Food suggestions...please help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dara, May 24, 2009.

  1. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Hi all. I have a question for everyone...
    Sammy is on a food strike. I have no idea what to feed him. The strike has been going on since september but there was always something on the list he would eat. he is a bit chunky from the depakote...
    Here is what he wont eat: PB&J, any lunch meat, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, mac and cheese, veggies and ranch, fruit, yogurt, pediasure. He did eat noodles and butter but that is now off the list...
    Anyone have any suggestions? I am at a complete loss now! I am sure that all of you have experienced this once or twice in your difficult child and easy child life time! I am not the best cook so I appreciate any ideas that are quick and easy for my dear impatient difficult child!
  2. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Hot pockets
    hot dog
    pizza bagel
    ramen noodles
    grilled cheese
  3. Dara

    Dara New Member

    He wont eat the hot dog or gogurt. I need easy things to pack in his lunch for school and camp too.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    So what are the things he will eat?
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cereal and a small container of milk?

    Or just dry cereal.


    eggs...they now sell those things like hot pockets but are made for breakfast.

    bacon sandwich made with frozen pancakes


    would he do apples if he could dip them in caramel sauce?

    How bout those little bread sticks to dip in cheese spread.

    fried mozzarella cheese dipped in marinara sauce.
  6. Dara

    Dara New Member

    smallworld, that is an excellent question that I just dont know! He might eat dry cereal I know he wont eat poptarts and no sphagettios. Some mornings I can get him to eat cream of wheat or oatmeal or I will make him a biscuit with cheese but that is it for breakfast. For dinner I make cheeseburgers on the george foreman grill and we have rice or we have tacos and he will eat the meat and cheese and rice and guacamole. Sometimes I can make a quesadilla for him and sometimes he will eat eggs for dinner but that is about it. I have run out of ideas for his lunch for sure!
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Are you catering to him? Or are you putting down a meal and letting him eat it or not?

    Do you think sensory issues are getting in the way?

    A book that might help in this area:
    Child of Mine by Ellen Sattar
  8. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You can reintroduce those previously denied foods. Taste buds change and it is common for kids to use meals and food as a new way of controlling the world around them. If it has been several months since you tried a certain food, go ahead and try it again.

    I agree that lunches are the hardest. I am so lucky that our school has a microwave available to the students so they can have a hot lunch from home. My kids do not do lunch meats and Lunchables are not a healthy every day food.

    For the Mac and Cheese, try a different brand. My difficult child loves Mac and Cheese and will eat pretty much any brand but he says the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart is his favorite. I know I can tell the difference and I prefer KRAFT but I usually don't eat it so I get what difficult child will eat. (I also find that not all spagehti sauces or sloppy joe sauces taste the same. You can experiment with those to find one he may like - My difficult child stays away from any with green peppers or onions that can be seen.)

    A bowl, cereal would also be acceptable for lunch. Does he get to choose what kind he likes? How about cheese sticks or chunks or slices? Would he eat Peanut Butter if it were on crackers instead of bread? Have you tried pudding, jello, applesauce cups?

    For fruit, I found that my kids would eat better if it was served their way. So, ask if he wants the banana cut into pieces or whole. Or the apple peeled and sliced or diced. Make sure grapes are seedless. I always cut up difficult child's banana into bite size pieces - he finally had to tell me that he couldn't eat it like that anymore - he needed it whole (probably too grown up for mom to cut up food?). Also, do you have him drink fruit juices so he gets fruit in liquid forms?
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-others here, that you can reintroduce foods from a few mo's ago. His tastebuds will change.

    Is he sneaking food that you don't know about? We still find wrappers in my son's bedrm, and in the pottery and urns in the LR.

    We have had to be very firm about not letting our difficult child eat in the middle of the night. We went through a phase where he would wake up and sneak downstairs. I caught him a few times and made him go back to bed. It was really hard, because he'd be so defiant, I'd get upset and have a hard time going back to sleep.
    But after several wks (and a medication change) he is finally on a good sleep routine.

