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I have a REALLY picky 2 year old..

I have a 2 year old boy, he is an extremely picky eater. He goes through phases of what he will eat, right now he is on a rice kick.
I need help getting him to eat, I can't get him to eat hardly anything. I would LOVE suggestions and recipe idea's!

Note: I appreciate all the help I get in advance, however I do NOT want overly healthy recipes (I love healthy stuff for the family but right now I will just be happy getting him to eat ANYTHING.) Once I get him eating actual FOOD, I'll start on the healthy stuff.
Also, I don't want to see any negative comments about how the parents shouldn't make multiple meals for the kids or I should punish him for not eating. He is 2 years old. I've tried everything with no results. If I have to cook separate meals so he wont starve to death (and yes, he will starve because he WILL NOT EAT)then I will happily do it.
I don't want to see how I should punish him or yell at him or tell him he eats or starves or how he should eat almost grain muffins..
Please, real recipes that a toddler will eat.

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  1. You mention he's on a rice kick, so what about something like this cheesy zucchini rice? http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2012/0... The zucchini adds in some nutrients but it's hidden enough, and the cheese has some protein... and many kids like stuff that has cheese in it. You could maybe even try cutting up some chicken to put in it to see if he'd go for that. Ham would be good too.

    Are there any other ingredients he will eat? Or is it just rice right now?

    Also in general, that site, Mel's Kitchen Cafe, has a lot of kid friendly recipes. The blog author has 5 young children so her recipes are generally geared in that direction.

    5 Replies
    1. re: juliejulez

      Ok I'm making this. Like tomorrow.
      Have you tried it cooking the rice in water?

      1. re: cheesecake17

        I admit, I've never actually made it... it's been sitting in my collection to make for awhile but it was the first thing I thought of when I read the OP. I'm sure it'd be fine though, I interchange water/broth in recipes all the time and it would certainly help keep the sodium down.

        1. re: juliejulez

          I've got all the ingredients. Hopefully it'll be dinner tomorrow night.

          1. re: juliejulez

            I've made a similar dish all through my poor years...cooked rice, shredded or cubed cheese., seasoning to match cheese, into a small casserole dish for one and baked til hot and the cheese melted. some veggies if I had them. Still love it

        2. re: juliejulez

          This sounds really yummy, I will definitely be trying this!!
          Thanks so much!
          And I will be looking through that website, I LOVE recipe pages!

        3. I agree with juliejulez about hiding things in rice; you could cook the rice in vegetable or chicken broth, for one.

          When my son went on a year-long picky phase at about that age, I discovered that he would eat any and all grocery store samples. We called it his "food-on-a-toothpick" diet. We carried this through to home and made "sample plates" of food that looked like the sample trays in the stores. He ate EVERYTHING presented this way.

          Check to see if your local grocery stores have any sample days, or maybe go to a warehouse store.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sandylc

            This is actually a really interesting suggestion, I will have to try this and see if presentation helps with his eating habits!

            1. re: countrygal90

              We had to do the toothpick thing with DD for a few weeks.

              1. re: countrygal90

                Yes, presentation and form matter! My 2 (now 3) year old will eat carrots if I buy them in the "dip chip" ridged cut, but won't touch them as baby carrots or just sliced into coins.

                I also lie to him about what stuff is...he refuses pork, but will eat "chicken" if I make pork tenderloin.

                I also find dipping sauces help. He'll eat almost anything with a cup of ranch dressing for dipping.

                1. re: jboeke

                  My son who used to adore chicken just started refusing it, so I thought I'd try a dipping sauce to see if that would entice him. He very quickly learned to dip the chicken in the honey mustard, suck off the sauce and re-dip the chicken. Punk kid!

              2. re: sandylc

                My friend's son is the exact same way! He won't eat ANYthing his parents serve him but if it's offered to him in a mini-cup at a grocery store, he'll try all food. It's the only way they get him to eat.

              3. Instead of zeroing in specific foods I suggest you bring him into the kitchen with you and have him "help" you. Start getting him used to foods, handling them and helping you prep. Give him choices to make: do you want an apple or egg with your rice? Once you bring him into the process it will be very difficult for him to say no to something he helped to create!

                15 Replies
                1. re: scoopG

                  Great advice, both as to getting him to help with the preparation and giving him limited choices. Never give him an open-ended choice, just let him select from 2 options.

                  And, at a certain point I'd stop worrying that he will starve. If he is hungry, he will eat and it's not critically important that he eat a well-balanced diet every day. That said, I'd banish all forms of sweets and other non-nutritious snacks until he gets back on track to a more balanced diet. The terrible 2s are all about asserting independence and learning the power of "no." He will outgrow it.

                  1. re: masha

                    I agree with this. Give him choices of only healthy foods. Don't offer crackers and cookies at snack, only fruit, veggie stick or other whole foods. Instead of hiding vegetable in his food, let him choose what veggie (from two) that he has in there. Also, make him take "no thank you" bites. We did that with food our child didn't like and she eventually learned to like a lot of foods after enough no thank you bites.

                    1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                      i don't necessarily agree with having to give veggie sticks and whole foods for a picky toddler. i feel like that's asking someone who has never run to go for a 10K immediately. i think it's ok to "hide" the food as long the hidden ingredient is communicated. we made kale smoothies for a long time. my child knew there was kale in his smoothie. now fast forward 2 yrs kale is normal for him so he'll eat it chiffonade with dressing. he's aslo acquired a taste for it. i think that can be the key sometimes.

                  2. re: scoopG

                    Right now he's still too young to help out in the kitchen, he's at the beginning of 2 years old so he wouldn't be able to do much of anything. But as soon as he's able, I will definitely try this out! Thanks so much!

                    1. re: countrygal90

                      Even if all he does is stir the pot a couple of times under your watchful eye (standing on a stool so he can reach it), or drops a couple of handfuls of ingredients into a dish as you are making it (say, grated cheese into mac & cheese), to him that will be "cooking" and help him take "ownership" of the dish, which may encourage him to eat it.

                      My son loved making meatballs at that age, which of course were miniature in size, given the size of his hands. So, we could always identify the ones that he made, and give those to him. And, the meatballs can be made sitting at a table.

                      1. re: masha

                        I agree. He is not too young. When we underestimate the intelligence and abilities of small children, we do no one any favors. Not to sound harsh; but it is true. They are very smart and respond well to being treated as such.

                      2. re: countrygal90

                        you may be surprised. (s)he can "help" you pour sugar, olive oil, "stir" the pot, fill pan with water, "cut" veggies, make you taste the dishes, ad nausea.

                        sometimes, but leaving the LO on the kitchen counter (while watched, of course, and not in a freaking Bumbo) will invoke a curiosity in the food.

                        of course, don't forget to teach the stove is hot, and the knives are "ouchie".

                        1. re: countrygal90

                          I have one three year old and two just-turned-two year olds. All three help me in the kitchen. They are excellent at stirring little bowls of ingredients or helping toss chopped items into a pot.

                          1. re: nat8199

                            wow, that is a busy kitchen! Good for you for getting them all involved.

                          2. re: countrygal90

                            I understand that, my almost 2 year old is also young to help, but he does love when I hold him and he gets to stir a pot, and he adores if I'm in the dining room and hand him veggies which he runs to daddy in the kitchen to put away. They're very small things, but it gets him interacting with the food and he does seem to really enjoy it.

                            1. re: countrygal90

                              He's not too young. Give him a small step stool and let him stir something, put oil in a cold pan, etc...

                            2. re: scoopG

                              At 2, my kids would put cut vegetables and cheese cubes onto a serving plate. A little ranch dressing on the side, and quite a few would disappear during the process. One thing we did with our picky eater was not force him to eat when we would be out to dinner. Too stressful for everyone. He'd sit and play in his high chair, and we'd have a peaceful meal. He could eat later.

                              1. re: scoopG

                                I have had great success with this. Maybe give him a choice and let him help you as much as he can. My kid will eat anything I let her help with.

                              2. My brother was an exceptionally picky eater. By the time he could talk through high school (and maybe later) he had about 12 foods he'd eat. So my mother and/or grandmother made those for him.

                                Have you made him risotto?

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: Jay F

                                  Ooh, I REALLY like the idea of risotto!!! Chicken stock, butter, cheese. I made a Marcella Hazan recipe recently that had no wine added. It was fabulous. And I didn't think it suffered from reheating, maybe with some water or stock, for a couple of days.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    My daughter actually likes leftover risotto. It's easier for her to eat by herself. (Because everything these days has to be "me self")

                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                      What about arancini made pretty small? That could be fun.

                                  2. re: Jay F

                                    I've actually never heard of Risotto, I will have to look it up though, from the other replies it definitely sounds like something to try with him!
                                    And I was a picky eater when I was younger, I still am, just not as bad.. I bet he gets it from me..
                                    Makes me feel awful for what I must have put my mom through with dinner! :-)

                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        Thanks SO much for posting that. I have it in her "Essentials" and whenever I can I try to have faves on my computer as we have a second home.

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          Awesome, thanks!! That actually sounds really good, I'll have to try that soon

                                          1. re: countrygal90

                                            For me, this is the absolute best thing to do with rice.

