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Every night there's a fight......Guaranteed! Lock Rss

Hey all,

I have adaughter who turns 5 in May and every night I cook dinner there is a fight. I struggle to get any vegetables into her. For example last night I made fish with pasta, mashed potato and mixed vege (carrots, bean, brocolli and caulifloer). She had the fish and pasta no worries but, when it comes to potato and veges she will sit there and not touch it. Last night she put on a temper tantram because I told her she had to eat 5 mouthfuls before she could watch TV.
So, should I fight with her every night to eat her veges until she eats them or just wait until she is ready to eat them on her own accord? Which may never happen.
Or am I a bad mother because I try to make her eat them.....???
I need advice....Please help.

Sarah, QLD- 3 ADorAbLe Daughters!!

How about giving her 1 teaspoon of each food and then leaving her to it. If she decides to throw a fit, don't let her win by arguing with her (could be attention seeking behaviour). Just tell her that this is all there is to eat and if she isn't hungry she can get down from the table and put her pjs on, or wait in her room for bathtime - depending on your nightly routine.

If she decides she would like to stay and eat don't watch her like a hawk, just eat calmly and if she does eat something, even just a tiny bit praise her and maybe suggest somthing else she might like on her plate.

If you only serve a very small amount of each thing you are more likely to get a good result, and remember kids don't starve themselves so maybe take a look at what she eats over the whole day. I know my DD (5) eats hardly any dinner but has a HUGE breakfast. Our DD also went through a stage of eating only meat and potatoes so we just started serving her veges first and when they were finished we gave her some meat & potatoes.

Good luck
Lisa gasp)

Lisa, SAHM of 3

my elsest son, almost 7, is very fussy but we say just try it if you dont like it thats ok but just try it i have recently made stir fry he is not too keen on it but does finish it off i give just a small amount with not much of the sauce he often screws up his face but we persist and he will eat it my mil told me she often had at least 1 of her boys (has 5) sitting at the table for 2 hours till they ate everything! we are not that mean but sometimes you just have to not give in my son doesn't eat much veg but what he does like, i serve often its cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower if you find something she will eat keep offering it with other veg

mum of 3 boys aged 11, 13 and 14

Sarah you are not a bad mother. I had to bribe my kids to eat their tea. we started small meals and built up. We would offer sweets if they ate their tea. If they didn't they wouldn't eat anything else all night. We would also did it if they didn't eat their lunch or b'fast. Our girls are now strong eaters and they have fruit over junk food. try mashing pumkin with your potatoes as this gives a sweeter taste and a drop of honey while doing the mixed vegies gets them eating. We also use to pretend that the vegies came from a friends garden.
I have the same problem and have sort if given up with the fighting as it gets no-where and upsets her really bad. What I do is if she attempts to eat her vegies, she gets desert (something small) and if she eats all of them which is rare she gets something big plus she gets to play after bath time. You are not a bad parent as most kids are picky eaters at one time or another. They do get to the point where they are really hungery and will eat their vegies and will find out which ones they actually like. Just keep serving them and she will eventually take to them. I do agree with the other ladies as to if she doesn't eat her tea she will not get anything. This helps her learn that mum cooks what she can and does not have to cater to her wishes. I know it sounds harsh but some times you have to be hard or they walk over you ( I have seen this first hand with my nephue to the point that he will make himself sick with a tantrum to get what he wants).

little monkeys

Hello all,

Well the fight continues......
2 nights ago she ate everything on her plate- fish, mashed potato, beans and carrots. I almost fell of my seat when she ate them.....Then last night, a nightmare again. So she went to bedroom where she wasnt allowed to watch TV or play with toys. I went in there and spoke to her and told her that she has to eat her veges to grow up strong etc, etc.
she understood me perfectly. I think kids like to see how far they can push.
So, she is slowly improving.......Thanks all again.
Great advice


Sarah, QLD- 3 ADorAbLe Daughters!!

I made a game out of it with my son when he was little. Kept telling him the veggies would run away if he didn't hurry up and eat them. The peas obligingly rolled off the plate as he tried to pick them up. I would immediately pounce on that as proof that they were being sneaky and trying to get away. Also explained how I would grab the broccoli and bite the "head" off it. As a little boy he thought that was cool and fell for the whole thing. Along the way he has decided he will be a dinasaur and eat the tops of the "trees".

You could try pretending to be a pony or unicorn with your daughter and nibbling bit of the forest (broccoli & cauliflower), magic rocks (pumpkin and potatoes) or magic pebbles (peas).

