What Do You Feed a Fussy Child?

Extreme fussy 2 year old and getting worse every week.

What do your kids eat?!?!

Update: Thank you for everyone’s ideas. We are definitely push over parents but now that I think about it we were both fussy eaters as children so I wonder if it’s a DNA thing.

Comments

        • +2

          Nevertheless, throwing away the ice cream and showing them an empty freezer isn't going to make them realise there isn't any

      • +1

        The scream and howl because it works!

        If the parents are continually reinforcing that this is a successful strategy, then of course they will do it.

        • +1

          Absolutely. The bigger then tantrum the less likely they are to get what they want. It’s the only way. Otherwise you’re just teaching them to scream and carry on.

  • Cheese, sausage and boiled eggs?

    • +1

      Hates cheese and eggs. She eats sausages and meat balls sometimes but once in 2 weeks. Can’t be the same food within a few days.

      • Does she like pasta and or red sauce. My parents used to puree zucchini into pasta sauce and I had no idea.

  • +3

    My son is 15 and is still a fussy eater. Has been his entire life. I reckon he’d explode if he ate a salad.
    But our daughter loves new foods. Will happily try anything once. Her “treat” food is olives. She’s nuts.

    It’s luck of the draw, and there’s no hard and fast rules to it all.

    We’ve probably allowed our son to get away with it, to the point where he just won’t eat new foods .. but he’s not unfit/malnutritioned … in fact, he’s skinnier and fitter than our daughter, even though she eats a broad range of good foods.

    Good luck, and don’t feel too bad. It’s easy to think you are doing a bad job parenting … but there’s no defined way to do it right. The fact that you are even asking the question, shows you are doing a good job.

    • +1

      We’ve probably allowed our son to get away with it, to the point where he just won’t eat new foods .. but he’s not unfit/malnutritioned … in fact, he’s skinnier and fitter than our daughter, even though she eats a broad range of good foods.

      That's not a bad thing, why is it something he's "gotten away with". I don't get why people make new foods out to be something that's so amazing and wonderful. At the end of the day, eating is about getting the nutrition you need. I would be perfectly happy rotating my 3 favourite dishes as long as I was getting all the nutrition I needed for a really long time.

      • +3

        Yeah, that’s true.

        As a “responsible adult”, the crap I eat would appal a nutritionist. But I’m fine(ish).

        Like you, I reckon I could happily eat chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy every day for the rest of my life.

        I love the hypocrisy of food rules, like how as an adult, you can have a slice of cake for breakfast which was left out from the night before … but if your kid said they wanted cake for breakfast, it’d be “no way! Now sit down and eat your sugar puffs with milk”.

        I was once at work and the guy next to me went to the kitchen and microwaved seafood marinara for his breakfast. I said “you can’t eat that for breakfast!”, he asked why not … and I didn’t have an answer.

    • +1

      Does your 15 year old son eat vegetables at all? 😂

  • +4

    If they eat meatballs then make sure you load them up with vegetables, we put small amount of meat and up to 8 veg in with our spag bog or meatballs, both the kids eat the lot, and good for us too.
    For brekky my kids love porridge, muesli, toast, i let them pick, and for lunch more like a snack plate, mainly fruit like blueberries, strawberries, banana, cherry tomatos, and grated cheese, dry crackers.
    Maybe we are just lucky that both our kids (18 mnth, 4yo) love food, but they have had good examples and consistency from the start.

  • +1

    My younger brother was a very fussy eater as a toddler. Parents tried to feed him everything with little success. Everything was yuck. One day they blended chicken and berries in a blender and… he gobbled it all up.

    Yes, he's still a bit weird :-)

  • +1

    Maybe this book Can’t eat, Won’t eat has relevance?

  • -2

    Chicken nuggets

    • +1

      From one addiction to another. That’s like trading heroin for methadone… still doesn’t fix the problem, just trades it for another.

    • REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

    • Not too sure why you got negged - start them on the best ones you can buy and then ween them on to ones you make yourself using free range chicken breast and your own crumb - stick it in an air fryer and then are very healthy (just no veggies)

  • If they like fried rice, you can hide almost anything in there. Mine would only eat takeaway fried rice, by the time I had bulked it out with finely chopped fish and veg it was double in size. Carrots and other veg with a small dipping bowl of honey worked well. And getting creative on the plate helped too - sausage mouth, noodles hair, fried eggs eyes…

    Its hard/hair pulling at times though.

  • +9

    Join a parenting group and/or speak to a maternal health nurse.

    Sounds like you potentially relaxed on a few aspects with the child, and now they've exploited you. It's hard to correct when they can't be reasoned with so it's all about firm parenting.

    My 20 month old son manipulates his mum, but I don't let those things pass. So sometimes I tell his mum that it's better of she leaves the dinner table as it's generally my experience that he eats everything when I'm there with him alone. When mum's there, he'll throw the food on the ground or tanty a bit.

    Also, childcare has been great in that he has observed what other kids do and eat, and copies them. When they're eating veggies, he eats them too.

    So home habits and parenting are important. Kids will copy what they see. If parents are eating ice cream, kid will want some too.

    We only ever feed our son the veggies first before moving onto carbs and meats which he loves. If it all comes together the he'll leave the veggies alone.

  • +8

    I don’t have kids of my own yet however I was brought up the old fashioned way. We had to eat what we were given. As we got older there were no sweets after dinner until we finished our main meal. My parents served the meal up later if we didn’t eat it and we were still hungry. I remember once being served up last nights meal again for refusing to finish my veggies the previous night. I remember being forced to eat squash, Brussel sprouts, all the good stuff. There wasn’t really an option. I was cooked a variety of food each week including Indian, Italian, Asian, roast meats Etc. Variety helps. Plus both my parents worked full times and had additional jobs. Only takeaway on a Friday night which was usually Fish & Chips, occasionally Chinese, rarely McD’s. I believe there is some reason to doing this, No allergies or health issues for anyone in my family, plus we eat everything and we always finish all of our food. No food ever goes in the bin in my parents or my home. I’ve heard of people wasting large amounts of food but I don’t really understand why people spend money on food to throw it in the bin. It sounds tough but I think it’s the right way to be. Start kids on the correct habits.

  • +9

    Tough love is required. Get rid of ALL the sweets, ice cream in the house.

    They need to be served the same meal as the parents. If they refuse, don't make a fuss. They WILL get hungry and eat eventually. They won't starve.

    It may be a rough week or 2 but healthy normal eating habits will begin to develop.

    • -8

      I disagree if this is used in the long term. Especially if the adults are allowed to eat sugar, “fun things”, and the kid isn’t.

      This kind of behaviour was what happened to about 3 of my close friends while I was growing up (all at different stages of my life) and they all developed very bad relationships with food.

      One became very, very anorexic, and spent several years in and out of hospitals to help her recover. It was basically that she needed to control her food, because she had none growing up. She almost died on several occasions. She’s now in her late 20s and still struggles with what she “can”/“can’t” eat.

      And one has spent her life in and out of various diets and fads, because of the lack of exposure to sweets etc and not really understanding that to have a little will prevent a full blown binge.

      One only really ever eats fast food to this because the fun was taken out of food, then as an adult this is what they found “fun”.

      A child’s relationship with food is much more important than “they won’t starve”, and can have damaging, long term effects.

      • +13

        Disagree. The adults with eating disorders would stem from any number of issues accrued through their life not only inclusive of what the parents did or didn’t do.

        A friend of a friend basically only eats white bread, meat pies and sauce. Hates vegetables and doesn’t eat anything healthy. She is heavily obese and will likely live a short life ending in any number of health conditions. Her parents only fed her what she wanted as a kid.

        For every adult case of an eating disorder you may think stems from an adult managing their diet in a healthy way as a child you will find 100’s as a result of adults who just fed the kid what they want even going so far to make seperate meals.

