July 12, 2011

picky picky

We've talked about it before.  Ryann is a picky eater.  She eats lots of different fruits like it's her job.  She loves peanut butter crackers and peanut butter toast.  Actually almost all forms of crackers are approved of.  And sweets, especially ice cream and sherbet.  Those are really big winners (she is my daughter, what can I say?).  But veggies and protein we are having a seriously tough time with.

Last week I made two dinners, a delicious sausage and vegetable pasta for Chris and I, and a veggie pizza (based off this recipe) for Ryann.  She wouldn't eat either.  I made some muffins (based off this recipe) that even though they were a touch burnt on the bottom, were actually pretty good for a healthy muffin.  No dice.  I will go to all sorts of crazy lengths to make her healthy meals, if I just knew she would eat them!  I mean check out this semi cute little lunch:


A fruit cup, some veggie pizza sticks and little sandwich pieces cut in to the shape of letters she loves.  Nothing crazy or weird, stuff Chris and I actually deem worth eating.  She ate some of the fruit and refused everything else.

I'm starting to freak out a bit, because I plan on signing her up for a mother's day out program, where I'll have to pack her lunch.  Currently the only thing she will eat at lunchtime (most of the time) are veggie tots.  But I'm pretty sure no one is going to bake her tots or nuggets for lunch there.  So I need to find some things that she will eat.  I know it is only one day a week, but lets be honest, I'm sick of cooking her veggie tots here too.

So please tell me, what are your toddlers eating?  Are they willing to try new foods (Ryann usually is NOT)?  Do they eat a well balanced diet or are you supplementing with some sort of vitamins?

I've checked out sites such as weelicious and wholesome baby food, but I'm looking for tips/tricks/recipes from you guys.  You're always very helpful! 


Mrs. MidAtlantic said...

I'm lucky in that Laura's pretty good with her fruits and veggies... but have you tried the Dr. Praeger's veggie pancakes? They are in the freezer aisle with the vegetarian options.

They must be broiled (I use the toaster) for like 16 minutes - for reals. But they taste good and reheat in a microwave nicely. I cook them at night, then pack them for her daycare lunch!

kyna... said...

Ah, you are in the same boat I am in! Ellie will only eat about 2 different fruits, and 2 veggies, and even those are hit or miss depending on the day! I feel like all I do at dinner time is get up to warm something else up for her since she will RARELY eat what I offer her the first one or two times around and she will RARELY eat what I cooked for my hubby and I! (Another one of those "I will nevers"....I will never cook special food for my child. She WILL eat what we eat...ha ha ha! Yeah right!)

Ellie will always eat a turkey meatball, so we are constantly feeding her those. They aren't super bad for her (they have a bit more sodium than I would like, but hey, it's protein). And as much as I HATE feeding her processed, packaged foods, she really loves those Gerber turkey stew things with veggies and rice (they are in microwavable soup containers with a blue lid). I also get the pasta that has vegetables added to the noodles. She doesn't get a lot of veggies this way, but it's better than nothing!

If you discover any other tricks, please let me know! I am always looking for the answer to the picky eater dilemma!

♥ Kyna

Music said...

Have you tried smoothies? You can add veggies to them, to give good servings of both fruits and vegetables.

My daughter isn't a big fan of green veggies on their own, but if I sautee them and add them to cottage cheese, she's happy to chow down on them.

Beans (rinsed from cans, or made from scratch) have a lot of protein and are easy finger foods. My daughter loves kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.

And don't forget hummus, which is yummy (you can also put it on crackers or bread) and healthy!

Mrs. D said...

First of all, I think that her meal looks AMAZING & super creative, so you're definitely not lacking anything there!

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this & I really look forward to seeing what others suggest. Claire really isn't a big fan of veggies OR protein & it worries me since she'll be weaning from bottles soon!

Good luck, momma!!

Kelli said...

We are in the same boat and I hate it, except mine hates all fruits and veggies but loves meat, ugh, I hate going through all the trouble to make something and she won't take one bite, I don't know what to do if she won't even try it, so you are not alone

Lindsay said...

I have found with my son, if he snacks alot on goldfish or arrowroot crackers, he will refuse his next meal.
I try not to let him have little snacks unless he absolutely starving!
He might have a big fit, but he will eat a full meal the next time he is offered it.
(I don't starve him! He eats a bottle and cereal for breakfast, fruit cup for mid-morning snack, full lunch of sweet potatoes, peas & carrots, plus dessert, then another little snack (maybe some Puffs) in the late afternoon, then a bottle and some supper of veggies n pasta, water and some cream corn or peas, then he will have another bottle before bed)
We just recently let him have the crackers and hes been refusing full meals since.
He is 9 months old and weighs 22 pounds!
Hope this helps:)

wallacefamilyblog said...

