all entries with the category

Food and eating

Fred's son has a very limited appetite.

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 24, 2012 06:00 AM

I am a Father of a 4 year old, who's having trouble getting him to eat, period. When he does eat , it's Chicken nuggets, Cheese sticks, Pizza. Nothing really healthy. In the morning, it's such a battle to get him to eat his toast (it's the only thing I can get him to eat in the morning) but sometimes he throws it up. He'll start chewing it for so long that I guess it just liquifies and he'll throw it up. I am really worried, and honestly don't know what to do. He won't try anything new.

From: Fred, Palm Bay, FLA

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Need help with picky eaters? The French get it right

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 25, 2012 06:00 AM

[Ed note: the answer addresses these two similar questions]

1. In case you do any follow-up from your article in 2009, Her 4-year-old won't eat, I would want to know if having an alternative in the refrigerator defeats the whole purpose. I can't imagine my son trying something new if he knows something he likes or somewhat likes is available instead. He's stubborn to the nth degree. If he's hungry at meal time he'll make up for it at another meal or snack. If it's at night, he'll wait until breakfast. Even though he won't be happy. Nothing I read seems to work. :-(
Also, can't the child just fill up on the one food s/he likes? Or do you give a limited amount of the one food? That's what I see my son do at times.

From: Terri, Chicago.

2. My daughter is 6 months old. We've been feeding her stage one foods since she was 4 months, when she showed all the signs of being interested in food. But she seems to have regressed in the past week, pushing her food out with her tongue and generally being stubborn about eating. Is this typical behavior, and will she go back to loving to eat soon?

From: Patricia, Framingham, MA

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Boys have eating problems, too

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 15, 2012 06:00 AM


I am the mother of a 13-14 year old whose diet is not terribly good. I am very worried that he is underweight and whilst I see his school friends shooting up, he still seems very small. When I ask him to try other foods, he just shrugs and avoids conversations about foods. I feel sad that he isn't trying new stuff and worry for his future. What should I do?

From: Joann, Paignton, UK


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About that picky eater (again)

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz May 2, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,
I have a picky three year old that has a very limited diet. He refuses to try any new foods, it has been exactly a year since he has tried something new. I can remember exactly what it was and he mistook it for something else because it was dark.

His overall diet is actually quite good and likes most fruits, yogurt, cereal that is high in fiber and low in sugar, crackers, etc. He will eat a variety of healthy foods, but the are generally very light and only snack type foods. My problem is that he eats no meals with the exception of pizza and chicken nuggets (only certain brand made at home). I try to give him more of a variety serving other things for lunch and dinner, which ultimately always go to waste.

My question is, how much should I worry about this? Should I continue to serve food I know he won't eat, or make him chicken nuggets all the time? I get so frustrated and now it is causing my two year old daughter to model the same eating habits. I also do not exaggerate when I say he sometimes goes days with only yogurt, fruit and dry cereal......so then I cave in and make nuggets or order pizza because I feel he has got to be starving!

Any help would be appreciated as well as suggestions on how to get three year old to try new foods???!!!!

From: Stephanie, Norfolk (MA or VA?)


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Foster mom concerned about a 12-year-old's eating

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz April 29, 2012 08:37 PM

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

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Listen to your doctor, not your friends, about overweight 5-year-old

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz April 25, 2012 06:00 AM


At my beautiful five year old daughter's check-up, I was informed that her BMI was in the 95th percentile, and that we should see a nutritionist (together). I asked if I go go alone, and they told me that she needs to be there. I'm not sure what to do.

I know a good deal about nutrition. We eat a healthy diet. My daughter doesn't drink juice, doesn't eat processed food beyond the occasional oreo cookie in her lunchbox, and eats a well-balanced diet -- fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry and fish. She is definitely active, running around like crazy at the playground and doing organized activities (gymnastics, soccer, and swimming) on the weekends. She has a pot belly and isn't a skinny kid, but does not appear fat -- she's just heavier than she is tall. Her older sister is on the opposite end of the weight charts, and I can't help feeling that the baby just got the wrong end of the genetic stick. My husband was a skinny kid, I was not, and while we are both at a healthy weight as adults, one child takes after each of us.

I thought I would go to the nutritionist just to have a check-in, but friends have counseled me that having a little girl see a nutritionist -- a little girl who is not super skinny -- is just a straight ticket for an eating disorder.

What do you suggest? I feel like we are caught up in the childhood obesity epidemic, and I want to do what is right for my family -- now and in the long term.

Many thanks.

From: Alice, Cambridge, MA


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Weaning a toddler

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz February 13, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,

I'd like to stop breastfeeding for my 1-year old daughter, Rina, because she is going to become 2 years old in 2 months! But she loves to continue it. How can I stop it? Every time I ask her if I can stop it or not, she refuses it strongly.

From: Masako, Japan

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Don't be in such a rush to push the sippy cup

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz February 8, 2012 06:00 AM

My 18 month old refuses to drink milk from a sippy cup. She gladly drinks juice & water from her sippy, but no matter the type of sippy cup I put milk in she won't drink it (I've tried her favorite existing cups and have also tried a variety of new cups). She only wants milk in her bottle. To give her credit, she will occasionally try to drink some milk from the sippy, but she ends up gagging on the milk and then refuses to try any additional sips. Most times she simply refuses the sippy with milk by saying no and walking away or by having a meltdown (especially if she has specifically asked for her "bubba"). How do I successfully introduce her to milk in a sippy to help her make this transition away from bottles? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks in advance!

From: Sarah, Avon, MA

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Is mom's eating history affecting her toddler's eating habits?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz December 27, 2011 06:00 AM

Hi There,

I'm the mom of an almost 2 1/2 year old little girl. She is a very happy, outgoing, joyful kid who has tons of energy. The reason I'm writing is because I'm having an awful lot of trouble getting her to eat at home, or I should say with her father and me. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner at home, or in a restaurant- she just doesn't eat much at all. She'll pick at a couple of things, or it'll take her upwards of an hour to eat the simplest things. I'm very afraid of giving her eating issues like I have, so I don't force her to sit in front of her plate till it's cleaned, nor do I make a big deal out of giving sweets or any food as rewards. However, when she spends the day at my parents house, or the homes of friends who help me out w/ babysitting from time to time, they all report that she eats non-stop! I've been told she'll eat 2-3 helpings of something that she'd never eat at home, if my parents take her to a restaurant, she eats everything AND picks at their food too. What gives? I joke that I'm just going to drop her off at different houses for meals just so she'll eat something. What am I doing wrong, or what can I do to get her to eat well when she's with us?

Thanks!

From: tlo, Meddford, MA


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How to stop mealtime gagging

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz December 21, 2011 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,
My 2 year old daughter has recently started a disturbing behavior and I am at a loss for what to do. She has started shoveling food in her mouth and not chewing and then gagging. I am constantly reminding her to take small bites and to "chew, chew, chew." She just laughs and does it again. Of course she gets a huge reaction from me because she gags and it is scary. How can I ignore her behavior if she really is choking? I have put less and less food on her plate, I have cut everything up in small bites, but she still finds a way to do it. Last night we had medium sized pasta shells and sauce for dinner. She would put two in her mouth and NOT CHEW, just swallow and then gag and then laugh. I finally just told her if she didn't chew she wasn't getting anymore and removed her from the table. My husband got upset saying that I can't let her starve so he brought her back to the table and fed her while I was in the other room and she didn't do it for him, she was fine. Can you please give me some tips on how to stop this behavior? Thank You!

From: Rachel, Marshfield, MA


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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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