What WILL your preschooler eat?

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby skip » 05 May 2012, 11:41

So it seems the 3-4 (and a bit either side) age group is a supremely bland/"fussy" one, and our BLW posterboy has had a pretty limited diet the last year or so - I *know* it's fairly normal, and plenty of us are going through it together, just wondered what your preschooler WILL actually eat so I can think of some other things to try M with. <sigh> We're fine with breakfast and he'd snack all day on pretty healthy things if we let him, it's the meal issue that we're struggling with. He used to eat all sorts of things but now is down to just a few 'acceptable' choices. We still offer whatever we're having, but more often than not he'll take a token bite and then beg for ricecakes or similar half an hour later....

Here are the kind of things in M's repertoire:

Breakfast: weetabix, cornflakes, bran flakes, toast with marmite, fruit

Lunch: ham/marmite/tuna sandwiches, pancakes with honey, toast with marmite, fruit, cereal bars, carrot sticks, olives, eggs in all forms (scrambled, pouched, fried, boiled, omelette - he'd eat eggs every day quite happily)

Dinner: "filled pasta" (that 3 minute stuff with spinach and ricotta etc in), pasta and pesto, macaroni cheese, fish fingers, potato waffles, sausages/chorizo, peas (sometimes), meatballs (sometimes), chicken (sometimes), pork chops (sometimes), boiled potatoes (sometimes), yogurt... um, I think that might be it. :oops:

Snacks: Pretty much all fresh and dried fruit, carrot sticks, rice cakes with marmite, oatcakes, breadsticks, most types of crackers, cereal bars, veggie muffins (usually courgette/carrot and cheese - though he refuses all cheese normally!)

Mince-based meals are now all refused, even though he used to love cottage pie/lasagne/chilli/bolognese, as are any one-pot meals like casseroles (he might eat some of the meat), bean burgers/falafel, rice and risotto (he used to LOVE rice), soups... the kid doesn't even like pizza, freakshow. He'll 'try' cooked vegetables if asked repeatedly/bribed, and either say "mmmmm, yummy!" but then refuse to eat any more, or point-blank say he hates them.

Ok, looking at it like that it doesn't seem so bad overall, but I just miss the days when I could make one meal and guarantee we would all eat it. Hoping R's BLW journey might encourage M to eat more meal-y type things. Or school dinners with a bit of peer pressure? Tell me it gets better! And share the meals your LO will eat so I can think of other things to offer, please.
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby gingerbreadhouse » 05 May 2012, 12:22

M won't eat anything 'crunchy' - that is anything that has been baked so has a crust, crusty bread, crusty pizza, yorkshire pudding etc etc. Luckily she will eat raw fruit and veg. She is also refusing anything spicy. Even cooked onions and brown sauce are 'spicy' to her. Currently her favourite food is porridge! Infuriating. A isn't fussy, yet!
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby babydsmummy » 05 May 2012, 12:30

My two are the other way round. D has his off days but is still overall pretty good. J is very fussy. He will only eat crunchy things eg the batter is all he'll eat from a toad in the hole with veg meal. So I got some chicken goujons yesterday - because he would try fish fingers happily but was less than convinced once he got to the fish. Anyway, they went down really well with some home made oven chips. He bashed the peas and sweetcorn. D ate a bit of everything but wasn't that hungry. Anyway - one success we've had that you could try if you haven't already!!
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby AwayinaChive » 05 May 2012, 12:50

Oh my word, your entire post sounds exactly like my 2!!! DD2 is even fussier, she won't have sauce on anything so eats plain pasta! Gross!!

I used to make all kind of wonderful things like you said, like shepherd's pie, lasagna, etc, and dd1 loved it. Now I just give her pasta every night because that what she loves and will eat up with gusto.

I can't give you any ideas because the only things mine will eat are the only things yours will eat! Snacks though, we also do a bowl and spooon with some dessicated coconut, or some ground almonds. I figure has good fats and vitamins in them and they love it. Sugar free banana cookies with coconut, oats, crushed brazil nuts, are healthy and if someone has that for dinner I'm thrilled. Sometimes dd1 will eat a roast dinner if pursuaded or we act extra excited or something.

And freakshow is right, mine don't like pizza anymore either! Freaks!!!!

ETA just remembered the other favourite besides pasta is sausages from Sharnfold Farm! They love marmite ones and apricot ones as well. And they now have beef ones, and my kids don't realise they're getting different meats. There are so many different flavours and mine love all of them really. Even dd2, the fussiest eater ever in existence eats absolutely loads of it! And they're all homemade at the farm, so I figure really natural and all that. Oh and they sell sausagemeat of their own too, and a few times I've made sausage rolls which went down well too.
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby blackberrycrimble » 05 May 2012, 13:01

It actually looks like a reasonably good list, but I hear you.

We've had some success with starting 'basic' and the recomplicating things - so risotto started to go out of favour so we got them back and happy with plain chicken risotto, and have worked back to having leek and bacon and a few others without too much fuss. You could try the same with different pasta sauces/assemblies. We've done it with stir fry too.