                                            1. re: countrygal90

                                              It's important to use Arborio or Carnaroli rice, each of which is a short grain "risotto" rice. It may actually not work with regular rice, but I've never made it with that way, so I can't say for sure.

                                              Don't worry about making your own stock, however. It works fine with watered down broth, either beef or chicken. Parmigiano-Reggiano is really essential, IMO.

                                              Good luck. My brother was a lot like your son. My parents just fed him the things he liked, and he grew up okay.

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                I agree with all you say. The right rice but the stock/broth DOES NOT need to be homemade.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  If we had known about risotto when I was young, it would seriously have been my brother's favorite food. Cheese and starch: mmm...mmm...mmm.

                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                  Or if you're not wealthy enough, or close enough to a legit grocer, any Cal Rose rice can be cooked ala risotto. Far quicker, and no 2YO will know any better.

                                                  Again, if OP's DS is on a rice kick, the easiest solution is to go Asian.

                                        2. My 2 1/2 yr old daughter likes rice a LOT and it is often the only thing she eats for dinner. I put a lot of olive oil and parmesan cheese on it. That way I know that at least she is getting some fat and calcium.
                                          Does he like different colored food or is he specific about wanting white rice? I have been putting spinach/kale/chard into her smoothies since she is really fascinated by green smoothies. If he will tolerate color, you could grate veggies into the rice (really small grate!).
                                          I also have had some success by telling her what she is eating is something that I know she likes. Obviously this won't work for rice, but for example, I made meat sauce one day with chicken sausage and told her they were chicken meatballs. Now, she will eat anything that even vaguely resembles a meatball or meat sauce by calling it a chicken meatball.
                                          Good luck!

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: lamlex

                                            I never thought about grating veggie's into the rice, I will have to try this!
                                            He used to be a really big veggie eater but right now he wont hardly eat anything other than rice.. yesterday he ate a salad and it got me really excited! I think it was the dressing.. it was Italian dressing rather than ranch, I may have to just stat trying that.
                                            He refers soy sauce on his rice and he's really big about doing it on his own right now. At one point I also added some Sesame seed oil to his rice and I think that also helped. I will have to try the olive oil and the cheese, he would probably love that!
                                            I was told to give him fruit smoothies with kale in it but I haven't tried that yet, I've never made a smoothie before so I'm a bit weary. I'm going to have to look up some recipes so I know what I'm doing.
                                            Thanks for all the suggestions! Everyone here are really giving me some great ideas!

                                            1. re: countrygal90

                                              Smoothies are easy. The very basic ones can be made from fresh, whole fruit and water. You can add yogurt for protein and calcium; you can add greens such as parsley, spinach, or kale, too. Some people add things like wheat germ or protein powder.

                                              I would suggest keeping it simple at first. Our favorite one is a cored pear, a cored apple (skins on), some frozen mango chunks, and about 1 3/4 cups of purified water. Blend very well and serve with a straw. Very fresh and light.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                Wow that sounds really good!! Thanks, I will definitely be doing this! I never thought about adding yogurt in the smoothies, that's a great suggestion!

                                                1. re: countrygal90

                                                  My 2 yo loves smoothies with yogurt (plain)', mango, and banana. If you feel it's thick, add a little milk.

                                                  I change "smoothie" recipes that have water to include milk. That way she's getting extra calcium.

                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                  I make quick smoothies all the time with frozen fruit, yogurt (whatever flavor I have on hand - lime, peach, anything) and some milk or water to thin it out if needed. My son loves to put the fruit in the blender, then hides while it's "loud" as I blend. Truely there's no recipe, but sometimes I throw in cinnamon or honey for an extra boost. Daycare does this wiht the kids in the room for snack and they think it's so cool!

                                                3. re: countrygal90

                                                  I make smoothies with baby spinach, as it is mostly tasteless. Kale has a strong flavor. I use Greek yogurt in it, and apple juice as the liquid and sweetener. I use frozen fruit so the smoothie is frozen and fun. It's very nutrition and tastes really good.

                                                  1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                    we put kale in our smoothies but we've been giving it to him since 18 months so he's taken a liking to it. however, you have to be careful with what kale to use. after some trial and error we find that we can only use curly kale. all other kales are too strong in flavor. we also use a ton of frozen mango and a fuji apple. sometimes a squeeze of fresh orange juice and yogurt.

                                              2. I was once a picky eater myself, and so was my son (now 15). Although I swore I wouldn't be the kind of parent who made separate meals for my child, I ended up doing it, too, for the same reasons as you. I'm writing first to reassure you that he will eventually grow out of this--it may not be until the adolescent growth spurt kicks in, but it will happen. The most important thing is not to stress or obsess about it. The more you do, the worse he will be, and you'll get into this vicious cycle that keeps you from enjoying mealtime. Mine lived on cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, and sliced red peppers for a LONG time. Next he branched out to pasta, and we were off and running.

                                                There is much research about getting kids to try new foods, and you need to keep offering the new food multiple times--I forget the number, but it was around a dozen. So--for now--take JulieJulez' suggestion about adding to the rice, albeit slowly and gradually and take it one step at a time. I'm not sending you any recipes because I don't think there are any magic foods that any toddler will eat, although I will suggest trying Panera's mac and cheese recipe, which is very popular and readily available online.

                                                I would try to focus on nutrient-dense foods so that you get the best bang for your buck nutritionally. Make sure he takes a multivitamin, at least until his eating habits are better. Avoid between-meal snacks and especially fruit juice. And most of all, try to relax. You will get through this.

                                                20 Replies
                                                1. re: lisaonthecape

                                                  Thanks so much!! I can't even tell you how much this comment actually helps!
                                                  Right now he is basically living off of cheese, rice, apple slices, Popsicle's (he plays outside a lot and it has been really warm here so I give him pediasure ones to help keep him cool). Honestly, he doesn't eat much sweets. I make a lot of cake for birthdays and such and he doesn't eat cake. Only cookies he'll eat are oreo's.
                                                  I was told to give him vitamin B-12 but I haven't looked it up yet to see if there was an age limit for that since it's supposed to give him an appetite. Otherwise, he has Flintstones gummy vitamins but he doesn't seem to like them unless we get the sour ones.
                                                  And he doesn't drink much of any fruit juice. He drinks home made sweet tea, Raspberry Lemonade and chocolate milk.
                                                  Thanks so much for all of the help and advice!

                                                  1. re: countrygal90

                                                    Don't encourage fruit juice in large amounts, anyway - it's a lot of sugar. Same with the sweet tea, raspberry lemonade, and chocolate milk. All VERY sugary and probably appetite killers, as well. Water is a good beverage. Plain whole milk in small quantities, but not right before eating.

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      I was told to give him chocolate milk because of his not eating, it's helping with vitamins that he needs. He absolutely will not drink plain water, it has to be flavored. But that's not a big deal, we can give him plain water with some of the liquid flavor thingies and that works about the same.

                                                      1. re: countrygal90

                                                        I'm sorry, but exactly what nutrients are in chocolate milk as opposed to regular whole milk? If I recall correctly, it is skim milk, corn syrup, a bit of cocoa, and flavorings, emulsifiers, colors, etc.

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          I believe that chocolate has vitamins in it. Get the kid eating. Anything. The rest will happen. With time.

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            Vitamins in chocolate milk? Try saturated fat and cholesterol.

                                                            1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                              I don't think that reply is to me - ? I was also questioning the chocolate milk decision.

                                                              Actually, it is recommended to serve whole milk to children. Saturated fat is fine.

                                                              I object to the sugar and additives in chocolate milk. And there is no chocolate in it; just a tiny bit of cocoa.

                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                According to my daughters' two different pediatricians, whole milk gets served well into their teens.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  whole milk after 1 was a no no for my pedi. after that she says it's just too much saturated fats. also said to serve lo fat yogurt (w/o artificial sweeteners).

                                                                  1. re: eLizard

                                                                    Here's an interesting study:


                                                                    Both our grandbabies were breastfed til they were one as an fyi.

                                                                    1. re: eLizard

                                                                      eLizard, I completely agree with you on whole milk. My kids drank whole milk until age 2 and then we switched to skim milk. My daughter, at age 8, is still a milk drinker, and a good eater, and she absolutely does not the extra fat and calories from whole milk. My son completely gave up milk at age 2.

                                                                      If a kid needs extra calories because they don't eat, then serving them whole milk is one thing. For a good eater, whole milk is just extra calories.

                                                                      1. re: valerie

                                                                        I remember being the only kindergartener with low fat milk at snack time. My mother made them give it to me special. We have high cholesterol so by the time I was that age we drank skim at home. Schools didn't offer skim in 1989. So much ridiculing over different milk. I don't understand where these things come from.

                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                          my kid's not a big drinker, period. and he much prefers water. i'm of the ilk that after 2 or so a kid doesn't really need milk at all. he was one of the only kids in school that got his milk WITH his breakfast and lunch. the other kids got it after or they'd fill up on milk.

                                                                        2. re: eLizard

                                                                          That's interesting, we just got chastised by our pediatrician for switching to 2% at 18 months. She said we needed to keep him on whole milk until at least 2 years old as it helps develop the brain. I haven't researched this yet.

