Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Kianey Carter: Mother vs. Son, Battle Food

Posted October 21, 2014

Kianey Carter, WRAL-TV morning news producer, Go Ask Mom blogger

In the green corner, we have Kianey. Mother of one-year-old Davis. Her objective: Teach her toddler son good eating habits.

In the yellow corner, we have Davis. A toddler looking to eat whatever he wants, preferably bananas or things with cheese or found on the floor.

This is the battle I am facing right now. Our doctor has given us the go ahead to feed our son everything that we eat. Up until this point, we have been pretty successful in our feedings. He isn't allergic to anything. He ate baby food like a champ and from pictures you can tell he doesn't miss any meals. My problem: He won't eat vegetables. His foods of choice are pasta, ravioli in particular, and bananas.

When we first started table food, we did like the doctor said and started with oatmeal, green beans, squash, bananas and avocados. Foods that weren't too sweet. Then we graduated to chicken, sweet potatoes, pasta, peas, corn, etc. No issues, but these were mostly purees.

When we started giving him bigger pieces and showing him how to chew, we noticed his affinity for pasta and bananas. It made sense to us. They were easy to chew and tasty. But then he started turning up his nose at the peas or carrots sitting on his high chair table. Spitting them out and throwing them over the side of the chair. We thought it was just a phase and continued to try to give him these foods, but our efforts were unsuccessful.

Weeks have turned into months and he's started eating some vegetables, but he will gladly turn them down and eat only what he wants on his plate. We've started giving him the squeeze pouches of food so that he gets the vitamins and nutrients from vegetables he needs. He will suck those things down easy, so we know he likes the taste, he just won't eat them if he has to feed them to himself.

How do I change this habit?!?! I know this isn't the first time we will have a food battle, but I want to nip it in the bud before it gets out of control. I've gotten baby/toddler cookbooks, turned to Pinterest for ideas and read dozens of articles for help.

Unfortunately, right now this kid has me on the ropes. For now, I will continue buying those squeeze pouches and giving him the chance to eat the veggies himself, but I need help. I am welcoming all tips and tricks!

Round one of battle food goes to Davis! Don't worry, mom isn't giving up.

Kianey is the mom of one and a WRAL-TV morning news producer. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.



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  • snowl Oct 25, 2014

    That is what I would NOT call it....A Battle.
    Eating/Meal time should never be a battle, and don't get upset or act like you WANT the child to eat what you have chosen for them. Be casual and offer, then take away any food that they discard and don't comment. This is how you AVOID the battle of picky eating. IMO....:)

  • RGMTRocks Oct 23, 2014

    All good advice in these comments and of course, it's an ageless battle for some kids. I have a 31 year old who always ate pretty much everything and was never picky. I thought that was because I did the things below from the start......but then came his sister who is now almost 18. I did the same with her and learned, to my dismay, that sometime picky eaters are born not made. On the bright side, she loves salad and broccoli and in the past 2 or so years, she has branched out on more foods, tastes, textures and even a few other vegetables. But as long as I have broccoli and lettuce in the house, and I always do, I finally had to pick other battles to fight. Kids are weird but we love them anyway. Good luck and keep doing what you're doing until you're absolutely convinced that you've lost the battle. Hopefully, he'll come around. :)

  • jstewart3 Oct 22, 2014

    Our youngest had similar issues - mostly due to texture than taste. We make sure there are foods on her plate that she likes, and we require that she try at least one bite of everything on her plate. This is tricky with a one-year old, but if you start that rule now, he will eventually become accustomed to it. She may not like it (and we don't require that she eat the food she doesn't like), but she must try it. We also will not give seconds on any favorite foods until the other foods are eaten (except for the "hated" foods). So, e.g., no more pasta until you eat your chicken or veggies (the ones you know he will eat). We kept up the food pouches to make sure she got adequate nutrition. She is now 2.5, and she started weaning herself off of those shortly after she turned 2. It's expensive, and not ideal. But it gave me peace of mind.

  • mpryan1219 Oct 22, 2014

    I highly recommend the blog and new cookbook 100 Days of Real Food, written by Lisa Leake a Charlotte mom. I had a picky teenager, not toddler and after following this blog and now cookbook my son eats everything and has lost 30 pounds. Please take a look.

  • nancyspencer Oct 22, 2014

    Toddlers are busy developing their sense of self. Part of that is letting their opinions be known, even about the food they eat! It may take many exposures for toddlers to accept new foods sometimes. Try providing a variety of foods at a meal, with mostly tried and true favorites along with one new food. With time, he will be willing to give it a try. If he really resists it staying on the plate, you can move it to a separate plate on the table.

    Occasionally you can grate some veggies and mix them into a casserole.

    Remember it is your job to provide balanced foods at mealtimes and it is your child's job to decide what and how much he will eat.
    Check out for more great tips and recipes for young children.

  • TheMunn Oct 22, 2014

    Studies have shown that it takes at least ten "tries" before a toddler will become receptive to a new food. Offer up the veggies and other foods again and again and again. Eventually they'll grow to like them. My 2-year-old hated mushrooms the first couple of tries and now regularly requests them at dinner time.

    PBS has some great suggestions for introducing foods:

    Also it sounds silly but the Daniel Tiger episode about trying new foods has helped us a lot. Whenever we get a refusal to try a food, we sing the "try new food" song which is usually enough to coax her to at least try it each time.

  • wildfrenchrose Oct 22, 2014

    Only put veggies on his plate. After he's eaten a sufficient amount, then give him the other food. Or try vegetable breads, using very very little sweetner, then toast and lightly butter it.