Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Picky Eater?

I've mentioned before that Chiquita has become a picky eater. She didn't start out that way at 6 to 12 months when she first started eating, but over this last year it has gotten steadily worse.  Papi has always worried about her eating enough and I kind of blew it off, but when I realized that she had lost a pound in the last 6 months and she wasn't willingly eating any kind of protein I knew we had to do something.

I am a grazer.  Left to my own devices I eat all day but rarely have an actual meal.  I was leading Chiquita down the same path, and what was probably worse I would ask her what she wanted to eat and just give her what she agreed to.  These two things spiraled into where we are now where she eats some fruit, veggies and chips throughout the day but nothing substantial.

Today we went to see a dietician.  I think my husband expected to go and get a prescription for an appetite increaser.  Instead we sat down with the dietician to make a life-style changing meal plan.  Here's the plan:

1. Have 5 "meal" times a day, including snacks.  They don't have to be strictly at the same time but they do need to be around 2 hours apart with no food and drink in between, even if she didn't eat at meal time, so Chiquita has a chance to get hungry.

2. Offer milk or other high calorie/nutrient drink with each meal instead of water or juice.  Chiquita has never been a milk drinker so the focus isn't going to necessarily be on her drinking all of it but more getting her to try it.  We'll probably try some "side kicks" juices since she does drink boxed juice well.

3. Have meals at the dining table and don't do other things there so she gets used to thinking of it as the place to eat.  We will have to make sure crafts are done other places so she doesn't get confused with food and crafts :)

4. Give her the same meals as everyone else, including but not limited to her favorite foods.  She has to learn that she needs to eat the food that she's given not only the food she wants to eat.  The dietician said that even if she doesn't eat the foods she doesn't like at first it's therapeutic for her to touch them and smell them.  I admit that this will be a little hard for me in that I hate seeing food wasted.  I know that my attitude of "why give it to her if she's not going to eat it?" has contributed to her picky eating.

5. Have her sit at the table for a set amount of time, even if she doesn't eat.  Just establishing meal routines.

I bet some of you moms out there are laughing a little either because this was how you've always done things (I know my mom is, she thinks I'm a pushover).  I know a few of you are probably struggling with the same thing.  I think this is going to be hard.  I want her to eat well, but I don't want our house to turn into a battle zone with regard to food.  I worry that even though Papi was there and agreed to it, that he will fret if she doesn't eat meals or not be able to handle tantrums.  I worry I won't be able to resist tantrums.  I want her to have a healthy attitude toward food and I want her to keep growing healthy and strong.  So I'm going to be posting every once in a while on how it's going.

**Link below is affiliated, all opinions are mine**


  1. We have been doing all those things since July and it has not helped at all. To add to the issue our daughter gets easily constipated so we were told to limit her dairy. Hope you have some success with the new program. I know how frustrating it can be.

    1. That stinks Vicky! I hope it gets easier. I'm going to post an update soon with some of the foods that are working for us. I would just recommend now thinking about quinoa - it's high in protein and you can get it in flour and replace some of the flour in things like bread, cake, etc. to get some more protein. In the end though she will probably eat enough to live past this phase, right? That's what I keep telling myself anyhow.

  2. Hi! I followed you from pinterest. :)

    I bought this book: http://www.vitaminkconsulting.com/providetrustlove/ recently and it sounds on track with what your dietician has recommended. I definitely struggle with the same "she's not going to eat it so why bother" habit, I've been really trying to be better about it. The first step is to convince her to allow the offending food to stay on her plate. I keep saying over and over again"you don't have to eat it! Just leave it there!" and then when I can see we are crossing into food throwing territory I allow her to feed whatever it is to me, so at least it doesn't end up on the floor... I never NEVER thought I would end up with a picky eater, it drives me nuts and makes me feel so powerless!

    1. I totally know what you mean on food throwing!! We're getting better on that though, so don't give up. I'm interested in hearing about your journey with that book. I posted a follow-up to this and while she's still picky, I feel like we're making headway with her protein levels and overall health, which is more important to me than that she eats every food on the planet.

  3. Great post. I didn't know that about the milk. Our lad often asks for milk with his meals and we let him have it too.

  4. Sounds like you have a great plan. I hope it works.

    Thanks for linking to The Sunday Showcase.