                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                            FYI: Young children (maybe up to the age of 2 or 3) need a higher percent fat in their diets (whether from milk or any other source). The lipids help brain development and bodily growth. So, it's not the milk that is the concern, it is the percent fat.
                                                                            If your child is not very overweight and is active, skim vs whole milk should not be a concern.

                                                                  2. re: countrygal90

                                                                    My daughter likes to flavor her water by mashing up fruit and throwing it in a pitcher. Watermelon works well

                                                                    1. re: countrygal90

                                                                      As a former picky eater I was saved by chocolate and/or coffee milk when I was a kid. I'm from Rhode Island where coffee syrup is the state beverage. I also loved Carnation Instant Breakfast as a picky pregnant woman and brought my kids up on it so they would eat breakfast on school mornings when cereal didn't appeal. The pediatrician gave their breakfast an A plus in spite of the chocolate and sugar. It's all about the calcium.

                                                                      1. re: countrygal90

                                                                        There is water in food. I wouldn't worry too much about your child going thirsty. If you don't mind artificial sweeteners, Crystal Light is great. It doesn't taste diet at all.

                                                                2. The best advice I read from Ellyn Satter "How to Get Your Child to Eat but Not Too Much" was to have different components of every meal (meat, starch, veggie), one that your child will eat. So, in your case, that's rice. Don't talk about the food, just serve it. Eating shouldn't be a battle. Just set a good example and let it go. FWIW, the child I read the book for was my son, about two at the time, and at 10, he requested sushi for his birthday dinner and now eats more than I do (types of foods, not just quantity).

                                                                  The advantage of rice is that you can change it up so easily. For something different, my kids love this:


                                                                  The best part is you can doctor it up, or leave things out that he won't eat. The next day, take the leftovers, make patties w/ eggs. Finger foods.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    Thanks so much for the suggestions, I will definitely have to try this on him and see what happens!

                                                                  2. i read somewhere that you can try a food he likes for a week or two, so in this case rice and then after a week you modify that recipe by one degree. so if he likes plain rice, maybe in a few you can add cheese or soy sauce. then you can do that for a while then when he gets used to that, you can add another ingredient. it can be simple as salt, pepper, garlic or shredded zucchini, carrots etc. it doesn't have to be complicated. i've also seen on pinterest, someone used an ice cube tray and put a little bit of everything. so you can put corn, broccoli, turkey, carrots etc. and make it visual and colorful.

                                                                    my son is picky but in a strange way. demands seaweed flakes (furikake) on his bolognese sauce. combines food in strange ways but i don't judge him. i don't say "oh that's weird, it must taste funny" or something to that extent. i also don't force him to eat. if he takes 3 bites of dinner i'll say "i guess you're not too hungry". we are not in the clean plate club.there is no need for that unless you're really malnourished. sometimes i do say, "you know the broccoli will help your bones grow stronger and run faster so take a bite or two". we also sometimes don't get enough fiber and you know what that results in (won't go into details here, this is a food forum) so i suggest eating his just a bite or two to help things move along. HOWEVER, my child is now 4.5. at 2 is a completely different story.

                                                                    i feel your pain. my child isn't picky but i know SO many toddlers/preschoolers that eat only about 3-6 foods. so you're not alone and it's normal. our neighbor won't even eat those fruit purees in a squeeze bottle. yes, that picky. it can be a power struggle sometimes and you don't want it to become too much of one. i think at 2 yrs kids like to play and experiment with their power and sometimes it means refusing foods for control.

                                                                    have you looked at weelicious? it's a great website. good luck!

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                                      I have seen the thing on pinterest about the ice cube trays and I have actually been thinking about trying that as well. It seemed like a fun idea and I thought that maybe if it was fun, he'd want to eat more.
                                                                      He already likes soy sauce on his rice, and salt, I will have to try other small things to see how he likes it.
                                                                      Thanks for all of the suggestions, I will have to check out that website!

                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                        The ice tray thing looks really fun.

                                                                        1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                          doesn't it? i want to do it when i can get around to buying a new ice tray. my child isn't too picky but he has his likes and definite dislikes.

                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                            Along the same line, we do muffin tin meals with the smaller, six cup muffin tins (you can pick up cheap but reuseable ones at the dollar store for a buck) every once in a while. Super easy, and it goes over well.

                                                                      2. 1.) He may eater better if he grazes than if confined to the table. Leave raw carrot sticks, slices of apple, cubes of cheese, salty whole wheat crackers, miniature frankfurters, etc and see what he picks up. If you are worried about fluid intake, make jello and popsicles available. 2) Your anxiety about this jumps out of my computer monitor so surely he is picking it up and that becomes part of the dynamic. Try to be Joe Cool even if you have to put on an act because you don't want to set up a power struggle over food. 3) Would he perhaps care for canned spaghetti? It is sort of disgusting but children tend to like it. 4) Relax. Just wait. I had the pickiest of eaters and by the time he was 14 he was eating like a dragon.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                          Ooh, what are those canned spaghetti things with the hot dogs in them?

                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                            Hahaha thanks! I have been really worried about his eating habits, he is so skinny that people think we abuse him!
                                                                            I will try leaving food out on a little serving platter and see what he does... that is a very interesting idea.
                                                                            Thanks so much for the suggestions!

                                                                          2. You might try a "milkshake" or smoothie type thing in between offerings of food.

                                                                            You can sneak a whole lot of things in blended drinks :)

                                                                            I wonder if he has an issue with texture (not just taste). You might try similar textural things when he is on a "kick" -and see how that goes. If he is liking starch right now-will he eat mashed potato? Noodle? Tortilla?

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                              Yes, smoothies are great for picky people of all ages. My son discovered blueberry, strawberry and orange juice smoothies when he was about 3, and still loves them. (And it's fine to use raspberry jam or sugar to sweeten them if the berries are too sour!)

                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                Thanks! That actually sounds really good, I'll be looking up the recipes here in a bit and if I have the right stuff I'll try one tonight!

                                                                                1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                  Smoothies are very forgiving. You don't need to follow a recipe verbatim of you are missing something.

                                                                                  As a kid we liked banana with strawberries and milk or yogurt. Or sub out OJ for the milk. The frozen fruit in bags makes this a year round treat where you don't have to worry about spoilage and have things in hand full time.

                                                                              2. re: sedimental

                                                                                He used to love mashed potatoes and noodle dishes but he wont even touch them recently. I usually always have one side dish that is noodle based (mostly velveeta shells) and I always offer it to him but he still wont eat it again.
                                                                                I keep getting the suggestion to try smoothies (fruit smoothies with kale in it) so I will definitely have to look up recipes for some good ones to give him.
                                                                                Thanks for the suggestions!

                                                                              3. Don't panic. Kids have much more sensitive taste buds than adults, so tastes are more intense ... sometimes unpleasantly so. Add in the whole "establishing oneself as an independent human" thing that little kids are going thru, and it's not surprising if a little kid gets fussy. Just roll with it, and feed him with love.

                                                                                1. Countrygal, welcome.

                                                                                  I have my nephew for months at a time, depending on his mom's schedule. Through trial and error, I've found that some foods seem to be "friendly" to most kids. Corn, for example. Whole kernel canned corn, baby corn, corn on the cob.
                                                                                  Chicken noodle soup (try a healthier canned brand, or make it)
                                                                                  Spaghetti and meatballs. Or spaghetti with ketchup and cut up hotdogs.
                                                                                  Mac and cheese.
                                                                                  Peaches (canned in no sugar added juice), as is as finger food or stirred into yogurt
                                                                                  Cut up bananas
                                                                                  Rice with little tiny dices of chicken and cheese.

                                                                                  What do you like to eat? Lots of kids are curious, and if they see Mommy enjoying something healthful and delicious, they'll want a nibble.

                                                                                  And you know what...it never hurts to mention this to his doc if the problem persists.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                    A few months ago he was on a corn kick, he wouldn't eat most anything but corn.. now he wont eat corn at all most days. He wont eat soups but that could partially be my fault for not making them often. And he used to LOVE spaghetti and mac and cheese but now he wont touch them. I keep offering them at times, for when he decides he wants them again, but it's been a while since he was willing to eat anything noodle based.
                                                                                    I will have to try the peaches and he does like banana, I'll see if he's more willing to eat it if I cut it up for him.
                                                                                    Thanks for all of the suggestions!

                                                                                    1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                      You're more than welcome. Hang in there, countrygal!

                                                                                  2. If you have a garden let your toddler help care for it and harvest. Visit some pick your own farms for a variety of fruits and veggies. My kids would eat just about anything in the great outdoors.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: cheesymama

                                                                                      Absolutely great idea. Even a little tiny pot of tomatoes on your stoop.

                                                                                      1. re: cheesymama

                                                                                        I've actually been wanting to start a fruit/veggie garden but haven't yet, this gives me a lot more incentive to do so. I'll start one (or at least a few plants in planters) and see how that goes! Thanks!

                                                                                        1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                          If that's not easy or takes too long, you can also take him to a farmer's market. My son loved looking at unique stuff and picking soemthing out. It challenged me too because I had to figure out what to do with baby egg plant (when he was in a purple-color phase) and with scuppernongs (giant grapes!!).

