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Old 03-21-2012, 04:50 AM   #1
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Default Youngest daughter and her refusing to eat

Our family eats very healthy - no junk food, no processed food, everything whole, almost never eat out, etc. My 6 year old, though, will refuse to eat to the point where she skips several meals over the course of a few days and begins to experience physical ailments (headaches, stomachaches, muscle pains, etc.) I noticed, though, that when we go to my grandparents' home or have dinners at church, she loads up on breads, pastas, and desserts. I have not tried to regulate her eating at those two places since 95% of our meals are eaten at home and I don't want to make an issue of her eating habits.

My strategy thus far has been to simply cook the meals, serve everything on their plates in small quantities, and let them decide how much of it they want to eat. They all know that what is on their plate is all they get - there are no separate meals or desserts coming to them. They are welcome to go back as many times as they like for what I have cooked. I never wanted to make food a power struggle with my kids.

My older two have a sensible approach to eating - healthy the majority of the time, eating in moderation, etc. My youngest, though, would eat carbs and sweets all day, everyday if it was in the home. I prepare a wide variety of foods in different ways, so her distaste for vegetables is not from lack of exposure. She is growing and seems healthy in everyway except for the physical discomforts she feels when she goes on a "hunger strike".

Has anyone ever had a child like this? Any good ideas for getting her to eat more vegetables? I want her to genuinely like them, not force them down her throat.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:51 AM   #2
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I was one of these kids. I was a 28lb 4yr old, if that helps put it into perspective. My mom did not cook me special meals. I was served whatever the family was served. I spent many nights alone at the dinner table over food "fights" that I always "won." My mom always cooked a well balanced meal and I was exposed to many fruits, vegetables, fish, pork, chicken, beef, tofu, etc. She told me she once let me go on my food strike to see how long I'd hold out and I went 4 days before SHE gave in. I just flat out didn't like food. Well, there were SOME things I liked, but overall I didn't like food. Now I'm over 40 and trying to drop a few extra pounds just like everyone else because I love food.

I think you should just stick to your guns and be consistent. I love that you are trying not to make food an issue. My parents tell me they would not do again what they did with me. They just didn't know what to do or how to handle it. It does concern me a bit that your daughter is suffering physically over her choices, though, so that might be something to talk to a doctor about. As long as she is healthy, stick to your guns, but the fact that there is some suffering on her part, self-induced or not, I think deserves some professional attention before it becomes an eating disorder (like binging).
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your challenge.

What about having her help plan a meal, shop for the ingredients, or prepare part of it? Including her in the process may give her a sense of control and choice. (even if that choice is actually guided by your preferences) You could give her guidelines that fit your family's typical menu. Things like" pick a protein, pick a hot vegetable, cold vegetable, etc".

Another possibility to get her engaged is to do a theme night.
-- We have done mini nights (mini carrots, mini cheeseburgers, baby potatoes, mini servings of just about anything, etc) We even used mini plates and toothpicks to eat.
-- Another theme is color. (green eggs, salad, food die can help succeed with this color). I've made orange lunches before (cheese, goldfish, orange segments, orange peppers, carrots, etc)
-- We have also done shape themes (everything cut into squares, or triangles or circles)
-- We have done food art. Every person takes the food available and designs their own dinner plate. Then everyone has to guess what the art resembles (faces, cars, sailboat, etc).
-- Backwards days. Breakfast foods for dinner and dinner foods for breakfast.

These theme nights didn't happen all of the time in our house, but once in a while to make things interesting. It gets everyone engaged in the meal.

HTH
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:08 AM   #4
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My son is a very picky eater. I try to plan meals so that we have something he likes every other day or two. He likes to whine and complain about eating veggies and just about any meat. We've gotten to the point where we just tell him we're not going to hear it. He needs to just eat his food. Now he'll eat most things as long as he can put katsup on them.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips everyone. They were very helpful and I'm going to try them all! And if she grows up not liking vegetables or fruits or anything healthy, I will be able to say that I really tried!
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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I had/have two very picky eaters. One of the best pieces of advice I got was to make sure there was at least one food that they like/eat at each meal. It can be a healthy version of bread, pasta, etc. (My kids don't like pasta actually!)

Also, some people are genetically designed to need/eat more carbs, proteins, etc. than others. Remember, 6 year olds are still a bundle of energy and need more carbs than the rest of us.

While I don't have fake sugars, HFCS, etc in my house, I find that an occasional sweet treat or other fun food helps put things in perspectie...otherwise kids tend to binge when presented with those foods. The key is to learn how to eat foods in moderation.

Best of luck to you! Hopefully it's just a phase!
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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My middle son was like this. He is 18 now and still eats very few things. Little by little he has tried things and we do ask that he try them. If he doesn't like it he can always spit it out into a paper towel.

Just because he doesn't like certain foods doesn't mean they don't always get in to his belly.

food he likes

Spaghetti..mom made comes with shredded zucchini or yellow squash. He has no clue. I also blend veggies to add to the sauce..again not a clue.

brownies..mom made black bean

1 box brownie mix
1 can rinsed black beans, after rinsing in the can, leave beans in can add water till it is full to the brim. (puree the entire contents till it's got no chunks)

mix these two ingredients together. Do not add oil, eggs water or anything else. bake as directed.

Again he nor the rest of these guys have a clue.

smoothies or shakes are both favs in our house. He will eat drink a melon shake and has no idea I put it in there. Oh and I use yogurt with yogurt ice cream. Yonanas ice cream maker we love it.

There are so many ways you can sneak good foods in. For our son it's a texture thing. So as long as he doesn't notice the texture or the fruits or veggies he will eat them

Oh and I agree that talking to a doctor and nutrionist would be best where your daughter is concerned. I had the opposite problem growing up. If it wasn't fruits and veggies and they weren't fresh i was not eating them. To the point of my parents making fresh juices for me. Sometimes I would only favor one food. My mom was concerned but dad not so much. The peditrician told her that as long as I eat don't worry, it's when kids don't eat that you become concerned. Course that was over 40 years ago..

Also another good thing to remember is that Milk is a whole food. So get her to drink milk if nothing else. Oh and vitamins.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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Default blood work

I would take her to the doctor and have her tested for low blood sugar (hypoglacimia ...sp..). It sounds like she keep craving carbs which is nothing but sugars. My son was doing the same thing, he is special needs, so I had to do a lot of guessing with him. Took him to a naturopath, she ran some test and found out his blood sugar was very low. There are several great books on the subject. Good luck to you.
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