Mushrooms, no way. Worked into a risotto. Yum. Strawberries. Aaarrrgghh. In ice crem or yoghurt, fine. I will say he has helped me develop an appreciation for the joy of beige food and pushing the envelope to where it retains its beige essence but still interests me. M and C with plenty of Sriracha in the mornay. Waffles with pecans. A chicken breast done piccata but serve to Drew without the capers (more for me). Tonight is shrimp with sautéed onion slices tossed in a light lemon sauce and served over pasta. He'll have the shrimp with ketchup and the pasta with a little pasta sauce and ketchup and, as he calls it, piling cheese. Learn to fish things out for your picky eter and serve them with easy carbs like rice, pasta, or taters.

                                                                                                                    2. I think this is all blown out of proportion. She's a little girl just starting school in the fall and the OP never said she was starving or had any health issues. Rather than diagnosing without a license, why not stick with she gets offered a variety of foods, eats what she wants and call it a day? I was picky as a kid and came out just fine.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. I didn't read all the responses so I might be duplicating here. First, you didn't say how old she was. Honestly, children do this. I have had friends with kids that will only eat pasta with butter or goldfish or white food. Is it super healthy - no. But every single one of them that took their kids to a nutritionist was told to calm down and keep offering healthy food. Eventually each one of these kids started eating more.

                                                                                                                          If she is a teenager, also look out for symptoms of an eating disorder. Dislikes can be used to mask food regulation behaviors.

                                                                                                                          I would start by adding little flavors to the food. A little something different to pasta or rice - peas, carrots, small pieces of broccoli. I also add things that are less healthy (e.g. lots of honey on winter squash) and then slowly decrease as I serve them until they get used to it. Same with items like bacon and butter. Also, use veggies that in season and fresh - they are much sweeter and more likely to be received. To train my kids to eat brown rice, I would cook half white and half brown. (although the best tool was to invest in a really good rice cooker).

                                                                                                                          Things I am surprised even my kids' picky friends eat. Pureed lentil soup - chalk full of veggies. Roasted veggies (roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, green beans). Grilled veggies. things that are dippable - white bean dip for instance.

                                                                                                                          For my kids, they pick breakfast and lunch from relatively healthy options but dinner is whatever we make the family. I give them very small portions and they much finish that before they get anything else. It is about 4-5 bites, which gets them past the spitting it out after 1/2 bite. They sometimes decide they like it, sometimes refuse to eat and go hungry and sometimes gag it down and then move on to something they like. But they do expand their horizons a bit more.

                                                                                                                          1. I Dont agree with that put out whats to eat,if they wont eat it they go hungry,i grew up like that,sent to bed after being belted in the face as a child,not everyone has the same tastes for foods,it scarred me as a child,i raised 4 kids and never put that horror into them,only takes a minute to cook up something for them,if you love them whats the problem.say you despise liver and someone forces you to eat that,how would you feel now.

                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                Cookiemonster, I havent seen posts from you here since before school started. How are things going now?? Any better? If things have changed we can build from those and give more ideas. I think it does help to find things that are very similar to what she likes, with small changes at a time. For example Boca or Morningstar Farms make good vegetarian "chicken" nuggets that taste like chicken but are soy based, or mini vegetarian corn dogs or ones on a stick, or try colorful animal shaped pastas that add the colors with veggies. Will she drink milkshakes or smoothies cuz you can sneak veggies and fruits into those.. Also, an occupational therapist at school would be a good person to ask because although you say it is not a sensory issue, aversion to textures and odors is very often sensory related and very common and nothing to be embarrased about and OTs who see this alot can often give lots of ideas of how to make things appeal to her more..OTs at sensory integration clinics will usually know the most and insurance usually pays. And i think this is Chowhound related because it is kind of like recommending a certain kind of cookbook or chef to someone looking for a special kind of food preparation. Please let us know how things are going! Kids do often grow out of it!

                                                                                                                                1. re: chompie

                                                                                                                                  This is cookiemonster's only post on CH. I suspect it was written, replied to a few times within a few days of it being written, and forgotten about. But hopefully it can help someone else who reads it.

                                                                                                                              2. Old thread, but new "research" here...

                                                                                                                                My mother has always been extremely picky eater. That is, until dementia set in - she has forgotten what she "doesn't like" and is now eating and enjoying many of the foods that she previously "couldn't stand".

                                                                                                                                Food for thought.

