The Resistant Eater…How Food Groups Became My Ememy

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Look who isn’t touching their food…Lol

Jp does not like most foods. I mean, truthfully, the list of food that he likes is significantly shorter than the list he doesn’t like. He will not eat half of the 4 major food groups. Not a fruit, not a vegetable, not a piece of meat. Not even Chicken McNuggets. What kid doesn’t like nuggets?! The answer is mine.

Foods that are messy on his hands, like toaster strudel, bring him to tears. Imagine the ridiculousness of THAT scene. Toddler eating a delectable frozen treat while openly weeping…bite…crying..bite..holding out one hand for me to clean..crying..bite. I finally had to stop giving them to him because the situation was too hilarious.

I put a fruit or vegetable on his plate every day for every meal. Mom guilt. Even though I know he will never eat them I still just can’t bring myself to put an unbalanced meal in front of him. Every once in a while, a handful of corn will go in because it was next to the potatoes and it all seems worth it but most days while I scrape it into the trash I wonder why I bother at all.

The difference between a resistant eater and a picky kid is that, if you leave a picky kid to starve with only a plate of Brussels Sprouts in front of him, he will eat the sprouts. My son would die of starvation with a full plate of food intact. He will NOT eat it. He has conviction in his resolve that I can’t be anything but impressed with. At times, with constant urging, I can get him to taste something (which entails licking it, probably the cutest thing ever) and he always looks at me with a, “See? This is why I don’t listen to you! Gross!” look on his face. Who can be mad if he tried?

With that list of foods he will not eat growing and growing, I had to also evolve the way I get nutrients into him. I started with Pediasure. Not enough vitamins and minerals now. It’s a supplement, not a substitute. So we switched to Carnation Instant Breakfast which knocks out getting some milk into him, too. Double Mom victory. Then there is organic protein bars. I call them cookies and they go over pretty well (almost all of the flavors are acceptable to him) and the vitamin content is great. Onto V8 and V8 Fusion juice. The fruit juice is always a winner, the tomato is harder but both are a nice supplement as long as you stick with certain flavors for the sugar content to be lower and low sodium in the tomato juice (and before anyone suggests smoothies or making the juice myself, we have tried. No go for the little man). The gummy vitamins sometimes work but he gets REAL gummies after therapy and he seems to know the difference. Which I grudgingly respect more than it annoys me. I have a terrible habit of loving whenever he won’t allow me to trick him…it means he is smarter than I give him credit for!

If I can get two out of the above four into him per day, it is a victory. I have succeeded. As for the food issue, I do my best to make him food I think he might like and normally I fail, give up and get him a waffle. Ce la vie. πŸ™‚

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Jp eating a cupcake upside down because he doesn’t like the frosting

Childhood Development Parenting

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I can relate! My son somehow lived off of pediasure, chicken nuggets, and PB&J sandwiches for a few years. I worked so hard getting him to eat a variety of foods. I used to make the brownies with spinach blended in the recipe, and the mac and cheese with butternut squash mixed in the sauce. It was so much work! But he did eventually start eating vegetables and most fruit. Hang in there!

    • Lol Spinach in the brownies! Genius! I have to try that. Mac and Cheese is a no-go for him and everything else besides french fries and peanut butter is a 50/50. Some days it works and some it doesn’t. Same with eggs and bread. I’m so relieved to hear it gets better. I hold my breath at every well check because I am afraid he lost weight!

  2. Hi. Thanks for your post! I nearly cried reading it. Just googled “resistant eater instant breakfast” and stumbled on it. I have a 4 year old who sounds very similar to your son – he’s been rejecting the majority of foods / food groups since starting solids, and has always refused all meats, fruits and vegetables. He used to eat whole wheat bread, but has been progressively cutting out more foods as he gets older, and now only eats a specific type of white bun, along with (only smooth) Kraft peanut butter, two types of cracker, cheddar cheese, milk, and store bought juice. I’ve also attempted to trick him, but he can detect the smallest hint of real banana or other healthy ingredient in a chocolate smoothie, for example. I’ve juiced fresh apples for him and he rejects it, even with added sugar. Won’t eat syrup, nutella, jam. Any baked treats from the health food store – forget it. Had a victory yesterday when he licked a baby carrot. I’m pulling my hair out, so it was nice to read your post. You seem to still have a healthy attitude about it! My son takes a multi twice a day and I’ve recently added instant breakfast after reading that it’s basically equivalent to pediasure. The organic protein bars are a great idea. Is there a particular brand you use? Anyway, thanks again for sharing. It’s validating to know someone else is going through something similar.