                                                                                      2. My 2 yo LOVES rice. Begs for it.

                                                                                        She likes Rice Krispies- I tell her it's crunchy rice. She eats banana slices smeared with peanut butter and sprinkled with Rice Krispies.

                                                                                        Rice ideas-
                                                                                        Sushi rice. It's sticky and clumpy and easy to get on a spoon
                                                                                        Baked brown rice
                                                                                        Italian rice balls

                                                                                        Does he like rice pudding? You can make him that for breakfast. Make a fruit smiley face on top.

                                                                                        Try other grains that look like rice. Farro, bulgur....

                                                                                        Ask for "help." My daughter will eat anything that she helped prepare. She puts vegetables in a pot, stirs with a wooden spoon, peels corn, dries cutlery.

                                                                                        She loves smoothies. Basically, fruit, Greek yogurt, milk. She gets to press the blender button and choose her cup and straw. Leftovers are used for Popsicles (if I don't finish it)
                                                                                        What else does he enjoy?
                                                                                        Typical kid foods?

                                                                                        Lastly.... You are so good for trying to help him. I see so many mothers who just don't care. Their kids eat junk all day long because they say their kid won't eat.

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                          These are great suggestions! I've never made rice pudding before, I've never even tried it.. but I will look up a recipe and see how that goes!!
                                                                                          He's still at the beginning of 2 years old so he can't really help in the kitchen.. sometimes I'll give him a pot and a spoon so he can play with them on the floor while I'm preparing dinner, but he hasn't wanted to do that for a long while.
                                                                                          I have been told by multiple people to make fruit smoothies, so I will definitely have to do that, I haven't done it before so I don't know how, I will be looking up recipes.. I've been told to add kale to it for nutrients he's missing.
                                                                                          Thanks so much for all of the help and suggestions! I can't wait to try a lot of them I've gotten so far and see how it goes!

                                                                                          1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                            When my son was two, we shopped for groceries together, and when we got home I would bring the groceries in and put the bags on the entry floor. Then I would go to the kitchen and wait for him to bring the items to me one at a time. He loved "helping". Once, I got a phone call during this and looked back at him and he had unwrapped a stick of butter and was eating it. ;-/

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              LMAO!!!! That is awesome!! I used to eat butter when I was a lot younger hahahahaha
                                                                                              He does help take groceries out, he likes to get everything out of the bags and hand them to me :-)

                                                                                            2. re: countrygal90

                                                                                              My daughter was 2 recently also. She quickly figured it out that if she brings a stool up to the counter there's something in it for her. Recently she's been asking for "tastes" of whatever I'm preparing.

                                                                                              If he lost interest in the pot and spoon, try getting some play food. We got my daughter foods that I use often- vegetables, fruit, pasta, milk. She tosses them around in her pots. Or I'll tell her "add some milk in the pot" when I'm doing the same.

                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                Yes. At 2 my son had his play stove set up over in a corner of our kitchen. He'd happily pretend cook there while my husband was doing the real thing across the room. (My mother thought we were taking my feminism too far when he got a stove for Christmas but he was already pretend cooking before that, using his toy workbench as his "stove," and it just reflected his desire to emulate his father, who did 100% of our cooking at the time, in every way.)

                                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                                  That's funny. Seeing that my son preferred to play with bowls and spoons more than anything else, my mother just bought him a play kitchen which he adores. My father wanted to know why she couldn't get him a workbench instead. We tried explaining that he has a workbench, but he just uses the screwdriver like a pretend spatula and the hammer like a pretend serving spoon...

                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                    Sigh. That generation and their sexism. What is feminist about a male cooking? Absolutely nothing!

                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                      in fact, most chefs are men. so where's the divide? it's the home cook versus professional cook. home = woman professional =men. my son loves his kitchen. we got him to love food in many ways but i think that was one of them, with his pretend kitchen.

                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                        My mother is so progressive in so many ways that I was rather surprised by her comment.

                                                                                              2. If he like rice, could you 'fool' :) him with orzo? Just a change up.

                                                                                                My grandbabies are younger than your wee one. But their moms make a peanut butter sandwich on slightly toasted bread. They then cut up in postage stamp size pieces. I liked it also :) Leftovers are put in a baby food jar and served on the go.

                                                                                                You know this will pass but I KNOW it's driving you a little nuts :)

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  Sounds insane, but I've threaded small pieces of pb sandwich onto a drinking straw. Made a good on the go snack

                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                    I think it sounds brilliant and will passing the idea along to our 'girls.'

                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    I can't really get him to eat sandwiches, I LOVE PB&J. But I have never tried cutting it up in smaller bits.. I will try that and see if it works with him!
                                                                                                    Thanks so much for the help and suggestion!!

                                                                                                    1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                      Bite sizes are great. A sparsely populated plate with one bite each of a few simple foods placed in front of him without fanfare might be effective.

                                                                                                      1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                        You can use cookie cutters to cut out the PBJ sandwich into fancy shapes, which might appeal to him.

                                                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                                                          That is true, can't believe I never thought of it! I will have to try this!

                                                                                                        2. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                          My mother would do open faced bite sized. Spread a piece of bread with your filling and cut in little pieces. Or use two pieces of bread and cut in fun shapes like strips or like a puzzle.

                                                                                                          Rice can be used as a pizza crust, tons of recipes online for this.

                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          Excellent idea! Really excellent. Start with it perhaps on the dryer side. Liking that a lot. Our grandson isn't the boldest eater and I'm suggesting this and other things.

                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                            I have never heard of Congee? I will have to look it up! Thanks!

                                                                                                            1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                              It's just a really thick, rice soup. Asian. But you can adjust the seasonings. Since he like soy sauce and sesame oil, I think that opens the door to a lot of things.

                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                Thanks, I'll definitely have to try it!! It sounds really interesting!

                                                                                                          2. Two general practices that worked when my kids were that age: (1) incremental approach - he likes rice so one day, add a little bit of soy sauce to the rice. Just a touch. Assuming he likes it, the next time, finely mince some carrot, onion, and saute with the rice. Next time, whole peas or chopped bits of meat or tofu. Soon enough, your kid loves fried rice. (2) reverse psychology - parents and older siblings enjoy fried rice while the 2 year old gets plain. Ooh and ah over the fried rice as you explain that it is not for little ones. He will almost certainly beg for it.

                                                                                                            I also second the notion of getting him involved with cooking: What shall we add to rice, or pasta, or plain mac and cheese? Good luck!

                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                              We actually eat a lot of fried rice here, he just picks out the rice and the water chestnuts to eat and leaves the rest. A couple of days ago he started on the "MINE" thing small kids go through so today I've been trying to trick him into eating by picking something up and saying MINE! I almost had him with some cucumber and bulgogi.
                                                                                                              Right now he is at the beginning of 2 so he's still too young to help out in the kitchen.. he's an only child and he's not around other children often so he still doesn't talk much.
                                                                                                              Thanks so much for the help and suggestions!

                                                                                                              1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                When my older son was about two, I got this book:


                                                                                                                The author was widowed or divorced with two young sons and she offers lots of good recipes plus, more importantly, suggestions for involving them in the kitchen. I vividly recall her younger son being tasked with pulling basil leaves off the stems while she prepared dinner. Anyway, point is, I don't think 2 is necessarily too young to help out in the kitchen. I think kids who get involved in cooking at a young age do develop a wider taste for different foods.

                                                                                                                Good luck!!

                                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                  Thanks, I will have to see about getting it!!

                                                                                                                2. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                  When our daughter was about that age - maybe a little older - we used to "dare" each other to eat things. As in: "Ooooh, Daddy, I bet you won't eat a broccoli. Oh, wow, you did it! Look at me, I'm gonna eat a broccoli, too. Hey, kiddo, I bet YOU won't eat a broccoli. Oh, WOW! You did!"

                                                                                                                  And so forth. It worked for a few months.

                                                                                                                  We've given her these since she could eat; she'll eat anything cheesy and buttery. It seems like the other parents I've suggested it to have a 50/50 success rate with it: some kids are just too skeeved by the green, but some love it.


                                                                                                                  Also, this has been a surprise hit. I use sweet potato or butternut squash in place of the white potato. It's thick, so a kid will have an easy time eating it, and it sort of turns out a pretty shade of green with no identifiable "bits." I use any veggie I have in the freezer or fridge, as much as I feel like (usually way over a cup and a half) and canned evaporated milk.


                                                                                                                  Good luck, and he'll live!

                                                                                                                  1. re: darklyglimmer

                                                                                                                    Thanks, I will have to try these!! It seems really interesting..
                                                                                                                    My niece will do the whole "I dare you" thing, but not my son.. he's just now doing the "MINE" thing. So I been trying to trick him into eating by taking a piece of food and saying "MINE". I almost had him eat some bulgogi that way last night!

                                                                                                                  2. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                    VERY cool that he likes water chestnuts. Totally diff. texture, really cool crunch. That shows he's a little adventurous, to me!

                                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                      Yeah, I think stirfrys and fried rice are going to be a hit with that kiddo.

                                                                                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                        Yes he LOVES water chestnuts! He'll pick those out to eat first then come to my plate and steal mine! TBH it could be because I love them so much!

