Food, should we or shouldn't we!?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lovelyboy, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Hi all
    I need advice please!
    Me and my son had a fight last night because he has become so limmited in his foods that he wants to eat that he didnt want to eat what I made for supper....
    He always ate the chicken I suddenly he doesnt want to eat it anymore....He used to love fish fingers, now he wont touch it...not even sausage....He will now only eat it if it was barbequed on the fire.
    He only wants to eat 2 minutes noodles, or chicken nugets or chicken patties for supper.....Ham and cheese for lunch and cereal for breakfast....He wil also eat eggs, some hamburgers, bacon and some potato wedges and certain type of fish. Thats it! I cant keep on making 2 sepperate menu's!
    Oh and he will eat rusks and bread....and off caurse sweets!
    He doesnt eat ANY veggies or fruit! He is becoming over weight!
    What do I do....Do I leave him to starve until he eats what we eat?
    Or do I say....ok some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids has limited food what they are willing to eat and give him chicken nuggets every evening!
    He wont settle for just trying one bite of something new! He is rigid in that thought!
    How far do I allow his rigidity in this matter and how far do I need to push!?
    Any suggestions.....Rewards and that kind of stuff wont work!
    I just want to know if I must give in to this behaviour or must I be firm and say that he eats what we eat or he can go to bed hungry.....
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There are a lot of differing opinions on this. Personally, no fruits or veggies meant no sweets here. At one point I got them totally out of the house until the kids ate them regularly. Wiz was furious, and picked a lot of fights, but I didn't give in much.

    Your son is almost 9. He is old enough to clean up after himself. Why not keep sweets/junk food to a minimum, make dinner and if he won't eat what is for dinner then he can make one of 2 things for himself and he must clean up after them completely - ALL the dishes and wiping up spills/microwave/toaster/whatever. My kids could make a sandwich, heat up leftovers from a previous night, or microwave something simple if they hated what I ate for dinner. Of course by 10 they were making dinner for the family once a week simply because I feel independence is healthy and it let them experience working hard to fix dinner and then having people refuse to eat it, make comments good and bad, etc......

    I felt we had enough problems that fighting over what the kids ate wasn't a battle I usually wanted to fight. There were times where one of the kids would refuse to eat what we ate for weeks and I would get sick of it, or they all wanted to make something different every night and then I would insist they either eat what was for dinner or go hungry for a few weeks. Sometimes it just became a problem to have all 3 of them making something different every night, Know what I mean?? Mostly I didn't/don't get into what they eat simply because we have enough other things to battle. At least we did with Wiz.

    As for trying new foods, I know Marg had some success with getting difficult child 3 to try new things, and her ideas seemed really great. I have also found that many kids will try things on pizza that they won't eat on anything else. Esp if you put the cheese on top of the veggies or whatever and they are chopped up fairly small.

    There are also some books out about how to sneak veggies into foods, and I know several moms of spectrum kids who swear by this. For example you can make a great chocolate cake with tomato soup in it - and can sneak pureed veggies into all sorts of things. I think one book was titled something like Deceptively Delicious. Personally I have done this for myself because I DETEST the texture more than the taste of many veggies, and pureed and put into things I don't notice and I get the nutrients I need. I also use part applesauce or mashed banana for the liquid in pancakes, and other things like this, to increase the nutrient value of them.

    FYI, if you mash bananas and freeze them in an ice cream freezer, or in a container in the freezer that you stir every 1/2 hr or so, it makes an amazing, creamy, rich ice cream. Nothing else needed, just bananas. As mostly I hate the taste of health food, saying this is great is saying something.

    I have also found that involving kids in the cooking process, and in the choice of what is served for meals and in portion control, increases their willingness to try things. Not for every kid, of course, but it cannot hurt to try. You can also make your own mixes in very little time and it really increases the nutrient value and decreases the unhealthy things in the food you serve your family. I can suggest some recipes and books if you are interested. Plus it is cheaper than buying mixes in the store, amazingly enough.

