How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

The Pickiest Eaters in the History of Ever

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My Kid Is Full

Kids are like a test. One that you can’t really pass. You just sort of go through it chewing on your pencil, sweat beading on your forehead. You’re looking around at the other students (parents) and seeing if you can’t catch a glimpse at their answers. But then you see their foreheads glistening with the same uncertainty and you begin feasting on your pencil again.

Feeding your kid happens to be one of the worst tests you’ll face. Choosing what to feed them is easy peasey, getting them to eat it? Hah! Sometimes, even if it’s pizza! Luckily, you’ve got a teacher, a test subject and sparring partner all in one. Your kid. They’re there to teach us how to be parents.

I didn’t say they were good teachers.


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Instructional Diagrams
Chow down. You won’t gain a pound.


36 Responses to “The Pickiest Eaters in the History of Ever”

  1. Jim says:

    We are having the love it / hate it / love it phase with our daughter. Just when you are convinced you have it down, they start rejecting things they have “always” loved, and start wanting things they wouldn’t do anything but push around their plate with their spoon and mash it into something you couldn’t attempt to serve again.

    Whether you are a good cook, or can only scrape together the basics, it’s hard not to feel rejected when you make them something that you are sure they will like, and they look at you like you put a dead rodent on their plate.

    The one thing they are consistent on, however, is when you visit family and friends and tell them they “won’t” eat something, the child inevitably devours as much as they can, making you look completely oblivious to your child’s likes/dislikes.

    • Andrea says:

      It feels like I’m reading my 2 yo son’s story. So frustrating. Hope this picky eater phase ends very soon to all you guys πŸ™‚

    • Andy says:

      This is so amazing and true. OUr youngest is down to something like 6 things he’ll eat for sure and then the rest of the time… well. Just… we give up. πŸ˜‰

  2. Mimi says:

    At least your kids will eat pizza. My nearly 4 year old will only eat, literally, a variety of 6 things. And candy.

    • James says:

      My boy eats barely anything. Toast, yogurts… Chocolate, unsurprisingly… plus anything potato based.

      Somehow though he is four and a half, and one of the tallest children I have ever seen. He somehow manages to absorb calories from bugger all.

    • Andy says:

      It is really eating pizza though, when the cheese is folded back and sauce wiped off? ::sigh:: I actually said to my son, “EVEN PIZZA!?” If you are what you eat, my son is a loaf of bread.

  3. MichielS says:

    I’m quite proud to say that my 2,5yo daughter eats nearly everything! She’s especially fond of strong flavours, like olives and salami.

  4. Bill says:

    I’m with you here. If it wasn’t for the protein available in chocolate milk, I don’t think my kid would have grown at all. We’re on a fairly steady rotation of string cheese, fruit snacks, crackers, and milk. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Now that my oldest son is 4.5, he is finally starting to warm up to kid-food staples like grilled cheese, mac-n-cheese, and chicken strips. However, like the picture above shows, some days one bite of grilled cheese = “I’m Full”. It helps though to know that my wife and I aren’t alone in this chaos!

    • Andy says:

      The fact that my wife and I have latched onto the line “cheese has protein!” like a grilled-cheese-affirming mantra, tells me we’ve been in the same boat as you.

  5. christina says:

    my 5 yr old sustains on chocolate milk, fries, chicken nuggets, and candy. but mostly chocolate milk πŸ™

  6. Elen says:

    My 4 year old used to LOVE pizza, now she’ll eat only cheese topping of the piece! She’ll eat cheese off anything and may be bite or two along the way… but that’s it!
    and my 2 year old now repeating after her sister EVERYTHING. so when 4 yo says: “I’m done” after eating just cheese out of grilled cheese sandwich, little one goes: “I’m done too”! double trouble.. πŸ™

  7. Christine says:

    My 3 year old will only eat the same 5 things each day (red grapes, goldfish crackers, cherry tomatoes, multigrain scoop chips, cheese sticks), with a VERY rare lick of something new (yesterday, he ate 3 blueberries!). When anything new even attempts to get on his lip, he reacts as if atomic poison has made its way into his mouth. I know someday he will eat me out of house and home, but, man, is it frustrating now!

  8. Tessie says:

    Worried about what I may face when my son is old enough for solid foods.

