Feeding help! Am I a short order cook??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Audrey, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    Since birth, difficult child has been what we originally called "picky". About two years ago, he was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) (which has since folded into Asperger's). So, we realized then that his self-limiting food choices were more about texture, smell than anything else.

    It is to the point now where he is limiting himself to only about six or seven different foods. And very particular ones at that. Mac & Cheese, fish sticks, noodles, chips/crackers, bread and jelly. Occasionally peanut butter. He will eat breakfast cereals.

    All carbs! All dairy! He'll drink milk all day if I let him and sometimes fruit juice if I say "no" to milk.

    I know that there is a theory on the girlfriend/CF diet that this type of self-limiting food choices is a result of the desire for the gluten/casein. I am willing to accept that as a possibility.

    So...my question is this. Do I make him whatever he wants to eat for dinner when we're having something else? Or, do I serve him what we're eating and if he doesn't eat, well then he doesn't eat?

    I'm not ready to throw our whole family on the girlfriend/CF diet yet without more research and talking to his pediatrician first.

    Thanks for any tips!
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    At that age, I would opt to fix him something I know he'll eat along with side of what the rest of the family is having. In a few years when he's able to do it himself, I'd turn the job over to him if he's still rejecting your meal choices. FWIW, cereal isn't all that bad of a meal substitute as far as nutrition goes. Majority of them are fortified, have whole grains now, and when served with milk are a fairly decent meal. If he'll eat pnut butter, then let him have it -- it's a cheap source of protein for kids. But I'd only buy the all-natural type you have to mix and not the ones that are e-z spread and full of stuff he doesn't need.

    You don't want food to become a battle ground.
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    As the mother of an almost 14 year old, picky eater, and an 11 year old vegetarian (in a family of meat eaters), I vote for do not make him his own dinner.

    I started making my now 11 year old her own dinner when she was the only one girlfriend. Since she wanted to be a vegetarian, I made her meals vegetarian. Pretty soon, we were all eating girlfriend/CF, but now she still won't eat meat. Eating vegetarian can be healthy so I didn't discourage it as much as I wish I had.

    Then there is the picky one. I have never made her her own meal, but I think I did go too far in making things I thought she would eat as a toddler. I wish I had just made what I wanted to eat and then have her either eat it or not. She didn't like pizza at first because of the sauce but I wasn't going to give up my takeout pizza so she had to make do. Now, she will eat pizza, but she still won't put sauce on her spaghetti. It is a little hard to say she has to eat what I make when her sister is eating something different so I let her get her own food if she doesn't like what I make. She eats a lot of frozen hamburgers. And the funny part is, she will complain about eating the same thing over and over! She is starting to eat new foods when she is out with friends so there is hope.

    At 5, your son could make his own pb sandwich, get his own fish sticks ready for the oven, etc. if he wanted something different. If you were willing to let him.

    From my own experience with the girlfriend/CF diet, I think there is some truth in the fact that we crave what we shouldn't have. I used to eat the entire bread basket myself in restaurants and I do have a problem with gluten. On a few occasions, I have accidently had some cookies with gluten (due to cross contamination) and something about those cookies had me eating them uncontrollably. They didn't really taste that good but there was a certain addictive quality to them. I later realized that they must have had gluten in them because all 3 of us had our gluten reaction. My kids have to be CF so I am mostly CF but I can eat dairy if I want to. I have never been one of those people that craved cheese or ice cream though. My kids, though, who react to small amounts of dairy, crave cheese and ice cream.

    We've been on the girlfriend/CF diet for almost 4 years now. It has made my oldest into a easy child unless she cheats on her diet. I was always stressed out, OCDish, tired, and irritable before I tried the diet. I only tried it because I was going to do it with my kids. I planned to eat whatever I wanted when I went out to eat, but it made such a difference that I never willingly eat something with gluten. I doubt your pediatrician will be supportive, but you never know. Our pediatrician is tolerant after the fact, but I didn't ask her before we did it. My younger daughter's GI doctor was disapproving but we don't need her any more since the GI issues went away with the diet.

    Do the research, but the only way you will know if it will work for you is to try it. It's not that bad and it might be a wonderful thing.:D
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This sort of picky eating is very much part of being five. The other things play a part, but many normal kids are like this also at five.

    I would allow him to make a sandwich or bowl of cereal AFTER he has tried a bite of everything you are serving. Then let HIM make the sandwich or cereal and wipe up any spills.

