32 Comments

  1. My younger son was THE pickiest eater when he was little – no meat or veggies either! He was a preemie and kind of small so I worried about it all the time. We just kept offering him what we were eating, didn’t force anything, and tried to make food less of a big deal – he was using it as a control issue. To this day he’s not the most adventurous eater (he’s 19 now), but he has always been healthy and grew to be 6’3! I know it’s hard – but try not to worry too much!

  2. My son is 18 months old and eats a lot. He likes almost everything. But I discovered that certain foods he spit out at first, but offered consistently, he will end up eating anyway. In the beginning it took several weeks and tries, but a week ago I offered him pineapple, he spit it out three times, but still opened his mouth and the fourth piece, he made the click and gobbled everything up. This might not really help you, but maybe you could start with one thing you’d really like him to eat and offer that as a side or ‘dessert’ every meal? And I know a lot of picky eaters (my brother in law) who eat a lot now. Mentioned brother learned to like a new food with every girlfriend he had! 😀

    • Susan Maccarelli

      That seemed to work a little better when he was an infant, but not so much now. He sees green and screams at it. I guess there is something to be said about dating a lot of girls if it broadens your foodie horizons!

  3. courtneyconover

    Although on a lesser scale than you are, I am still fighting this battle with Scotty (Don’t all parents, to some degree?) The only consistent thing that has saved me is creativity…

    Scotty still eschews all vegetables, but I use what *he* likes to get him to eat what *I* want him to. Case in point: Our Baby Bullet and NutriBullet are this family’s best friends: Every single day I mix the following, and Scotty slurps it down like liquid gold:

    *1/4 cup rolled oats (we both like)
    *1/2 banana (we both like)
    *strawberries (he likes)
    *blueberries (I want him to eat)
    *1 tbs ground flax seed (I want him to eat)
    *a bit of kale or spinach (I want him to eat)
    *a few drops of pure agave for sweetness
    *mix this all to smithereens and drink immediately

    I used to add the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, too, before he started eating scrambled eggs, as well as a bit of yogurt, but now he eats that alone as well.

    You have to use creativity to beat them at their own game.

    Good Luck!

    • courtneyconover

      Oops. I forgot to mention that I (obviously) add water…and a bit of almond milk, too, for creaminess, and only a few ice cubes.

    • Susan Maccarelli

      Thanks for the recipe! I could do regular milk since he is allergic to almonds and he might think it is a milkshake and drink it! I’d drink it!

  4. My 2 kids are picky eaters. My son will only 3 kinds of fruits. Banana, mango and water melon. He used to be a vegetarian (don’t ask me, he decided for himself) and would not eat any kind of meat so I had to mince the meat and mix it with his food. He eats meat now but is still very choosy about how the are prepared.
    My 3yo is very particular about her food. Thick and creamy soups are a no-no, no slimy vegetables like okra and a few greens. What I like about her is that she is willing to try them first before she decides if she likes it or not, my son on the other hand will take one look at the food and will say he will not eat it. He also is very particular about how the food smells. Ugh.
    I just make sure I supplement their diet with vitamins. 🙁

    • Susan Maccarelli

      We all have our gummy vitamins in the morning – thank goodness or he would be malnourished for sure.

  5. No pizza? That’s always a good way. You can let him make his own with English Muffins – which could delight him and then add to the ingredients later. My son had eating issues. I let him eat what he wanted, gave him vitamins and waited. He likes softer foods and low hanging fruits (my name for the easy, junkie stuff) but he fell in love with Popeye and WILL eat spinach! He actually asked for broccoli one day and I almost fell over. I wouldn’t worry too much and I wouldn’t make food the issue. Just make it available for him to choose. (And try veggie chicken nuggets in the meantime!)

    • Susan Maccarelli

      He will eat pizza from the store, but is hit or miss with pizza i make. It has been a while, so I might try it again and see what he puts on it. I never let him help make food because he is a mess making heathen, but it might be time to try!

  6. From personal experience: I was a picky eater. While I was growing up, there was no debate whether or not I would weasel my way out of eating fish or liver or leek or anything. For the longest while the only way to get me to eat something was to simultaneously play Robin Hood on VCR. When I got married the first time, I still wasn’t fond of vegetables and avoided them. Then everything changed when I got a divorce and met Frank. When I first came to USA and had vegetables the way his family makes them, I actually found them quite good. And I started eating more of it.

    With my son, I swore I would never force him to eat something if he didn’t like it and it has worked well – there’s only a handful of things he won’t eat – mainly polenta and liver which I don’t really blame him as I don’t eat liver either.

    My daughter actually ate more vegetables than meat while we were still in USA than she does here in Croatia.

    Best advice I can give you, tell him he has to try it at least once. If he doesn’t like he doesn’t have to eat it. This worked for both my kids, especially my daughter who is now slowly growing fonder of vegetables again. Oh, and if all else fails, find something he is obsessing over and tell him it’s the superhero’s favorite food, or that it will make him bigger/stronger/whichever-quality-he-seems-to-obsess over.

