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Old 11-15-2012, 07:49 AM   #1
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Preschoolers and healthy diet

Ok, so I have a tough time with my daughter. 3 1/2 years old. She is very independent and loves making all the rules. One thing she thinks she can control is what she eats. Lately she says to almost everything "I dont like that anymore, I will eat it again when I turn 5" Really?! She continues to eat, yogurt, fruit, deli meat, cheese, whole grain bread, cereal...NO VEGGIES. I have started giving her a vegetable juice to sneak some in but I know it's not the same.

What I would really like is if she would eat what we eat for dinner, veggies, meats, pasta...etc.

So does anyone else deal with a picky eater? She used to eat everything! I encourage her to help me cook and prepare the food, she goes to the store and helps me pick out what we will make. We even choose recipes out of a cookbook together.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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Old 11-15-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
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Re: Preschoolers and healthy diet

Are there any snacks you let her have that she loves? Like a cookie after dinner, or during the day? I would make a rule that as long as she doesn't eat vegetables, you don't allow her a certain snack she enjoys. It'd be more effective with something she normally gets right after dinner, but my 3.5 understands the consequence when it's the next day too.
If I do this kind of thing with my kids I explain why. "you can't eat sugar if you're not going to take care of your teeth by brushing them." or "your body needs healthy foods, and cookies aren't good for your body. if you don't eat the healhty things I can't let you have the snack that isn't good for you"
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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Re: Preschoolers and healthy diet

Just let it pass. Your already doing what you can with involving her with the cooking and choosing. The only thing I might suggest is try them in a different way. Like for dd there was a while that she didn't want any of her veggies cooked so we just gave them to her raw. She still does this with carrots and peppers- she won't either cooked only raw, she inhales them raw. We also put veggies in all kinds of stuff. This is for dh's benefit as well. Shredded carrots, zuc and spinach in spaghetti, lasagna or other pasta dishes. Same added to enchilada sauce. Sweet breads with shredded carrots and zuc- like any kind of sweet bread you can add them. My dd also prefers roasted veggies to steamed or sauteed. I also bribe her at times- I make stuff that she use to like so I know she will eat it- then if we have homemade bread or rolls or biscuits (she LOVES homemade breads, rolls and biscuits) I will hold that until she eats some of her food. I do this for more then getting her to eat what she has decided she doesn't want to eat- if I put the bread on the table she will eat all of it and never touch the rest of her food. You could try holding aside something she really likes and tell her she can have when she has eaten- however much you want her to. I know a lot of people have a 2 bite rule- you have to eat 2 bites to get the treat.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:44 AM   #4
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I'd renegotiate 5 years old to 4 and give her a little wiggle room. She pretty much can control what she eats actually. I decided long ago not to get into struggles over food with my kids.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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Re: Preschoolers and healthy diet

Could you try cooking everything altogether for a few meals? For instance, slice up the veggies and throw them in the crock pot with the meat and potatoes?

Sometimes I find that a veggie my kids "don't like" manages to get mostly eaten if it is just mixed in with everything else. Maybe they don't know what it is, or maybe they're just too lazy to pick it out, I dunno. But worth a shot!

Another idea... could you try her on sauces with her veggies? Maybe you already do that. My kids will devour raw broccoli, raw carrots, raw celery, etc. with ranch dressing, or cooked broccoli with some melted cheddar on top.

There's a great meal you can make with rice, broccoli, cheese, and ground turkey.

I usually make it starting with "hamburger helper" - it's called like cheesy rice and broccoli or something. (:blush - I know, not the healthiest, right?!) and then I add cooked, ground turket breast, and lots of cooked broccoli, and some extra cheddar cheese. It winds up really good. I just kind of use the box crap as a starter for the meal, I guess. I've also used frozen broccoli w/cheese and mixed it in, too. It was delicious.

You can also cook some veggies and mash them up and add them to mashed potatoes.

does she watch Wonderpets? Can you point out how they are eating celery!? LOL. I know, I'm grasping at straws here.

There's a yummy snack you can make called "ants on a log".... celery sticks w/peanut butter in the middle and raisins lined up on top of the peanut butter. Maybe that would make it fun?

Ok, that's all I got. Best wishes!
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:03 PM   #6
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Re: Preschoolers and healthy diet

At that age, if she turns down dinner and expects you to make something else, I'd say (nicely and upbeat) "Okay, you don't have to eat that. You can get down from the table, but we're not going to have any other snacks." When she comes back hungry later say, "sure, your dinner is still here on the table. Do you want me to reheat it?"

If I had a dollar for every time by 3 year old refused to eat something only to say "I actually do like this" after finally trying it, I'd be rich.

Also, we talk a lot about the nutritional value of things. For example, "these carrots have so much vitamin A. It's so good for your body!" Etc, etc. My kids are always asking if stuff is healthy or just a "sometimes treat." Sure, they love their sugar and junk food, but they do get excited thinking about how healthy their food is.

Last edited by DesertRat; 11-15-2012 at 12:05 PM.
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