                                                                                                                                1. I've been a fussy eater for the majority of my life, and though my parents never forced me to try anything beyond my 'comfort zone', I always felt as if I was making life harder for them - there'd be one meal for me, and a meal for everyone else.

                                                                                                                                  They never knew why I was such a picky eater - they thought it was just one of those childhood things, that I'd grow out of it. But I never did - still haven't quite, though I'm starting to get a little better now.

                                                                                                                                  See, I've suffered with emetophobia - fear of vomit - from a really young age. I don't remember how it started, can't even remember a time when I didn't have it. I didn't even tell my parents how much it affected me until I was 18. But this is the cause of my food pickiness. Many with emetophobia have their 'safe' foods, and sometimes stick to them for their whole lives. As my phobia started as a child, my 'safe' foods are mostly things that I ate as a child - excepting the foods that I thought made me unwell. And instead of this situation getting better when I reached my teens, it started to get worse. I never ate very much, either - not because I had anorexia, but because I was terrified of that 'too-full' feeling. So I've always been a skinny little thing, and that coupled with my picky eating, I think my parents thought there was another problem.

                                                                                                                                  I'm not saying your sister has emetophobia - it may just be the way she is, her tastes, and there's nothing wrong with that.

                                                                                                                                  However, over the past six months, I've been seeing a hypnotherapist about my emetophobia, as it was growing worse and worse - I was eating less than ever, and was terrified most days to leave the house and be anywhere near other people. And gradually, I've started to feel more alive, more in control, most days are happy ones as opposed to bad ones - and I'm trying new foods. Nothing extremely adventurous, but things like pasta (believe it or not), more vegetables, fruit, and I've shared a Chinese meal with my mum occasionally, which I could never have imagined myself doing a year ago.

                                                                                                                                  So even if your sister doesn't have emetophobia, and this fussiness with food is getting to be a problem, then perhaps hypnotherapy might be something to consider. I'm not sure where exactly you live, but if you decide to go down that route, try searching for hypnotherapists near you - call them, ask them if they've dealt with this sort of thing before, get an idea of what they're like. I live in the UK, and my mum was ready to take my to London every month to see a man who's won awards for hypnotherapy, etc. It would have cost a lot! But we found a woman who lives locally, she's dealt with my problem soooooo many times, and it's affordable - and we don't even have a lot of money.

                                                                                                                                  Sorry for this extremely long reply, and indeed a very late reply. But I saw this and wondered if it might be worth replying. Hope your sister's well, and good luck!

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: LornaDoon

                                                                                                                                    I had responded earlier with a few ideas, but I just wanted to note as well that this phobia is a real thing. My son has anxiety disorder. For years he wouldn't eat at school. He wasn't particularly picky at home, but short of candy (which i wouldn't pack) there was nothing that I could send him with that he would eat. I tried punishment, I tried bribing. I just couldn't figure it out. Turns out that he was having irrational thoughts about packed lunches. As a celiac he couldn't eat school lunch so he was doomed. It has slowly gotten better with treatment, but is still an issue. Now I just try to be more understanding and work to find things he can tolerate now.

                                                                                                                                  2. Keep trying an experimenting. and try and get her to at least try it before she says she doesn't like it.

                                                                                                                                    It sounds like she'll eat chicken. You can try different treatments of chicken. Grilled, lemon pepper, maybe a spicy chicken taco, Chicken Fajitas. etc

                                                                                                                                    I would suggest to ask her why she doesn't like these foods. Texture, taste, does she hate uncooked veggies, maybe she would like cooked veggies.. etc

                                                                                                                                    While not very healthy you could try other fried foods just to introduce her to the foods, My nephew who was very picky actually liked fried shrimp.

                                                                                                                                    Has she had fried plantains? and does she like fruit?

                                                                                                                                    Just keep working on getting her trying new things. My mom always insisted we try one or two bites and then decide if we liked it or not and that opened up a lot of new ideas for the picky eaters in our family.

                                                                                                                                    1. so id like to just say that this is from a long time ago .. my sister is now 8 and she is doing better with the whole eating situation but still "picky" this was written honestly out of desperation . i was about 14 at the time (i am now 16 going on 17) and i was very worried about my sister's eating habits. her being my first & only sister plus seeing the distress her lack of willingness to eat and try new foods was causing my parents (who had other issues to deal with on top of that) and i felt the need to step in as a big sister and try to look for help and ideas. id like to thank most of you for taking this post seriously and giving me helpful tips .it is much appreciated :) there were people who were rude and disrespectful calling my sister names and such . but it was expected since this is the internet lol . anyways id thought id do a little update/explanation since some of you were asking :) Again everyone thank you so much for your help !

