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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. The original comment has been removed
      1. 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.