        With our kids it’s all about moderation. Finish your dinner have dessert - which can be fruit or something a bit sweeter when the kids have been good. The kids are welcome to some fruit snacks through out the day and and I have no issue with spoiling them from time to time. Because heck you are only a kid once! All of our kids eat what we eat until they are full with no issues. From a young age (2) they are all involved in the process of making food too so they can be part of it and understand a bit more about what they are eating. This actually works well with developing their relationship as you have referred to.

        The key word is moderation and if you are making them a special meal for dinner just for them that is different to what you eat … well that is on you. Be a parent and be firm. Teach your kids what sugar is and how it has an impact on your body and teach your kids how to cook!!! Again. Be a parent.

      • +5

        The kid already has a very bad relationship with food and control over the parents, that cycle NEEDS to be broken,.

    • +2

      I like it Zeggy I'll give it a try .

      • yep, loads of books agree - dont make the dinner table a battle ground. No "sit here until…" or "if you take a bite you can have this instead". Pretty much just only have healthy options available, involve them in the buying/cooking process and go from there.

  • There’s an instagram account called kids.eat.in.color that deals with a lot of topics about children’s eating habits and often touches on fussy eater. This page is run by a dietician, not just another mum. You might find a bunch of resources there. Like this or this

    To start, just feed your kid what they actually do eat. That way you know they eat.

    Secondly, the information on the page might help you use wording and language to take the game or control that your child wants out of it.

  • Be like my mum, she said if you don't like it then make it yourself. If you don't want to eat then that's fine. My mum doesn't like children moaning about things. Old style, if they're sick and feeling pain, that's on them, not on you, you tried your best, gave them food and they refused to eat. They need to learn to make right choices early on their life so they can be confident when they're adult

    • +3

      The child is two years old. They have no long-term conscious memory, and very limited reasoning. Choices are mostly impulsive.

      Your GP can give you advice, or refer you to a paediatrician, if necessary.

      In the interim the best advice here, so far, has been to re-serve the uneaten food at 2am, and start with the veg, then protein, then carbs. Ice-cream should be an occasional treat after everything else is off the plate. Start with small servings of the foods less-liked, and don't be afraid to offer a carrot stick as a snack. My kids loved them.

      It's hard to do, but children adapt very quickly, and you need to make the best choices for them.

      I have three children, now in their 20s and the youngest was fussy, so we used the strategies I mentioned. He could eat a few more veg now, but overall he eats OK.

      All the best. It's hard at the beginning, and will come up again over the years, but you'll get there.

  • +19

    Sorry for the truth bomb OP but 99% of the time you can blame poor parenting - giving the kid snacks too close to dinner, caving to any minor request because it's easier, preparing separate food all the time, stocking garbage food ( I mean who would choose real food instead of Cheetos, coke and lollies?)

    Almost always, it's the parents causing it.

  • +3

    Ellyn Satter is one of the experts in this field. There are resources on her website (eg. https://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/how-to-feed/child-feedi...), or she has several books - this one suits your kid’s age: Feeding with Love and Good Sense: 18 Months Through 6 Years. Good luck!

    • +1

      To clarify, by “this field” I mean fussy eating. A lot of her advice hinges on taking the control issues and power struggles out of feeding kids, which you really need with a particularly stubborn kid who digs their heels in more the more you push them.

  • Can't say whether it does work or not, but I've read that including the child in meal prep helps. Eg choosing the recipe, the ingredients, cooking, plating.

    Or if there is a tv show that they like, and there is food eaten by the characters, see if the child is tempted to eat the same

  • +2

    When I was 10, I would only eat meat, so my dad cooked only vegetables for one whole week and after eating rice and soy sauce for 3 days, I gave in and it was the best tasting vegetables I’ve had! Dad’s an awesome cook.

    Now, I’m feeding my fussy kid whatever I eat. I do compromise with his favourite dishes too. I’m not nearly as good a cook as my dad…

    Give it a go and, as other have pointed out, hang in there!

