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Old 08-10-2005, 08:48 AM   #11
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I’m going to go with the group consensus here and say that while she is indeed finicky, she is not the pickiest eater ever. At the risk of sounding too analytical have you ever thought about two things…

One, I know you said that this issue has basically been present since birth and in a way that semi excludes what I am about to say but, it is a well known fact that some people use food as a means to have something to control, a “power tool” if you will (hopping on and off the vegetarian band wagon almost reminds me off this, as while we can all choice to eat as we wish, the choice to go vegetarian is usually made for a substantial reasons and adhered to for a long time/life). Could it have been possible during those early years of her life, either consciously or subconsciously she thrived on the attention that was paid to her when she looked you square in the face and refused to eat “x, y and z” that were placed in front of her?
Of course we all dislike certain foods, I myself am married to something of a picky eater, but just as some people can become too obsessed with adhering to a specific diet so too is it possible that not eating the majority of foods can become psychological.

The second idea is that perhaps she is in fact allergic to some of the foods on her “no” list or that they cause her to feel other negative physicals affects. Some times at an early age kids don’t voice how they feel physically (for a host of reasons, shame, wanting to seem tough, even thinking it is normal and so on – or perhaps at one point the child did bring it up and was told it was nothing, “a stomach ache” or some such, and thusly didn’t want to come across as a “whiner”). Have you asked your daughter if any of these foods she “hates” makes her feel sick/ill in any way or ever had her tested for allergies and/or celiac disease?

But please don’t think that I am speaking ill of your child or telling you what must be the case, both ideas are just that, spun off the top of my head as I read your post.

Here are a couple of recipes that your daughter may like as they combine a few of the foods on “the list” in each one:

Mashed Potato Pizza Crust

3 cups cubed potatoes (Russets are nice)
1 cup flour
Herbs/seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or a little less if your oven is very hot). First boil the potatoes until they are done and then mash them, but don’t add extra liquids or fats. Next, slowly add in the flour, about ¼ at a time, until everything is well incorporated.
Add any herbs or seasoning that you like. Spread the mixture into a shallow tart pan (grease lightly or use non-stick) or onto a non-stick cookie sheet – you want a layer that is about a quarter of an inch thick or so, but you can make it higher if you want.
Bake for 12-15 minute, until the top begins to turn golden yellow.
Remove from the oven and cover with the toppings and sauce of your choice (a cheddar cheese sauce with pieces of broccoli and cauliflower is one of my favs), quickly place back in the oven for a few minutes, or just flash under the grill (broiler) to melt the cheese (if using cheese).

Kiwi Smoothie

1 cup of milk (any type skim through whole)
¼ cup pineapple titbits (but you could leave them out)
1 scoop (about ½ cup) of vanilla or other ice cream
2 kiwis peeled and sliced
small handful of seedless grapes, peeled

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth, about 45-60 seconds.
Serve and consume at once as the kiwi can taint the flavour of the milk after a while (I think it has to do with the same reason why kiwi doesn’t work well in gelatine, unless you cook the kiwi first). It is also lovely with a bit of chopped or grated fresh ginger or a few berries of your choice.


"The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love, for those you are cooking for" ~ Sophia Loren
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Old 08-10-2005, 08:49 AM   #12
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Hmmm....well, we've tried offering just the one meal but that just leads to major stress at the dinner table (I get indigestion if I'm stressed when I eat and then can't eat...DH comes back from work so stressed that he just can't handle any more at dinner, so he will end up in a big fight with DD, and our youngest daughter will then end up in tears because of all the shouting & horrible-ness going on). Eldest daughter will also either go across to a friends house and get alternative food there or sneak into the pantry and raid the lunch-box supplies when I'm not looking....then there's always food available at school, and that's hard to stop because the teachers will lend her money and friends will share their junk food with her.

She will try new things - the problem is that she's never liked anything new that she's tried. I do insist that she takes a packed lunch to school and make everything nutritious in that....but I know that she swaps some of her lunch for friend's pizza etc.

She will sometimes force herself to eat new foods if she's at dinner at a friend's house to be polite...but again, she always comes home and tells me that she didn't like the food and it made her feel sick.

I just can't let her live on pizza or cheese-based things all the while because as a nurse, I know that they are finding evidence of atherosclerosis in kids as young as 15 nowadays...because of the junk food diet that kids eat. It's awful to say, but we are going to see the next generation having heart-attacks in their 30's. Schools don't help as they provide mostly junk food for lunch. With High Cholesterol levels and heart disease running in our family, It's vitally important for her future health that she learns to eat properly.

