Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seriously Picky Eater

Well, I am coming out of the fog from Chemo last week. Treatment number 3 - I am halfway through my 6 treatment and managing fairly well. Anyway my big problem recently is my 3 year old who barely eats anything. Now this is the child who is allergic to wheat, egg, nuts, sesame, pea, banana, and coconut. That is a big list, and at first I thought I would never find anything for him to eat, but I have. There are plenty of options, I have searched for 2 years to find new things for him to eat. I can (and have) make any kid friendly food safe for him. Everything from pizza to mac n cheese and chicken nuggets. I have baked bread, muffins and cookies by the dozen. The problem is 9 times out of 10 he will not even try it! He is even starting to refuse some of the old staples he used to eat, like grilled cheese and organic chicken sausage. Thank goodness for enjoy Life Foods, he does eat their bagels, granola bars, and cookies; along with Van's wheat free waffles and Chex cereal. Forget about vegetables, he will only eat grape tomatoes and a few fruits on a good day. I have gotten him to eat some yogurt and cheese on occasion.
A couple of months ago I started giving him some Pediasure each day just to make sure he was getting is nutrients and some calories. Milk is thankfully not one of our allergies, and he loves it. However, he wants to drink milk all day. You all know how persistent a 3 year old can be when they want something. We are starting to have some serious battles. I would prefer that he eat some food rather than fill up on milk before meals. Tonight he shouted at me "I don't want food! I want milk." Well, he did not get it. My willpower was strong today. I gave him water. He drank it, but refused to eat and fell asleep on the couch without any dinner. (He was exhausted from a play date this afternoon)
I do not want to be fighting with him constantly about eating - the last thing I need is a toddler with an eating disorder. I know they say don't force it, they will eat when they are hungry. But, can you raise a child on breakfast food, fruit and 1 vegetable? The worst part is that I am loosing the incentive to make him any new foods. What is the point when it just ends up in the trash? I have considered seeing a nutritionist, but unless they can get him to actually put the food in his mouth, what is the point? Today I was cutting up fresh pineapple and he would not even lick it. There is just no reasoning.
My other 3 kids were fairly picky, but they did eat at least a small variety of foods and would taste some new things. Nothing like what I am dealing with now. Does anyone else have anything to offer here?


Kate said...


I read about your picky eater and I totally understand what you are saying. My 2 year old son is allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts, and on top of that he is a picky eater. He pretty much refuses every vegetable out there. And I am a single mom and spend alot of money trying different recipes or products out that I pray he might like but the majority of the time my efforts are unsuccessful. I put organic baby food veggies in his applesauce and chocolate soy pudding. I have also found on occasion if he is really into helping me cook and does things himself he is more willing to eat it. I take baby carrots and cook them until they are very soft. Then I put them in a large bowl while he watches more pour honey, dairy free butter and cinnamon on top. I then let him mash the carrots with a potato masher and will generally eat the eintire bowl. Also, I have taken Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes and added shredded veggies to the mix or the baby food again. I am also starting to put recipes up on my blog so maybe you can get some additional ideas.


Allergy Life In Loudoun said...

Try one of the deceptively delicious cookbooks - I picked up Jessica Seinfeld's book at the library to try some of her recipes. Now they are time consuming at first, but once you get the hang of steaming and pureeing a few favorites, it gets easier. I've bought the book now because there is some great nutritional advice specifically for children in the front from the Today Show's Nutritionist. Also, you should check out Juice Plus vitamins, all natural gummies with probiotics and no big allergens or cross contamination. I think C could have them, I'll double check and let you know.

FoodAllergyMom said...

Let's see...
Breakfast cereal is a grain and is fortified, one fruit and one veggie counts for fruits and vegetables, milk covers dairy and has protein...yup, he'll be OK. :)
You will hear this a hundred times and obviously you already know it but it bears repeating, toddlers are picky. I worry a lot about my kids too with all the food allergies and the teen being a vegetarian on top of it, but you can only do so much. Strange as this sounds maybe you should treat the milk like dessert, like "eat two more bites of meat and then you can have your milk" or "try one bite of everything on you plate and then You can have some milk". Have you tried smoothies? That's how I get soy into my teen. Anyway, the main thing is that unless he is showing signs of malnurishment he is fine. Keep up the good work. Someday they'll appreciate all we've done for them...right?

Allergy Mom said...

Have you tried holding off on the drink until after he eats his meal? That's what we do, and I understand that is standard practice in daycares and preschools to prevent the little guys from filling up on liquids.

My 5 y.o. son's favorites (from the healthy category) are canned mandarin oranges (not fresh!), soy yogurt, applesauce, grapes, and "noodles and peas," which is our version of mac & cheese due to dairy allergy. Another favorite is "banana crackers," which is simply pieces of graham cracker spread with sunbutter and topped with a slice of banana and a raisin. I also served him baby oatmeal with soymilk, sunbutter, and raisins stirred in for several years longer than I should have! Have you tried instant mashed potatoes? You can find good brands with almost nothing besides potato flakes in them.

I've read the advice about not pushing kids to eat what they don't want, too, but I finally set down the rule that my son has to try everything on his plate, even if he doesn't eat any more, and he simply doesn't get his soymilk or yogurt until he does so.

I hope you are feeling better. You are seriously amazing to be caring for your kids and managing food allergies while going through chemo. You have my absolute respect and best thoughts for recovery.