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elaine33

Fussy Eater Question Again

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I was a very picky eater as a child, and I can only imagine how difficult it was for my parents, as it is for you, to have to deal with this. I highly recommend the book "Cheese, Peas & Chocolate Pudding" if you can still find it - I remember it from my childhood, and it was all about a little boy who ONLY ate 3 things: cheese, peas, and chocolate pudding. It's a child's book.

That reminds me of another classic child's book that is on topic: Bread and Jam for Francis. I read it to my daughter just recently (BTW, she's not a picky eater like my middle son, but does sometimes follow his example. :rolleyes: ) The book is about a little girl who rejects all food in favour of just bread with jam. Her parents stop offering other foods and only give her bread and jam for every meal and snack...she gets pretty tired of it, and starts wanting to try other foods again. :)

Michelle

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Thanks for your help and bringing this back on target. I appreciate it. We have tried the gamut of punishment, very motivational rewards and having people over to eat. Just last weekend his cousin who is his age came over and I made tacos with and without taco sauce that he said he would try. His cousin ate them. He took three bites of a white corn taco shell that had lettuce on it and that was it.

No prob, I like to keep the peace ;)

Hmmm... so what would your son eat if it was entirely up to him? Are you concerned about him losing weight and being malnourished? Would he drink Ensure or Boost or Carnation Instant Breakfasts?

- Lauren

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My son, who is Aspergers and diabetic, hence gluten-free/cf is also a super picky eater. We had him in working with an Occupational Therapist for 3 years, and did not add any new foods to his list of acceptable foods which was maybe six things.

For him, it is the textures in his mouth that bother him. I made food a huge issue, refusing to feed him unless he ate what was in front of him, and just about everything else that everyone here as listed. My family was highly stressed about it and mealtimes were awful.

When he was diagnosed with diabetes, I let it all go. His diet is still limited and he is still picky, but he does not cheat and his crazy diet works well managing his diabetes. (His A1C has never been higher then 7.0 and is usually 6.3 for the last 4 years). And, he is now adding new things into his diet. Not much, and small bits, but we are making progress.

So, my advice and support would be, once you are getting a of balance of protein and complex carbs in his diet, then roll with it. He does need good nutrition and stay away from junk food. Hopefully, the chicken nuggets suggested work. And, there are crumbs that are gluten free that hopefully will taste the same in your meatballs. There is a recent thread reviewing crumbs that may be helpful.

I would take it has a positive that he wanted an apple and not some highly processed, highly refined processed food. And, eventually, he will be willing to try new things.

Good luck!

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I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but if he's a super taster, the "try what's offered" approach may not work. Just like we don't all see colors the same way (some people are color blind, visual artists can usually resolve significantly more colors, etc.), we don't taste the same foods the same way. Through a number of years (about a decade) my husband and I have explored this one a little - as he is a super taster, and I'm not. There are plenty of things that he *won't* eat. Period. No, not even to try. Because trying them is too horrible to consider, taste-wise. And after hearing him describe the same apple I was eating as a little bitter, and not pleasant, I can see how he would get that, if he's really tasting bitter compounds much more sensitively than I am.

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I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but if he's a super taster, the "try what's offered" approach may not work. Just like we don't all see colors the same way (some people are color blind, visual artists can usually resolve significantly more colors, etc.), we don't taste the same foods the same way. Through a number of years (about a decade) my husband and I have explored this one a little - as he is a super taster, and I'm not. There are plenty of things that he *won't* eat. Period. No, not even to try. Because trying them is too horrible to consider, taste-wise. And after hearing him describe the same apple I was eating as a little bitter, and not pleasant, I can see how he would get that, if he's really tasting bitter compounds much more sensitively than I am.

That's a good point, Tiffany. Children especially have a pronounced sense of bitter which diminishes as they get older. If that child is a "super taster" then that sense of bitter may be even stronger. I wouldn't be surprised if that is my son's case, especially since he has such a sensitive, observant and detail-oriented personality (he doesn't like apples either.) :)

Michelle

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Elaine -

I don't believe young children are picky eaters for no reason, especially if it started since he was a baby. There is usually a reason why young children refuse foods, like one poster mentioned Aspergers, but it could be a lot of other issues. Given the family history you mentioned, most likely what you're looking at is a hidden food allergy or that he also has celiac/gluten intolerance.

Another poster mentioned their child had celiac and was a picky eater.. She theorized it was because the child knew the food was making her sick but didn't know which foods. Which might be your son's problem.

I would look into testing your son for food allergies/intolerances and maybe pushing for gluten-free diet for a while til you figure things out.

