thread: 21 month old and food :( - advice wanted

  1. #1
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Mar 2008

    21 month old and food :( - advice wanted

    We're starting to bang our head against a wall here and am looking for some help.

    DD has become an incredibly fussy eater. She has minor food allergies (apples and grapes give her a mild rash) but we're finding it incredibly hard to introduce new foods to her, or to convince her to eat old favourites.

    Right now, she'll eat chicken nuggets, toast, cheese sticks (but no other form of solid cheese, cheese spread is okay), yoghurt, bananas, rice cakes, avocado (if it is spread on the rice cake), bolognaise sauce, plain rice, cous cous, sausages, cruskits, weet bix, fish fingers and the odd hot chip. We also give her fruit and yoghurt smoothies, with plain yoghurt and banana and we sneak maybe a mango in there too. If we have spaghetti or lasagne, she'll eat the bolognaise sauce and leave the pasta.

    In the past she's eaten pumpkin, potatoes, kiwi fruit, but right now she's gone hit and miss with those too. Tonight we're having roast chicken with pumpkin and potatoes and I've got my fingers crossed.

    I just don't know what to do. She doesn't have sweet things like chocolate or biscuits very often - like once a week to once a fortnight - we don't give her juice, but she does drink water and cow's milk. I've gotten to the point that when she does eat something outside her "staples", I burst into tears. I don't know if it's a teeth issue, her 2yo molars have been niggling, but nothing major, and she doesn't care if we give her nothing else than the food in front of her. She'll just sit there and wait it out until we take her from her high chair, and then she goes on her merry way. She is growing, but I'm just worried about the lack of vegies and fruit from her diet. We've tried pressing things against her firmly closed mouth and she cracks it (and rightly so!), but she'll then lick her lips and eat whatever it was. But even this has failed lately and I hate doing it.

    So any tips, advice on foods that have worked for your toddler, please throw them my way! Thank you xoxo

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2007

    Oh kids and food can be sooo stressful! I was once told, that it is up to us to offer healthy foods, and up to them to eat it. If they decide not to eat it, atleast it has been offered, iykwim.
    I'm a huge fan of grating vegetables. Hiding them in things. I know that sounds horrible! But I'm POSITIVE I'm not the only one doing it!
    For example - In my bolognaise sauce, I grate zuchini, carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin; finely chop onion, brocoli and cauliflower, I also add baby spinach - ANYTHING really that I have in the fridge. My DD doesn't even know its there, and gobbles it up! hehe!

    There is a book out - Jerry Seinfelds wife wrote it. It has lots of recipes with hidden goodness for kids.

    Her theory is also - yes you hide the food, BUT ALSO you put vegies on the side aswell. You can't just let them go on life thinking vegies aren't necessary. Im having troubles finding the words to describe my thinking... ahh! Sorry! But its apparently REALLY good! On my wish list!

  3. #3
    Platinum Member. Love a friend xxx

    Mar 2008
    Perth, WA

    Have a look at the thread "Is this just a toddler phase? He used to eat so well"...we've been discussing exactly this there and there's already some ideas down.

    It can be SO frustrating! At this stage my thinking is that, I don't mind so much what DD gets into her, as long as she eats something. I think they pick up on our anxiety too....I know that if I feel uptight and stressed when I offer her food that she probably won't eat, she won't eat it. As I said in the other thread...the other day I offered a piece of toast and feigned disinterest...and she eventually ate it. It was 2 hours later, but she ate.

    Taking her to the store to pick out her own fruit has been working too.

    My DD got her 2yo molars very early and is hitting this fussy eating stage earlier than it's probably just the normal toddler phase that we all get eventually, rather than teeth so much.

  4. #4
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006

    Ah hun, food can be hard work at that age So many kids seem to live on fresh air at that age - your DD seems to be doing better than that so I'd say you're doing well (even if it doesn't feel like it right now).

