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Thread: How old does a child need to be for you to "insist" they try a food?

  1. #1

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    Question How old does a child need to be for you to "insist" they try a food?

    My little son is 19 months old and wont eat any green vegetables. I really need him to start eating them and I know I've seen other people's children respond to the "just try one piece" thing but he seems too young to have any clue about that yet.

    What is the usual age I can expect to be able to be more insistent that he at least try them?

    Thanks


  2. #2

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    4 or 5... This is not say don't put it on his plate and encourage him to explore it but I wouldn't be 'insisting' until he is much older. In evolutionary terms toddlers learnt, as a survival skill, not to try new things cause they can't tell if it's poisonous or not (ITMS)
    If you are desperate to get him to eat green vege's then you could try hiding it in food like spaghetti bolgnaise (ours always has grated carrot and zucchini) or quiches, muffins etc... I'm not a fan of hiding food but sometimes you have to do whatever works.
    Goodluck

  3. #3

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    I'd try having something he wants and a green veg. Say this first then that. 19months he should 'get' it

    My kids first foods are vege sticks so I haven't had this problem.

    But I know as they have gotten older if they are 'off' something I'll do two bowls. One with veg one with the protein. I'll give whichever bowl they aren't interested in first and the second bowl is the reward

    Also try tiny amounts so he isn't overwhelmed. Better to get praise for eating everything than fighting to eat heaps

    HTH

  4. #4

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    i agree with Kelebek - i wouldn't be pushing it earlier - putting it on the plate, asking her to try, but not insisting.

    we don't hide food, but we do put a lot of veg in things like spag bol etc - not tiny hidden bits, still chunky bits - and she will always give it a go. it's definitely an option if you don't think that your kidlet is getting enough of a balanced diet

    I'm thankful that DD isn't really fussy, so when she decides she doesn't want to try something, it's not a big deal. usually, she will end up getting down from the table, sitting on one of our laps and sampling from out plate (perhaps this is an option - "do you want some of mummy's dinner?")

  5. #5

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    Why is it that you need him to eat them? I just wonder because it wouldn't actually bother me. I know from your other posts that your family has a great diet so it won't effect him much will it?

    My kids eat healthy foods and rarely have any 'junk' so if they go off something for a bit I don't worry because they aren't filling up on bad stuff or anything. I just continue to put it on their plate though and am pleasantly surprised when eventually they start eating it again.

    I do think he's a little young to insist he tries it and it could just make meal times a battle so that's what I'd do.

    HTH

  6. #6

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    When DS has a plate of "grown-up" food, he has to try everything. So depends where you are with that, I suppose. FWIW, he has to try a tiny bite that he decides the size of. And if I know he dislikes a certain vegetable, he doesn't get it more than twice a year: I'll serve him up the veg bar the stuff he dislikes.

  7. #7

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    I'd say from 3-4 yo onwards from personal experience. Our DD was always served what we were eating and most times prior to this age she was more of a vegie & carb eater than meat eater, now it is the other way around..... go figure! However, from age 3 we said to her, just have a taste, you don't have to eat it all if you don't like it but we'd like you to try it & most times she did & now she will give things anything a go.

    I read somewhere that it can take up to 10 times for a child to eat something new. So, for example if you wanted your DS to eat broccoli, you'd need to serve that to him 10 times in a row at dinner time.... it worked for my gf son who is a fussy eater.

  8. #8

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    Dd2 is 3 and we ask that she tries anything we serve her. If she doesn't like it that's fine, she doesn't have to eat it, all we ask is that she tries it. She is coming around to the concept.

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    We started 'insisting' at around 2 years old, she never has to eat it all, and she never has to finish her plate, but she ALWAYS has to try everything on her plate. Including the things I know she doesn't necessarily like because tastes change so we always say "try it again and see if you like it this time" and if she doesn't that's fine but on a few occasions she has liked something she used to hate. Like tomatoes, and spaghetti bolognaise. I think this is good because she always knows we never force her to keep eating something she doesn't like, and there's no "I told you so" if she does like something.

  10. #10

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    We never insist DS eat anything. Lately, since he was over 2.5 years we have been asking him to try (because he started saying he didn't like stuff) and telling him that he doesn't know whether he likes it or not until he tries it. He is a really logic based thinker so because that makes sense, he will usually try something. I always serve him what we are having but we dont' insist he eats any of it and he rarely finishes his whole plate.

    I was forced to eat revolting stuff as a kid and also to finish my plate every meal and I tend to overeat now and I think it's because I never trusted myself to know what I felt like and when I was actually full. My parents decided that for me I know that's a little off topic from your OP but to me it's all related. I make a conscious choice to let DS decide when he is hungry, how much he wants and what (within reason) he eats. We don't do rewards or punishment in other areas though so even if he doesn't eat much of the main meal, he can still have a small amount of dessert (DP and I don't really eat dessert). DS eats a wide variety of food voluntarily so when he doesn't want something I don't push it. I will often given him a very limited range of choice if he doesn't want any of what is on his plate for dinner - because I think a lot of the time at his age (2.5-3.5yrs) it's about having choices and having some control (not that he actually doesn't like the food).

    HTH. I really think that how parents handle food issues is a direct reflection of how they parent generally and what their style is so just try a few different approaches until you find the one that suits you and your son.

  11. #11

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    DD2 had a very limited diet til about 3. I always dished her up what we were having and encouraged her to try, nothing for years, got to 3 started push bit more and eventually one day she tried a piece. Now 6 months on shes still fussy but huge improvement to her old diet.
    How small are the pieces you offer? We started with sizes of 5c piece so not too scary.

  12. #12

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    Thanks so much everyone for all of your input.

    The first thing my son ate was broccoli so it's not a new food, and fried zucchini or green beans used to be a favourite but he wont eat them anymore either.

    I usually put just one piece of every vegetable we are having with dinner on his plate, so it's not a lot but the pieces are more like finger food size so perhaps I'll make little pieces to see if he likes them. He generally wont eat anything that has lots of small pieces of vegetables though- I can't get him to eat bolognaise or meatloaf for example and I put a lot of grated & small chopped veggies in those. I have no issue with "hiding" vegetables in those things as adding vegetables where ever you can is just normal cooking as far as I'm concerned.

    I would like him to eat green vegetables because they are the one thing we should eat the MOST of and he eats none! I know these stages can be normal toddler stuff but I remember seeing a friend gently "insist" her son ate some of his salad when he must have been about 2 1/2 to 3 and he did it with no stress so I'd love to be able to do the same but I know it's too early now. I would never insist he finish his plate or continue eating something he dislikes, but I want him to at least try a bite.

    My eldest son is a resistant eater and it's been one of the hardest things I've ever dealt with so I guess I'm pretty anxious second time around. My eldest did the same decline of dropping off foods that just got worse and worse so I guess I'm also nervous about seeing that happening again.

    Thanks for sharing what worked in your family.

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