    There will be so many other battles, don't pick this one. It just isn't worth it, in my opinion.
  5. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    Problem is, he refuses to try anything that isn't on his "list." Literally refuses. He'd rather go without a meal if it means he won't have to take a "no thank you" bite as we call it. I know that picky eating is part of being five (I've had three other pickies! lol) but this is different. He literally gags on certain textures, so we don't offer those.

    I'm leaning more towards giving the kid what I know he'll eat just to get nutrition into him!
  6. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    My difficult child is 7 and has a very similar list of foods. He also is incapable of the "no thanks" bite and would rather go hungry than do that. I do think what you are describing goes beyond typical 5 yo pickiness. The sensory aspect is very real.

    I have discussed this with difficult child's pediatrician, psychologist, and my own therapist. The consensus was not to pick a fight about it. Let it be and have him take a multivitamin.

    So, here's how I deal with it: He can have something from his "approved" list, but I choose what it is. I choose whatever is closest to what the rest of us are eating mainly because that is just the easiest thing to do. Also, I can make sure his diet is as balanced as possible by rotating through his list. When I think there is something he really can tolerate, I make him have the "no thanks" bite. And, often, I'm right. He can tolerate it. But, sometimes I am wrong.

    And, one more thing, our pediatrician said that difficult child's diet isn't that bad since it doesn't include a lot of transfat or candy. His diet is limited, but at least it doesn't have a lot of bad stuff in it.
  7. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    I can see both sides here. I for one am a picky eater, wouldn't eat so much of what my mom served. I know now I can not stand to eat soft foods, I really need to masticate with my food. It took me moving out of my parent's house, moving to a multi-cultural city, making my own food and going out often to realize that there is actually a lot of food I like, just not my moms! Her's is underspiced, bland, american. I need flavor (not the same as hot spicy, just well flavored). husband and daughter are both vegitarians, eating occasional fish. I don't like fish. What does one do right? We adapt. I make lots of stuff that feeds us, we all like, and it's nutritous. If I want meat, I make it on the side. I often have beans in one dish, meat in another and use the same base meal for both or in combo (like tacos, salad, etc).

    So for your child, figure out the texture he likes. If he likes Mac & Cheese, make real mac and cheese, not Kraft and that's the entire family's dinner with a salad and veggie. You can even hide pureed veggies in that. If he likes PB&J, try PB & Celery next, or try honey or agave. Cut things out into cute shapes or use bento boxes. Get some vegitarian options like Trader Joes corn dogs or morningstar chiken nuggest, not processed meat that ALWAYS has a weird texture.

    My daughter loves ramen. As horrible as it is, it's easy. I make it and put a bunch of peas in there (peas are a protien). Will he eat eggs? My daughter seems to only want to eat hard boiled ones, sometimes scrambled.

    Rice Chex is gluten free, try stocking girlfriend cereals first because they're fairly easy to get these days. Definitly cut down on the carbs. Encourage more fruits, veggies, nuts & whole grains. Does he like olives, they're full of good fat.

    For my daughter, if I'm serving something like pasta or enchiladas that have sauce on it she doens't want, I know this already, so I put something on the side for her unspiced. It's easy to do, she's still eating the same as the family.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'm a picky eater, and also have sensory related food issues - so, both.

    I will not eat any vegetable cooked. BLECK - both the texture and the smell! They literally make me gag. If difficult child likes crunchy things - since he likes chips and crackers - try raw, crunchy veggies.

    Since he likes fish sticks, try chicken strips. Or, MorningStar Farms makes vegetarian "meat" (in the freezer section) and their "Chik'n Nuggets" are *really* good and really good for you. As a texture sensitive person, they are very palatable.

    Just a couple of ideas...I have more, but my brain is only on 1/2 power today. When they come to me, I'll come back. :tongue:
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I was a picky eater as a kid and have very strong memories of what it was like to be made to eat what everyone else was eating, when it was something I hated. Also, we were poor and my mother would 'hide' certain foods or disguise them. I learnt to be very distrustful of stews and soups. There are some foods (such as brawn) which I refuse to touch to this day. I have horrible memories of cold, wobbly, burnt rice pudding "I cut the burnt bits off, you can hardly taste it" or of sour milk, when my nose could tell if the milk was sour and my mother insisted it was perfectly alright even when you could see it curdling.

    However, my faddiness is nothing compared to the kids'.

    I've said before in another thread - if you try to clash heads with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) child, YOU WILL LOSE. Avoid confroontation, do not engage in any battle you're not certain you will win.
    Find another way around. It can be done.

