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Afraid of him not eating

Hi Leanne, I have a nearly 4yo son who will not eat anything apart from noodles, chicken nuggets, spaghetti bol, hot chips, sausages and maybe a little bit of fish and he only eats fish cause dad goes out fishing and catches it. We have now just started to put him into bed hungry while we sit down and eat out dinner, he says everything is disgusting. After about day 3 or 4 with not eating dinner I cave in as I`m afraid of him not eating. I try to have sausages and spag bol during the week but every week gets a little boring, I do freeze left over spag bol for him and give that to him when we are eating something different, but I dont know if I am making the matter worse. He used to eat everything, all fruit, vegetables, yoghurt he had a fantastic diet. Just to get that little bit fussier, he will only eat red rooster chips, no other chips from anywhere will he eat. He also tries to eat alot during the day after lunch time which has only just stated to happen, so I`m thinking that is him knowing that if I cook something he doesn`t like he wont go to bed with nothing in his tummy. Any advice you could give would be wonderful. Thank you Karlie.

Answer: Hi karlie, I really do know how you feel; I have a fussy eater who is still going strong at almost 5. I have written a fact sheet on fussy eating on Huggies in the Feeding Baby section (see tip box below and link from the article) and just released a fussy eating book also to help mums. Its really common that fussy eaters have a fairly narrow list of foods they will eat, but sometimes you can offer them these things in slightly different ways which allows you to add in bits disguised, so try altering the spag bol and give meat balls or homemade burgers, adding an egg for protein, or grate in different vegies or alternate from lamb mince, beef mince and see if he would eat chicken mince (I use organic chicken personally), some butchers sell meat and veg sausages and you could also look at making some of your own if you are keen, try different noodles (egg, soda, udon etc), see if he falls for coloured pasta in the shape of numbers and letters, try making some chicken nuggets and adding peeled grated zuchinni or other white`ish veg, see what he thinks of sweet potato chips. There is also a book called the Big Mouth Book (web site of same name) that has been having some success with fussy eating. Don’t worry about trying to go cold turkey so to speak, I would offer him what you think and if he doesn’t eat it that’s okay, just follow-up a bit later with a piece of cheese or some yoghurt etc as a small snack. My son does the same, pesters me for continual food after kindy and I have finally cottoned on that it is his back up in case he is given a dinner not quite to his liking. And while this stage does pass, to be honest it often takes some time in reality, but it will. In the meantime I think one of the best things you can do is to get the good stuff in anyway possible. Keep on with hiding food, I do scones with grated veg (ie pumpkin and cheese), I grate peeled zucchini into scrambled egg (you can`t see it in there) and so on. One of the best things about doing this is that you can ultimately relax and go with it. They tend to eat better the less you place emphasis on the issue and a happy mum is a happy family. Keep offering him all the good stuff (albeit small amounts) and involving him in food, sometimes they surprise you. Also, check out the Practical Tips in my first answer at the top of this page too. I hope some of this helps. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Nov 2007