    I do know where your difficult child is coming from though. I must confess that I am a FAR pickier eater than any of my kids. FAR pickier.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Forcing the issue makes it worse. At least... that's happened in every case I know about.

    But I totally agree that you don't need to be cooking two completely separate menus.

    Breakfast shouldn't be a problem by the sounds of it, so load that meal with all the high-nutrition elements, including eggs. Other than vitamin C, eggs are about the most complete "dietary supplement" known to man. In the developing world, an egg a day will actually be "prescribed" for a sickly child.

    After that? Some combo of what's available (on the table - your menu) and what the kid can provide for himself, works.

    And then... you ARE allowed to get creative.
    Kids who won't eat veggies will sometimes eat frozen ones... still frozen. Same food value, but frozen veggies don't taste like veggies and don't have the texture of veggies. They taste... frozen. Works particularly well with peas, corn, and diced carrots. It would at least be "something".
    You are allowed to "hide" one food within another - this is not the same as forcing him to eat it. Example: if the kid will "only" eat mac'n'cheese, you can add pureed veggies to the mix without the child knowing. White veggies (cooked cauliflower) and/or cheese-colored veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots) are necessary so they can't be "seen" - sorry, no way to hide broccoli!
    You are even allowed to play games with food. I know a mom who would rave over a detested veggie, then leave one small piece on the edge of her plate (toward the picky eater who was beside her)... leave the table to "get something" while loudly proclaiming that "that piece had BETTER be there when I get back"... and lo and behold, the kid snitches it just to get a reaction. Manipulation? sort of, but in a healthy way... the kid still "chose" to eat it.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Also make faces, animals, etc... out of food. OFten the novelty will get kids to eat. You can also mix pureed veggies into various dips and get kids to eat. My kids often would eat food with 'dip' that they wouldn't any other way. Dip was ranch dressing, barbeque sauce, tomato jelly, sorry, y'all call it ketchup (still is a fruit mixed with sugar into a sauce, in my opinion), spaghetti sauce, etc....

    If he likes dip, try fondue. You can mix a LOT of veggies into tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce and let him dip cheese and whatever into it.

    Use his favorite color to fool him - add some food color and make the food the color he would like. Jess hated milk at one point but she LOVED blue moo juice. WHich was milk with a drop of blue food color in it. Cause it wasn't milk, it was moo juice ya know. I would get a half gallon of milk just for her and put the food color in it either while she was asleep or before I brought it home from the grocery (did it in the car) and she thought I bought it that way until about a year ago. That stage lasted a couplle of months, but she never caught on that I colored it before I brought it in until a year ago.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is complicated when a child is on the spectrum. Sonic was/is like this too, even as an adult. And you can't make an adult do anything he doesn't want to do. But as a wee one we tried REALLY HARD to get him to eat things that he didn't like. Often, the food repelled him. He usually threw up if we forced him to do it. We never did find a way to make him eat anything that he thought was "gross" and just like your son, he could love, say, tuna fish one day and say it was "gross" the next and throw it up when forced to "take a bite." Guess w hat happened the day we made him true a vegetable at a restaurant...haha!!!!
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry you are having this issue. Frankly I never had to cope with it except in a limited way. The only two rules that I ever made and enforced were these (1) everyone sits at the table together at dinner time..even if they are not hungry.(2) if anyone strongly dislikes what's on the menu then after clearance from Mom they can make what they choose to eat at dinner time. Cleanup mandatory.

    The issues were different at my house. Those time periods (length of time varying from a couple days to a couple of weeks) usually were for attention or to avoid family or whatever?? None had a serious problem. on the other hand, lol, sitting at the dining table watching everyone else eat and chit chat wasn't fun and usually soon the empty plate before them would have a celery stick or something just because they were bored. The mandate to decide prior to dinner cut into their afternoon freedom and took away the drama from meal time. Hope you find the "right" answer. Hugs DDD
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I wholeheartedly agree with the "don't battle" ideology. difficult child 1 is horrible with eating. His diet consists of maybe 5 things for awhile and then it changes to a few other things and he no longer "likes" the other 5 anymore. He goes in phases. I taught him how to use the microwave many years ago and usually make extra for him to warm up. I have always let him eat whatever he will eat and we don't really keep sweets or junk food in the house. Because I worry about his dietary needs, difficult child 1 takes calcium supplements and a multivitamin every day. My philosophy is that as long as he eats healthy food, I don't care what it is and no one 10-20 years down the road is gonna care either.
  8. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    difficult child in training is also a very very picky eater and only eats chicken nuggets, max and cheese, cheese only pizza, and salmon (but only with a lot of catchup, yuk!). He will eat carrots, and corn but only if it is fresh and still on the cob.