                                                                                                                  3. I have an 8 year old who eats anything, and always has, and a 6 year old who has a limited repertoire of what he will eat. I will admit, however, that he is getting much better as he gets older and I will also say that sometimes he will ask for tastes of food from my plate or my husband's plate randomly. It's almost like when nobody is making him eat something (not that I make him eat anything), he will almost be more curious about it.

                                                                                                                    Having said that, will your son eat pasta and meatballs? My son always liked that and still does. If your son will eat tomato sauce, you could puree some frozen carrots and broccoli and mix that in the sauce to get some vegetables in. Or what about fish? If you live near a Trader Joe's, they have these frozen "fish nuggets" and my son loves those.

                                                                                                                    To me, the real key to to keep trying. I never give up on trying new recipes. There are certain things that I wouldn't expect my son to eat...I know his limitations...but I am always making variations of things that he will eat.

                                                                                                                    My son won't eat grilled cheese. I mean, who doesn't like grilled cheese? But the other night, I made us all panini with grilled chicken and cheese and he all of a sudden loved it. So much that he asked if he could take the leftover sandwich to school for lunch the next day.

                                                                                                                    The cheesy zucchini rice mentioned in this thread sounds good, but I have to say, my son is like the FBI and would never eat something with the green flecks in it. But every kid is different and again, you just have to keep trying.

                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                      Peeling the zucchini or using yellow would make the rice a neutral color

                                                                                                                      One of my friends had a picky 6 yo. She bought her a two sectioned plate and used one section for the "new" foods. No pressure to eat it, just to have it on her plate. She started out by inspecting it and saying gross, ew, I don't like it. A year later, she's eating almost everything.

                                                                                                                      Dr praegers makes "fishes" too. Kind of like a fish nugget. My daughter loves them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                        The two sectioned plate is a terrific idea. I attempted to do the same thing by putting a small spoonful of new things on the plate to be sampled but sectioned off, nice.

                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                          Yes, it is a good idea. It's a little easier to talk to a 6 year old than a 2 year old (a little!) but in our house, we do have the rule that my son has to at least take 2 bites of something before he declares it "gross". He may not always love what he tastes, but he at least tries it.

                                                                                                                          But seriously, I think what now works best is to not give him certain foods that we eat and it truly piques his interest!

                                                                                                                          1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                            We have that rule, and the rule that nothing can be called "gross". I tell my daughter that I'm an excellent cook and I would never serve her food that's yucky or gross. She is allowed to say she doesn't like something.

                                                                                                                        2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                          This is an awesome idea, I will definitely have to do this! Thanks!

                                                                                                                        3. re: valerie

                                                                                                                          Yeah, other things that don't work for my son are: cooking together (he loves to cook but that won't make him eat it), growing it himself (ditto), slowly extending the repetoire (e.g. he loves french fries but won't eat potatoes prepared any other way, even oven fries, though he knows that french fries are made of potatoes). On the other hand sometimes he up and surprises us by eating something I never would have expected him to eat in a million years. For example, we often have green salad on the table for dinner, and last week out of nowhere he asked to have some. He said he liked it because it tasted like orange juice! (Dressing was my usual olive oil and red wine vinegar, s&p) So since then we've been offering him "orange juice salad" and he's been eating a few leaves of it. We'll see how long that lasts, ha!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                            Yeah, none of that worked for my picky kids either. Or the thing about putting a little on the plate and eventually they'll try it, or the "peer pressure" thing of seeing other kids eating it and loving it. My son wouldn't even eat french fries until he was almost 7 and still isn't crazy about them. On the other hand, both my kids (now 8 and 12) are showing signs of being adventurous eaters in the long term. Their favorite meals are a somewhat spicy Indonesian grilled chicken and Moroccan-spiced rack of lamb. My son also now puts smoked paprika on virtually everything, including waffles. And they both now like romaine lettuce -- but just plain, no dressing at all. Go figure.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                              I like that about the orange juice salad! My son loves orange juice, but I can't get him to eat an orange. Apples and apple juice, yes; applesauce, no. French fries yes, mashed potatoes or potato latkes, no way. I even suggest that he dip the latkes in ketchup, but no dice!

                                                                                                                            2. re: valerie

                                                                                                                              My son used to eat all kinds of green things (broccoli, steamed green beans, salads) but now he wont touch them. He also used to love pasta but, again, he wont touch it now. Same thing with corn.
                                                                                                                              I've never tried fish nuggets or fish sticks, it never occurred to me to buy them since neither my husband or I eat them. I will try that next time I go shopping, though.
                                                                                                                              I have seen a lot of interesting recipes on here I will have to try! Thanks for all of the help and suggestions!

                                                                                                                            3. Have you tried porcupine meatballs? You can use any type of ground meat, mixed with raw rice. When the meatballs cook, the rice pokes out, hence the porcupine effect. You can add pureed veggies into the mix as well. Here's a general recipe:


                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: susan1353

                                                                                                                                Wow that sounds really interesting!! Thanks so much, I will definitely have to try this!

                                                                                                                                1. re: susan1353

                                                                                                                                  My little brother and I used to have contests eating these. Getting us to clean our plates was a rare event and Mom was a good cook.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: susan1353

                                                                                                                                    I make those except cooking them in cream of mushroom soup and a bit of milk to thin it. So good!!!

                                                                                                                                  2. Countrygal90, are you still with us? Did the avalanche of replies seem overwhelming?

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                      It has only been 18 hours! Give the gal a little credit. I bet you see her again tonight "after bedtime".

                                                                                                                                      We were picky children. My sister eventually became a vegetarian and now is back to omnivore. I am extremely adventurous and she has a whole repertoire of food now and continues trying. Don't stress too much.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                        I used to be a very picky eater and I still am a bit picky, but I've been getting better at it over the years. Now my son shows me how I must have made my own mom feel (which she likes to laugh at me and considers this payback).

                                                                                                                                      2. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                        Hahahahaha I actually didn't expect replies so soon (let alone so many) so I didn't check it immediately! Now I know for future reference!

                                                                                                                                      3. Away from rice, our picky eater likes lentils, pesto (???), clementine oranges, fullfat yogurt, peanut butter, applesauce, green peas.

                                                                                                                                        Also when the two cousins were together, the picky one would sometimes get interested in what the omnivore was eating. And other kidlets around that you could try that approach?

                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                          A friend of mine has a kid who will eat anything covered in pesto.
                                                                                                                                          These days, "pesto" in her house is anything that's green and puréed

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                            That's funny and brilliant! When I was asking our daughter what to stock for their arrival, I was pretty shocked when she said pesto.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                              Kids like pesto! My own daughter loves it. It's mild and nutty...

                                                                                                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                            He does eat more when I have my niece around, because she eats more. She is 9 months older than he is so he does a lot more when she's around. He talks more as well. But he is an only child and my sister lives 45 minutes away so I don't always have my niece around.
                                                                                                                                            He wont really eat applesauce, though I haven't tried in a while, I should again soon. He likes actual apple slices. He doesn't care for yogurt or peanut butter unless it's just by itself and only sometimes. Every day it's different with stuff like that.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                              Since you mention he likes apples, what about something like this brown rice salad that has apples in it? Also has nuts and dried fruit... he can pick them out if he doesn't like them....but maybe he'd like the dried fruit at least http://www.thekitchn.com/picnic-recip... It could be done w/ white rice too I'm sure.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                Thanks, I will have to try that, it sounds really interesting!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                If he likes apples try making your own applesauce and keeping it thicker than the jarred kind. It tastes more like apples.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                  If you use a potato masher, he can help make the apple sauce after it has cooked.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                    If he likes apples why even try to shift to applesauce? Plain old apples are way healthier

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wegsjac

                                                                                                                                                      I make my apple sauce with no added sugar -- just water, apples, and cinnamon. Uncooked apples may be healthier in that the heat may reduce the vitamin and fiber content, but it's still a healthy food. And, the apple sauce is an additional food that can be added to the repertoire -- e.g., as a sauce to dip pieces of pork or chicken or a topping for pancakes or waffles -- not to replace raw apple.

                                                                                                                                                      Also, once his starts eating apple sauce, you can then modify it by adding in some other fruits into the puree that me may not otherwise eat -- pears, peaches, or berries.

                                                                                                                                              3. Have you read "French kids eat everything"? It has some good advice for dealing with picky kids.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. does your kid eat treats/snacks?

