Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Picky Eater

We were making such good progress with Nicole. Most nights, she would eat some, if not all of her dinner and it was often new or different food for her (i.e. not mac and cheese or hotdogs). We were even convincing her to eat broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and carrots for dinner (usually cooked into a dish, not as a side). And then, the stomach flu happened.

Nicole got the stomach flu last week and started throwing up everything for three days! I thought that she was going to starve because she kept refusing food for three days. We were able to get her to drink gaterade, but beyond that, her diet was graham crackers and popcorn (the ONLY thing she would eat).

If you don't have a picky eater, you may not know this, but you CANNOT force them to eat. People tell me all the time, "Oh, you just need to force them to eat." Or, "Just don't let them leave the table until they have eaten." Or, "If they are hungry enough, they will eat what you give them." This is entirely untrue when it comes to Nicole.

She will scream and cry and throw a fit if we try to put something in her mouth that she doesn't want there. If we get it in, she immediately sticks her hand in her mouth to get the food out, then she gags herself with her fingers and throws up. We have also tried waiting her out, letting her sit at the table for over an hour after we are all done eating. Let me tell you, she can wait longer than us. Plus, she screams the whole time she is there and the screaming and the crying really get to me. And, Nicole will not eat, even if she is hungry, she will just go hungry and get more and more upset (crying, yelling, throwing fits) the longer that she waits to eat. She will even go to bed hungry, and then wake up at 2am crying for food (which she still won't eat).

Yesterday, she finally started asking for food again after many days of the stomach flu, so we tried to get her back on her eating schedule that we had her on before the flu. But, it seems that catering to her every food whim while she was sick has set us back and I feel like we are starting over. She WOULD NOT eat the burritos that I made for dinner last night (just beans, cheese, and ground beef). Burritos were on her list of foods that she would actually eat, so I thought it would be a safe dinner, but no.

We fought with her at the table for an hour, trying all the tricks we usually use to try and get her to eat (incentives, asking nicely, having baby Daniel at the table for her to show him how to eat, ect...), but none of our tactics worked. So, she went to bed hungry.

I am beyond frustrated with this stupid picky eater thing! I spend so much time carefully planning dinners that contain food she likes, while integrating healthy foods. I spend so much time researching picky eater tips and recipes on the internet on how we can get her to eat and she is still as belligerent as ever.

Most kids LIKE to eat! Eating is a reward, it is fun, it is something they love to do. But, in the Kimball household, we dread meal-time because we know, that no matter what we bring to her, it will be a fight for every single bite. Even if it is a food she has eaten before, even if it is a food she loves, even if it is desert! We have to fight her to eat delicious things like cake and ice cream!

Additionally, Nicole has food allergies, so we also have to be careful what we feed her. We have switched to organic milk and eggs to try and alleviate some of her digestion issues from her allergies and I always plan meals around what she can eat.

Eating away from home is even more of a pain than eating at home. We always have to bring her meal with us because it is 95% likely that she will not eat food from another person's house. Why? I do not know.

Anyway, it is back to the beginning for me with Nicole's picky eating habits. What am I cooking for dinner tonight? I'm going to try chicken fried rice (which she has had before and liked) we shall see how it goes.


Laura said...

Nicole is a much pickier eater than you were when you were little. Be patient, kids often grow out of their picky eating ways. It may take a few years but it will happen. She may also have some texture issues. Some kids don't like the textures of certain foods. I was also a picky eater when I was a kid and look at me now!

In any case, you are a good mommy. You are doing the best that you can. Nicole will not starve. Things will get better. Continue to be loving and patient.

Adrianne Miller said...

Jack is way picky too. Like he lives off of goldfish crackers. Vegtables are never in his body. It makes me worry but our doctor said just keep offering it. It's just a phase. HOPEFULLY!

Jasmine said...

I wish I could offer advice, but I have no experience in this area. One thing that came to mind while reading your thoughts, though, is have you tried letting her help you prepare the meal? Maybe that might help get her excited about eating it. I's just an idea that popped into my head, so it may not work, but it might be worth a shot. Good luck!

Marie said...


Becky said...


You are right, that is a good idea, one that I actually have already implemented. She actually helps cook most of the meals. She has a chair that we put up to the counter and we always give her a task to help with cooking. It increases the chances of her eating what is made, but it still is no guarantee. But, it is a good exercise for picky eaters.

We also let Nicole grow her own garden this year. She planted the seeds, she waters it and she helps pick the vegetables. But, it has not enticed her to eat the vegetables. I got this idea off of a picky eater website, but it has not yet worked for us.