    As a mum who had BTDT (luckily just once, my other DS has always loved food), I know how hard it is. However if I had my time again I would do things very differently. I think one of the big keys is to not care. I mean care obviously, but try and be really relaxed about it and not let on that her eating is important to you. The other thing I would do differently is to offer a food, preferably the same food that the family is eating, and if it's not eaten don't offer anything else. Kids do hold out for the food they know and love and in our well meaning desire to get them to eat, we discourage them from trying new things because we always offer something they like as a fallback. I had to stop doing that to get DS1 to try anything new - and at that stage he was eating just 6 things. I really made a mess of his early eating months sadly, and he still is not as good an eater as his brother Kids won't starve themselves - when she's hungry and needs food, she'll eat what's in front of her.

    One other thing that can be a problem at that age is too much milk. You don't mention how much she has, but the recommendation is no more than 3 cups a day, I'd say even less is better with a fussy eater because it does fill them up and stop them needing the food to feel full. And after 12 months the nutrition from food is the most important.

    It sounds like you are doing great things - she eats fruit and meat which are important and you are probably getting some vegies in there in the pasta sauces etc. No juice and few sweet things is great too. Hang in there, the rest will improve hun.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Professional Support Panel

    May 2007
    Warrnambool Vic

    Welcome to your new life. This is pretty much how kids operate, don't buy into it. This is your lot for the next 20 years or so. You can imagine that with 4 kids I have one happy person at every meal I cook and 3 unhappy people - and to add an extra layer of complication - what they *loved* last week, they now *hate* - and I should know that.
    It sounds like she actually has a pretty good and varied diet. Remember, most of the world's population don't have the smorgasbord we have available to us. Give her what you are eating - but don't take it personally if she tells you it's not to her taste. Now is a time to make some rules. For us it was eat what we eat - or the only alternative is fruit.
    Sometimes it's a power play - how cool - the power to make mum cry. Just what every 2 year old craves. Put on your hard hat and buckle up for the ride.

  6. #6
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Mar 2008


    OMG thank you for the tips and suggestions.

    Tellytubby - I'm face palming right now. Can't believe I didn't think to hide different vegies in her bolognaise sauce!! Thank you!

    Angelaartstudent - I'll be joining you in that thread for sure!! Thanks hun.

    MantaRay - DD has milk with her breakfast and then sometimes with dinner (depending on if she drank her breakfast one) with some before bed. Too much? I do generally cook for her what we're eating, unless we're having something like curry, then she'll have something different. Thanks for your advice.

    ETA - Barb you were too quick for me! Thank you for your advice.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member
    Add Little Chicken on Facebook

    Mar 2010

    My 2 year old used to eat anything and everything. She was a great eater. Then she got fussy. She used to love pasta, now i get a screaming fit if I try and feed it to her. She loves white rice, but refuses point blank to eat it if it has a sauce on it. She does like her veggies and fruit, but is not in love with meat, unless it is a chicken nugget and then it is debateable whether it is actually meat.
    I am basically lazy and refuse to cook 2 different meals every night unless we are having a curry or something really spicy, otherwise she gets what we get and if she refuses to eat it, then she is the one who is missing out. If she refuses to eat it, there is nothing else for dinner, not even fruit. Yup, at least twice a week she goes to bed not having eaten anything and it doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest. I figure if she is energetic and growing then she is getting enough.
    I could let it bother me, and yes sometimes it really does, but I figure she will grow out of it.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member. Love a friend xxx

    Mar 2008
    Perth, WA

    It's so comnplicated sometimes just rememering what they will and won't eat!

    All fruit
    Most Veg
    Chilli Laksa (???)
    Beans (plain tinned or baked beans)
    Dinosaur shaped pure breastmeat tempura chicken nuggets. Normal nuggets? Nup. (But I have stopped buying them so she'll have to live)

    Bread (but mostly no)
    Pasta (only at daycare on Spag Bol day)
    Yoghurt. Usually just body paints with it.

    Meat in any shape or form except for the breastmeat Dino Nuggets. Meat from an actual chicken breast? Pfft. No chance.
    Pasta other than daycare
    Cereal that's not Weetbix.

    All-time saviours for us:
    Frozen Blueberries
    Cold Grapes
    Small Dice Frozen Veg (usually mixed with Baked Beans, but she seems to eat them mixed with any sauce/flavouring)
    ...all of which are nice and toddler sized!

    Share with us what your fussy toddler's will and will not eat and we can come up with some ideas together...then we've got them all online for inspiration. Writing down ideas of what she might have works for me...if I leave it in my brain it just gets messy and jumbled!