Anything is worth a try and maybe she would rather have a game than fight with you as well? Hope this helps.


Hi Sarah

My eldest is nearly 4 and he was the same with his vegies, but he's now great! When i dish up a lot of vegies he's allowed to pick one thing he wont eat. One night it'll be peas, but the next it might be cauliflower because he likes it less than peas! It works really well. Same deal with stuff in stirfries and pasta, one thing (he generally doesn't eat the mushrooms, but will if theres something else visable in the food!) He now eats sweet potatoe, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, peas, loves carrots, but wont touch pumpkin!

We found it works really well, especially because he still gets it dished up on his plate, but can say right off the bat which one he's not going to eat. Ta-da... no fighting over dinner!!


Dette, DS 06.03, DS 10.04, DD 03.06 & Due Sept 07!

Hi sarah and all,

My 4 yo is exactly the same, but I have "given up" on making him eat his vegetables - I hide them instead. I work full time, and also now have a 3 month old baby so I don't have energy to fight, or bribe or anything else.

I also know he is just pushing the cart with me because I have been told he eats all his veges at daycare (peer pressure can sometimes be great).

I hide vegetables in everything, so at least I know he is eating well. Stick blenders and food processors are great.
Stuff I hide veges in are: pasta, bolognese sauce, tomato pasta sauce, shepherds pie, burgers, mashed potatoes (cauliflower and peeled zucchini are great here), sausage rolls, risotto, casseroles etc...

If you want some more ideas let me know. I actually got recipe of the month last month for my vege and bacon pasta. You would never know there are vegetables in there. You can substitute the bacon for cooked chicken, sausages, and left over roast meats etc so simple. You can find it under the being a parent / feeding your baby menus.

good luck
Hi Sarah,

Don't you just love the arguments you can have with your little girls- they can be sooooo stubborn. I have 3 girls too and know all about it (fortunately Hannah is only 9 weeks old so doesn't argue much yet, lol). My 9yo DD and 2 1/2 yo often argue with me about eating certain foods too. Drives me crazy- they think we run a resturuant!!!

Anyhow- enough ranting on my part. I have found the following things helpful:

Let them choose at least 2 vegies that they will eat for dinner - gives them some power and sense of control.

Entice them to eat foods by adding special ingredients- for example every now and then I make honey carrots- or offer grated zucchini with melted cheese (very popular in our house)Vegies in white sauce is usually a hit in our house too- can be made into a pasta dish or cooked in a puff pastry parcel (yummy).

Make funny faces for dinner- use vegies and meat or pasta to make a funny face with your girls- even my 9yo still loves this.

We have a healthy eating guide poster (purchased from the newsagents) that is stuck up in our dining room. It show the types and serving sizes of food that children should be eating everyday fo good health. This can be used in conjunction with a reward chart. If your child eats at least 3 veg and 2 fruit etc a day for a week- they get a reward. I personally don't like offerring food as a reward but you could offer a special movie night- a new book- small toy- outing etc.

Or you could just tough it out (like my Mum used to) and tell your girls they can't leave the table til the vegies are gone. I still remember sitting at our dining room table as a child for around 2 hours- trying to make myself eat my peas (YUCK). To this day it didn't work- I HATE PEAS and I try not to make my kids eat any vegies that they REALLY don't like.

If you are worried that your DD is not getting enough nutrients from her veg intake you could try vitamins- you can buy Gummi Bear Vitamins that contain fruit and veg juices- supposedly very good for children and yummy.

Good Luck with the dinner time tantrums
Hi Sarah,
I must be the meanest mum in the world but it works for us; I have an half hour time limit for tea time for my 4.5yr old son. If everything is eaten he gets to choose what fruit he would like and after that he gets to choose something sweet. But heres the mean bit- if tea isnt finished he goes and brushes his teeth puts his pj's on and goes to bed immediatly no matter what time it is AND then he has to finish his tea at breakfast time the next day!! I started this "punishment" when he was about 3 or so and he learnt very quickly that tea tastes much better at night time!!

Not really sure if this is the most perfect solution for anybody (bit mean) but its worked for us.....

Good luck with your tantruming! smile
Hey Melmum,

I think if something like this works for you, dont change it.

I started saying to my daughter that if she didnt eat her dinner at night time, it would be packed in her lunch box and taken to school. But, I never followed it through.
Im very weak when it come to my daughter- thats probably why she pushes so hard cause she knows that I wont follow it through.


Sarah, QLD- 3 ADorAbLe Daughters!!

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