Anorexia isn't a problem - she is always fussing over friends that don't eat enough and/or are worrying that they look 'fat' when they are not overweight at all. She eats plenty of food...just the wrong food.

I tried to support her most recent foray into vegetarianism by buying her a vegetarian cookbook and offering to help her make any recipes she wanted to try, but there was only 1 recipe in the entire book (and it has 400 recipes in it) that she was willing to try....cheese and potato pie :( She said that everything else 'looked yucky' and had 'too many vegetables in it'

At the moment I try and compromise - if we have pasta, then I'll cook pasta for her and just put pizza sauce on her portion. If we have something with veggies on the side, then I'll just give her mashed/roast potatoes and peas, maybe with a low-fat turkey hot dog for protein (if she's eating meat). The other problem is that my youngest daughter is now starting to get picky too - because she sees her sister getting special meals and she wants to have what sister is having instead of what DH and I are having.

I was a picky eater when I was young - but not to the extent that she is, and there was no junk food then, so at least the meals I would eat were good home cooked ones. I guess she will eventually grow out of it, but it's driving me nuts in the meantime!


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Old 08-10-2005, 09:16 AM   #13
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Jessica - thankyou for those recipes, we will try them. I like those ideas. When she was weaning, I made all my own baby foods and by the time she was a toddler she was eating chinese, indian, italian...all sorts of flavours and tastes. The problem really began when she started school (in England) at 3 years old. She would take a packed lunch, because most infant and elementary schools in England don't serve a hot lunch, and at that point started to get picky (she went through a period of only eating sandwiches for instance). She was also exposed to junk food when she went for playdates with other kids - their mothers would serve chicken nuggets, burgers etc. for lunch. The problem escalated when we moved to the US when she was 8....the schools served junk food and there was too little supervision at lunch times, so she soon discovered that she could 'swap' her healthy lunch for pizza from other kids - or borrow money off the teachers/her friends to buy pizza.

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Old 08-10-2005, 09:39 AM   #14
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Jessica, I have followed this thread with interest, since my daughter is also very picky. I really like your mashed potato pizza idea. I may just try it out tonight. It seems like everyone here is on pretty much the same wavelength, which is interesting (and nice). Paint, the idea about the possible food allergies is interesting and plausible - and while it could be true, if it is suggested to your daughter, she may seize upon this as a way of adding that extra justification to why she doesn't like x, y or z. I only say this because last year, my daughter became convinced she was lactose intolerant (like her best friend) and milk became one more thing she wouldn't touch. Interestingly enough, I bought Nestles chocolate powder, and she discovered that she loves drinking ice cold milk mixed with the chocolate powder - no stomach aches, no rashes, no conjestion. I don't like the sugar, but since Nestles was encouraging her to drink milk, I've been keeping a supply. Hmmmmm.
Paint, your daughter's early eating experience sounds so much like my own children, as well as the part where they started getting picky as they grew and met other kids. I also made all their baby food at home, and they all ate very healthily. Our family has also been through a good deal of stress at the dinner table. That was hard for us, too, and I often felt resentful of my daughter. Now, I just don't fight with my daughter about eating. I insist that she at least sits with us, even if she only eats one potato - or nothing. Later, when she complains she's hungry, I just shrug. I have had to cut down on school lunch supplies, because she'd raid them, too. Slowly, slowly, she's coming around.

Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:15 AM   #15
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Paint, I completely understand that you are worried about her having some kind of ill effects from eating the same thing every day. She isn't going to eat the same thing every day. She will after a week or so begin to choose other things. You just keep stocking your pantry with stuff that is healthy and let her go.

Maybe I don't understand the "raiding" comment. In our house, if my kids don't like what I serve for a meal, our deal is they are free to go and choose other foods from the same food groups to feed themselves. That way, they feel heard, and I don't want to throttle them.

Paint, I am going to risk offending you, but I am saying this with a great deal of care and concern. I think the issue here lies more with you and your DH than with your daughter. You mention the dinner table upsets, the indigestion and the tears of the other sibling. You have just described a classic "control" from your eldest daughter. What a wonderful attention getter she has found. I am not saying it will happen overnight, but if you can stop yourself reacting to her at the dinner table, then the rest of the chain reactions will also cease. Can you have a chat with her, and explain your concerns? Then tell her that you will provide healthy food choices and leave the rest to her? Let her pack her own lunch? Choose the dinner menu twice a week and the rest of the time get her own if she doesn't like what you serve? Her behaviour is a very common teenage strategy to exert some independence.

I really feel for you, this is a tough one, and is obviously causing you some real anxiety. You are a good Mom, you are doing all you can to give her the best start in life possible. Now you need to let her make these choices on her own. Trust her. Even if at first it looks bad, she will start making better choices.