    I found an article that stated that very picky eating is now a new eating disorder. It is not like anorexia because they don't have the body image issues and frequently are heave, they just limit what they eat. Usually to relatively bland foods. One possible reason was that maybe food taste differently to them. That flavor might just tastes bad to them. Texture and consistency can also be a problem. I keep reading the article with bated breath waiting for what actions I could take. They never provided any. They said many out grow it and do learn to eat better when grown, but not all of them.

    We don't fight the issue. difficult child in Training has been trained on how to make his own foods, and has been for several years. I also always show him the nutrition information to encourage better choices, but I don't fight the bad ones. He will eat ham if sliced very thin. So we make sure to have salmon, ham, carrots and catchup around. I also make sure he eats a multivitamin each day. We also keep the sweets around the house to a minumum. But, you would be supprized at how easy it is to get candy from school, friends and other places. He is also overweight, but is slimming down a little. My mom is very judgmental regarding this she thinks it is terrible and last Thanksgiving was a nightmare. But I still need to do whats best for my son, and I don't believe that a high level of punishment would help.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My younger sister only ate creamed corn, hotdogs, cereal, mac and cheese, cheese only pizza and bread growing up. She was thin. She is a thin adult woman, however, now she eats everything. My brother was the same, ate an extremely limited diet and grew up to eat everything. My parents, like many of you, did not push the issue and they grew out of it on their own. I do know some adults who are that limited too. I like the way DDD handled it in her home, it sounds to me like a plan that would take the 'charge' out of the issue.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My kids don't like beans - as in, bean soup or refried beans.

    I love them... Being from the border.

    So, I make them. Beans go into chili (blech, my version of chili is beanless, but whatever it takes). Refried, I make alongside tacos... And a bunch of them get mixed in with the seasoned taco meat.

    SHHH. Don't tell them.

    Pureed carrots in spaghetti sauce... I did once have Jett tell me he would NEVER eat tomatoes, but adored spaghetti sauce and ketchup. I just smiled.

    In fact... You can sneak peas, cauliflower, and broccoli, pureed, into tomato sauces and chili. And I make zucchini bread... Kids HATE squash but inhale zucchini bread. Go figure. Spinach goes into lasagne...

    Jett doesn't like most fruit - bananas and sometimes apples. I sneak other fruit into "banana" smoothies.

    I am one who DOES insist on the 2-bite rule, and I won't make a separate dinner. A while back, I made enchiladas - and I made a special batch for Jett, with cheese/cream sauce, no onions... He made a snarky comment about how next time I would just have to make him something else. husband went OFF. Told Jett to shut his trap and then (more nicely) told me I'd not be making Jett different food EVER AGAIN. OK. Easier for me!

    husband also loves to make kielbasa and sauerkraut. And he's awesome at it. Jett hates sauerkraut. I compromise when I make it, and rinse it lightly... husband refuses to. A couple of months ago Jett actually threw a fit... And husband was superstressed at the time and threw Jett's plate into the back yard, told him when he got hungry to go out there and eat... If the dog left anything. I've not seen husband do that before or since. I've also not heard Jett complain about food since... He eats it and then he knows he can have other stuff.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Step? Those are the techniques my parents tried to use on me. It only made things worse. I dug in and refused to eat, no matter how hungry I got. When I started losing weight, Mom took me to the doctor so the doctor could talk sense into me. We came out with some sense alright... the doctor talked sense into Mom. Literally. If I was going to survive childhood, I was going to have to be accommodated.

