Posted in Food & Cooking, Preschoolers, Toddlers

Dinner

How old was your child when you started requiring them to eat what they’re served for dinner or not eat?

  • Raji
    May 15

    After my daughter turned one; we usually serve two things we know she will eat. Lately, she’s gotten pickier( she’s also got 4 teeth coming in) but will eat yogurt with lunch and dinner. She’s now 16 months.

  • Anonymous
    May 16

    I've always tried to give mine what we are eating unless I didn't think he could eat it. Now he is 3 and getting more opinionated. Some nights I try to offer things he likes and other nights things we like. Lately he complains about both! I just tell him that's what he's getting and nothing else.

  • Anonymous
    May 16

    My two cents is that I hate being told what to eat nightly. So I always make sure there is something she likes on her plate. If it is something new, she can try it and then I’ll make something quick for her. Or she can have a healthy filling snack after dinner. But my daughter is two and wakes up starving during the night and sobs for milk if she doesn’t eat dinner, so I’d rather her eat and let us all sleep. She has to try one bite of the food, but I won’t force her.

  • 2Boys&aDog
    May 16

    My son will be 5 in September and at around 3.5 years old we finally said “no” to preparing separate meals. He eats what we eat as long as it isn’t spicy. I also, like those stated above, place one thing on his plate that I know he will eat such as fruit or carrots and hummus or cucumber. Some nights we have our battles but overall he has adjusted well to the change and is getting a little more adventurous with eating.

  • Julie
    May 16

    I’ve never forced her to eat everything (or even anything) on her plate. I always serve her what we are eating but include something that I know she will eat. Like a carb I’m sure she will eat and a veggie I know she likes. Then I ask her to try whatever else she’s offered but if she hates it or spits it out I don’t force her to eat it. And if all she wants is corn, broccoli, and strawberries, that’s ok too. I give her seconds (or thirds or fourths) of those and skip forcing down the chicken or whatever else. I read somewhere that it’s actually a lot better to calmly say to your child, “that’s ok. You don’t have to eat that.” Than it is to be tough and say, “eat all your chicken and then I’ll give you more rice.” If she hates something, I make a note of it but keep offering it. She once took one bite of Coleslaw and was so disturbed she refused to eat another bite of anything. I kept adding slaw to her plate whenever we’d have it and she mostly ignored it. Then just a week ago I put a small mound of slaw on there and she tried a bite and ate it all, then asked for more!!! So just keep trying but keep it low pressure. Always offer one or two things you know they’ll eat and then ask them to try something else. If they flat refuse don’t force it. They’ll come around eventually (or they won’t. My husband is on the wrong side of 50 and the man will not eat peas and apparently hasn’t since he was 3 years old).

  • Liza M.
    Thursday

    My LO is 18mos. She eats what we eat for the most part, excluding things that are too spicy or crunchy, etc...As several others have said, we always offer include something we know she will like. I have found that setting that item aside and saying "if you'd like more (preferred item), have one bite of (non preferred/new item). We don't force her to eat anything but I find with preferred item as a motivation she is more willing to try new things or eat a few more bites of something she might not choose. I also find that offering something several times that she previously "didn't like" will yield different results. And lastly, I also find that remaining passive on whether or not she "has to" eat something/s is effective in getting her to try things more than once and in general. All this being said I struggle with the same thing! When is the right time to say "you didn't eat what I gave you? No dinner then."?! I don't want her to be hungry, but my husband and I are not short order cooks, and we can't eat what we want all the time! Otherwise I would be eating Blizzards from Dairy Queen and fresh watermelon every single day of the week.... (Full disclosure I'm 7mos pregnant, maybe some cravings coming through....) 😂

  • Ali
    Friday

    My kids are 2 and 5.. we all eat the same thing but I often tweak my kids dinners a bit so they will eat it and be filled. For example, I might pull chicken out of a chicken marrakesh but put the cous cous mix on the side. It is all there but separated. They don’t have to finish but can pick their treat if they finish or eat most. If they don’t finish and I legit believe they don’t like it they have to eat other healthy stuff then can have a treat if there is time before bed. It was not always easy and we still have our struggles but overall they do well.

  • Lynn
    Friday

    I make sure there’s something they like. At least one thing. And I do not require them to eat anything at all. Children are very good at knowing when they need to eat and what. Also, there are only 2 things young children can control on their own. What goes in their mouth and when and where they use the potty. It’s our responsibility to give them good choices and theirs to decide. Otherwise, you risk the chance of your child resisting. Even young children are adverse to being controlled. Eating disorders normally are a response to an over controlling parent.

  • Bethany
    Friday

    As soon as she started eating solids

  • Anonymous
    Saturday

    Never. If she refuses one part of the meal we focus on the other parts. If it's a vegetable she refuses I'll usually grab leftover vegetables from the night before. Same goes for other parts of the dinner. However, my daughter has never been picky and 99% of the time eats what she is given. We all have foods we don't like to eat. I'm guessing you wouldn't like being forced to eat something you dont like so why would it be fair to do the same to your child?