Lee

Help with a fussy eater please

Recommended Posts

Hi, this isn't Lee I am his wife Ke'ala I couldn't be bothered making an account so thought I would use Lee's. Our 8 year old nephew has been living with us whilst his mom is undergoing treatment, when he first came to live with us he refused to eat anything I cooked but we didn't think he would be staying with us too long and his mom was unwell so we wanted to make him happy. We let him eat whatever he wanted, which was never healthy food it was always pizza, burgers and sweets. Now he has been with us for 4 months and it looks like he will be with us for a while longer so I think we need to get him eating good food. His mom told me he ate whatever she cooked for him all the time, she gave me a recipe for a shepherds pie and vegetables that he likes, I cooked it for him but he said he didn't like it and I gave in and cooked him a pizza. My husband and I don't have any children so we haven't had to deal with a child refusing to eat healthy or at least diverse food. Do you have any advice to convince my nephew to eat different food ? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let him have a say via things like: 

-Help pick out things in the grocery store/cook book to make.  If he wants a pizza, he can have ONE pizza for the week- let him put it in the cart and then put rest of the things in there.  Once he eats that one pizza it's gone and we have to eat rest of the food.

-Have him help cook.  It gives him a sense of ownership.

- If he picks 2 things to eat for dinner (like 2 sides), he has to eat one.  He can pick which one.

- Small portions.  Small = TINY.  And otherwise leave the plate empty.  It's less intimidating.

-The "no thank you" bite technique. 

-Don't cave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lee Dear Ke’ala. I am sorry that I have no advice but I DO sympathize. A relative of mine adopted from China and the baby refused to eat. In desperation, we took baby to Chinese markets and showed her food. We held fruits and vegetables up to her. Eventually she expressed mild interest in some Chinese fruits. A relative suggested sardines. These two foods were lifesavers.

I am not sure how old this child is but, can he read and understand ingredients? If so, how about a game in which he goes to the supermarket and selects some healthy food? One fruit, one vegetable?

Things some kids like: scrambled eggs, fried egg sandwich.

If worse comes to worst, buy small crusts and make your own pizza? Just some tomato sauce and cheese.

How about home made tacos or tortillas? Assemble at table.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, zil said:

What ever happened to the good old days when your parents gave you the choice between eating what they offered and going hungry?  Eventually, hunger will drive one to eat what's offered.

I was raised like that, my husband suggested doing that with our nephew but I don't feel comfortable letting someone's child go hungry when their care has been entrusted to us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Lee said:

I was raised like that, my husband suggested doing that with our nephew but I don't feel comfortable letting someone's child go hungry when their care has been entrusted to us.

IMO, unless the kid has known dietary problems (e.g. diabetes), or is suspected of having them, it's not going to do him any harm.  We fast two meals regularly (or are asked to) and don't die from it.  (It actually takes a long time to die of starvation.)  The kid will give in pretty quick, I'd guess.  But you're the ones who have to make the decisions.

Meanwhile, I actually like liver now.  And broccoli.  And zucchini bread.  Being made to cave (one way or another - those were three different ways for me), isn't a bad thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, zil said:

What ever happened to the good old days when your parents gave you the choice between eating what they offered and going hungry?  Eventually, hunger will drive one to eat what's offered.

We did this; it is exactly what I was going to suggest!

My children are always invited to tell me exactly which foods we prepare that they like or don't like.  When they do, we make note of it in consideration for the frequency with which we prepare that meal, if ever again, and they are aware we do this.  However, they also know that they have only two real choices: eat it for dinner, or eat it for breakfast.  We do not give them a different meal until they have eaten their food.  Each of our children have only tested us on the dinner/breakfast thing one, or at most two times.  They learned how things work very quickly.

We also give our children small portions so that they will always end up asking for seconds when they really like the food, but will have just enough that they will finish it and be sufficiently full if they don't like it.

The area where our children lose (or win) the most is that we cook one giant meal each week and all of us eat it for dinner for 7 days in a row.  This is both a time saver and a money saver!

As a foster parent, I have been told and trained time and time again that this does not work with all children.  Also, foster parents are not permitted by the state where I live to allow any child to go without a meal regardless of the child's behavior or unwillingness to eat what the foster family serves. I highly disagree with that rule, however, so far our rules have worked with all of our children who are adopted and old enough to recognize foods they like and don't like.  The younger children who's adoption is not yet final have followed suit from the older children.  We have not given them any alternative option, but also have never been forced to do so, because they have eaten their food according to our rules.  We have never informed any of our children of the foster care rule about food so as to protect ourselves from possible intentional manipulation.

One thing that we had going for us that @Lee and his wife do not, is that although all of our children came from bad backgrounds of abuse, we always enforced this rule from day one.  Children are intelligent enough to frequently use their negative circumstances to manipulate adults around them.  One of our children would cry for her mother every time we asked her to do something she didn't want to do.  That lasted all of two weeks as she caught on that we would give her space to cry as needed, but she would always still have to do what we asked of her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Jane’s suggestions. Keep it simple, give a couple food choices, have him help prep or cook it, and he eats it or he won’t. I would keep in mind too that it must be hard on a child to be separated from his mum, and could be dealing with some distress manifesting through eating habits. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now