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: cookiemonster002

                                                                                                                                        Thank you for coming back!

                                                                                                                                        So glad to hear she's doing better -- and major points to you for stepping in to help your family.

                                                                                                                                        Best of luck to you!

                                                                                                                                      2. Get off the subject. It's a power thing. Leave her alone.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: awanabiisa

                                                                                                                                          the OP just posted last night with an update...look just above my post above yours.

                                                                                                                                        2. Does your sister have more adventurous eating friends? It may help to have her around kids that will eat and try things. see if you can get an invite and ask the parents not to make anything special for her.

                                                                                                                                          I also find that forcing the issue results in power struggle that you will lose. I agree with a previous poster about setting the standard that they need to try new things but not have to finish it. Our daycare use to call it the "No thank you" bite. You have to try it but then you can decide not to eat it. But you can't just outright say you don't like it. Also, don't give up if she says she doesn't like it the first time. I think it takes kids sometimes up to 20-40 tries before liking something.

                                                                                                                                          To get her to eat vegetables, if you have a space for a garden, trying growing food with her. Carrots, snap peas are naturally sweet and great raw. I've seen kids who won't eat cooked peas, but the idea of growing it, picking it straight from the vine and pop them in their mouth and go for another.

                                                                                                                                          1. Try a fruit smoothy with subsitute milk like almond,coconut or oat milk and fresh berries whatever berry is available near you that you think she might like and if she drinks smoothy with fruit you can add 1 veggie in later and vary veggies for more nutrients with fruit maskig taste of vegetables. Cauliflower can be diguised as mash potates as neither have much flavor on their own.

                                                                                                                                            1. well lets see you in your op you leave room for 3 ingredients

                                                                                                                                              boneless meat, potatoes, corn

                                                                                                                                              Boneless Meat:


                                                                                                                                              on the cob
                                                                                                                                              in tortilla form
                                                                                                                                              as polenta

                                                                                                                                              combine at will adding any sauce you may like
                                                                                                                                              condensed soups

                                                                                                                                              + bread, pasta or rice

                                                                                                                                              that's pretty much your full range of options,
                                                                                                                                              I would not find it fulfilling but you have a lot of permutations there.

                                                                                                                                              1. I know how you feel, my son he is17 for the pass year he don't eat food I cook like rice or pasta not even steak or pork chop just sometimes chicken, he don't like eating sandwiches NITHER, he like to eat just eggs with chesse fried with bread he would eat that like three to four times a day, I talk to him about this but he said he just not hungry or he don't like my food :( he is getting so skinny, he is5"11 and weight like115 now I don't know what eles to do no more...please help me someone????

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nilsa324

                                                                                                                                                  have you talked to his school counselors?
                                                                                                                                                  how about his doctor?

                                                                                                                                                  17-year-old boys don't just stop eating...I hope you are able to do some digging and find out what's really going on.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Nilsa324

                                                                                                                                                    This is not something that people from a message board can help you solve. Get your son to a doctor.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Interesting to see this thread resurrected.

                                                                                                                                                    When human people stop eating EVERYTHING, it means they are done. Done with living life on this planet.

                                                                                                                                                    Let go.

                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                      except when you're a 2-7 even 8 year old. majority subsist on cheese and bread. at some point (teen yrs) this turns and they start eating everything.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                          i'm not sure what you mean by nope, but my son who is 6 subsists on salad, kale, cheese, meat, fish etc. his favorite food is ikura on top of hot sushi rice. other is hamachi and crab or anything with miso. and also anything with tons of flavor. but apparently he's not the norm. most of his friends will only eat cheese and bread in different variations. one friend will only eat peanut butter everyday. i have him eat often with his friends and even eaten lunch at his school with him several times. kids like ranch dressing on carrots and cheese. my nephew ate hot dogs for years and now he's 12 and eats 2 dinners. still skinny and tall but is like a disposal.

                                                                                                                                                          and i do wonder how much of it is the parent being lazy or they're overworked and just can't come up with anything new. I've definitely been both.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                            I've been both, too, but mine didn't eat much of anything, but at least ate vegetables and a variety of proteins.

