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After reading your previous questions am concerned that I should be taking her to see someone

Hi Leanne,
I am a mother of 3 the oldest is 17 the youngest 21 months. I have never had a picky eater before and after reading your previous questions am concerned that I should be taking her to see someone. She will eat a small amount of breakfast either weet-bix or baby muesli. She will snack on fruit only if it suits her and for lunch she will not eat bread she only wants meat or ham. Anything that comes in the form of meat for her. She will eat cheese so I find myself giving her a cold meat assortment for lunch with cheese. For dinner we give her what we eat but the last 2 months she refuses everything even her favourite spaghetti bolognaise. When I dish up fish, chicken or meat with vegetables she will eat the meat but refuses to even put the vegetables in her mouth. I have even resorted to mashing her vegetables again and this still did not help. We have not been to the health centre since 18 months but on our scales at home she is still only 10kgs which she was at her 18 month check. I am getting concerned even though I know everyone says they grow out of it that it can`t be good to only be eating meat. She does not drink a lot either maybe a cup of milk between morning and night and a cup of cordial or water in between. Should I be worried or will it pass? Thanks Anita

Answer: Hi Anita, Yes it is true, generally fussy eating passes, though what few tell you is that it`s not until the latter years of primary school. Most children do fine, continuing to grow at their usual rates, regardless of their seemingly sparing eating. Having said that if you are finding your toddler is now slipping down the growth charts, its probably a good idea to enlist some help. While being, say, on the 20th percentile is not an issue, if you are finding your tot is slipping down the charts then this is probably something to look into. It`s quite possible that fussy eating will result in a bit of yo-yo`ing in weight, which is normal. So it will be your call if you think that her eating habits have impacted on her growth. To be honest, it sounds like a fad, and I would imagine you will find that the fad will change with time. If meat is the main option, I am wondering if you have tried things like making your own sausages, sausage rolls, meat pies etc. That way you can add lots of grated vegies into them. Baking tends to be a well received option, and again you can add lentils, beans and vegies. For example pumpkin and cheese scones, chickpea choc cookies, etc. Your toddler is eating no less than I have seen in many other children, but it is hard to say in this medium if there is a problem. So with that in mind it can be really helpful to have her diet assessed professionally. This way you can take a targeted approach and address just the issues that are really there. If you wanted to look at getting her diet assessed first you can find a practitioner on the sites below: - www.daa.asn.au - www.nsa.asn.au - www.atms.com.au It doesn`t sound like a you have a challenge in terms of a feeding issue, so I wont go through the feeding clinic options. Another last option is an early childhood consultant, they are fab at helping to amend habits that children pickup. Lastly, this is my checklist, which you may have read , but still here it is:
  1. Persisting with offering the healthy stuff even if it is rejected
  2. Sneaking in the good stuff where you can which makes avoiding the battles (no-one wins those ones) easier
  3. Getting them involved
  4. Offering a healthy supper down the line if dinner is rejected and your toddler complains of being hungry
  5. Trying to use the foods they do eat as a basis for making other food/meals that are more likely to be enjoyed. For example cream cheese on a bagel, pasta with bacon and a cream cheese base, bread and butter pudding made with calcium enriched milk such as soy or rice, try sweet potato chips etc.
  6. Swap lunch and dinner if that helps and make meal portions achievable (small but healthy).
  7. Check milk or other fluids aren’t interfering with their appetite.
  8. Remember that food rejection is a normal behaviour for most toddlers and preschoolers.
  9. Repeat the mantra "this like all things in infancy and childhood, will pass" and it will!
I have a tip sheet on fussy eating on Huggies that might have some pointers, but again I really think it would be best to get some help with this, the link is: Picky Eating Also I think the Jessica Seinfeld book using purees is a good idea, but I reduce the sugar, use olive oil and don`t add salt, I also have a recipe book based on my fussy foodie. I hope some of this sheds some light. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Jun 2009