                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                      i'm just wondering if rice is literally all he will eat. or if he snacks is it fruit or whatnot.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                                                        I think OP is just looking for recipes, with or without rice, that she can try.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                                                      He eats: Rice, cheese, bits of salad, cereal, pancakes, apple slices, Popsicle's... honestly, that is about it. Sometimes he'll eat chips, but only tortilla chips. And only sometimes. I would love any kind of suggestions and/or recipes, I'd prefer with rice in it or something I can do to jazz up the rice so he'll start to branch out, but I honestly love recipes and I will save anything I see that sounds good into a recipe folder on my desktop. :-)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                        For starters, I'd mix rice and cheese and little pieces of apple. MW (microwave). Did you say he likes olive oil or some kind of oil. If so you could take those same ingredients and make a salad.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to have to try something like that! He will eat just about any kind of oil, I cook with a lot of olive oil and sesame seed oil so I know he's good with both of them.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                          Have you tried making the pancakes healthier -- for example by incorporating rolled oats or other whole grains (I've got an oatmeal pancake recipe somewhere) and including fruits in the batter?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                            DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THE PANCAKES!!!! He eats them. Change 'em and he might not/likely won't like them. As OP said, she just wants him to eat and will worry about healthy later.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                              No, I don't really focus on making recipes super healthy when I know he'll already eat it.
                                                                                                                                                              I will have to try adding things to it though, I've been meaning to try it and just never have (other than peanut butter and nutella, but everyone has tried that!)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                We make banana pancakes with whole wheat pastry flour. They are super yummy and my kids love them. My kids (2, 2, and 3) also help mash the bananas each in their own bowl and then stir portions of the batter in their bowls. They even eat the batter raw (which is fine because it doesn't have eggs). Here is the recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                Banana Pancakes


                                                                                                                                                                1 ripe banana
                                                                                                                                                                1¼ cups milk
                                                                                                                                                                1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
                                                                                                                                                                2 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                ¼ teaspoon salt

                                                                                                                                                                Heat skillet over medium heat.

                                                                                                                                                                In a large bowl, mash banana, then stir in milk.

                                                                                                                                                                In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir until smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                Pour small amounts of batter onto a preheated non-stick, lightly oil-sprayed griddle or skillet and cook until tops bubble. Flip with a spatula and cook second side until golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
                                                                                                                                                                Based on this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nat8199

                                                                                                                                                                  Awesome, thanks!! I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe out!! It sounds really good!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                    In case you do want to try another alternative pancake recipe, this one is made with oatmeal and blue berries:

                                                                                                                                                        3. Hey, folks, the original poster was really quite clear about wanting recipe information and ideas for things her kid might eat, rather than parenting advice on how to convince (or not) the child to eat. We know everyone just wants to help, but the parenting information is getting pretty far afield for Home Cooking and is specifically not asked for here. We've removed a few of the longer tangents and would ask that people avoid those topics going forward and focus on toddler-friendly recipes.


                                                                                                                                                          1. I'm going to admit to a guilty pleasure: Rice-A-Roni :) If he goes for the maybe you could put some ground turkey in and he wouldn't notice it?

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                              I've never had Rice-A-Roni before, a friend mentioned it earlier today and had to explain to me what it was hahaha
                                                                                                                                                              But it looks like something to try, or something I could maybe try to do home made.
                                                                                                                                                              And he seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to food. He'll notice something even before I do. It's uncanny. But then, I used to be that way with certain ingredients when I was younger. (Onions and tomatoes for example).

                                                                                                                                                            2. Here are some "rice-like" things you might try:
                                                                                                                                                              1. Barley
                                                                                                                                                              2. Pastina (with the thought of gradually moving up to larger pasta pieces)
                                                                                                                                                              3. Cream of Wheat (call it "rice soup" or something?)

                                                                                                                                                              As far as sticking to rice only, I'm with the others - gradually sneak some other "stuff" into it.

                                                                                                                                                              Does he do rice for all meals? Is breakfast rice? If not...try to get some protein into him there?

                                                                                                                                                              What about if you put some other stuff on the plate (again - relatively benign stuff - white if color is an issue) and just leave it there. Don't address it. Don't force him to eat it. Just put it there and see what happens. If he doesn't eat it...so be it, but try again (with the same food) the next day. Apparently it takes several days of "introduction" sometime before a kid will try a food.

                                                                                                                                                              And, I know you don't want parenting advice, but try your BEST not to make meals a stressed out time. Tell yourself (I know it's hard) that nobody walks down the aisle to get married followed by a rice-only reception!! He will grow out of it. Sometimes kids just know what they want/need...

                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                We do pastina with a scrambled egg mixed in until the steamy pasta cooks it then we add black pepper and Parm cheese. Ate it up like candy.

                                                                                                                                                                Keep the egg over the hot burner so there is no issue with food safety.

                                                                                                                                                                The Persians make rice with the egg too. This might get some protein in him.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, I will try that! And I try to give him different things. Breakfast is normally cereal or pancakes because he'll eat those. He used to eat scrambled eggs as well but he wont touch them anymore.
                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the help and suggestions!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                    Will he do a muffin or something? There are LOTS of good varieties of those!

                                                                                                                                                                    For the pancakes, you could try making some yummy varieties of those? Somebody above posted about not messing with something he WILL eat, and I do agree with that, so make small changes gradually. What about a "fun" pancake variety - something like a toad-in-the-hole pancake? (like the toast with an egg in the hole thing?)

                                                                                                                                                                    Would he do a pancake "sandwich"? Maybe some melted cheese or peanut butter or something between them? What about French toast? (You can get eggs and milk for protein into that pretty easily). If he does French toast, you could expand that into French toast casserole and then an assortment of bread puddings.

                                                                                                                                                                    Yep - still basically all carbs here, but just keep trying. He'll find other things he likes. My youngest really ate only PB&J for a couple of years. Now he's 12 and there are literally about two things that he WON'T eat. Eats EVERYTHING now!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                      With this you don't see the egg because it ends up coating and being hidden in the starch.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I feel your pain, OP. My DS has his days/weeks of hating everything. A few random things he will eat pretty reliably:

                                                                                                                                                                    1. chickpeas - plain or mixed into small pasta (little shells or ditalini), with butter and Parmesan.
                                                                                                                                                                    2. quesadillas - whole wheat tortillas, shredded Cheddar, and maybe some black beans.
                                                                                                                                                                    3. meatballs - he helps make them! We do typical pork/beef meatballs 4 lbs at a time for spaghetti. He also likes these jumbo meatballs: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ra...
                                                                                                                                                                    4. these corn pancakes - http://www.runnersworld.com/recipes/s... (he also loves cornbread and corn English muffins
                                                                                                                                                                    )5. Multigrain-crusted tilapia fillets from Costco/BJs - healthier and less gross than fish sticks or chicken nuggets. He eats this for lunch about once a week.

                                                                                                                                                                    We find that for dinner, he is happier eating a deconstructed version of what DH and I eat. For example, if we're having fajitas, then he will eat a tortilla, shredded cheese, and some cut-up chicken - he will not eat it all wrapped up with peppers and onions. For the chicken parm meatball subs above, he eats meatballs and bread without sauce or cheese, while we actually make them as sandwiches. Silly, but it works.

                                                                                                                                                                    Also, we rely on frozen vegetables like mixed vegs, peas, and limas - he is not a fan of freshly cooked vegetables, and will not eat raw ones under any circumstances. Stinks for us, but at least we found vegs he will eat.

                                                                                                                                                                    Good luck!! And please report back to let us know what worked.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: truman

                                                                                                                                                                      My daughter eats pretty much the same way - deconstructed. I steam her broccoli to add into her quesadillas. Sometimes she eats the peppers/onions, other times its "ew mama ew"

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: truman

                                                                                                                                                                        It's nice to know that I'm not alone! Thanks for all the recipes, I will definitely have to try them!
                                                                                                                                                                        I keep frozen and fresh veggies and we have them with almost every meal, he used to love the broccoli, corn (that was from a can) and green beans! But now he wont touch them unless it's to move them out of his way.
                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the help and suggestions, I'll definitely see how he does with everything here!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                          Have you tried given him the veggies still frozen? When my boys are teething sometimes frozen peas is all that they will eat. The cold must feel good against their gums.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Just thought of this. It's a 'grownup' dish but you could modify the seasonings for a kiddo. Chinese steamed rice balls from Andrea Nguyen. They're great and if the little guy doesn't like them, everyone else will!


                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, I will try this!
                                                                                                                                                                          If he doesn't eat it I will definitely have to save the recipe and try again later!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                            I'd make it for yourself and let him have one. It's really good and super easy.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Rice kick is all this LO knows. Perhaps think more ethnically: there are hundreds of congee variations between Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai/Korean recipes. Or you can stir fry, steamed, rice porridge rice, form rice into rice masubi (i have not met a kid who doesn't love masubi), ad nausea. Then, add all sorts of "actual" food to above variations of rice. To add a little "flavor" to steamed rice, mix in a touch of fish sauce or light soy sauce, then pulse some mixed veg and dump that into white rice. Just remember there are at least 1.3 billion people (and their children) surviving mostly on rice-base meals, so you're in a great position. (FWIW, this 2YO hates mashed potatoes and spaghetti).

                                                                                                                                                                          I'd really check out blogs like:
                                                                                                                                                                          lunchboxblues: http://www.lunchboxblues.com/

                                                                                                                                                                          or search thru the recipe at babycenter:

                                                                                                                                                                          also, parenting sites ALWAYS have discussion on when toddlers go thru food "phases":



                                                                                                                                                                          Lastly, no one knows what your toddler will eat.


                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                            Wow thanks for all the suggestions and help!! I'll definitely try these out!!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. No flames here! I have a picky boy, but he's 16, and even his older sister criticizes me for catering to him. But when your child is 6'2" and weighs maybe 135 lbs, you'll do what it takes.

