So Your Child Doesn’t Like Their Food, Don’t Stress It!

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So Your Child Doesn't Like Their Food... Don't Stress it Mama, Here's Why! |

Just a couple of days ago, I was in my kitchen quietly chopping a bit of cilantro and diced onions for our chorizo tacos that my family would be eating for supper that evening. I walked over to the refrigerator as Little Brother made his way into the kitchen and watched me pull out a black avocado perfectly ripened for our meal. He watched me quietly as I made my way around the giant seed with a sharp knife and sliced it in half. As I pulled the creamy flesh into two, Little Brother looked up at me and said, “Mama, I like avocado’s now.”

I looked down at him with dismay and said, “really?”

He said, “yes, they’re really good especially when sprinkled with the color salt. Can I have one for supper tonight?”

“Um… sure,” I answered with surprise in my voice knowing quite well that he’s never eaten a plain avocado with salt before.

Sure enough, that evening I gave him half of an avocado sprinkled with Real Salt and a spoon to eat it with. He excitedly took it from me and to my unbelief, he spooned out the green flesh and ate it with joy. When he finished, he looked up at me from across our table and with pride gleaming from his eyes said, “see mama, I like them now!

You know, this may not seem like a big deal to some, but to those that know Little Brother, this is a big deal for me. He’s always been my pickier eater. One that I’ve been spoon feeding since he’s started eating solids. It’s been quite amazing watching him lately. Really, just over the past couple of months he’s gone from me having to sit next to him at the supper table so that I can spoon feed him to hurry him along to excitedly trying all sorts of new flavors by himself and clearing his plate.

Little Brother just turned 6.

So Your Child Doesn’t Like Their Food… Don’t Stress it Mama!

So Your Child Doesn't Like Their Food... Don't Stress it Mama, Here's Why! |

Big Brother is turning 8 in just a couple of weeks and Little Brother just turned 6. They’ve somehow gone from bouncing babies to tremendous tots, and now, to full fledged boys. Big Brother is still the great eater that he’s always been and Little Brother is now coming into his own as well. One thing that I’ve learned along the way is that I stressed and worried far too often about my children eating their food than I should have.

What I also learned along the way is that, for me, its been less stressful to stick to our evening supper rules and let God take care of the rest.

Our evening rules are outlined in this post I wrote called, How To Tame A Picky Eater Even When They Don’t Want to Eat. It’s been key for me to be consistent with our food boundaries according to age. After sticking to this for years, I’m so happy to say that both of my boys are starting to enjoy most of their meals that I make for them.

Of course they still have their favorites like tortilla Espanola with cold gazpacho soup.

Below are five tips I want to share with you to help relieve your stress if your child doesn’t like to eat their food.

  1. All children are different. Just because so and so’s child loves to eat all of their food all of the time… don’t stress it mama. Keep feeding your child good nourishing food and I promise they’ll soon come into their own. It may be years later, but it will happen. Just keep giving them the good stuff!
  2. A good guideline is to serve 1 tablespoon of each food for every year of your child’s age. So if you’re dealing with a picky toddler, remember they only need 2-3 tablespoons of each food. It seems more manageable that way, right? This is why I established our 2 bite rule that you can read all about in my post, How To Tame a Picky Eater Even When They Don’t Want to Eat. And even if they don’t… don’t stress it mama. I promise you, they won’t starve. They’ll be extra hungry in the morning to eat a nourishing big breakfast that I’m sure you’ll make them :) But, the next evening, keep giving them the good stuff!
  3. Get your kids involved in the garden and kitchen. From a very young age, kids can get involved side by side with you in the garden and kitchen. This will establish just how important nourishing food is to our bodies and give them pride in eating the fruits of their labor. Check out my post, 5 Simple Tasks Your Kids Can Do In The Garden, for even more ideas!
  4. Allow your children to make their own decisions. Little Brother for the longest time did not like avocado’s. So, I let him have that; however, I still offered it to him every time I served it. I gave him the option to have some or pass. Then out of the blue, one day, he decided he liked it. He then felt so proud because he owned that decision. Allow your children to make some of their own decisions. It will help them grow into their own and in its own little way is teaching them about responsibility as well. So if your child doesn’t like every single thing you serve… don’t stress it mama. You never know, they may ask for an avocado one day.
  5. Don’t stress it mama… just keep giving them the good stuff and trust that God will take care of the rest. 

Is your child a picky eater? What are some tips you can share with us that have worked for your family?

12 Responses to "So Your Child Doesn’t Like Their Food, Don’t Stress It!"
  1. Allison B says:

    My oldest is a picky eater, while my twins will eat almost anything. Our rule has always been that they have to take one bite. I always make sure there is something on the table that my oldest will eat so she at least eats something. Now that she’s six she’s starting to try more foods with an open mind. I finally got her to eat a chicken nugget which was huge progress for her.

