Help! My toddler is mono-fooding

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Toddler fussy eater

Don't be fooled by this face. This is not the face of a child who is about to tuck into a healthy balanced meal. No. This is the face of a mono-fooder. About to feast on an array of bland, beige, blah.

I've been here before, so I know it's nothing to be worried about. At least not in the relatively short-term. But that doesn't stop it being incredibly frustrating bloody annoying.

It's been building up for a month or two but now, at 23 months old, Ayden has decided his little culinary horizons need consist of little more than chicken goujons, buttered bagels, cheese, sweet potatoes (but only on a Wednesday!) and bread sticks dipped in houmous. That's pretty much it.

Oh, and fruit. He'll eat any type of fruit. Not so much on the veg. Veg is the devil.

Ok, so its not quite mono-fooding, he will eat more than one thing. But it's pretty damn close.

I've tried everything. Hiding meat and different types of (very) thinly sliced vegetables - we're talking wafer thin here - inside a cheesy omelette... until he decided he no longer accepts eggs. In any form. Scrambled eggs, once a firm favourite, and my fallback protein option; "Get outta town! You expect me to eat that!"

I can just about get away with smuggling a variety of vegetables into a pureed sauce for pasta. That works well for the older two too. They refuse to eat peppers on account of them being "disgusting". Haha! Didn't see those red peppers blitzed to within an inch of their life inside your pasta sauce did you!? No, you didn't. Score!

But meat is another battle altogether. Aside from chicken and fish in goujon form, I can pretty much forget it.

I'm quite laid back on the whole. I try not to stress too much about the little phases of babyhood that come and go. But this? This really gets on my pip. Why would anyone choose to exist on a rotation of three or four, pretty dull if we're honest, food types and nothing else?

Dylan went through what can only be described as toddler vegetarianism for a while. I remember being equally frustrated then. My husband and I would joke that we should give Dylan and Meryn a roast dinner between them, as Dylan would refuse to eat his meat, but loved his potatoes and (some) veg. Meryn on the other hand would devour forkfuls of chicken and lob her potatoes at the dog. 

Last night, Dylan polished off a decent size fillet steak in minutes. So I guess this is just a phase, like any other.

And beige! Why is it always beige!? With the exception of the rainbow of fruit he will happily eat throughout the day, everything else on the 'yes, I will accept' list is bloody beige. 

Waah! How has this happened? This baby used to eat everything! Avocado, ham, eggs, potato, roast chicken, salmon, broccoli, peas... anything I put in front of him.

I guess the best approach is just to carry on. Try giving him new things and just keep everything crossed (and the labrador on stand-by) in the hope that he'll eat it. 
  
So if you need me, I'll be pinteresting the hell out of 'fussy toddler' recipe ideas, mashing meat and pureeing a lot of veg.

14 comments

  1. This raised some smiles this morning! Count yourself lucky. My daughter is the same age and eats everything you mention. Aside from fruit. I think it's just them working out how to make decisions, what do you think? I actually just wrote about it for TalkMum http://talkmum.com/2015/03/toddler-refuses-to-eat/ but from a slightly different angle! ps I grate things. Into other things. And then whizz them up.

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  2. Ah, grating. That's a good idea! Its soooo frustrating isn't it? Will go and check out your article now. Need all the tips I can get! :)

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  3. We're at the same stage. I can put a plate with five things on it in front of her and she'll choose to eat just one. Today's lunch should have been a cheese, ham and tomato sandwich with celery sticks and houmous. She just ate the ham. So frustrating! And I'm consuming double what I should be because throwing it away makes me angry!

    It can feel like they do it to mess with our minds! I included a couple of toddler eating rules in my 10 Toddler Commandments post: http://www.mummymuddler.com/children/the-10-toddler-commandments/

    Abby x
    #brilliantblogposts

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    1. It is so frustrating isn't it? I ate Ayden's leftover pasta last night, as well as my own... fail.

      Thanks for the blog post link. I'll check it out :) x

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  4. I totally feel what you are going through! Miss G has been fussy for about 6 months and it's frustrating and disheartening when she was such a good eater. Little miss won't have anything with a sauce on it, and just when think might be turning a corner, she does a 180 and back to square one. I read have to give something 10-15 times before will even try it so keep trying. I buy fish dippers that have veg in as well and Miss G has stopped realising veg inside now. Good luck x

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    1. Oo there are fish dippers with veg inside?? This is news to me. Off to Tesco I go ;)
      Good luck with your fussy toddler. Guess we just have to remind ourselves that its a phase and they'll be eating a full plate of food in no time :) x

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  5. I can also really sympathise! My now 26-month-old was incredibly as a baby - he'd even eat spicy things - but for the last 6-8 months he's grown increasingly fussy. It is definitely just a very common developmental phase, but I also get frustrated. Very frustrated. Especially because my vegetable fail-safe, soup, is now also actually becoming just a fail. Aside from trying very hard not to show my frustration or even that I care at all (which is guaranteed to make him more stubborn about refusing something), the one thing that seems to help is to let him serve himself. He doesn't always eat what he puts on his plate, but the hit-rate is much better than when I dare to put something on it.

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    1. Hi Eline - thanks for commenting. That's a really good tip. Do you literally let him put everything on his plate himself? I think that might be worth trying with Ayden, as he's increasingly independent (and stubborn!). Think I'll give that a go :) x

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  6. This is really normal behaviour at your little one's age ( not that knowing this makes it any less frustrating!) If you want some tips, I'd be really happy to give you a complimentary copy of my book, War & Peas - just drop me a line via my website :)

    Solving Picky Eating

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    1. Thanks Jo - that's very kind. I'll go visit your website :)

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  7. Must be very frustrating. I have been lucky that mine aren't fussy, but a LOT of my friends say exactly the same as you and it does seem quite common. The things that have helped them are eating as a family, so they see what you are eating and copy; getting them involved in food preparation and serving; eating with their other little friends, so again they copy; and trying not to get stressed with them at mealtimes. Have you read the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss? It is definitely a good one for fussy eaters. He spends all the book saying he will not eat green eggs and ham under any circumstances, then tries it and loves it. Sometimes my children will make a fuss about not liking something before trying it, and this also works. Good luck with it all xx

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    1. Thanks for commenting :) I'll check out the book. Love Dr Seuss x

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  8. I swore blind I wouldn't be one of those mum's with fussy eaters. WHAT?! Yeah I naively thought if you brought your kids up "right" (cough), you woudn't get fussy eaters. OMG. Then I had a child who would only eat one thing. Pasta pesto (randomly). He's 5 now and we have progressed to include fruits and veg but he's still way fussier than i ever imagined possible. The other one (18mth girl) eats everything put in front of her. Weird isn't it? Have you heard of Bento boxes? That was one (quite time consuming) way to help. I did a post about it last year which i can send you a link to on twitter if you like (not forcing my blog on you tho!) But if you have older kids that eat then you know they grow out of it enough to include at least one of all of the food groups necessary for living. :)

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    1. Haha me too! Mine would eat pasta pesto every night given half the chance. Ayden too. Until about 3 weeks ago :(

      Like the Bento box idea. Would love to see your post - thank you :)

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