  • +2

    It may be worth checking if your child has any allergies. When I was a kid I would not touch raw fruit or vegetables. I actually slept at the kitchen table a few times, stubbornly refusing to eat (but I couldn't leave the table).

    Turns out I am allergic to salicylates, a protein found in raw fruit, veg, nuts etc. At a young age I couldn't express much more than "I don't like it".

  • +2

    Start by looking at what you predominantly eat.

    We eat a lot of veg and fruits and unprocessed grains, which our kids do. Wife eats some meat and eggs, which the kids also do. Wife does occasionally give them a bit of junk food when she eats - e.g. Bowman Island apple pie, banana cake, but this is at most on average two or three times a week. She bakes wholemeal muffins, cookies, etc., with the kids (still processed but she throws in wheat germ, flaxseed, 85% choc, honey, etc.).

  • +1

    Op sounds like a push over.
    Kid prob walks all over you.

    They can decide what to eat when they pay the bills/cook the food.
    Till then eat what they get.

  • mac n cheese!

  • nuggets

  • +1

    Mate, could be early signs of ASD. I know that the ASD kids are quite fussy about the food. Better talk to a paediatrician.

  • Man I was deprived as a kid. Dessert after any main meal was such a rare treat… We could have all the fruit we wanted but dessert was strictly for special occasions. Even now, I won't have dessert most days as part of a meal. Guess I will be depriving my own kid too…

    • +1

      Nah that’s just being healthy…
      Our kids love it if they get strawberries after dinner as that counts as dessert in their eyes!

    • I know what you mean. My family rarely ate dessert except for an occasional treat or special occasions. Met my wife and her family ate it literally every single meal. I thought it was so weird and indulgent. lol.

  • +1

    There's a lot of advice here
    This is what I agree with Step ONE…
    I agree with involving them in prep, sticking to basic foods to start and making sure all the family does the same.
    Absolutely definately remove ice cream from the house. This is not cruel to children nor saying they cant ever have it again, i actually do this for myself when some new tasty dessert comes out and i start eating too much of it.
    Dont insist she eats everything, keep anything left and if hungry reheat it.
    I can hear the desperation and sleep deprivation through the post!
    I remember this…it's influencing your determination to give in, don't!
    I agree with the 2am bit, get up reheat the food..not eating …off to bed.
    Remember this is step one and the single goal is to win this battle of wills. You are currently losing to a 2 year old. How are you going to go setting boundaries around drinking, going out etc etc as a teenager if they Are used to being in charge.
    Yes, it will be frustrating at 2am, I suggest starting before a weekend so you can sleep in, go to bed a bit earlier, taking turns wearing earplugs each night so only one person is up, and write your goal somewhere you can see it, say whatever you want. Remember the goal of this step is only to get them eating what they're given and not throw tantrums, and sleep of course.
    This is relatively short term, she'll get hungry and give in.

    If the bad behaviour stops, there's nothing wrong with making it fun or adding this or that they might ask about, or using the more complex advice on here to increase foods. Especially around hiding veggies and introducing food for nutrition.
    Just get to a good night's sleep and being in charge of food.
    Step 2 you can tackle next week.

  • -1

    Nuggets or gtfo I would say

  • If you think it's a control issue could you make a little menu with photos of different dishes that you always have in the freezer ready to go? Let them choose but you limit their options?

  • I was a fussy eater. Didn’t like fish. Still don’t like smelly fish. The thing my mum regrets most in life is following others advice to get me to eat fish. I was about six years old and she offered me nothing but fish saying that’s the only food in the house. I didn’t have a tantrum or complain but I pushed away the fish and only drank water. Basically I had breakfast then only water till next day dinner. Some of the people who advised her not to give anything else later said they didn’t mean nothing for hours on end. Others were in disbelief. The only people who suffered was Mum and me. Since that experience she would not force me to eat anything; she would encourage to try other food sometimes more successfully than others, but without being annoying.

    Each person is unique and you will find the best way to have your child try other foods. My only advice is give your child all the love you can; these days won’t last and the one thing you don’t want is bad memories. Play, enjoy and laugh till you are both too worn out to care what you eat.

