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maddysgrammy6 November 12th, 2014 08:39 PM

grandson not eating well
I have a 5 year old grandson that is a very picky eater. The only thing that he likes to eat is chicken nuggets and hot dogs. My daughter tries to make him eat regular chicken but it's a major fight every night for dinner. If he chooses not to eat what his mom fixes then he has nothing. Is this the right thing to do or should she give him what he will he? Any comments will be appreciated. Thank you.

LucyVanPelt November 13th, 2014 03:58 AM

Re: grandson not eating well
Welcome to the forum!

There are several ways to approach this problem, some which may work better for one child than another.

The best advice I received about this is to worry only about what I serve and not what the child eats. Don't turn the picky-eater challenge into a power struggle. So mom should serve a variety of healthy food throughout the day. The if he only eats hotdogs or chicken nuggets for dinner, she can know that he's gotten good food at other meals. And of course, adults should set a good example and eat a variety of healthy foods, too, including a spoon of spinach!

He will grow out of this. My picky eater is now 10 and she asked for some of my fish last night at dinner.:eek:

KayKay November 13th, 2014 10:03 AM

Re: grandson not eating well
Welcome maddysgrammy6.

My son is now 19 years old. He was a "picky eater" from birth. I'll spare you the details, but he also would only eat chicken nuggets. Honestly, he was such a "picky eater" that I was thrilled that he would eat SOMETHING. My son would go days without eating if chicken nuggets weren't available. He seemed almost terrified of food. My husband and I were so worried about him.

Long story short, it turns out that my son has other eventually diagnosed issues which make his "picky eating" make sense. It wasn't about the food as in "what's healthy and what's not" or how it tasted. For him it was about the way the food felt in his mouth and his extreme dislike of what he calls "surprises." He wasn't "picky" - the reality is that the wrong texture or even temperature (he won't eat cold foods) makes him gag and sometimes throw up. He actually had to have occupational therapy for it.

Thankfully puberty hit and with it came the appetite teenage boys are known for. He went through a spurt of being willing to try new things. Since I had always been understanding of his issues and willing to work with him, he trusted me and his eating repertoire expanded exponentially.

He still won't eat any kind of fruit and is limited on what vegetables he'll eat. Sandwiches are beyond his ability to eat and he gags at the sight or smell of peanut butter. Tomato chunks are his nemesis. His diet isn't healthy by any means, but he does his best and only eats chicken fingers (thankfully not nuggets) occasionally. :)

My advice is to stop battling about the food. Figure out what it is that he doesn't like about other food, and figure out ways to work around it. My son drank warm milk with the nastiest smelling liquid vitamin in it for years because that was the only way I could make sure he was getting any sort of nutrients. My son would eat bread, so I got a bread machine and made bread with pureed vegetables in it. We went from eating bread to eating the edge of the pizza crust to eating a teeny bit of tomato sauce on the pizza crust to eating a teeny bit of tomato sauce and an iota of spinach on the pizza crust before he figured out he could eat pizza. This took months. Your son has to trust your daughter when it comes to food.

If meal time is a battle, both your grandson and daughter have already lost. :(

Cremebrulee November 13th, 2014 11:29 AM

Re: grandson not eating well
Kaykay, I was going to suggest that.....a young woman I work with went thru the very same thing, she actually had her son go for treatments....found a specialist in this area, and I honestly don't remember what the treatments were or what the texture disorder was called, but same identicle problem and now he is fine.

It was a battle for her, but now he is fine and eating everything.

I'm so sorry you had to struggle with must have been very worrisome at times.

KayKay November 13th, 2014 11:40 AM

Re: grandson not eating well
The occupation therapist that my son saw called it "oral defensiveness" - even touching his face near his mouth caused him anxiety. It was part of a larger issue called Sensory Integration Dysfunction, for which he received years of occupational therapy. Eventually my son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. He is very high functioning, a sophomore computer science major in college, and most people would call him "normal but quirky."

But he still is terrified of the idea of biting in to tomato chunks. :p:)

I just wanted to bring the idea to the OP that sometimes there are bigger issues than a battle of wills over food. IMO, in the long run it is beneficial if meal time is a relaxed, shared family time and not a stressful fight over what gets eaten. :(

Knot2loud November 13th, 2014 12:37 PM

Re: grandson not eating well
Out of my five GKids, two of them are picky eaters. One of the picky ones would live off chicken nuggets if she could. However, she loves just about every veggie under the Sun - maybe because her other GParents are farmers and pretty much live off the land. My GSon is a hot dog eater (belch!). Used to be a die-hard chicken nugget eater, but eventually got sick of them. Loves corn, brocolli and potatoes w/butter (real butter). My oldest GDau and youngest GSon will eat anything as long as it doesn't move on its own. The youngest of all of them hasn't made up her mind yet - guess she's still experimenting.

My oldest DD was a picky eater. But she loved frozen pizza's, microwaved cheese on a flour tortilla and 7-layer burritos - beans and cheese only - go figure... My youngest, who is now 31... would catch a cow and eat it raw.

Every now and then we get most of them over for dinner. We won't cater to individual culinary desires so we make something like spaghetti or tacos. One or two will whine about it so we'll tell them that's all there is. However, they do munch on whatever they can scrounge in the cabinets. For the most part they eat healthy.

If it's not a medical issue... I don't know if I would worry much about it.

Hmm... All this talk about food. I think I'll go home and nuke some chicken nuggets... :)

maddysgrammy6 November 13th, 2014 01:20 PM

Re: grandson not eating well
Thank you for the advise everyone. I think the texture thing is a lot of the issue. So do you let him eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs every night?

KayKay November 13th, 2014 04:43 PM

Re: grandson not eating well

Originally Posted by maddysgrammy6 (Post 73432)
So do you let him eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs every night?

I did, absolutely. That's just me though. I didn't want food to be a battleground. I knew he wasn't just being willful. He actually had issues.

Now, to qualify, I'd look for the healthiest chicken nuggets and hot dogs out there. :) It took a while, but I weened my son off of chicken nuggets and on to chicken fingers (white meat, somewhat healthier), and then on to breaded and baked chicken tenders that I made at home. He eventually grew to like plain baked chicken tenders and now his favorite dish is baked chicken. LOL. My son never ate hot dogs, but if he had I'd have tried turkey dogs and veggie dogs. Taste wasn't the issue for him - it was all about texture.

If your daughter pays close attention to the texture thing, maybe she can find foods of similar texture to chicken nuggets and hot dogs that he will like. :)

maddysgrammy6 November 13th, 2014 05:59 PM

Re: grandson not eating well
Thank you I will talk to my daughter and maybe his doctor

maddysgrammy6 November 13th, 2014 06:00 PM

Re: grandson not eating well
Why is my text so small

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