    When my sister was four, she refused to eat her dinner (a home-made cheeseburger). Was told she would not get up from the table until she ate it. Everyone went to bed as she stubbornly glared at he plate.

    I woke up a few hours later, realized she was not in bed, and got my mom. We went downstairs and found her asleep at the dinner table with a mouthful of hamburger. When we woke her up, she started chewing. She was then sent to bed.

    My man has told me he was also a picky eater. Still is in some ways. The only vegetable he can tolerate is spinach.

    • Jim says:

      I don’t necessarily agree with not letting your child leave the table (although this is a funny story). I do think it is appropriate to have them stay at the table, while everyone else finished dinner (depending on age of course). But if they are hungry later, they get offered the same food as they had been offered at dinner. No snacks or treats to fill up on.

      Of course you have to use your judgement, and your know your kid’s personalities best, but forcing food does not necessarily help the situation.

    • Rebecca says:

      I was exactly like your sister. fortunately y dd is not she will eat everything pretty much, although she is in a phase where she only eats a few bites(lasts a couple days then she eats huge meals)

  9. Nicky says:

    May I recomment a book? Besides The guide to baby sleep positions? πŸ˜‰

    For all the parents of picky eaters out there: Read this book: !!!

    (And try to relax πŸ˜‰ )

    Nicky – who has seen a lot of children survive on mererly nothing except love and air πŸ˜€

  10. Carmen says:

    My 2 year old will eat mac and cheese, scrambled eggs, french toast and raisins. He will not drink milk, will not eat peanut butter (or any nut butter for that matter), eviscerates grilled cheese and hates oranges and soup.

    I stress everyday about how Im going to get him to eat anything of substance.

    • Andy says:

      I don’t even know how our youngest son is above-average in height. I chalk it up to the mysteries of Nature along with how plants can grow from turning dirt and light into food.

  11. My Kids Mom says:

    When my kids were at that picky stage my husband and I made a list of all the entrees we could think of that contained component parts which we thought our kid would eat and which could give him a balanced diet (across a week perhaps!) We cooked one meal and offered it. He could dissect it and eat only the desired bits and that was ok. He could not have something else however. Each of my kids “chose” to go to bed hungry exactly once.

    I don’t believe you can make a good eater (or a good sleeper.) But eating together as a family helps as does providing regular meals which look and smell good. Some give up the pickiness by 5, others by 30… but they do find ways to sustain themselves on what they are offered, so offer good things.

  12. Jo says:

    Thankfully neither of my kids has ever been picky. We always fed everyone the same thing at the same time and they were expected to eat what they were given, unless they weren’t feeling well or there was another good reason not to eat.

    If we were having something new, the children had to try the new item and if they said “Eeww ” or “gross” that earned them 3 bites of whatever it was. They were allowed to not have any if they didn’t like it, but they were to simply say, “I don’t want any more of that, Thank you.”

  13. vera says:

    You eat what I put on the table in front of you or you do not eat at all. Eventually you will be so hungry, you will crave dirt on your plate.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    The best advise I ever got as a new parent, and that was back in in the mid 80’s was from this old timer doctor. He said to always feed your baby (when they start eating solids) the same food you are eating,of course within reason, and this will train the child’s palate to want those foods. I think a lot of the problems with this country, is that from the time children are toddlers, they are eating “kid food” like chicken fingers, pizza, and other processed foods. once you start to train the child with whole foods, they will begin to taste things better and not just salt and sugar.
    I followed the doctors advice with my two kids, and they both ate everything I cooked. Other parents were always amazed at the variety. They would always say, my kids would never eat that!! I told them that mine would because the golden rule was you eat what is given, or you go to bed hungry. As humans we will not let ourselves starve, so as far as how much they eat, well, I think kids are smarter than us sometimes, and they tend to eat what they need. It is also about structure and eating at the same time and making meal times a great place to be.
    My sister let her kids eat odd things and then had super picky eaters, one child had horrible stomach problems because of it. She decided to listen to her older sister, and it took about a month and she turned that picky eater into a healthy eater. It takes time to reset the taste buds!
    Sorry for the long post, but I do think a lot of kids eating issues stems from eating the wrong things right off the bat.
    I don’t know if the above picture is the actual thing your child took a bite of, but this is an example of the kind of kid food I’m talking about. Not that pizza is a bad food, because it could be made better and more nutritious, but frankly it makes me sad to see kids constantly eating cheese pizza at birthday parties and restaurants. I’m not a food nazi, because I believe in a few little treats now and then, but the core diet should be nutritious building block not processed junk!