    It did help to move dinnertime to an earlier time--sometimes 5 p.m.--and to give him plenty of what he does like--rice and meat. And he has learned to like green beans and corn on the cob. I just put things in front of him and then bribe him, but try not to make a huge deal out of it. His big thing is hurrying through dinner and then wanting to be excused, and we've only taken one or 2 bites and aren't even close to being finished. So I'll say, "2 bites of peas and you can leave."
    For wks he would balk, and sit there for an hr. Now he just eats them and loves it when he can leave. And --shock!--I saw him at a school event and he was piling fruit and vegetables on his plate!
    I think persistance is a big thing. I have to be as stubborn as he is.

    Try switching breakfast and dinner. IOW, serve pancakes and fruit for dinner, and steak and potatoes for breakfast. Not every day, but just once a wk, to mix it up.

    My son was so stubborn that he'd have stomach aches and headaches in the a.m. because he was so hungry. (And sometimes it was the medications.)
    Always a battle.

    Dry cereal in a baggy can be fun to eat on the way to school, or for a lunch snack.

    I also went through a stage when I put 5 diff kinds of crackers in his lunch (b4 we knew he was allergic to wheat) and then I opened the crumpled bag when he got home to see what he ate. Then I would just buy what he ate.

    I did the same things with-diff kinds of nuts. (for protein)

    I also cook a bunch of turkey bacon and save it in the freezer, then thaw it out for his lunch. It's easy and fast and good protein, and fewer calories than pork bacon.
  10. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    It does sound like a power struggle here. I had the same problem with DS (now 19) and it got to the stage where every meal was a stress zone. Eventually, we just put down the meal and if he didn't eat within a certain time (we gave him around 20 mins) of us all finishing, then he just lost the rest and went without. We didn't deliberately set out to give him foods he didn't like, but expected him to eat a little of everything on his plate. We did find that he sneaked foods and ate them in weird places (foods he wasn't supposed to eat due to coloring or preservatives) and eventually just stopped buying those altogether. Eventually, he ate within the parameters of the family and it all went smoothly. We found he would throw away lunches at school and then beg from other children, so to prevent this his teacher would elect a 'buddy' to sit with him. When I was really worried, I had his teacher give him a chocolate energy drink with his medication at lunchtime so that he at least had something in his tummy through the day. Good luck with this. As most doctors will tell you, children won't deliberately starve themselves, they are just testing the boundaries. mothers ALWAYS worry about their chidlren's eating habits.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, this means you can ease right off and not s=openly stress about it, to begin with. He won't starve himself (most unlikely). if he is drinking fluids, then he is not about to drop dead. (just trying to put it in a bit of perspective). It buys you time.

    WHen you say "strike" what do you mean? Is he just being finicky, or has he openly declared himself to be on a hunger strike?

    It does sound to me that you need to stop fussing openly about his diet and just leave it alone for a while. Not easy. But if it becomes an obvious concern in you, he sees it as an opportunity to manipulate and you could be feeding into HIS anxiety all the more.

    He does sound like he's getting enough nourishment. And hamburgers (especially home-made ones) can be very balanced. Are they just the meat pattie with the bun? Or do you put salad in them too? In Australia a typical burger has tomato sauce, slices of tomato and a lettuce leaf. Often they have a slice of cheese, a fried egg and some grilled bacon as well. We also add a slice or two of beetroot, but increasingly it's getting difficult to get tat in the shops, we have too many New Australians running the shops who don't understand how important beetroot is to our burgers?

    Check out "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld. Although frankly I don't tink there are enough vegetables in her recipes to outweigh the imbalance. However, they can be used as a way to reintroduce foods on the "I'm not eating that!" list, after the kid has eaten some delicious brownies (with zucchini) and is told they just ate and enjoyed pureed zucchini.