Good luck Paint, this is a tough time for all Moms. Try to let it go a bit. She is at the point where she WANTS to do it for herself. Give her the tools and let her try. YOU can do it too, we are all here for you. I am going to scrounge up some of my other "Picky Eater" recipes for you.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:34 AM   #16
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Paint, I was the same way when I was younger except that your daughter at least trys the stuff, I would flat out refuse to put it in my mouth. I was quite stubborn at that age. Things changed around for me when I was 16 or so. I decided to make my dad a birthday cake. I found out I loved cooking and baking. I would get into the kitchen and help fix meals, even if I didn't eat them. Eventually I started to eat food that I wouldn't before.

A few of the tricks that my mom used might not work for you but I will list them anyway.

Used ground buffalo meat in a hamburger. I didn't know the difference.
Cut up veggies into little bits and hid them in casseroles.
For tuna she would shop the celery extremely fine.
For snacks she would serve ants on a log. Peanut butter was full of nutrition.
Made homemade pasta sauce with veggies ground in. Gida on Everyday Italian has a recipe like that.
Go Sooners
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Old 08-10-2005, 03:12 PM   #17
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a lot of the things she will eat are very healthy...tomato soup, tomato sause on pizza, some cheeses, tuna, etc. What you should NOT cater too are the easy prepared meals like hot pockets and easy mac beacause these contain WAY TOO MUCH sodium and fat. If she can't eat what you have prepared, then she will have to make her own and it won't be a box or nuke meal. Meal prep should be expected as part of the chores and clean up required. It's never too late to lay down the rules of decent behaviour. Don't give in.
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Old 08-10-2005, 03:48 PM   #18
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If I were you, my issue would not be with how picky she is but how UNHEALTHY that diet is!! If she were picky about only eating good quality healthy foods, LET HER BE..but that is not the case!!!

Time to just say "Look, I'm making a meal eat it or go hungry!" She's 15, thats grown up enough to eat things she doesn't like (especially things that aren't fried or maxed out on calories). If she wants to spend her own money to go out to eat, let her (but that won't last long). If she wants to make something to eat, thats fine too as long as she cleans up her mess ...but don't buy anything special for her!

That may sound like tough love (and if it, so what?), but its for the health and wellbeing of your daughter!!! Once she gets hungry enough, good homecooked well rounded meals won't be as bad as they were when she knew she could get away with eating exactly what she wants no matter how much stress or money it impacts on the family! If you keep catering to her by buying exactly whatever she wants all the time, she's going to continue behaving as she has!!

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Old 08-10-2005, 03:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Robo410
a lot of the things she will eat are very healthy...tomato soup, tomato sause on pizza, some cheeses, tuna, etc. What you should NOT cater too are the easy prepared meals like hot pockets and easy mac beacause these contain WAY TOO MUCH sodium and fat. If she can't eat what you have prepared, then she will have to make her own and it won't be a box or nuke meal. Meal prep should be expected as part of the chores and clean up required. It's never too late to lay down the rules of decent behaviour. Don't give in.
Tomato soup, tomato sauce, and cheese are NOT healthy.
Tuna is close if she isn't slathering it w/ all kinds of crap..
I agree 100% no prepackaged meals. The sodium isn't the concern, neither is the fat content (fat is good for you...although transfats and saturated fats aren't), its the CALORIES!
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Old 08-10-2005, 04:14 PM   #20
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LemonSong - you don't have kids do you - *wink* (we lost our winking emoticon) - it is easier said than done. Especially if it's going to create WWIII every mealtime.

Alix - you reminded me of something my doctor once said about Max's eating habits - don't look at it on a daily basis - look at it over a period of a week or 10 days - he probably is getting a good mix over that period of time but not on a day-to-day basis.

Paint - I will have to say that there were times I made two meals - it didn't really bother me because I wanted him to eat something and I remember being forced to eat foods I didn't like until I threw up. Maybe instead of just making her make her own meals she can help you. If she wants soup and grilled cheese it is a huge help if someone just opens the soup and unwraps the cheese. The low fat cheese is still excellent. I love grilled cheese on rye bread or 12-grain. Maybe she can try that.

Eventually during that one-week period you look at (versus every day) her body will tell her to have some fruit and some sort of vegetable. Smoothies, like someone mentioned, are good for fruit. Will she use Splenda? In the meantime you're going to have to do what you think is best. I boil along with my potatoes carrots or peas - mash them together - they're pretty good!! Red potatoes I hear are a little better for you than a plain white potato.

But remember..............and this too shall pass............

It really will.


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