    What we have done - we give way on food choices, when it's texture-related (or clerly Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) in some form). This meant that we had several combinations of Jack Spratt and his wife - difficult child 3 wont touch anything with acreamy texture, easy child 2/difficult child 2 won't eat anything that ISN'T creamy. She won't eat anything with "bits" in it. Unless they are choc bits. So I stopped making biscuits because easy child 2/difficult child 2 would make such a loud fuss about my bisucits with nuts, that nobody else would eat them either and they would go stale.

    So we've had separate meals for the kids to a certain extent, because it has been easier. In these modern days of freezers and microwave ovens, it really isn't too difficult to have a range of choices for each person.

    However, long-term tis isn't good for them. Plus when we were travelling, it was more of a hassle.
    So the trick began for us with SIL1, when we were all travelling around NZ two and a half years ago. It was winter, cold and comfort food was t he order of the day. NZ food tends to be sweeter, about 50% good quality meat and the rest is fresh vegetables of various sweeter varieties, especially kumara. The Asians eat rice, the Kiwis eat kumara.
    difficult child 3 wanted bolognese. He would live on it if he could. He eats it as spaghetti bolognese, he has his own version of nachos he makes with it. He will eat roast chicken but without gravy. He will eat salad sandwiches (although they're not really a winter food).

    But here we were in a different country and half the fun is trying different food. We explained this to difficult child 3, explained that we were exploring the food of the country as much as the places to look at and some of the things he was refusing, he was risking missing out on a treat. Why not try this local chocolate? What about sampling the local honey?
    We would go out to eat at a restaurant, and we really didn't have a lot of control over what exactly they did with the food. Between us, we managed. difficult child 3 would generally try to order chicken nuggets because that was just about all he would eat.

    But it was SIL1's genius that helped. Armed by a bribe (usually the promise of difficult child 1's favourite dessert - vanilla ice cream scoops with strawberry or chocolate sauce) we would ask difficult child 3 to taste something. He only had to have a tiny taste, not a mouthful. Far less than a bite. In case he didn't like it we had a glass of what he liked to drink, ready. So if he really hated it, he could take a quick swig of his drink and rinse his mouth out with it (swallow, not spit).

    The rule was - have a taste. have a sip of your drink if you don't like it.
    NOW - tell us what you liked about it, and what you didn't like about it. Say three things about it. Think about what you need to say.

    WHat this was getting round, was the automatic "I don't like it!" from difficult child 3, simply because something was new or different. We were careful to not insist he taste something that was on the "banned because of texture" list.

    The outcome - difficult child 3 began trying more foods, especially once he realised that SIL1 was going to insist; that he (difficult child 3) didn't have to have a full bite but just a small taste; that talking about what he liked or disliked about something was OK and actually quite helpful.

    By the time we got to a cheese factory on South Island, difficult child 3 was willing to try the cheeses. We knew to avoid the softer cheeses but asked him to try the various cheddar styles. We know difficult child 3 happens to like strongly flavoured sharp cheeses so we directed him to those and he discovered that trying new things can be fun. He also discovered that his personal ban on creamy textures could be ignored for things like fudge. So he began to taste test various fudges, and asked us to buy fudge.

    Further outcome - by the end of the trip, difficult child 3 was ordering meals in the rstaurant with a discussion with the waiter. "I don't want anything creamy, I also don't want mashed potato or mashed kumara; what do you recommend?" and after negotiation, being served the largest meal in the house - a steak overflowing the plate covering up roast vegetables (including roast kumara) and some chips (aka fat fries) and some green beans. SIL1 had the same steak but with a mushrooom sauce - difficult child 3 had negotiated away the mushroom sauce because he doesn't like mushrooms and doesn't like sauces.
    difficult child 3 ate the lot, and still had room for his ice cream!

    Oh, and favourite drink got changed too - difficult child 1 discovered lemon, lime and bitters in NZ. He'd tasted his sister's and realised he liked it a lot. Now he orders it every time we eat out.

    So the trick is - get him to have a tiny taste, with a drink handy to wash away any tastes he doesn't like, and then talk about what he liked or didn't like about what he tasted.

    That information he gives you can also be valuable. It's also valuable for him, because he gets in touch with his own reasons for liking/not liking something.

  10. ML

    ML Guest

    Whatever you do, I'd definitely start teaching him his way around the kitchen lol! Hang in there, mom. I guess I'm inclined to compromise and cook him something different in the meantime. Hugs of support, ML