We are in the same boat because all Morgan seems to want to eat is blueberry waffles, watermelon, canteloupe and sometimes mashed potatoes. I used to put peas in mashed potatoes and she would eat it but now shes figured it out. Looking forward to any tips and tricks to get Morgan to eat better also!

Kelly said...

Carter eats a lot of waffles, turkey dogs, and green smoothies. Not much variety. I think it's a toddler thing and they'll grow out of it eventually.

Lindsay said...

Noah's picky too! Some days he'll eat everything and the kitchen sink, other days nothing. You can always get goldfish crackers in him but that's hardly healthy. I think it's just the age, they're more interested in playing than in eating. We've found those pouches of baby food are novel enough to make him want to eat. The gogurt is usually a hit too.

Also, i give him a fork and let him do it himself. I can take the same piece of chicken that he refused mins before and offer it to him with a fork to do himself and he happily gobbles up. Silly babies..

Erin said...

That is a really cute lunch! I love the sandwich letters.

Annie is definitely not what would qualify as picky, but she definitely has her distinct preferences. I too have found that she'll eat a lot more off a fork if she's previously rejected it. Almost always we offer her the main course (veggies) first so she's most hungry. If I was planning on giving her something else anyway, like bread or fruit, she'll have that regardless of if she eats the veggies, but I always only offer the main dish first, no fruit or bread in sight, or she'll just eat that. If I wasn't planning on giving her anything else, then she's just done. She's been surprisingly okay without eating some nights - so I guess she just really wasn't hungry! I've read that toddlers truly need very little to stay satisfied - like a few bites.

Greek yogurt has a lot of protein, if she'll eat that. Smoothies are great too - Annie loves them, we put tons of spinach in there. Not sure what to suggest if she won't even eat muffins!

My blog friend just had a guest post asking for advice on picky eaters, you could check that for more advice:

Nikki said...

We are in the the same boat. Henry eats any form of cracker, PB, fruit, and the occasional chicken nugget. It's very frustrating.

Tania said...

My first two were not picky at all and only had a few foods that were hard to introduce. My third one is what I would qualify as a picky eater. An Italian who doesn't like pasta; imagine that.

But with any of my boys a lot of the issue was form. Like, was the broccoli cooked or raw? Was something chopped up fine enough? Did it look like what it was supposed to be?

If she rejects cooked vegetables try raw; maybe even with a little dip. This worked with my first son who loved broccoli this way. My third one doesn't really like cooked peas or corn but will go to town on them still frozen. My third one also isn't big on broccoli as a "big tree". When we chopped it up he seems to eat more.

I know this next idea is not the best but maybe a starting point. If she loves things like spaghetti with sauce try pureeing extra veggies into the sauce. Then maybe work your way up in chunkiness.

One gal even suggested trying to eliminate snacks altogether or at least close to meal time. Also a suggestion I have done myself.

But alas ladies my last thing to say you may or may not like. "You may just have to ride it out". I know it sucks and I can say it only because I too am still in the middle of a picky almost 2 year old. Most important thing you can probably do is just keep offering something they don't like every so often.

Meredith said...

My pedi said that toddlers this age actually need very little food and will consequently start becoming pickier eaters, but not to stress too much about it. One suggestion he had (though it is a little time intensive) was offering only one thing at a time--i.e. only put veggies on her plate for the first 10 minutes or so, and then move on to the next item...it may be that she requires less food, so she eats her favorites first and then is just plain full!

Other than that, I think the green smoothies are a great idea. Lizzy loves them!

Melissa said...

Hey. If she likes carb type stuff you could try vegetable breads. My daughter is fairly picky and she likes pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread. Also fruit breads (even though I know you said she eats fruit fine but I have also tried like a blueberry bread and a blueberry and strawberry one. I always use whole wheat flour to give them some extra fiber and I use a little less sugar than most recipes call for. Good luck! :)

My blog is private but if you give me your email I would still gladly add you. My daughter was born about three weeks after yours and I have followed you for a while :) adelinecatherine.blogspot.com

Tania said...

Meredith that is a great idea about one food at a time. My 4 1/2 year old nephew is with me sometimes and I have to do that to him. If I make the mistake of giving him everything at once the favorites are eaten first and not so much of everything else.