    If he won't eat certain foods, the list is growing - and then he comes flying at you screaming, "I'm hungry, feed me!" then HE must begin to take personal responsibility for his own catering. OK, he's 4. He's old enough to learn how to cook.

    Another tip - teach him to grow food. Jamie Oliver swears by this option. Kids are more likely to enjoy eating food which they have helped to grow. Snow peas are good in this category.

    I hope this helps.

  12. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Once my kid gives up a food it's gone from his diet forever. Honestly what you've listed isn't the worst in terms of variety for a rigid eater. We were dealing with serious sensory issues and it impacts eating big time.

    I'd suggest trying the cold cereal. It packs easy and there's a lot of variety, but stick with the non-sweetened stuff because a lot of them don't want to go back once they've had sweet.

    I'd also suggest that you throw away the rules of what to eat when and pack his dinner and breakfast foods for lunch. A biscuit with cheese can easily be packed for lunch. Ditto with his dinner foods--just use an icepack and let him eat them cold or put them in a little thermos container to keep them hot. The dinner foods you've listed are healthier than the chicken nugget/mac and cheese/fish stick route anyway.
  13. Dara

    Dara New Member

    He is only 5 so he is very picky. It is not so much of a power struggle as it is he just doesnt like anything right now. He doesnt sneak foods he doesnt have a lot of snacks or anything like that. He loves taco bell and stuff like that but how healthy is that? My problem for lunch is keeping his foods warm as there is no microwave to warm the food. SRL that is the problem we are having that the foods are gone forever...I have thrown out all of the rules on what is to be eaten when...If he wants something and has some sort of health value, he can eat it for whatever meal that maybe...
  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I bought a stainless steel wide-mouth Thermos in which I send warm foods to school with my kids. I bought mine at Target, but I think some hardware stores also carry them.
  15. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Another suggestion - Look at the quantity that you give. Greatly reduce that when setting food on his plate and reduce it by some when sending to school.

    I think kids sometimes get overwhelmed by the amounts given. If it looks like too much, they may loose their appetite. Once he has eaten the few bites you put before him, ask him if he would like more.

    The amount sent to school is tricky because you don't want him to get hungry so for that I would slowly decrease it based on what is brought home (maybe ask the school to not have him throw away the food he does not eat so that you know that is and is not being eaten and how much).

    I will sometimes send an extra healthy snack and tell my kids that they do not need to eat it unless they want to. Maybe a baggie of dry cereal to store in his locker/cubby for those days when he is a little hungrier.

    I also agree that at this point it does not sound like a power struggle. However, as it continues and you get frustrated, it can turn into one. Keep up your positive attitude and don't let him know it bothers you.

    Maybe letting him choose the veggie of the meal will help. Give him two choices "Tonight we are having hamburgers. Should we have green beans or corn with it?" Then make an announcement at the table of how difficult child participated in the meal and you hope everyone enjoys all the food set before them.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We went through a stage of difficult child 3 not eating anything at school. I would pack a lunch but he wouldn't eat it until he came home from school.

    Another possible option (one we did) was cold cooked meat. A chicken drumstick, for example, or cold hamburger patty.

    I also kept the fridge full of food he would eat, food I would give him as a meal rather than snack food, so whatever he ate as snacks was food he would have otherwise been given for his meals. So if he didn't eat his meals - no worries, it was because he'd already eaten it. He might come home from school and raid the fridge for cold cooked sausages, a boiled egg and a raw carrot. Then have no appatite for dinner - but I didn't care, he'd already eaten the right stuff anyway.

    When easy child was a toddler, she stopped eating. She still drank from a bottle but wouldn't eat any solids. And would only drink one bottle of formula a day, her first one in the morning. She drank water at other times of the day. I was working full-time and would drive to work with easy child in the car. I would drop her off at the child care centre near work. It was too early before we left for me to give her a bottle of formula, so I gave it to her in the car, she would sit in her car seat and drink it cold. I also took to mixing a raw egg in it, like a sort of formula smoothie, a baby egg nog. Often it was her only meal of the day. And she wouldn't finish it, a lot of the time.