                                                                                                                                                                            One thing my son really loves is rice pancakes. Just take the leftover rice (you can use brown rice for this, really!) and mix it in a pancake batter. You'll need to cut back on the flour, and do use some whole wheat in whatever recipe you make. Let it sit for an hour or so and fry it like normal pancakes. Lots of protein, fiber and calories!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow that sounds really interesting! Thanks so much, I'll have to try that!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. You've been given lots of good ideas and recipes, but here is another to try: hummus. There are lots of good recipes out there, ranging from made-totally-from-scratch to made-with-canned-chickpeas. Or just buy it from a store - regular grocery stores across most of the US carry it now. Sabra is considered a good brand.

                                                                                                                                                                              Kids usually love hummus and he can dip anything else he likes into it, or just eat it directly with a spoon.

                                                                                                                                                                              I personally think there is no distinction between healthy and tasty food - they are one and the same (e.g. the hummus example).

                                                                                                                                                                              Have you tried him with cut up fruit?

                                                                                                                                                                              The other thing is - it is very very typical for toddlers to be picky in their food and to change what they like from day to day. Just keep up with a) offering it to him consistently like the others have suggested and b) the rest of the family modeling good eating, and he will get there.

                                                                                                                                                                              All best.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks so much for the help!
                                                                                                                                                                                And I've been wanting to try hummus, but I have absolutely no idea what it is! The only reason I've heard of it is because of a little show he watches (the backyardigans) stated they were going to eat celery with hummus for snack.
                                                                                                                                                                                I will have to look up some recipes!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hummus is basically a smooth chickpea and sesame spread.
                                                                                                                                                                                  You can make it yourself, or buy it in a container. It's usually in the supermarket deli section (sometimes dairy)

                                                                                                                                                                                  It comes in different flavors...but try the plain.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Set out dippers- carrots, peppers, pretzels, pita...

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Cooking the rice in homemade stock (chicken, beef or veggie,) would add a lot of nutrition to the rice, which really doesn't have much to offer on it's own. Not that junk in a box or can, though- and definitely not granules or bouillon.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, I've been thinking about adding stock to it but haven't tried it yet!!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I would go with the rice for now. If that's what he will eat.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps next week or next month it will be carrots (or chicken or???). Have you asked him?
                                                                                                                                                                                  He may just be a serial eater. He may not want "everything" at once.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry because I've shared this before, but I have a brother who subsisted on Granny Smith apples,Jack cheese and flour tortillas for ~decades~. It was all he would eat. He's now in his 40s, married, has a career, owns a house etc etc blah blah blah, so yeah there is hope!

                                                                                                                                                                                  As long as your son's pediatrician agrees that he is at an acceptable weight for his age and height I wouldn't worry too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I would focus less on "recipes" and just find one thing at a time that he will eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Chowhound seems to cater to "foodies", but he may not be one. He just may "eat to live". Often those people have their minds on other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                    We all have to read and reread that last paragraph!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Wow, he sounds like my son, only mine is 7. I was hoping he would outgrow the pickiness when he started school...no such luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Funny story...Last summer we got some eggplant in our CSA box and my husband made eggplant parmagiana. My son, who only eats chicken nuggets and pizza, tried it and loved it. We couldn't figure out why he even tried it, since he NEVER eats vegetables. We eventually realized that he misunderstood "eggplant parmagiana" and heard "eggplant Papa John's!" I guess it looked enough like pizza, and that was good enough for him!

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NJFsa

                                                                                                                                                                                      I read this to my husband and we both laughed :) The mind is wonderful, isn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NJFsa

                                                                                                                                                                                        Labels are so important! My sister would not eat hamburger but she would eat steakburger. Plain, no bun, cut into pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                        She also though eggplant rounds that were thin and breaded and fried were pieces of chicken cutlet and happily ate it until I told her it was eggplant. My mother was none too happy with me. Perhaps other grains called "rice" would be a good door opener.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                          We used to serve "chicken-fish" to the kids (terminology of a fish stick so that they'd eat it!)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NJFsa

                                                                                                                                                                                          My sister hated chili growing up, but would happily eat two bowls of hamburger soup!

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. That's tough. My kiddo liked eating with his hands but didn't want to get them dirty so we had to eat all "clean" foods which was tough for me since I like one pot dinners. Here are some things that worked better for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                          flour tortillas (plain, just warm in microwave about 15 seconds; another option to add butter and cinnamon sugar and fold it up)
                                                                                                                                                                                          wheat thins
                                                                                                                                                                                          sliced cheddar cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                          raisins/craisins/banana chips
                                                                                                                                                                                          baby carrots
                                                                                                                                                                                          plain spaghetti (nothing on it!)
                                                                                                                                                                                          goldfish crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                          apple slices
                                                                                                                                                                                          plain black beans (as in from a can rinsed really well and dried off)
                                                                                                                                                                                          turkey meat from deli

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't have real recipe suggestions but cooked foods that seemed to work better were quesadillas, chicken noodle soup (noodles broth and chicken), macaroni and cheese, pizza, and chicken sausage with sauteed veggies.

                                                                                                                                                                                          PS my child also liked canned peas which daycare fed him and I would never eat anything like that. If he is at daycare he may eat what they serve as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cacheton

                                                                                                                                                                                            <<<<<<<My kiddo liked eating with his hands but didn't want to get them dirty>>>>>>

                                                                                                                                                                                            Ha....Post feeding himself but pre using utensils, my son disliked having dirty hands but insisted upon feeding himself. Then, he noticed that the dog was very interested in the food on his hands. Et voila! A symbiotic relationship was born. As a cringing mother, I finally decided that they were getting along well and building an immune system all rolled into one.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cacheton

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks! He does eat a lot of that, or used to at least. I've been wanting to try Hummus (oddly because of a Backyardigans show..) but I have absolutely no idea what it is!
                                                                                                                                                                                              But thanks for all the help and suggestions!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hummus is purreed chickpeas and tahini (sesame paste) usually with olive oil and perhaps other add ins. Since he likes sesame oil he may like the slightly smoky taste of hummus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The items on te clean hand list above sound perfect for the ice cube tray idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Does he watch Fresh Beat Band? They're always drinking smoothies. That's what got my daughter to ask for "moovies"

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My mom would make up disgusting stories about food for my youngest brother. Lord, that boy was picky. She told him spaghetti was worms and pretended to be horrified when he gobbled it all up. Haha it's kind of a questionable plan but it worked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow that would have worked the opposite with me when I was younger hahahahahaha but I may have to try a variation of this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Risotto - I like chicken and mushroom or chicken and asparagus. I cook the arborio rice and add the the other items. Most times, I will marinate the chicken breast cubes in lemon, salt, pepper and saute it in olive oil and add it when the rice is almost done. Then sprinkle some parmesan cheese on it. This keeps and can then be microwaved for later meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you cook a pot of white rice and have left over, make a fried rice with it. Prep - dice ham, rinse frozen peas, chop some onions, green onions, garlic, mix up an egg. Cook egg, remove. Cook onions till translucent, add peas, ham. Remove. Cook garlic add leftover cooked rice, add soy and/or oyster sauce to give it some color and flavor. Add the rest of the ingredients - chopping the egg into pieces then add the green onion. Hopefully, he likes it. You can replace the ham with anything - tofu, chicken, whatever you have on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Make paella for the whole family and hopefully he will eat it too?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: whinendine

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, I will have to try this!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I actually make fried rice all the time and he eats the rice and the water chestnuts in it but that's about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: countrygal90

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made a baked risotto the other day, and it turned out so well, and was much easier than traditional risotto: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-baked...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Obviously you don't have to put in the veggies or the pancetta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also saw your question about what hummus is... it's just pureed chickpeas mixed with tahini paste, which is made from ground up sesame seeds. It has other ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice in it as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummus You can make your own but if you aren't sure he'll like it, it's probably best to just buy a container. It comes in all kinds of flavors, at my store they sell it near the produce section where they sell stuff like fresh salsa and fresh guacamole. I buy Sabra brand: http://sabra.com/products/category/hu... The plain is probably the best place to start.... my favorite is the supremely spicy but I don't think that would be good for a 2 year old :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. When thinking about how much he eats, please remember that his stomach, when not full, is just about the same size as his fist.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's tiny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    My younger daughter weighed the same thing for 40 months. Every time we went to the Dr,s, they'd say
                                                                                                                                                                                                    "is she growing?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is she learning?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    is she eating something-ANYthing?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 yeses=no worries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Please let him help-- at this point, you can let him choose which thing [of 2 choices] to drop into a pot while he sits on your hip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cookie cutters-- try to find a favourite shape [dino? car? rocket?] and have him help press down-- "Let's make a car!" Many foods made for Bento Boxes use a well-cleaned paper punch on thin slices of veg-- but here are some real ones:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you have access to quail eggs? He might appreciate a smaller version of an adult boiled egg. And you can try stuffed/devilled eggs with different stuffings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Does he like to dip things into sauce? You can cut things into matchsticks and hand them over with a cup of peanutbutter or salad dressing or anything dippable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Have you tried quinoa? It is full of protein and cooks just like rice. I introduced it to my kids by calling it quinoa rice and ball rice, and now they love it. Same thing will barley, I just introduced it calling it barley rice. (I am the poster with the 3 toddlers, so I understand picky eating.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, I introduce new things by blatantly lying about what it is. They like cucumbers, so I call zucchini cucumbers. They liked peaches, so I called plums purple peaches. Maybe not the most honest thing, but it worked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Also, have you tried something like "red rice"? Or whatever colors he likes? You could cook the rice in veggie broth with tomato paste to make it red, with grated carrots to make it orange (maybe turmeric, too). I would serve it along side the regular rice, so he has a "safe" option as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nat8199