    • Susan Maccarelli

      Maybe he is too young, or maybe he is just a spoiled brat, but reasoning doesn’t work. When we tell him he has to try something or even lick it, a tantrum erupts and the meal is pretty much over. I might try the super hero route…he is obsessed with Grumpy Bear from the Care Bears right now, and I’m sure eating all those gassy veggies is part of what makes him so grouchy :o)

      • XD. Our daughter is obsessed with getting bigger/stronger so I just tell her that whatever we are having that day will make her bigger and stronger. So far it’s working!

        • Susan Maccarelli

          Rocco likes to pretend he is a giant (he is the shortest 2 year old ever), so maybe I will tell him it will make him a giant. Haha.

  7. While we still measure my youngest’s food intake by molecules, he is (at 10) a much more willing and adventurous eater. But yes, it can take that long. None of the things people suggest worked for me (let them dip veggies in dressing, etc.). I just kept serving what I like to eat and eventually everyone else joined in, and now even the kids’ friends request kale chips when they’re here. The only thing I know for sure is that if they never experience the food, they definitely won’ t eat it.

    • Susan Maccarelli

      Thanks for giving me hope! Oh, and kale chips are something I have never tried with him, but I might make my own and try that!

      • They are easy to make – cut dino kale into pieces, toss in olive oil, salt a little, and bake at 250 degrees until they are crisp, usually between 25 and 35 minutes depending on how much moisture is in the kale.

  8. I was a picky eater–and I’m doing ok. My parents let me just eat bread and fruit and popcorn for years. I branched out in college and added vegetables. My parents never made a big deal out of food. It was there, and I could eat it if I wanted to. I usually did–but not the vegetables until I was 18. Or the mayonnaise until I was 20…or the salad dressing (interestingly enough, I ate salad for five years before I ate dressing on it) until I was married. There’s hope for your son!

    • Susan Maccarelli

      No salad dressing is pretty amazing. Dressing is the only reason I eat salad!! Your story gives me hope…and makes me want popcorn.

  9. OMG, I know how you feel. My two year old is skeptical of everything! She lives off of bananas, quacamole (the single servings), mac n’ cheese, has an obsession with jelly beans, and hot dog buns. The good foods seem to go out of style and then come back in weeks later. She quite often is on strike with food and if anything unique and different touches her plate she touches it to her lip and decides is gross. For three days I had success with smoothies! It was the most amazing couple of days in my life. I even posted about it. http://www.breakingthemommamold.com/2014/03/my-toddler-ate-food.html – Get the recipe of the smoothie and give it a whirl! I would LOVE to know if it works. 🙂 She hates them now but seriously, 3 days… it was worth it. lol Different glassware helps me too.

    • Susan Maccarelli

      Fascinating that smoothies worked for three days! I will say that Rocco ate a LOAD of raw carrots for one snack time when we were at the beach visiting my in-laws one day. It took him a while to try them, but he kept begging for more. I thought I was IN and that he would eat them from now on. He refused to EVER touch them since. So weird! I will try the smoothies!

  10. Bridget

    We have 2 picky eaters and one who isn’t. We do a one or 2 bite rule for everything on the plate. I didn’t see improvement until age 5 for both kids. Choose your battles. Some days fighting at meal time is not worth it.

    • Susan Maccarelli

      Thanks for the pep talk! I felt like I could reason with (and by reason with I mean bribe) my daughter by 2 and a half, but my son either doesn’t get it or doesn’t play that game. Maybe as he gets older things will change.

  11. My daughter, who is about to turn 21, is still a picky eater. The rule was she had to try everything, even if it was just one bite. The day she turned 18 she said ” I am an adult now, I do not have to try brussel sprouts every time you make them!” For her its more texture than taste most of the time. My biggest success was finding a way to steam asparagus that she liked.. I feel like for about five years all she ate was pasta with butter and parmesan cheese. She lived, they all do, you however, may drive yourself crazy so be kind to you, Rocco will be just fine.

    • Susan Maccarelli

      Thank you! I may just come out of this with Rocco still not eating any veggies, but I’ll feel better about it from all the kind comments!

    • Susan Maccarelli

      I think Rocco has some texture/sensory issues around his food as well. I’d love to hear what works/doesn’t work for you!

  12. My son is almost 5 and has many of the same food-issues you describe your son having. I have decided that because he’s healthy and growing, I will not waste my energy worrying about it. I hope that’s okay to do — but I think for him (at this point) it’s more about him not being very interested in food and knowing that it pushes my buttons when he turns up his nose at dinner. And lately he’s surprised me by being adventurous some! I hope that his pediatrician agrees at his 5-yr checkup! I’ll be interested to follow your adventures here. #typeaparent

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