I'm trying to work on casserole type things too - they don't like the mixed upness, I think.

Your breakfasts and lunches look better than ours. Breakfasts here are mostly tiny amounts of cereal, sometimes eaten dry, and crumpets/toast/bagel (fluff has to have these untoasted though so bread rather than toast, but that doesn't bother me) and fruit. And lunches are usually sandwiches (ham or cheese) or hummus and pitta, or boiled eggs (which f didn't eat for a while).

Just seen Ives post and it reminded me of something - you can overdo the extending familiarity thing I was describing above. I decided to try them with bean bangers a few weeks ago, on the basis that they love sausages. Not fooled. At all. Fail.

I'm also quite stubborn about feeding them things that they might not eat. I try to meal plan so we have a familiar thing that I know they will eat one day, followed by something a bit more new and challenging the next. If I think it is really challenging they get a bit of bread on the side. I do require them to try things and mostly they do as you describe, although once or twice fluff has actually eaten a whole meal after initially refusing to even try it.

I can't decide which of them is fussier so I guess they are both a bit fussy at the moment, although I sense fluff is coming out of it but Sybil is going in... Fluff is more easily persuadable to try things although maybe has a slightly more limited 'base attitude' iyswim.

Hang in there. Fluff has never been that keen on strong flavours but this week we were out and I offered her an olive. She had a taste and said no, but then 2 mins later asked for one and ate it and another before politely declining any more. It felt like a definite case of wanting to explore and eat what I was having.
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby skip » 05 May 2012, 13:55

Knew I wasn't alone. :)

I really miss the old exciting days of him being SO open to new things but hey ho... It'll come around again with R, eh?

BC - I've realised that on full nursery days there's no way in hell he'll entertain anything new or something he'd usually refuse - he's just way too tired and has no patience for anything. That's generally when I serve up the quick pasta as it's a guaranteed success and means he won't whine his head off for the rest of the evening. As far as that goes, he's pretty open to any 'flavour' of that pasta, including a quite spicy olivey one when his friend was over that she wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

I don't get how he can love raw carrots but not even want to try boiled/roast carrots. WHO DOESN'T LIKE ROASTED CARROTS?!? He used to eat grilled salmon or fish pie by the fistful. Now it's fish fingers or nowt.

Oh yeah, he'll eat peanut butter, houmous, cream cheese and most carbs (crumpets/pitta/english muffins/bagels etc) as well. And ONCE recently he ate white rice mixed with ham and cheese that my friend made him.

He loves cooking with me but it doesn't guarantee he'll even try what we've made. He chopped up a load of mushrooms for a creamy pasta sauce the other night (rationale that he likes cheesey/carbonara pasta so might like this) and enjoyed seeing them get turned into the sauce, but then would not even try the finished meal. Baaaahhhhhhh. This too shall pass.

I'm making a mild spiced coconut curry tonight (something he used to really like) so we'll see.

So far today he's eaten weetabix, an apple, two pieces of cornbread and some juice. He hasn't wanted any 'proper' lunch so either we'll get a meltdown at dinner or he'll be ravenous and eat everything I offer, right? Bwaha. What's more likely?!
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby Turtle'sMammy » 05 May 2012, 14:09

T isn't that bad. At least I don't think he is. But that may be because he loves fish and seafood and will try most things.
He's not great with stews/casseroles. If we're having one, I usually have something bland/plain on the side. Rice/spuds and steamed veg. The same veg may be IN the blooming stew, but they will not be eaten.
Pasta and sauce should not be mixed together (unless it's mac and cheese).
"Pizza" he makes himself. Wholewheat dough, cheese and mushrooms. No sauce. EVER! And don't try and give him a grilled cheese sandwich (essentially the same as his "pizza") because it will be rejected outright.
As BC said "mixed upness" is treated with suspicion.
Breakfast is a pain. Dry cereal. A cup of yoghurt. Maybe.
Lunch is usually on the move. Crackers, cheese, fruit.
But at the same time, he'll inhale a tin of sardines. Eat his own weight in mussels and shrimp. Salmon, trout and crab are all faves. Mackerel, not so much. And he won't really eat fish cakes.
I'm looking on it as fickle, rather than fussy. He's not doing too bad, and neither is M.
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby Nix » 05 May 2012, 14:11

Seems like M eats a good variety!

H eats

Breakfast- 0.5 slice of buttered toast, sugary cereal eg Nesquik or Cheerios, cocopops cereal bar, nutrigrain, raisins, fruit

Lunch- sandwiches (jam or nutella) spag hoops, beans with toast, cheese, yoghurt, fruit, carrot sticks, slice of cucumber, breadsticks with soft cheese,

Tea: spag bol, meatballs, fish fingers, chips, sweet corn, peas, beans, chicken, fruit, yoghurt, potato wedges, burgers,

He has a great love for all baked goods-flapjack, cake, scones etc.
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Harvey born January 2009
Jasper born October 2010
Pippa born January 2013
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby TPM » 05 May 2012, 14:29

Wow it seems I'm pretty lucky with mine. Mind you I have always just offered what I'm doing and if they don't eat it theres nothing else later. So this is what L will eat and she's just a couple of months older than M isn't she.