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Dec 2005

    Sam goes through phases of eating everything on offer and other times where he just survives on air. We're in a surviving on air phase at the moment! But it doesn't help that we've been staying with my parents for two weeks, and daddy has only been with us for two days in those two weeks, so he's a bit out of sorts.

    Sam won't eat fruit. Point blank. We have an on again off again love affair with sultanas and dried apple (but only if it's the tiny bits of apple that come in the packs with sultanas), but that's about the extent of his fruit eating. Vegies are a bit more successful, pasta is a hit, rice is great.

    I'm kind of relieved he's doing two days per week at day care now. At day care he eats fruit and tuna and cheese and yoghurt and basically everything he refuses to eat at home.

    But the power of hiding things in a bolognaise sauce - wonderful! He'll eat sausages and mince and that's about the only forms of meat he will consume.

    I don't have solutions - just the knowledge that you are not alone!

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Jan 2009

    Can I ask what is quorn?

  11. #11
    Platinum Member. Love a friend xxx

    Mar 2008
    Perth, WA

    A vegetarian meat alternative....comes in mince, nuggets, schnitzel, pieces, strips, sausage rolls, pasties, lasange, sausages and some other forms. Freezer section of Coles and IGA. The texture and taste is just like chicken breast but it's made from a mushroom based protein.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2006
    NSW Central Coast

    To me it sounds like your little one actually eats fairly well. I was told by a paediatrition to take a look at what toddlers eat over a week, not a day and think of their diets like that because they have little tummies and are still getting used to foods, tastes and textures. If you provide her with healthy food, model a healthy diet and don't force her to eat anything, she should be fine!! But in saying that,

    We have had the same issues with DS, and have had for a few months now. DD went through a little bit of a fussy phase, but DS takes the cake. I was really worried ans stressed about it for a while too, but have stopped stressing and accepted he's not like DD, who will try mostly anything. DS will eat all the junk you could feed him, but put something healthy in front of him and he will starve rather than eat it. I have given up trying to please him, have stopped stressing and if he goes to bed without having eaten for 3 hours or more and I can hear the water moving in his belly, well then so be it, he chose not to eat the food put in front of him that he absolutely devoured last week and had 3 servings of. He obviously likes it, and isn't so hungry that he would eat decent food. I feed him what we eat at dinner time, mostly for the rest of the day I will give him a choice of 2-3 things. Often he will choose something, but still not eat it anyway.
    I can rely on the fact that he will eat some sort of fruit in a day, usually at least a whole small apple and small banana. He will drink a large cup of milk each day (more if I gave it to him) and he will eat a bowl of cerial and a wholegrain peanut butter sandwich a day. Plus at least 2-3 cups of water/diluted juice. All up when you think of it, that's actually alot of food for a little tiny tummy considering your tummy is supposed to be the size of your fist. I also give him a multivitamin because he doesn't eat much meat and I'm worried about iron and vit b intake. But he's healthy, runs around like an idiot every day and is growing and learning normally. He's happy and poos at least once a day, does a million wees a day and is not skin and bones. Really hun, try not to worry!
    Last edited by MrsFabuloso; January 2nd, 2011 at 06:05 PM.

  13. #13
    Platinum Member. Love a friend xxx

    Mar 2008
    Perth, WA

    My sister would do that - rather starve than eat what she didn't like.

    But she is 23 and still won't eat fruit or vegetables that aren't potatos, so she's a rare case! :-D

    Showing that you "don't care" works, as mentioned above...esp when dinner is literally thrown in your face.

  14. #14
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Mar 2008

    Showing that you "don't care" works, as mentioned above...esp when dinner is literally thrown in your face.
    And thanks to your advice tonight ladies, we did exactly that. Cooked the roast, put DD's plate down in front of her and she immediately asked for yoghurt. Answer was no. Tantrum. I asked her if she wanted her dinner, she asked to 'get down' so we got her straight out of her highchair. She stood there for a minute, then walked back to the table, took a handful of pumpkin and ate it!!!! We put her back in her high chair and she ate three large pieces of pumpkin!

  15. #15
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006

    Well done hun, that's awesome. I bet you're feeling much better now!!