I am a foster parent who recently had a 12yr old girl come into care. She will only eat junk/processed foods such as hotdogs or Kraft Dinner. There are no meats she will try and the only vegetable she will eat are potatoes (mashed only). We have tried many techniques, rewards, etc but she still refuses to even try anything we put in front of her. I have spoken to her mother about this and her mother said she is more of a vegetarian, although her mother couldn't tell me any vegetables she eats. Any advice would be grateful. I am planning on taking her to a pediatrician to discuss her habits as I am concerned about her health.
From: Fishlovindog, Toronto
The best advice I can give you is this: Don't hope for too much change. At 12, what children do and don't eat is laden with emotional and developmental issues; for a child whose life has been topsy-turvey, that is probably even more true. Having her in your home and exposing her to new food opportunities is a gift you're giving but one she may not be able to appreciate just now. Take this slowly. Don't lecture her about food, don't pass judgment on food she's eaten up to now, and make sure when you put food in front of her that there is always something you know she'll eat. (Depriving her of what she likes is not the way to go!) Try to engage her in the process of thinking about food -- planning meals, making choices at the grocery, preparing and cooking. My guess is that the more low-key you keep it, the more receptive she's likely to be. Most of all, hope to influence her by the role model you present as an eater and a cook.
The pediatrician is a good idea, a nutritionist may be an even better one, but probably not until you gain her trust, or if the pediatrician is concerned about her health.
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