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a good idea, Nat. Adding to your suggestion, the OP could assign a color to every night of the week.. Monday's dinner would center around orange foods, Tuesday's green, Wednesday's red, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kids are usually pretty into color games, so if you really act excited about "Orange dinner tonight!", he might pick up on your excitement.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          You could even make a list or chart (with pictures) with him and categorize different foods by their color. Let him choose from the list what orange foods he wants for the night -- grated carrots in his rice, orange slices, goldfish crackers, orange bell pepper slices, cheddar cheese, canteloupe, sweet potatoes, nectarines, mangos, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Google "orange foods" "red foods" etc to get ideas and pictures for the chart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, you said you thought about trying hummus because you saw it on one of his TV shows. That's a good starting place! Chances are if his favorite TV characters are eating it, he will try it too. Make note of what they mention on their shows, and really play it up at dinnertime. "This is what ____ ate on the Backyardians!" We're going to be just like him tonight! How cool!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good luck, OP. Keep us updated!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I haven't read all the responses yet so I hope I don't repeat anything. Risotto is very good if he likes rice and cheese. My son is almost 2 and he will randomly decide he likes one food today and not tomorrow. We try not to give him options, either he'll eat or he won't. I know every child is different and I certainly understand the worry when a kid won't eat, but I've heard time and time again, kids won't starve, they'll eat eventually when they're hungry enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My son went through a big rice phase as well, here's what I made:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Moroccan couscous- he loves this. The couscous is obviously not rice, but it seems to be close enough for his taste. I just saute some zucchini, carrot, onion and garlic, then add broth and canned tomatos, tumeric, ginger, cumin and a bit of cinnamon, let it simmer and then mix it into the couscous

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also buy Seeds of Change brown rice and quinoa bags to take with us when we travel. They're very convenient, are ready in 90 seconds and since they're made with long grain brown rice and quinoa, have more health benefits than white rice would.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This isn't rice, but another food that my son will eat no matter what phase he's in is spinach patties. I just throw a lot of spinach into a blender, add garlic and a bunch of feta and puree it. Then I stir in panko and an egg and make patties out of it, which I then lightly fry in a small amount of olive oil. He loves these and you can make a big batch of them well in advance and take them with you, which is really convenient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hope any of this helps!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Here's something to do with rice. This works best with risotto rice or another short grain, starchy rice:
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Boil rice in salted water (as you would pasta). A few minutes before its done, you can add shredded veggies or frozen peas (if your son will tolerate them). When rice is done, reserve a bit of the starchy cooking water. Drain, then add to the rice: butter, cheese, a raw scrambled egg. Mix furiously so that the egg melts into the rice (your son won't see it but it will add protein and iron to the rice). It may still need a bit more salt. If it is too dry add some of the reserved cooking water. Some lemon juice for acidity is usually good too. If your son eats chicken, you can stir some cooked shredded chicken in as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Here's some simple ideas for smoothies. These work well with frozen bananas (take the last few from the bunch, the ones with lots of brown spots, peel them, cut them and half and stick them in the freezer for when you need them).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1/2 a frozen banana, milk (I'd use whole milk for extra calories): blend together. You can add other fruits, but actually banana and milk taste very good together and don't really need anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1/2 a frozen banana, a few leaves raw kale or spinach, frozen mango chunks, a handful raw cashews (or substitute 1 tbsp or so of unsalted, unsweetened almond or peanut butter), water to thin -- you could also use almond or soy milk for extra calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. i grew up with indian cooking and picky indian kids would get rice mixed with raita and other meal items on the side in hopes that they would eat them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                cook the rice so it is fairly "loose" and not sticky.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                an easy version of raita is plain yogurt, salt, pepper, shaved cucumbers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                you could even just start with plain "thinned" down yogurt, mixed with rice and see if he likes it and slowly add the other stuff in. heck you can even swap the cucumber for apple (and maybe a little sugar) if he would rather have that (since you mentioned he eats apples i think somewhere in here).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                maybe eventually throw on the side of his plate something else (possibly what you are eating for dinner) and he may give it a try but at least this way you have some protein and possible veg thrown into the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pie22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My son -- who was a good eater -- loved going to Indian restaurant buffets at 2. He did not eat anything spicy at that age -- just the basmati rice pilaf, naan, and tandoori chicken, with rice pudding for dessert. That form of rice pilaf is pretty easy to cook at home, even if you are not otherwise accomplished at Indian cooking. The OP may want to consider that as an alternative way to present rice to her toddler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Some fantastic ideas here from the wise Chowhounds. I have two picky eaters, so I can completely relate. Hang in there! It will ease and you may even wind up with an adventurous eater down the road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A few thoughts I don't think I've seen mentioned...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - One basic dinner that my kids love and their friends are always happy about is prosciutto-wrapped chicken tenders (not breaded -- just a piece of prosciutto wrapped around a piece of chicken and sauteed in olive oil). My daughter's best friend was over recently and said, "OMG, my house never smells this good! Can you give my mom this recipe?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Another favorite is breakfast quesadillas -- flour tortillas with scrambled eggs, cheese and a sprinkle of bacon. My kids can't stand salsa, sour cream, guac, etc., but all of those would be great too if yours will. When my son wouldn't eat scrambled eggs under any circumstances, he would happily scarf this down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - When I make classic kid-friendly hard tacos, I mix shredded zucchini into the ground beef after browning. The color of the spices disguises it and the texture blends right in if you don't add too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Will he eat hardboiled eggs? Could decorate them like Easter eggs. Let him color with crayon before dying or write his name on them with crayon to make it creative/personal. Go on an egg hunt for his morning/afternoon snack...why not make it fun, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Let him smell spices and see if there's anything he gets excited about. My son loves cinnamon and smoked paprika and will put them on virtually anything, alone or in combination. Not only can this make new foods more palatable, but it also opens the door to more spices and flavors down the road. For example, my son now also loves cumin and marash pepper. The principal of my son's school actually recently asked me how I got him to be such an adventurous eater after he was in her office extolling the virtues of the Moroccan meatballs I make with cinnamon, paprika and a bunch of other spices (a total joke since he is a ridiculously picky eater!), but I shared this advice with her and it worked with her daughter too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - My kids didn't eat soup at your son's age either, but they would drink it through a straw. Simple enough change and with a good quality stock as a base you get good nutrition in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - You've mentioned that some of the things he doesn't like are similar to how you were as a kid. I realized that many of the things that my kids don't like are things that either their dad or I didn't like as kids either, even though neither of us had ever mentioned it (e.g. I didn't like juice, or fruit mixed with anything, or cake). And both their dad and I eat virtually everything now! Maybe think about the things you loved as a kid and see if those work for him too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Regardless, relax and try what you can. But know that it will all be okay. You are a good mom to put so much care and effort in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My husband always says that when my son was 2, he fed him for an entire year on a bag of rice from Costco. If you asked my son what he wanted to eat, he always said, "Rice, plain rice." Today, he is 17 and a completely adventurous eater. I know it may seem like he'll never eat anything else, but he will. We always just put food down in front on him while we were eating, and pretended not to notice whether he ate or not. We would eat our dinner, and talk about how delicious everything was. Sometimes we would ask him if we could have some of his, and we would eat that with gusto. This may well be a stage, as it was for my son. He will eventually eat more than rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. @OP - have you had a chance to try any of this? When you do, we hope you'll report back. I have a feeling this thread is going to be helping a lot of people :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Read the book, "French Kids Eat Everything." It's awesome. It will teach you how to get him eating what everyone else eats and also has some great kid friendly recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, Father Kitchen mentioned that a couple of days ago. If he recommends it than we know it's gotta be good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wrote a column about this book not too long ago, and while it works for the French, I don't think it would play well in the States (or many other countries, for that matter). The French method of child rearing, their attitude toward food, and how they see the individual as a part of society all play significant roles in how the French get their kids to eat everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Talk to your pediatrician: I think she'll reassure you that no kid has ever starved by being a picky eater. My son existed on Cheerios, grapes, bacon McD's French fries, and pretzels for years. When he went away to college, he discovered rice, which led him to Indian food. He's now a healthy 29-year-old, and eats a wide array of foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I watched the power struggle my parents had with my older brother over his picky eating habits, and the problems that caused. I resolved never to "go there."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can't win this battle; just keep offering tastes of different foods (and keep junk food out of the house as much as possible). Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. As he gets older, or maybe even now, show him that you enjoy food and keep giving him a little of what everyone else eats. Always sit at the table together and don't do anything else bu ttalk and eat. Don't let him wander around with cheerios. Only food at hte table, and if necessary, minimize snacks so that he's hungry for meals. He won't starve. Always have something plain that he can eat, and try not to use too much spice or seasoning in yoru cooking. My daughter always complaine dthat things were salty or peppery and I had barely used anything. We try to add that at the table.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            also does he like fruit? my daughter still mostly eats fruit. try to buy a wide variety of fruit and have it cut up in the fridge.