Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

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.

Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby RJandA » 05 Mar 2014, 20:17

So I know this is completely normal behaviour, but my question is, what do you DO about it?

Big A just turned 4. She goes in and out of picky phases but seems to be in a particularly annoying one at the moment. I literally cannot think of a single dinner I can make her that she will definitely eat except beans on toast which I don't count as being very nutritious. Spag bog, meatballs or shepherd's pie used to be surefire favourites but now often go untouched. Even fish fingers can't be counted on.

So what do you do? She recently started demanding pasta separately from the sauce which I did because I found if I put the sauce down first when she was hungry, she'd eat that, and then eat the pasta. Now she waits and eats literally just plain pasta for her meal. She'd happily go a whole day without protein if it wasn't for milk and cheese. Today she said she would have eaten the sauce if it was just plain tomato sauce, and I started thinking maybe I could do one sauce for her and one for the rest of us... then I realised in a few years Li'l A is going to be there too and I'll be making three separate meals... so not going down that route.

My instinct is to just serve up what we're having, and if she doesn't have it, she doesn't have it. She won't starve. She might go a good few days without eating what I would call a proper meal though, and I do worry if she's getting enough "nutrition". She's above 75th centile for height and 50-75th for weight. She does take Abidec syrup (the one with omega 3), but I worry about protein and iron. I'm trying to take the long term view that it's better she not see mealtimes as a battleground and have a healthy relationship with food, but in the short term I feel I have a responsibility to make sure she's getting what she needs to grow and stay healthy. How do you balance the two?

TIA.
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby PerpetualMadness » 05 Mar 2014, 20:27

I would and have continued to serve what I was going to serve. They can eat or not eat. If they don't want it but are hungry (either because they don't like or because they don't fancy it that day or because they're being a pita) they can have plain toast. Just toast. No butter/jam/... They get to choose breakfast and the cold meal so they won't starve.
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby Kanga » 05 Mar 2014, 20:28

Baked beans are a good source of protein!

Tbh I would go with your gut and serve up what you're having and not pander to her. My dd has recently gone off fish fingers so I will often do her sausages instead but it doesn't require loads more effort and doesn't feel like a different meal iykwim?

My dd is older but getting fussy with veg and I am just asking her to eat one mouthful and largely saying if she doesn't like it, don't eat it, but she doesn't get alternatives.

There is always the cheese sandwich option that someone (vanilla pickle?) did. Just offered cheese sandwiches until the children decided to try the food that was cooked.
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby RJandA » 05 Mar 2014, 20:53

Kanga wrote:Baked beans are a good source of protein!



I know, and we have them sometimes, but they're a good source of salt too. :?

The cheese sandwich idea sounds interesting... how long does it take? I think she would just happily eat cheese sandwiches. For ever.
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby PerpetualMadness » 05 Mar 2014, 20:55

VP offered them at every meal I think until they decided to try the food she was preparing (ie not just at the main meal). I would think that even the biggest cheese sandwich fan would struggle after a few days of just cheese sandwiches
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby PerpetualMadness » 05 Mar 2014, 20:57

Actually maybe it was just at the main meal:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=31697&hilit=Operation+cheese+sandwich
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby mamapup » 05 Mar 2014, 21:17

Pm, thanks for sharing the thread. Brilliant. I will be doing that for.sure although given that my 21 month old is already fussy and extremely stubborn.we may have a longer cheese.battle on our hands.

Good luck rj&a.
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby ceem » 05 Mar 2014, 22:52

yep my 4 year old only eats plain pasta, cheese, bread and cereal. oh how I wish I was joking! x
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby sparkling » 05 Mar 2014, 23:05

My very nearly 5 year old eats a fairly balanced but very boring diet! She doesn't like sauce and generally eats the plain carbs part of our meal with some veg and the meat component if sauce free, plus plain yogurt/cheese or something. So she will eat all of a roast dinner (minus the gravy, strange child) or sausages and mash, but if we have curry or pasta and sauce or something she only eats the boring bits!

I pander to her to the extent that if we have soup, she has a 'snacky dinner', with bread/cheese/salady bits, and if we have something mixed like shepherds pie or lasagne I'll keep some mash aside or do some plain pasta, and we all have some veg with it. But we don't make a big deal of it, and slowly slowly she's starting to try more new things.

She's another that I reckon would last out quite a long time on cheese sandwiches!
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Re: Any other fussy 4 year olds out there?

Postby jvnt » 06 Mar 2014, 00:43

I nearly posted about this the other day. I've had numerous evenings where I've wondered what the point in preparing dinner is. They have a different dinner to dh and I as he doesn't get home until gone 8 so it seems especially pointless knowing you're cooking just for them. It's mostly food they like just they don't like it today. I wonder if I've got too much in the habit of cooking the boy what he asks for which is getting more troublesome now baby dragon has an opinion too so now I'm trying to backtrack and cook more randomly or alternate their choices.

They both eat a wide range of foods but not consistently probably the only thing they will definitely eat is fried rice and spring rolls which is a considerably worse option than beans on toast!

As to what I do - I put them in the bath and put them to bed , sometimes they have fruit and yoghurt before bed but mostly not.
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