Spaghetti Bol (a favourite), nick's oven baked chicken risotto (a favourite), chicken curry and rice (mild, another favourite), chilli with rice (she picks the kidney beans out), sweet & sour chicken with rice and veg, any roast dinner, all meats (except sausages) most pasta, loves those filled 3 min pastas, pizza, fish pie, fish fingers, soup and bread, carrots - raw and cooked, broccoli (she went off this for at least 2 years but I just kept offering and bizarrely it came back in favour!), sweetcorn, peppers, cucumber, tomato, most fruit.

What she's not keen on;
Sausages (always finds them spicy regardless of if they are or not), courgette, peas (but likes them frozen), green beans, macaroni cheese (can't work out why though - I think she just thinks she doesn't like it!).

Breakfast is usually cherios or porridge, although eggs are popular,with toast. Sandwich filling of choice is currently ham and mayo but she loves tuna and sweet corn, egg mayo, and prawn mayo if we're out somewhere. Melted cheese on toast is a good lunchtime alternative from sandwiches.

Ooh and she loves scones with cream and jam! And a cup of tea!

G's list is actually extremely similar but she's the one more likely to randomly leave stuff on her plate. She's got more of a sweet tooth so is always thinking ahead to yoghurt whereas L loves savoury food. Oh and g loves sausages and cheese. Anything salty or sugary :oops:

Eta: oh yes shepherds and cottage pies v popular too!
DD1 05/08, DD2 01/10 & DD3 04/12
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby LucyL » 05 May 2012, 14:58

No pizza here either... These odd kids!

If Bookworm were to eat only the food he asks for, he would have nothing but those awful 2-minute microwave noodles (I have refused to buy them any more!), "pizza bread" - a slice of bread with cheese melted on top in the microwave, pancakes with cinnamon sugar and lemon juice, plain couscous, and kiwi fruit.

I won't even bore you with the list of things he won't eat - it's rather long! And no way will he eat anything "mixed".

Strangely, I find we have a little more success if he hasn't seen the food prepared: If it just arrives on the table in front of him and that's the first he learns of it. Otherwise it's "I don't want that, I want noodles instead", and then his mind is far too stuck on the noodles to even think about eating anything else!
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby salj1980 » 05 May 2012, 14:58

Could you try just shaking things up a bit by offering him foods he usually eats for lunch at dinner time, and vice versa? When Huw goes through picky phases we do that and it seems to help, as does just giving him an empty plate and getting on with eating our own meal - he soon sits up to inspect what we've got and tells us which bits of it he wants, and we just put a couple of mouthfuls on his plate until he asks for more again.
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby skip » 05 May 2012, 15:02

TM - I like "fickle, not fussy". Should put it on a tshirt...

TPM - Brilliant stuff. I'm going to keep on offering and hope our list looks more like yours eventually.

Nix - how does J eat? Similar? Do you find they influence each other?

Lucy - I find that too, sometimes it's definitely better for the food not to be anticipated.

Sal - good idea. He eats more at lunchtime usually, and is a bit meltdowny by dinner, so prob better to introduce new things at midday.

We were just in the garden smelling plants and he loved the fennel, so we made fennel tea (which he then put a load of rosemary in!). He really eagerly tried it, but really didn't like it! He's just helped me grind up/mix all the spices for the curry, so if nothing else he'll be able to cook!

I need to kick dh into eating up at the table as a family more often as it definitely helps.
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby Nix » 05 May 2012, 15:10

Jasper will eat practically anything :-)
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Jasper born October 2010
Pippa born January 2013
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby Tintin » 05 May 2012, 15:11

Stompy is, what, 5 months older than M? She's just come out the other side of this phase in the last few months <frantically touches everything in sight that is wooden>
I wouldn't explicitly link it to Squeak starting BLW, but then again the timings do coincide, so maybe there is a link there...?

Hope M comes through it soon for you!
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DD2 Squeak, home-birthed March 11
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Re: What WILL your preschooler eat?

Postby skip » 05 May 2012, 16:09

:D Nixxie.

Steeler - that's reassuring.

Well, partial-success with the coconut curry. He initially sat down excited then looked in his bowl and went: "Neuuughhhh I don't like that!" but when I explained that it was just chicken, rice and peas he perked up and ate all the chicken. He also deigned to try a spoonful of rice but did genuinely pull a WTF face - something about the texture seems weird to him. I don't know. He does the same for broccoli - he'll willingly try it but doesn't like all the 'bits'. Ho hum, partial success. I might get some naan breads for him to have with curry in the future instead.

He's ridiculously tall and never stops running/jumping/being mental so he's obviously getting enough nutrients... ;)
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