  15. Eddie says:

    These types of problems are self-manufactured. Like Elizabeth, I’m not a food nazi, either, but my kids’ menus do not include processed junk foods except on very rare occasions. My kids eat raw vegetables, greens, fish, lean meats, etc…WHOLE foods. Why? Because that’s what they are given.

    I find it mind boggling that so many (predominantly American) parents will jokingly complain about their kids being so hard to feed when it’s the parents’ faults entirely. Your kid has a problem eating real food because you have a problem with presenting it consistently.

    Eating well is a learning process like any other, but it is the one that the majority of parents are willing to let slide at the earliest of ages. I’d suggest reading the book French Kids Eat Everything and placing the responsibility where it belongs. You can either choose to give your children a real education about food or the lifelong gifts of obesity, diabetes, binging, etc.

    • Jo says:

      I agree. It’s the same with any behavioral problem. Children will only continue a behavior they know they will get away with. Be it being a picky eater or being rude or sassy…I’ve never been good at being a “if Tokyo do that one more time” parent. I simply told them to quit doing whatever they were doing wrong and if they didn’t, they knew what the consequence was and they got it. On the other side of the coin, they have things they are supposes to do and if they don’t get done, there are consequences for that as well…we run a tight ship ’round here. Everyone knows what’s expected of them and everyone is happy. πŸ™‚

    • A-M says:

      As for the French Kids Eat Everything theory – that is rubbish. My mum is French (and very traditional) and I am still a picky eater (I was worse as a kid).

      And my pickiness wasn’t me being naughty. Lots of foods and textures just made me wretch or get genuinely upset. Meal times would be something to dread. It wasn’t a case of only wanting to eat junk food and get my own way – I’d happily eat cucumber or carrots but never have I been able to stomach pizza (gross!). We got what we were given and she gave me what everyone else was having. I went hungry quite often and it became a huge issue, especially when visiting French relatives. Other than that I was a straight-A, great sleeper, generally well behaved kid.

      Some kids just struggle with texture, taste and the unknown and they aren’t being purposefully naughty. The only way I found was to try new foods slowly, gradually and numerous times, and not put myself under pressure to actually eat them. I found when I was in control of my food choices, it was a whole lot easier to try foods that made me uncomfortable. I can now proudly declare that I eat garlic bread. But I still hate pizza!

  16. lw says:

    Don’t let them try lollies and sweet things as long as possible, even orange juice.
    I nannied for these kids and even though they were picky eaters they’d want fruit as treats and drink water or milk, and they wouldn’t demand unhealthy foods because they didn’t know they existed.
    Definitely doing that with my kids.

    • Andy says:

      Our littlest (4yo) has had so little sugar, we actually had to urge him to try ice cream the first time at a birthday party. Too cute. We were and are pleased he’s not sugar-crazy like some kids get.

  17. Erica P. says:

    I am a reformed picky eater. I was severely picky until I was about 19/20. My mother will forever remember when I excitedly phoned home from university with the exclamation “MOM! I tried KETCHUP!”

    It obviously took YEARS, but I eventually got over it. And now, will eat (almost!) anything.

    Hang in there, daddy-o!

  18. Tracy says:

    I get the whole “feed them what you eat” and as a rule we only eat whole foods and eat and feed our son organic everything. His first food was avacado which he loved for about 3 months then refused. He used to eat broccoli without hesitation but no more. He is 2 1/2 now and his eating changed dramatically at about 18 months. I am happy to say he will not eat hot dogs, pizza, or any other typical kid food processed junk, but his choice of foods is now beyond limited. We have to bribe him to try things by holding out on the things he likes and will eat but here is the kicker… This kid will literally puke if he doesn’t like something. I’m not talking spit up – I mean absolute stomache emptying power puke at least three feet in any direction. This has happened several times. It is hard to justify forcing him to try new things by withholding those that he likes when this is consistently his reaction and he definitely wont try anything by just putting it on his plate. Any advice?

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