  • +10

    Feed them discipline.

    • First-world children eh? 🤣

      • I know! Little brats.

  • my 2c worth. My son at a little older 3yo-would not eat anything but scrambled egg and ice cream. One day had a temp and the doc looked down his throat and found his tonsils were so enlarged there was hardly a gap to swallow anything but soft stuff-hence the eggs and ice cream. Had tonsils out and when all healed he would eat anything except tomatoes! I could live with that!!

    • Thank you for sharing

  • +1

    Vegemite toast

  • Tell he/she if the dinner is missed, there is not food until next day.

    Make sure no food at all in the house and just let he/she starves.

    Then he/she will eat whatever you put on the table when an individual experience the feeling of hunger.

    FYI, I know some morons will call this kind of method as child abuse. Yes, it IS child abuse you soft balls. There you go, don't bother to comment and tell what kind of monster I am.

  • +3

    Another perspective - occupational therapists and speech pathologists have general training (and some have extensive specialist training) on getting fussy eaters to expand their eating options.

  • This is not based on any science!!! Just some ideas

    Make a game out of meal time.

    Let them help with the cooking to engage them in their food.

    Start a vege patch and engage them growing food.
    maybe some chooks for eggs too.

    Let them eat heaps of ice-cream till they are sick. to turn them off ice-cream.
    Not have ice-cream at home.

    I do not feel hard handed approach to children is the best way. These approaches are usually counter productive. the more you want them to do something the less they want to do it. That is the nature of head to head conflict. It is the same with adults.

    • We have done the veggie patch and cooking together thing. She loves getting involved but still will not eat it.

      • -2

        your child is broken!
        sorry.

        There is still the option of making her eat ice-cream till she pukes…..
        Or completely not have ice-cream at home.

        I dont have kids so my ideas are postulation from my interaction with my friend's children

  • Two years old is a tricky age, to be sure. So long as you're reasonably sure there are no underlying health issues causing it, I would say tough love is the only real option.

  • +2

    Our rule is you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it… but you’re not getting anything else!

    My 3 yo will chuck a tantrum and say she hates everything on her plate, then pick at her food and then eventually nibble at it and go “oh this is good” and continue to eat. So I know with her it’s all a game as this happens 4+ times a week.

    It’s exhausting and time consuming and I get how easy it would be to throw down chips and nuggets (which we sometimes do) but I know it’s all a show and it’s a slippery slope to go down to give in all the time.

    Our 5 year old has no issues with food and he tried the same tricks, though not to the extent of the 3 yo.

  • +1

    Thanks OP. It's threads like this that make me glad I have no kids :)

    • I know right! No one talks about the BS!!!!!!

      • I tell all my mates how much of a shithead my little one is, he still wakes 4 times in the night and has eye bags from lack of sleep. And doesn’t eat well, but not as bad as yours it seem.

        • +1

          Same here she has bags under her eyes from the lack of sleep. Worst sleeper, eater and wants 1 on 1 attention all day or else whinges.
          No way a second.

          • @Jumpup: Haha, sounds so much like my kid.

            But I will say my kid is super cute, and I say that coz he’s mine, but also coz I do think he is funny and cute anyway. So I won’t say no to a second, but they are tough when they don’t eat and sleep well

  • +3

    Hey OP, I got a two year right now and I know a fair few too, of interest three 2 year olds come to mind and this is what you are supposed to do. I say supposed to do from advice from GP and kid nutritionist.

    Make health foods you would eat, eat together and set times. Set a time limit for eating, like 30-45 mins dinner time. Your job is to make and offer a variety of foods, and their job is to pick and choose what they want to eat. If they don’t eat, that’s their choice and don’t offer anything else they might like or eat. “Healthy kids don’t starve themselves” Is the phrase they all use.

    Remove all that stuff they like or tempted to eat, ice cream etc.