                                                                                                                                                            Once puberty hit? Oy. They'll eat anything that's not nailed down.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I know that I am 2 years too late for this question, but if for some reason you are still having issues with your picky eater, you might consider having her evaluated for SPD (Sensory Perception Disorder). I have it, and my youngest daughter has it, and it TRULY makes eating a stressful activity- for both of us.
                                                                                                                                                      I would give my right arm to sit down and eat a beautiful, healthy salad...but I can't. (Ugh!) I have tried every trick in the book- and then some. I've tried different dressings, different ingredients, adding fruit, taking away fruit, making it with only baby spinach and shredded cheese, making a "salad" with only 1, single, piece of lettuce- and that's it, to see if I could build a "tolerance" for the taste/texture...and on, and on, and on. (repeat the same procedure for tea and many other foods- Oh! How I yearn to curl up in bed with a good book, and a hot, cup of tea. *sigh*)
                                                                                                                                                      Nothing has worked. Because of the SPD, the tastes and textures, of most foods is just too overwhelming for me (and my daughter). It's hard to explain, but I literally feel sick trying to eat these foods. Not to mention how overwhelming the SMELL of most foods is.
                                                                                                                                                      It may not help at all, but if you are still having issues with your little sister, then I thought it might be worth a shot.

                                                                                                                                                      If not, and she is still just being bratty, then I would suggest the same for her, as I did for my son, who is not AS picky as my daughter, but would still only eat junk food, if it was in the house, then not eat any dinner/lunch. I had to do something drastic, because he was starting to gain a lot of weight. At 8 he was already over-weight, and that meant his health and well-being was at stake. So I did what I had to do. The first week was pretty rough- I'm not gonna lie. But after that, it got easier as the weeks went by, and now- the boy eats almost anything, and is reaching a much healthier weight.

                                                                                                                                                      Basically,what I did was this: I only bought foods/snacks that were healthy- stuff I was OK with him eating. (For example: apples, bananas, other fruits, berries, graham crackers, pretzels, granola bars, yogurt, peanut butter, sometimes whole wheat goldfish crackers, cheerios, cheese sticks, etc.) I eliminated ALL junk food from the house. No cookies, no chips, no candy, no ice cream, no salty crackers, no chocolate bars, NADA. If it wasn't healthy, it didn't come NEAR my house. I stopped going out to fast food places, no pizza either.

                                                                                                                                                      I made him start exercising OUTSIDE, every day- no more video games/computer/game boy/etc., and found that when he HAD to go out and exercise he was much hungrier- when he got hungrier, he would give in a lot easier, and eat the healthy food. I wasn't mean or cruel about it. I gave him choices. When we found a HEALTHY snack that he liked, I bought that often. We also had a rule for meal-times. He HAD to take ONE BITE of his food, before he could be excused from the table.
                                                                                                                                                      I made one dinner- and one meal only- no alternate meals for picky eaters- I'm no short order cook. He HAD to try one single bite...taste it...to see if he liked it. Sometimes, he liked the meal, and ended up eating it, and expanding his menu. Other times, he didn't like it- and he could go and make HIMSELF a healthy alternative. I NEVER made a second meal for him. HE had to do it.
                                                                                                                                                      If he didn't like something, I would still make it again a couple weeks later- and he still had to take one bite- a taste- of it. Research shows that for the most part, kids have to be introduced to a food at least 7 times, before they can learn to like the taste. And it was true for us... some meals he hated the first time, he ended up loving the 10th time.

                                                                                                                                                      Long story short- he has become a lot healthier since I switched our way of "doing food" around here. And so have the rest of us. (I alsogot rid of our microwave, and replaced it with a toaster oven. Really, only junk food gets made in a microwave- plus, I suspect that microwaves zap the nutrition out of our food...but I have no science to back that up at all- ha ha ha)

                                                                                                                                                      Anyway- I hope your situation is better with your sister. If not, then I hope some of this helps. Above all things, if your little sis can find even three or four healthy meals that she likes, then I say, let her eat those 3 or 4 meals every day if she wants. BUT- I would still make a rule that, if she wants her favorite meals, then she has to take ONE bite of the food you and your mother are preparing for yourselves....just to try it, because who knows? She might find many new "favorite" meals.... just like my son did.

                                                                                                                                                      Best of luck to you :-)

                                                                                                                                                      Story Lynne-

                                                                                                                                                      1. She might have some sensory integration problems.

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for pointing that out, Sunshine. I think that cookiemonster shows incredible tact, discretion, and care. Not even for a 14 or 17 year old, but for any adult. My older sister watched out for me, and I have a lifetime of thanks for that.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                              I agree...it was incredibly sweet how much she obviously worries and cares about her sister. I hope they always have that to share.