    Looking back? I had serious sensory issues that were never acknowledged, considered, or accommodated. Not ONE of them. Food only being one. I was so overloaded and overwhelmed 24/7 that... there was no way I could handle that kind of sensory challenge. Suicide looked better than that - and I was serious, but I never told anyone, and never acted on my plan.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Food has always been a major issue for us. difficult child is very rigid when it comes to food even though he isn't on the spectrum. We chose not to fight the food battle as doctors recommended. My difficult child has been very violent over food. Even today, although he isn't violent he starts raging verbally over it in a way that won't stop and at times escalate to the point where he seems as though he is just on the edge of losing it. For the most part I think we did the right thing but lately I've been wondering because he is so limited and other than pineapple once in awhile or grapes, eats nothing healthy.

    I know that is our own fault but I still don't know if we could have fought the battle. He is responsible for making his own food (needs help at times) and for cleaning up (as much as he is capable).
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    They don't seem to work that way on Jett... Which is good.

    Though tonight was weird. I made ravioli and garlic bread on sourdough (he's iffy about sourdough but I didn't tell him and he scarfed up the bread). Ate 4 ravioli (they're 3" in diameter, HUGE...) then suddenly it was like he stopped liking them. First 4 took 10 minutes. Next two took 30. Weird.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I also think it is very bad idea to make fight out of food issues. You simply can't make someone to eat, so if kid really wants to win the battle over food, they will anyway. better not to go there. Of course one doesn't have to make it too easy to be picky or to choose unhealthy options. I do like DDD's rules a lot.

    My difficult child was difficult with the food already as a baby so I was quite strict what his options were. I think he was almost four before he for example tasted candy or french fries. I let him be picky but he didn't even know the options I didn't want him to have existed. So even if his diet was limited, what he did eat was nutritional and healthy. It was mostly sensory for him so changing texture of the food often helped. Blender was used a lot in our household at the time, LOL.

    easy child has never really been picky, there are few things he doesn't particularly like but can eat also those. But still I have always made a point that for Holidays and other 'big dinners' there is always something for everyone what they do enjoy. Luckily around here it is a tradition that Holiday meals etc. are made of several, often very different, dishes so it is easy to just make traditional ones and few extra that are favourites of those not liking the traditional options. I simply refuse to ruin my Holidays fighting over something so trivial as food. There are quite limited number of those big holidays while kids are young, I wanted to much more try to make good and loving life long memories out of them for my kids than battles over if they really have to try stockfish.

    Nowadays difficult child is normally not picky at all. He likes to try new things and likes also strong flavours. And he is very used to eating also things he may not enjoy that much (he needs a lot of food and he often has to just eat what is available.) Though he still holds to the principle that anything is eatable if you just mix enough ketchup with it. He does backslide while anxious though and eating can become an issue. It is same as his other sensory issues. If relaxed, there really isn't many of them, if anxious they do rear their head. Ketchup helps, but if his anxiety is really bad he looses his appetite and after that simply can't eat things that feel bad. I think his ketchup consumption could make a good measurement for the anxiety...
  15. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Thanx for all the great ideas!
    I think the fact that difficult child was allergic to so many foods up till 5 yrs also contributed to the fact that he never really learned new tastes....and he was made to be afraid of food...really afraid....he could die!
    Now most of the things he might try, he has a mental block that its not good for him.....
    Unfortunatly he doesnt eat many of the things thatcan be use to hide stuff! Like he doesnt eat cheese, he hates any form of sause, he doesnt eat tomato sause, nor does he eat white sause, cheese sause exct....He doesnt like the texture.....He also dont eat any pasta sause or lasagne...exct. I thought I might read up a bit on making smoothies? But if there is any milk in go...diahrea and stomach ache :(
    He does have sensory issues and as a baby and toddler often vomited.....All this created a very negative assosiation with that I think of it......
    Ok....My plan: I thought I must ask him to make a list of things he is willing to eat and maybe one fruit and one veggie to try in a week? This way I can maybe make sure I include one food or so into the main menu....?
    Oh.....and food musnt be mixed or touch each other! And nothing must be soft and mushie! is his birthday....and guess what...He loves chocolate cake! So problem solved for breakfast, lunch and supper! Lol...just jocking!!!! Or maybe not!
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think there is a huge difference in picky and having foods that one simply doesnt like. Cory doesnt like cherry's or onions. Jamie doesnt like coconut. I only found out Jamie didnt like cornbread after he moved out on his own. We ate it the entire time he was growing up as a staple food and he simply dealt with it because it was cheap and filling but as an adult he just wont eat it now. When I make potato salad I pull out a portion for Cory before I put the onions in so he will have his without the onions. Then I add the onions for the rest of us. I just never make a cake that uses coconut if Jamie is going to be there to eat it and of course, cherries arent the fruit for Cory...he gets something else.