  2. Steph says:

    My picky eater, my oldest, will be turning 6 in Oct. and she is FINALLY trying new thing and discovering she likes things-like avocados. And peppers. And tomatoes. LOL My husband and I just look at each other in disbelief sometimes! 😉 Maybe it is the age?!

    We just stuck to it-she always had to at least try what we were having and there were no substitutions-they must eat what is served or they know they will be hungry until the next meal is served. After following through with that, it seemed to work.

  3. #3 and #5 are my favorite. I have learned that my kids eat many more flavors when they have worked with me in the garden or the kitchen. For some reason, having them involved makes them much more likely to want to try new (or previous undesired) food. I love the freedom of #5 and the reminder that God will make up for our shortcomings – with respect to food and all things parenting. Thank you for the healthy reminder to relax a little.

  4. shekinah says:

    Thank you so much, I believe in God-incidences (not coincidences) and seeing this from pinterest (was not even looking for anything) this was just what I needed. #5 is perfect for our lives as well. Thank you for posting this blog.
    P.S. I am making your Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup right now.

  5. Karen says:

    My mom did this with my picky eater Chris….she made simple soups with diced vegetables and small pasta. Everything was cooked together and had sort of a homogenous taste. She would put all the vege and noodles on his highchair tray and he would eat them all together. Cooking them in chicken broth would soften them and mellow the taste. I also hid cauliflower in cheese sauce, zucchini in muffins, squash in brownies, eggplant in dips. He is 23 now and eats better than most 20 something’s :)

    • Jennifer says:

      This works. Sometimes my son only wants the grain of the meal, the rice or pasta, etc., but if I mix it all up he’ll happily gobble it down–veggies, meat, and all. Funny. I guess he likes it better with the taste and texture of the grain in each bite. I do, too. Casseroles work well, too.

  6. I have a picky eater…The key for us is to not to harp on him, nor do we make a big deal when he DOES eat his dinner. I think that is the biggest challenge for my husband!

  7. Stephanie says:

    I have a very picky/stubborn 3 1/2 year old boy. He only eats only certain things (cereal bars, lance peanut butter crackers, yogurt tubes, dry cereal (fruit loops or Cheerios), most chips, toast with butter, store bought choc chip cookies, apples, bananas, popcorn, granola bars and McD chicken nuggets). We had him evaluated for sensory issues but they said he was just stubborn and would eat when he was ready. This started at 18 months. Prior to that he ate well. We can’t even put what we are having in his plate. I used to stress at every meal, but I have a lot of new health issues and have just let it go. I feed him what I know he will eat. He helps in the kitchen but so far hasn’t added any new food. Frustrated with it all but not sure what to do?
    Sorry for the novel!!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Stephanie, it sounds like he’s getting what he wants. I’m sure this is very stressful for you, but I want to encourage you to stand strong and remember that you are the boss, and he has to follow your rules. It’s going to take some time and he very well may be strong willed so he may put up a fight. Just remember, being a strong willed child is not a bad thing at all. They make great leaders!! But, right now, he needs to learn that he’s not the leader, just yet 😉

      If I were in your shoes, what I would do is make sure he gets a really nourishing breakfast. Kids usually like breakfast foods so you can load him up with nourishing food then. Scrambled eggs, french toast, yogurt, smoothies, fruit, toast with peanut butter or homemade jelly. Then for lunch, make sure he eats something good as well. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with organic jelly and organic pb is great. Maybe a tortilla wrapped with cream cheese and jelly. There are all sorts of yummy lunch treats you can make for him. Then, for dinner, DO NOT serve him his own meal. Serve him what you make. As long as he eats a couple bites of each thing, let him be. But make that your rule. If he doesn’t eat, send him straight to bed. I promise, mama, as long as he’s eating nourishing foods all day, he will not starve.Keep doing this, day after day, and I promise that eventually, he’ll start eating what you serve him. You know, my 6 year old still needs help eating his food as there are days he doesn’t want to, but that’s okay. He’s come so far but I’ve stood firm on our house rules. (He’s my strong willed child!)

      The next thing I’d love to encourage you with is this. You are the mom, you have the power as to what your family eats. Whatever you bring in the home, is what your family will eat. If you bring home cookies, fruit loops, McD nuggets, guess what… that mean’s it’s okay to eat and your kids will want it, beg for it, etc… If it’s not in your home, they don’t have that option and let me tell you, they won’t even miss it. They’ll see that it’s not there and ask for something else. So if instead of cookies, say you had string cheese, fruit, etc… they’ll be more than happy to eat that instead.

      I hope this is a little bit of help, Stephanie. Be encouraged that you can do this, mama 😀

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