    • Aw, I’m so glad that you found me then! It’s actually pretty common with kids with sensory integration issues, so you are certainly NOT alone. Is your son on the spectrum? Or have sensory issues? Forgive me for asking but he eats about as rigidly as my son!

      This post is about 5 months old but since then he’s even MORE rigid, and will typically only eat 3 major foods (aside from junk lol) at a time for a couple of months and then switch totally. The difference is, is that I am much more laid back about it now.

      But, I’ll tell you my secret. It’s fine. Let go of the ideal of what he is SUPPOSED to eat and work around what he does. Like, with your white bun, my son only ate toaster pancakes for an entire MONTH. So I found the ones with the highest vitamin content and got vitamins in where I could. You can always give him something from your plate to try but don’t drive yourself batty trying to make him eat what “other kids do”. And yes, trying to sneak it in wastes a ton of food here, too, because my son could always tell! My kid’s a quirky little and I’m more than okay with that. If he’s on peanut butter, for instance, I buy white wheat (he would never eat regular wheat) and organic peanut butter with the highest vitamin content and know that I have done my best.

      Kids with sensory issues can’t help that they’re picky so don’t stress yourself out. πŸ™‚

      Things that help:

      ***Carnation Instant breakfast- I buy the no added sugar kind so that, if he won’t eat dinner (which happens frequently), I can get that in and it not keep him up all night.I call it chocolate milk and it goes over well, actually. If you can, try almond milk since it’s double calcium and there isn’t enough in the oral vitamins.

      ***Flintstones Vitamins with Iron- Make sure you get the kind with the iron because when they’re that picky they can get low and it will cause bruising easily. He’s 35 pounds and I give him a whole one. We call it candy. πŸ™‚

      ***The protein bars- Luna and Cliff seem to be the best tasting and he likes them, a lot. They all have great content but some are higher if he likes the flavors. By the way, they’re cookies. πŸ™‚

      Also, if it is a sensory issue like my son, utensils bother him (the scraping against his teeth maybe?) and I bought him plastic and he likes them much better and eats more with them. Complex flavor profiles (like spaghetti sauce) are off the table, too. However, if you can find a sauce that he likes or is willing to try (mine like Sweet Baby Rays BBQ and only that variety) then I can get him to eat foods that he would never try solely to eat the sauce! Some of it I think is a little gross…but it gets him to switch it up a bit.

      I promise, you aren’t alone. It’s all in how to work around the aversions. You can do your best to get them to try things but in the end, they are a person, and they will eat what they will eat. And you’d be surprised, if you total up the vitamins, the bars, the milk, and the Carnation how much vitamin content they are actually taking in.

      I can bet that my son eats worse, I promise! But that’s okay, it’s just one of the little quirks that make him, him and I love that he knows his mind so well. I know another couple of moms on here that their children ate way worse than mine (and that’s saying a lot!) and they are in their teens and healthy as horses. It’s okay. Breathe. As long as you are both healthy and happy then that is all that matters…not what they put in their mouths. And don’t let anyone ever tell you different! πŸ™‚

  3. Hi I was wondering how your son was eating now and if he has starting eating more, how did you get him to do it? My daughter is 3 1/2 and eats no bread/waffles/pancakes, no dairy except milk, no fruit except bananas and no veggies. She will drink some smoothies but I have to keep prompting her to take a sip, she won’t just hold the cup and drink it down on her own. She loves popcorn, chips, cookies, cereal, etc. She will still eat baby food-only 2 kinds, pear squash and sweet potato chicken. She will not try any new foods unless they are a cookie, cracker, or candy. We have keep waiting and waiting for her to get tired of the baby food and start trying new things. So far that hasn’t happened. I don’t like talking about it with people b/c they just say- make her eat it or I feel like a bad mother for letting this go on so long and that I probably created this eating problem by giving in to her. So any advice would be great!!

    • Oh dear! NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL BAD. Ever. Your child is a person. She will have her own likes and dislikes and they will change and ebb and flow. No one needs to give their two cents and if they do, don’t listen. πŸ™‚

      My son ate peanut butter and chicle nuggets for almost a year. Thank goodness for Flintstone vitamins, Carnation instant breakfast, and protein bars. He is branching out SLIGHTLY now…but it’s still significantly less than most kids. But hey, he’s healthy and happy and that’s all that matters. Don’t stress yourself out or beat yourself up. Save your strength for the big fights and just keep getting her to try new foods when you can. If you need any help or advice, I’m always here. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks! We did get her to bite a strawberry tonight. Which she then started crying and then spit it out. I am glad to know others are going thru this too.

    • Just keep trying. It took so long to get Jp to branch out even the tiniest bit. Don’t force but make it a choice…eventually her taste buds (or sensory issues) will get better. πŸ™‚

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