    My personal tip is, make eating interesting if you can, sometimes when I’m playing with my little one and I know he had a light lunch I’d pull out a apple or something health like steamed broccoli and offer it, he normally wouldn’t entertain those items, but because he is hungry and happy he would eat it.

    Absolutely don’t give them food in the middle of the night as some people say here. This will make them think it’s ok to ask for food at any time. Tell them they can eat when it’s morning, and they should eat more at night or else they will go hungry. At 2 they understand much of what you say, my 2 yr old understands everything it seems, but unless I’m stern, he doesn’t always take me seriously.

    • ^^^ Agree with this

  • +2

    They'll eat when they are hungry

  • Well if they won't eat an apple they can't be hungry.
    Maybe they're spoilt?

  • +1

    2 year Olds like to test boundaries.

    If they're not sleeping at night, it's because you go running to them when they cry. There are a few methods one can try, but too long / detailed to post. I'd look at cry it out method to start

    For food, all you can do is offer. It can take a great number of tries before they take to it

    You need to look at how much milk they are drinking, you might be feeding too much milk.

    Check out sugar content as well, I would cut out those baby fruit bars entirely. If they fill up on sugar, not going to eat anything else.

    Definitely see a nutritionist and perhaps a paediatrician to rule out anything else

  • +3

    We also have a strong headed two year old daughter - and food based tantrums have been… Fun…

    A nurse at tresillian gave us wise advice about fussy eaters: focus on what you can control. You can control when food is set down, and the food you put on a plate. But eating is up to them. If they don't want to eat, that's fine, but there's no alternatives. It's tough love - and tough on the parents at first - but your daughter sounds smart and she will get with the program soon.

    Another thing that's helped is childcare. It's been mentioned a few times here, and we found out daughter's diet (and the food she likes) expanded greatly. The benefits of peer pressure!

    Best of luck OP. Happy to share other ideas. It's not easy; in fact it's incredibly hard. But just stay calm and focus on what you can control, not her emotional reaction which is outside of your control.

  • +4

    Both parents are fussy eaters, then you give the kid to the grandparent??

    It ain't in the DNA, poor parenting produced you two. And now you give your kid to one of the offenders!

  • Fortunately my two (4 and 2) are generally pretty good eaters. Although we usually still have to bribe them with fruit/dessert/TV to eat their veggies. They do have phases where they will only eat one thing for days on end.

    One weird period was when the 4 year old only ate dumpling skins and the 2 year only the inside meat, so they would give each other their unwanted parts! It was a mutually beneficial situation for them both (even though it wasn't quite a balanced diet for either of them).

    Recently the 4 year old was eating cucumber and carrot sticks from childcare when I picked her up, I asked her why she ate them at school and not at home, she said "because it's not home food, mummy doesn't cut it this shape" 😂 which I suppose is mostly true.

    Anyway there's a lot of good advice and a lot of bad advice in this thread, just try a few and see how you go. Unless you go to the extreme, they will survive (you guys did!)

  • we were both fussy eaters as children so I wonder if it’s a DNA thing

    I don't think this is hereditary - more likely it's learnt behaviour (you learnt your parenting methods first hand from your own parents).

    A small warning: don't create "forbidden fruit" - you just increase their desirability. My parents used the "no dessert until you finish mains" bribery method which turned dessert into the main game. I love my desserts and am now prediabetic.

    Re some of the earlier comments: I read the book "Becoming Better Parents" by Maurice Balsom ?25 years ago and found it interesting and very useful. One of the few things I can now remember him saying was that you can't win a power struggle. He did give strategies for dealing with them, but I've long forgotten the details.

    He talked a lot about how to identify the underlying reasons for misbehavior and how to address them. Misbehavior was a broad term - any behaviour that isn't what you want. In your example "fussy child".

  • I also have a fussy kid who doesn't eat anything we eat. We're still working on it…

    The following does not eliminate the problem, but will at least give you piece of mind that she's getting what she needs.

