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I am going to be completely honest and tell you what is going on with little Sophias eating.
I used to make Sophia baby food and she used to eat it. She used to like turkey and cheese. But then things changed. I don't know why. She stopped eating and I tried different things.
Now she is eating these pouches (gets expensive!) and Baby MumMums. She likes yoghurt, pizza crust, bread with butter, peanut butter or cream cheese. And of course all the junk food (like fries, chips, chocolate). She will eat cereal with milk. But no fruit, nor vegetables. No meat, no cheese, no salad.
I feel like I am making a big mistake allowing her to eat like this. I would like her to eat better. But she screams when she gets hungry and she knows how to say things like cracker and butter now. So I know what she wants.
I know that starving children would be happy to eat some chicken and fruit. How do I go about making her a better eater though? I feel bad, you know? I am a real pushover.
My sister has a super picky eater, and it is a delicate balance trying to get them to eat healthier vs. trying to get them to just eat enough.
Is she so picky that she'll reject a food she does like if you try to incorporate a food she doesn't like into it? If you gave her yogurt with a bit of chopped banana, or pizza crust you'd stuffed with spinach before cooking, or bread with peanut butter and a few raisins on top? If she loves chocolate, you could even try dipping some fruit in chocolate?
My LO is pretty picky too lately. I used to make all sorts of baby food and he would eat everything. Now he never wants to eat vegetables. Does Sophia like macaroni & cheese or any types of pasta? A friend of mine suggested I steam & mash up vegetables then mix them in with macaroni & cheese, or pasta sauce so that is is hidden. this has worked well for my LO since he loves all kinds of pasta and doesn't notice the veggies are in it. He also likes egg concoctions like omelets or frittatas, so I do that alot with spinach or other small chopped veggies. He is not a big meat eater at all, so I use a lot of eggs & cheese for the protein.
I think it is good that she likes peanut butter, that is a good source of protein. What if you roll a piece of turkey with peanut butter in it? The only way I can get my LO to eat deli slices of turkey or ham is to spread cream cheese on it and roll it up. He doesn't like peanut butter & jelly for some reason. He loves smoothies though, so sometimes I put milk & yogurt in a blender with frozen strawberries or blueberries. Also, if I cut up a peach he doesn't really want to eat it, but if I give him an entire peach or plum with the skin, he will go to town and eat it up. Unfortunately it makes a huge mess. He is into big things, so if I give him an entire cucumber to chomp on, he will eat a lot more of it than if I slice it up small and put it on a plate. Same with banana, he wants nothing to do with little sliced up pieces.
Maggie goes through phases, and honestly what I've come to learn is that she's a grazer. It drives me batty, but I'm trying to work with it the best I can. I can sense though I'm going to have to stand firm very soon and force the issue - meal times are for eating and nothing else. I think she's learned that if she holds firm and says she's done at the dinner table, after we all finish and get down, she'll be able to snack or have treats or something else in the living room while she's playing.
She's still a kid who will eat almost anything, and I don't have a major issue with her not eating veggies or fruit, but, she's getting more selective on what veggies she'll eat. She used to be all over the banana, but could care less for it now. She's been going through a blueberry phase where there is absolutely no other fruit in the world she wants over a blueberry...but I can see she's starting to get out of that phase now too.
I like the idea of hiding it if you absolutely have to, but the one thing I've done to reinforce this is make sure that there is veggies and a protein in absolutely every single meal she gets, and she has fruit for snacks every day. I really only ask that she has one bite of either, because demanding more just doesn't win the fight. But typically, if I only give her the stuff I want her to eat - she'll either eat nothing, or she'll eat it all.
I think if she were pickier I'd be a whole lot more stressed out than I already am. My big issue now is, if she refuses to eat her dinner, then she can't have ANYTHING after. That's about all I can do. At least at the moment I'm making sure that the after dinner snack is healthy by giving her grapes or fruit or cheese or something.
I will try some of your suggestions. Thank you for your detailed food suggestions. My mom said I should stop giving the pouches b/c they are way too processed. Those are her favorites and at least I get some fruit into her that way.
One thing I forgot to mention is that she drinks a lot of milk every day. She goes through half a gallon in 3 days!!! Also very expensive! I looked on-line and the comments I read said to give less milk (2 cups max/day). She fills up on milk and that's why she won't eat other foods.
I started yesterday with giving her water instead of milk and so far it has gone ok. She hasn't eaten anything better though.
Bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Lunch was a bust since we were out and she just snacked on crackers.
How much milk does your LO drink/day? I wonder if there is a trend of picky eater drinking lots of milk and good eaters drinking less milk? *Sigh* Why does eating have to be so challenging?
you know what that sounds reasonable about the milk.
Here's the next pitfall. Juice. Maggie used to drink one cup of juice each day, then she got sick, so I pushed juice to pick up her vitamin C intake...now I've shot myself in the foot cuz she'd rather have the juice. Maggie gets 1 8 ounce cup of milk each day at bedtime. She has other dairy through the day - milk with her cheerios, milk/cheese at school, but in much smaller portions.
Becky, mommy to my Monkey Pie, Maggie (June 10, 2010)
Rosie has become picky with meats. But it's very hit and miss. She loves veggies and fruit so no issue there. But if she had a choice she would graze all day and eat junk. When she went through the cracker stage I stopped buying them. Fruit pouches are for when we are out and about. Only.
Milk she gets about 24oz a day plus cheese sometimes.
I think the milk has a lot to do with it. I am still having problems with my LO drinking milk from a cup, so he still gets bottles. At one point I took away his bottles cold turkey and went 6 days with no milk and I noticed a huge difference in his eating, he ate tons at meal times and I had to add more snacks through out the day. I got nervous about him not getting enough fat & calcium so after the 6th day I gave in and started bottles again, and he wasn't eating good anymore. I then reduced the amount of milk from 24oz a day to 18 oz a day and this has helped a little - before he refused to eat breakfast and now he will at least eat a little cereal or waffles. The Pedi said that I could eliminate milk completely and just do whole milk yogurt & cheeses, and if I could get him to drink out of a cup that only 12 oz of milk a day is sufficient as long as he is getting the other sources of whole milk products.
I would definitely try and cut back on the amount of milk that Sophia gets and see what happens. Keep us posted! I am going to try taking Joey's bottles away again this week now that I feel more secure about things after talking to the dr.
So, I thought I'd try something last night and come back to let you know how it went...A little experiment if you will.
Maggie's been picky with meats too and honestly won't eat a fresh green bean to save her life - and the amount of fluid she drinks in between meals definitely impacts how much she will eat.
So last night, I made meat balls with gravy, sauteed potatoes with onions and green beans for dinner, and I had her help me. Got her fingers right into the ground meat to mix things up, and had her make a few meatballs even. Let her season the green beans and help make the gravy. She was right in the thick of the whole process with me.
Result was she had a great time making dinner with me, and her meatballs looked like they were made by a toddler, BUT, she ate all but 2 beans on her plate. Every little bit. She probably had two full meatballs (which were a fair size for her toddler body), 4 slices of potatoe, and a couple green beans. Compared to the amount she normally eats, this was a huge win for us.
Maybe getting your little ones involved in food prep and cooking dinner will help them create the attachment to their meals too? I'm going to do it again tonight. Hopefully we can keep it up.
Becky, mommy to my Monkey Pie, Maggie (June 10, 2010)