    Both the younger two boys ate almost everything else we would put on their plates. Liver, greens, lima beans. More spaghetti than I can shake a stick at. I can hardly stomach spaghetti now because of how much of it we ate when they were growing up.

    Now Billy is much more picky because my mom allowed him to be. She convinced him from an early age that he was allergic to eggs which was a crock. He isnt. He just threw a fit one day when he was trying to eat them and she didnt want to make him eat them again so she said he didnt have to...hence he didnt have to do anything he didnt want to do. No more eggs. He got exactly what he wanted. He lived basically on microwaved food most of his life with her and ended up morbidly obese at a very young age. She simply didnt cook much once she hit retirement. She bought him microwave pizza's and microwave hamburgers and chicken nuggets and microwave french fries. She made him cookies. Heck if we did all that. He didnt eat anything veggie except for green beans and corn.

    My little boys learned to eat broccoli from about the time they got good teeth because they called them trees and they ate asparagus because they called them collard sticks...lmao.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Textures is a huge thing... was for me, too. But kids who don't like "mushy" will often like "frozen".
    Smoothies... can be straight fruit (often with a banana base), or fruit and yogurt... so you should be able to find something on that line.

    And that chocolate cake... how about chocolate-zuchini cake? or chocolate-carrot?

    JMO on this, but... one new food a WEEK? if it were me in V's shoes, once a month would be far more than often enough... just the thought of having to try something every week would have sent my anxiety into overload.
  18. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    IC, I agree with you. That high expectation would send difficult child 1 into a total panic, starting the day I informed him of this expectation and getting worse with each "trial". I would never purposely induce anxiety in an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid over something like food. As an adult is anyone really going to care what he eats? Personally, I don't give a hoot what my kid eats as long as it's healthy food. difficult child 1 went through a whole week where he ate broccoli with cheese twice a day exclusively. Then he was on a hot dog kick, etc. He's NEVER liked breakfast food (pancakes, cereal, waffles, french toast, toast, etc) except fried eggs and bacon (not together) so he's been known to have most any leftover you can imagine. Even those go in waves. Lately, he's been getting better but there are still times when he gets narrow minded with his eating. That's why I don't keep many sweets in our house.
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Can he have wheat? If so... Chocolate cake... Can be made with whole wheat flour... And it has eggs and milk...

    We don't make smoothies with milk, because I am lactose intolerant... I use yogurt! Mmmmm.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    thank you LOVES the vanilla soymilk. he can have milk now, but couldn't for years because he was allergic but he outgrew it. but he doesn't really like it, not even the flavored milks at school. he also HATES milk with fat in it as we have always had skim around. i don't buy the kiddie vanilla soymilk because it has extra sugar in it and who needs that, but the reg vanilla is good. the walmart brand tastes the same as the other brands, or so he tells me. i can't stand the stuff straight.

    I DO bake with soy when possible because the results are great - better than with milk, more tender. found out by accident because I had to use it or thank you couldn't eat what i made, and how mean is that to a little kid when you are making cake/cookies/etc///

    One new food a week is a LOt for a high anxiety kid, esp with all the changes the fall brings anyway. i wouldn't push that hard because honestly in 20 years you won't look back and be happy you fought over what he ate. you will be happy you spent quality time with him and taught him to be a good person. jmo, though.