    1) Make smoothies. You can put fresh fruit, vitamins, and you can even hide some spinach/kale for "green" smoothies. This will give her plenty of vitamins/calcium.
    2) V8 Juice for fruit/vegetables. My kid loves rainbow juice
    3) Brioche rolls with Peanut Butter and/or Cocao Spread.
    4) Thinly spread Vegemite on toast. Not sure why kids like it :D
    5) Vege crisps, obviously sparingly.

  • Whatever we're eating, there's no special meal for him. Our todler either eats whats in front of him at feeding times or goes hungry, its pretty simple.

    Yeah, you'll get a tamtrum the first couple of times but its worth it.

  • A cup of concrete.

    Because fussy eating is a learned behaviour.

  • -2

    I can call the priest over, he will get them eating while your away.

  • +2

    2-3 years old is the hardest age in my opinion. The age of pushing boundaries!

    Sugar is addictive, your kid only wants to eat icecream and high carb foods because they are full of sugar.

    It works in a cycle:

    you eat the sugar —> your blood sugar spikes —> you get the dopamine hit from the sugar —> your blood sugar crashes —> your body craves sugar again.

    Kids will only eat sugar and carbs if you let them, just as they will do plenty of dangerous things if they are allowed to, but you are they parent, it’s your job to keep them healthy and safe and that includes sensible food choices.

    I have more kids than most and can tell you they will not starve themselves, they may whinge and complain and tantrum and throw their food, but they will eventually eat.

    If your kid is only eating sugar, it’s going to be a bit of a fight to get it out of their system, but persevere and they will start eating normal food.

    If this kind of thing doesn’t work and they do seem to be extremely fussy over textures/colours etc I would seek professional help as it can be a sign of more serious problems.

  • +2

    From what I've read the important thing is the whole family sitting together eating the same thing so you are modelling the behaviour.
    Also make sure there is variety of healthy choices giving them a sense of power to "choose" - but only put small quantities of each so not to overwhelm.
    E.g. maybe some hummus dip, some bread and veggies for dipping, some cheese and tomato cut up.
    E.g. make some home made nuggets with wholemeal bread crumbs, sauce, some roasted veggies on the side
    E.g. rice, meatballs, peas, corn
    On the worst days, wholemeal bread toast with peanut butter or cheese is high protein and relatively healthy.

    Try to make as much from scratch as possible as most of the commercials kids foods are high in sugars and/or taste awful. In attempts to time save I have explored many of the options on the market and it's so disappointing how bad they are.

    Also kids have pretty bland taste buds so cut back the spices otherwise it can overwhelm them.

    It's hard work…patience. I read if you put it on their plate 100 times, 99 times they might refuse it but on the the 100th time they will lick it. Then on the 120th time they might eat it! It has been working with my kid…she ate pumpkin the other night after refusing it about 100 times ahahaha.

    Good luck.

    P.S. Had to add, make sure they have as little exposure to sugar or "bad" foods as possible. Yes I let my kid eat some cake here or there, and I make her homemade pikelets - but with just a teaspoon of sugar in the whole mixture. Don't ever offer commercially bought biscuits or chocolates as a regular snack. I've seen parents put chocolate in their 2 year old kids lunchbox…crazy IMO as this teaches them it is part of an every day diet and sets yourself up for failure. We know sugar is addictive and most things taste better with sugar. We can't expect children to make healthy choices independently when they have been taught how much better sugar tastes. Even as an adult I struggle to eat healthy at times! How hard can it be for a kid without an adult's brain understanding WHY healthy food is important! Rant over! :)

  • There are lots of good suggestions here. The other option is to talk to your Maternal Health Nurse about suggestions. Further than that there are Speech Pathologists who run fussy eaters programs and can provide more ideas for introducing new foods.

  • You already got a lot of good advice. I will say get rid of the ice creams and treats. Also give her some b12 supplements. This makes kids hungry and build appetite. She'll eat no matter what

  • hey OP

    Have you ruled out ARFID?

    https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/eating-disorders-a-z/arfi...

    It's a real thing that I didnt know about till my good friend's child was diagnosed with it. The severity can differ from child to child with causes still yet to be really pinpointed. Support is very limited with many professionals still dismissing the issue.

