Wednesday, May 14, 2008

WHY Won’t My Kid Eat?

I mean I know my cooking isn’t that great, but come on!

Seriously, The Boy is not interested in eating and I really don’t know what to do. Can ANYONE help me?

I have received two reports now from his school that in the afternoon he comes to a teacher, in tears and clutching his stomach saying that his tummy hurts. We think it is because he is very picky with his food and chooses not to eat many of the items he is served for lunch and is therefore STARVING in the afternoon. They serve a small snack in the afternoon, but a) it’s probably not enough, and b) he is probably hungry way before they serve it.

I honestly don’t know what to do about it. The kid doesn’t eat a single “healthy” thing. He used to eat a ton of great food when he ate baby food. Recently he is giving up eating stuff he has eaten forever, like applesauce. He eats ZERO vegetables and the only fruit he eats is apples with peanut butter to dip them in. His diet consists of meat (all of which we must refer to as chicken because if I say it’s steak he won’t touch it even though he likes steak if I call it chicken), cheese (which comes out NASTY on the other end because he is lactose intolerant), lactose free milk, certain kinds of juice, breads (i.e., tortillas, crackers, graham crackers, cheez-its), peanut butter, olives. I think that is really it (The Man can add more if he can think of anything).

He also takes a multi-vitamin in case anyone thinks that’s helping.

The Man and I decided that our philosophy is to serve him all of the food we eat and let him decide what to eat. Sometimes I modify it, like I didn’t put artichoke in his rice the other night because I knew he wouldn’t eat it, but that there would be a chance he would eat plain rice (he didn’t). Also, we try to let him tell us when he is full instead of forcing him to eat everything on his plate.

I can’t decide if he doesn’t like food, or if he is too interested in play time to be bothered with eating.

I don’t want food to be a struggle for us and I want him to grow up with a healthy attitude towards food. When I was growing up, we had to eat whatever our parents deemed enough from our plate to be considered a “good” dinner if we wanted dessert, even if we said we were full. And we would have dessert every night. I don’t think having dessert every night is healthy and we don’t do that at our house now. My body was raised to stuff itself and then have something sweet. So my brain doesn’t really feel “full” after a meal until I eat something sweet. Not a healthy trigger.

I was recently told that “kids don’t know what’s best for them and you should force him to take at least one bite of everything on his plate.” This advice doesn’t come from a trusted source, but coupled with the events at school, I am more sensitive to the issue and question our beliefs on how to feed him.

The school thing frustrates me. Why doesn’t he remember, Oh yeah when I don’t eat lunch my tummy hurts later? and then eat appropriately? Is he not old enough to be aware of those types of consequences?

Should I just continue what I am doing? Or is there something else I could do?


Kelvin Kao said...

Some tastes are acquired. I used to not like onions and lettece, but after eating them for a while, I'm fine eating them (and sometimes find myself liking them too). You can't just not eat vegetables. That's bad for sure.