    The only other times I could get her to eat, was when I was eating my lunch and she would sometimes want to have a taste or steal a bite. But other than a single bite or so, that was it.

    This lasted from about 13 months to about 18 months or more. She was a real worry. Also on a dairy-free diet at the time.

    She has gone on to have a weight problem, she began eating at two and hasn't stopped.

  17. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    cheese sticks, cream cheese sandwhich, ravioli, granola bar, spaghetti and meat sayuce/meatballs. My children are very picky...and I continue with this battle also. I often make my older child a hamburger for breakfast and/or chicken and rice. He rarely eats lunch and as long as he's eating a good breakfast I feel better about that. My child like us to order chicken with brown sauce no veggies from a local chinese restarurant; we do that weekly and it lasts for about three meals. My younger child eats cream cheese sandwhiches and now finally eats bologna for lunch. I also use a container like smallworld mentioned and send in spaghetti. No veggies for difficult child 2; only fruits are apples with-o skin, banana and canned pineapple. Not fun
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We need the Mumbai option of tiffan boxes.

    Where's the tiffan wallah when you need him? It would help so much...

    Which reminds me, would he eat curry? I have some great curry recipes which my kids would eat when they would eat nothing else. I make my own curry powder and the only 'fire' in the curry is what I put in myself - two small chillies in 1.5 Kg of beef (that's just over 3 pounds). I can leave it out entirely if I choose. I've slowly increased the amount of chilli to build difficult child 3's tolerance.

    I used to refuse to eat food which was 'mixed together' as a kid, because I knew my mother would mix in stuff I didn't like and I would find it in the stew and it would taste awful. I just didn't trust her, so I stopped eating stews. I've remembered tis with my kids and have made a point of considering their wishes in this, and only putting in ingredients I know they like. My curry is (apart from curry powder) beef (slow-simmered for three hours or more), onion, ginger & garlic (all chopped so finely that it all 'melts' to nothing but flavour) and tomatoes. Now that I know difficult child 3 will tolerate it, I now add other vegetables I know he likes. I add them half an hour before serving so they don't cook away to much. I will add whatever I have got, from cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, french beans, peas - and if we feel like it, coconut cream (which cools the fire a bit). We've been able to use this to really get difficult child 3's tastes broadened again.

    The other trick with curries - poppadums. I microwave them to cook them, it takes 40 seconds to do 5 of them (lay them on a paper towel without any of them touching, microwave on HIGH). difficult child 3 is only allowed to eat poppadums if he also has curry.

    Let me know if you want my recipe for curry powder. It's a beauty. From that, you can make a wide range of tasty curries that are also inexpensive but don't taste it.

    Gourmet poverty food, we call it.

  19. ML

    ML Guest

    with manster, the list changed daily. You might be surprised that while some things on the list come off, he may accept some things back onto it. I like the idea of sneaking things into burgers and things he will eat. The blender works great for stuff like mashing veggies into tomato sauce.

    Thinking of you,

  20. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I do this too. My daughter doesn't like school hot lunches very much but she likes leftovers or Ramen noodles so I pack those a few times a week.

    When I send something hot like this I pack foods with it that don't have to be cold: water at room temp, carrot sticks, applesauce, crackers, etc. And seriously, unless he likes his food really hot he may be perfectly happy with the foods he likes served cold. Have you tried giving them to him cold yet?

    If he likes Taco Bell, you can buy their taco seasonings, shells, etc at the store and make them up at home with lean ground beef or turkey so they'll be healthier.

    Honestly, as long as he has a few relatively healthy foods that he'll eat I wouldn't worry about it too much. Just find a way to incorporate those into his lunch as well and stay away from a lot of junk foods because I've seen parents come through online whose kids narrowed down to diets like potato chips and chocolate milk.