    (orrrrr like the others say, the kid is just craving for that sweet sweet sugar induced dopamine hit)…

  • Send them to Africa, go hungry with other African kids, happy starving together.

  • -1

    Ask an ethnic mother over the age of 50 how to do it. These yuppies on Instagram are a waste of time.

  • You know how I know I would be a harsh parent? I wouldn't give such a young child junk food in the first place so they don't know the taste.
    Works with my dog, he's never had human food in his six years so you can eat anything in front of him and he doesn't even beg or look at you, it's great!
    Bastard drinks the filthy stagnant pond water though…

    • that is a good point of not giving them 'junk' food. In at home environment it is possible, but when they interact with other kids, they will be exposed to it.

      There are are also pervasive advertising trying to target kids with such food

  • Make:
    - funny faces with veggies. Try peeling carrots/cucumber thin like hair.
    - Shapes with sandwiches.
    - We call it octopus sausage where you cut a frankfurt in half and then cut notches out for legs. When you boil it, the legs curl and it looks like an octopus.

  • I have a 2.5 year old. Always eats his broccoli, carrots, lamb chops etc. he simply does not get junk food unless it’s from daycare (junk food at daycare shits me no end, always seems to be someone’s birthday everyweek) or he’s in a group of kids (I.e birthday party). It’s not in our house and he knows not to ask for it, you only need to say “no” a few times and they get it.

    The tough part is that sugar, at an early age, rewires your brain to crave it. So the longer they’ve been eating sweet things, the harder it is. You’ve just gotta cut it all out. Sucks for a while dealing with it, easy in the long run.

    You also need to set a good example.

    Good luck. It’s hard

    • Yes! What’s with the junk food at daycare! My 9.5month old has been offered foods with added salt and sugar at 2 different centres. Neither centre thought it was a problem.

  • You have to become kid with kids to make them do what you want them to do.
    Make the event playful for the foods that you want to feed Them and for those that you don’t make the event like a boring irritating task.

  • +1

    Lots of great ideas brought up already. If you want your kid to change then the first thing that must change is you. Your kid doesn't try to challenge you (they don't think that way at age 2) but you are challenged by your kid. The routines that you follow with your kid need to change.

  • Don’t give in. They’re 2 years, so pretty much feed them what you eat with less salt and sugars. (unless they have special dietary requirement)

    They’ll be hard on you at first, sooner they will get the message. Also cut down on the treats and deserts until they behave :-)

    Good luck.

  • This Facebook group (P2B Little Foodies) is helpful for food ideas for little ones. People post recipes they’ve had success with their kids eating. https://m.facebook.com/groups/185171325468925/

    Fussy eating at age 2 is pretty common. Still frustrating for you as a parent. Maybe consider what overall parenting/behaviour approach you’re using and apply it to the food situation. If you’d like some help, look into Circle of Security or Triple P.

    Praise when your kid tries a new food, one they have previously not liked but are willing to try again, as well as when they actually eat healthy food. Some people use a chart to add foods to that have been tried and eaten, but I suspect 2 is a little young for this.

  • Sugar is extremely addictive, so if you've been feeding your kid sugary food, then try to reduce or eliminate it.

    Try to give her more protein.

  • +1

    got a nutri bullet? You can hide a lot of good fruit / veg in smoothies… frozen raspberries hide pretty much any flavour they wont like.

    my kids fav is: banana + apple + frozen mango + frozen raspberries + spinach + greek yogurt

  • -2

    Hey OP, don't be stressed about it. My daughter was wayyyy too fusssyyy when she was 2, we were stressed too but that didn't help. Just try to take it easy and give her whatever she likes, hopefully she will grow out of it. They tend to eat well after around 2.5 hrs of age so just hang in there.

    • +2

      Give the kid whatever they like is awful advice.

      • +1

        Is it though? I have 3 nephews that are all adults now, best kids ever. Their parents gave them whatever they want to eat.

        I definitely don't do that with my toddler however.

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