I am a bit old fashioned as another poster and don't believe in creating separate meals for each family member. Maybe spaghetti with two different pastas if needed for allergy concerns, but generally the same food for all. It saves on the stress, and you have enough on your plate.

I would try getting him to taste each food. Just a small bite. If he doesn't like it, absolutely doesn't like it. Write it down and any brands of things you used to make the item. If he throws up, write it down. There is a reason for his madness. Its just finding out what it is. Search your notes for commonalities, it may take a while, but you should find at least one. Also look at the foods he insists on eating, as he may have developed a food allergy addiction as well.

Some kids don't like things because of textures and what not, that they eventually grow out of.. but with the history of food intolerances, its best to have it checked out now.

Also keep in mind to let him have choice over whether to eat or not (make him taste a bite, but let him know he has a choice not to eat more or to never eat it again) Food often becomes a control issue, especially for children with food intolerances/allergies. Since foods often make them feel out of control, controlling their food becomes a way to cope with it. Sometimes if you honor their opinions and involve them in the food making process, they'll open up to eating more things because they'll feel that they have more control/invested.

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That's a good point, Tiffany. Children especially have a pronounced sense of bitter which diminishes as they get older. If that child is a "super taster" then that sense of bitter may be even stronger. I wouldn't be surprised if that is my son's case, especially since he has such a sensitive, observant and detail-oriented personality (he doesn't like apples either.) :)

lol :) my husband usually likes apples (sweet and crunchy), but only certain varieties.

if it helps at all, what we've done to expand my husband's diet, slowly, is to both try to better understand what it is that bothers him. i can even predict a few things that will bother him now! it's a looong process, because it requires thinking about foods in ways that you don't experience them, and i think he participated more because he didn't want me to try to make him taste food he wouldn't like, than any real desire to expand his diet. :lol: the other thing that helps is that, while i do ask him to try new foods, i try to not only first be very confident that he'll have a chance of liking them, but also he only tries it on days that he's feeling up to trying new foods, and knows that i'll respect that.

i know it's different with a very young child, but i sorta sympathize with the picky children, because my husband was labeled a 'picky eater' for so long, that the phrase kinda annoys him these days. he's not picky because he wants to be, he's picky because most things taste really nasty to him! (even perfectly ripe tomatoes, the nice and sweet ones, are too acidic to him! heck, you should have seen the thoroughly disgusted look on his face after kissing me shortly after i had eaten chocolate! :D ) we also play around a lot with varying cooking methods (which can help a lot), and spices. and sometimes, it's just fascinating to have him try to describe what something tastes like - translate is from his taste buds to something i can imagine - especially if we've both just eaten it.

anyway... i ramble. i hope things work out and you and he can expand his diet over time. there's so much wonderful advice on dealing with keeping small children well fed, i hope i can remember it if i have kids. :)

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I have been praying about this a lot.

I am thinking that right now, since we are getting blood work done probably Thursday I am going to give him his regular meals with the least amount of gluten possible (like make his regular chicken nuggets but give him gluten-free fries and fruit , give him toned down on the gluten meatballs and tinkyada pasta) and at dinner make the issue about trying the new food. Every meal cannot be a major battle for both of us or we'll both wind up in crazy and sick, which can't be a good thing either.

After the test results, either way, we will probably go to elimination but hopefully (praying really hard here), he'll be eased onto some of the gluten-free nuggets and more used to my gluten-free meatballs.

My next game plan is that I will just feed him gluten-free nuggets and meathballs at every meal if I have to, and to pack PB&J on rice crackers or rice cakes in his lunch (hopefully he'll be eating this way by then). If he eats the same things then he will eat the same things and I can't kill myself over it. Hopefully as his tastes develop, he will eat more and I will just keep on offering it.

I really think it is too stressful for him to take it all away at once, with his temperment.

This game plan is subject to change at any notice :) but that is what I am going with right now.

Thanks so much to everyone for all their thoughtul input. I'll keep you posted! :)

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My kids are pretty good eaters, but my son would not touch a veggie for a long time (and he is only 3 so he just started eating veggies recently). It would bother me, but I decided not to make a big deal out of it. I just kept offering him veggies and he kept feeding them to the dog (she loves veggies). Finally he started eating carrots. And then (6 months after eating carrots) he started eating broccoli. Now those are the only two veggies he will eat, but I still offer him others. I think sometimes making a big deal out of eating makes things worse. I would just back off for a while and see what happens. Good luck!

btw, my mom said she was a very picky eater as a kid, but now she eats pretty much everything. Some people do grow out of it.

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