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How do you train a child to eat fruits and veges?

Zhigy's picture

My SO has 2 children, a 5yo girl and a 3 yo boy.

the 5yo doesn’t eat veges and fruits and only likes meat, carbs and junk food resulting in black scabs and sores on her legs, fingers and really bad ezxema. She cries when I ask her to eat veges and will refuse completely to eat what’s in her plate / bowl. SO doesn’t discipline the kids and only believes in positive affirmations which is a bit daft when your kid has terrible skin. He now puts powdered wheat grass in her soups...

The 3yo boy is so much better with food so he has good skin and less health issues.

any helps / tips much appreciated!

Twix's picture

With my BS 4 it's you eat what your served and that's it, if you don't like it then you wait until the next meal (though I won't stop him from grabbing an apple or asking for something healthy).
But my skids? I don't make them do anything, that's on DH.

ESMOD's picture

Has their pediatrician made a diagnosis that her issues are based upon dietary causes?  What changes and suggestions does the dr have?

Some kids are picky eaters.. some are not.  Some kids grow out of it too.  Not every child who subsists of chicken nuggets and PBJ's will end up with horrible health issues.

The doctor might suggest a daily vitamin supplement to help her get nutrients she is missing.

Her father should be encouraging and praising when she does make good choices.  There are also cookbooks that have recipes designed to include veggies in fruits in ways that aren't obvious.. like pureed in soups and baked goods.

At her age, she is not in control of the grocery cart though.. the outright junk food should be gone from the home.. and there should still be things she will be willing to eat.. meat/carbs.. that aren't outright junk food.  Maybe smoothies or milkshakes doctored up with some fruit purees might get some more in her system.

What doesn't work well is making it a battle of wills.  Offer the healthy foods.. and encourage and give positive reinforcement.  Make accomodations like vitamins to make up the difference. 

Zhigy's picture

I’ve been asking him to buy more apples, seasonal fruits and introducing this to their diet to balance out the picky eating. Luckily she drinks some orange juice but that seems to be the only big win so far. Recently I introduced apples, pears and mangoes and she will eat a slice. Smoothies are a no go as she doesn’t like anything green. 

SO likes junk food so there is a constant supply. Unfortunately I can’t change this so the only way is to introduce healthier food options when we cook together on weekends. I’ll try to find some recipes and simple cook books and leave them at his house 

That’s a good point - but I don’t know if anyone can live on a diet of ice cream, lollies, chips, meat and refined carbs and be healthy or have good skin. She had these white patches on her face and I’ve been asking him or the BM to take her to the doctor but they can’t be bothered. I took her to a chemist who said she has skin discolouration. She’s also allergic to peanuts, almonds, and a whole list of nuts has swollen eyes regularly. SO told me she used to have pus all over her skin when young as allergic to cows milk. She still gets ezcema on her fingers and it doesn’t heal I think because lack of vitamins and it becomes all red, scaly and pus filled. I kinda reached a point where I don’t really care but I still feel sorry for this stubborn kid 

ESMOD's picture

1.  Her diet may be contributing via allergens.  Based on her past history, she should be seeing an allergist as well as a dermatologist.  Her parents are being neglectful by not addressing her medical issues.  It can't be comfortable and in fact may be painful.. why are they letting her suffer without taking her to see a doctor?

2.  I doubt it's actually a nutritional deficiency per se that is causing this.. more the first point of allergy/sensitivities. But.. again, a gummy vitamin a day will help make up some of the deficit.

3.  Not all smoothies have "green" in them.  You can make them from pure fruit.. or with yoghurt and fruits.. and even blend a little vegetable juice like carrot.. or beet puree too.  orange/mango/apple/banana/ice and a bit of yoghurt or dairy..add a dollop of pureed carrots or beets (maybe get some baby food? when it is all blended up and frozen.. it will seem a treat not a dose of nutrition.

4. Dad's eating habits are the example these kids are following.  I will BET BM is the same.  Unless you can get HIM on board with being a better parent and modeling healthy behaviors.. itwill be tougher to help the child do better.

5.  In the end.. it's not your job.. it's his.. but I can see how it might be difficult to not want to help her be healthier.

Jcksjj's picture

If they are refusing to take skid to the doctor for health issues that is neglect and needs to be reported. 

As far as the eczema, I was actually at the dermatologist yesterday because my youngest has severe eczema. He started getting it at 3 months while fully breastfeeding, and I eat a healthy diet and still take prenatal vitamins, so it's not from a lack of nutrients. It's an issue with the skin barrier not retaining moisture properly. I was also told that food allergies are a cousin to eczema - they're related, but they dont directly cause eachother. So you can get all of the food allergens out of the diet and still have the eczema. You are more likely to have one if you have the other though. We specifically asked about that because my DH has a ton if food allergies.

He needs medication to put on the eczema and if it's bad its alot of work to keep under control, so if the parents are too lazy to take the kid to the doctor then good luck having them help take care of his skin. I was given prescription skin creams and told to do wet wrapping with them, so you can google that if you want. 

fourbrats's picture

are likely a birth mark. My 18 year old has three of them, with one on her face. She has a half pure white eyebrow and set of eyelashes on that side as well as a patch that goes from her nose to her hair line. And she is mostly vegetarian so it is not from lack of nutrients. 

I would say the other skin conditions are allergy related. She has a slew of allergies it sounds like and those need to be addressed. I get terrible eczema from lotions, soaps, shampoos and certain dyes in clothing. I have to be very careful. 

It takes 15-20 tries of a food before a child can determine if they like it or not. Try one bite or piece at a meal. If you ser serving green beans then they need to eat one bean. One carrot, one bell pepper, etc. Just one. Next time they need to eat two and so on. Once they have said (after 15-20 tries) that they do not like something then it is off the menu. I have two kids who hate squash. They just hate it. They have tried it in many ways. Two that hate seafood. Same thing, tried it in many ways and just hate it. Also try different preparations. Steamed, raw, roasted, pan fried etc. 

Jcksjj's picture

I dont know what the black spots are, but eczema is not caused by a lack of fruits and veggies. 

ChzyBob20's picture

Meat is okay. Junk food isn't. At any rate: these aren't your kids so you don't need to worry about it.

ITB2012's picture

First I didn't have much junk food in the house.

My rule for my son was that he could eat fruit and veggies whenever he wanted, even minutes before a meal. I figured if he already ate a fruit or veggie and didn't want the fruit/veggies that were with the meal, fine. And if he was that hungry, making him wait would probably mean he'd fill up on whatever was easiest to eat fast.

I agree with the others, though: the black sores do not seem food-related, she needs allergy testing, but mainly she's not your child.

advice.only2's picture

This child doesn't have unhealthy eating habits, she has parents who are morons and are not seeing to her basic medical needs.

It's really not on you to do anything to adjust or fix the issues, aside from telling your SO to get his head out and help his child!

Kelly_thestepmum_in20s's picture

I cook whatever is on the table. Whoever is not eating, s/he is full. I don't force skids. 

Rags's picture

Don't give them anything else until they eat the veg or fruit dish.   No eaty the veg or fruit, no eaty anything.  Have a portion of the veg and fruit, then you get to have the other dishes that were prepared.

Keep it simple.


ndc's picture

Since their father doesn't care and is going to continue to have junk in the house, there's not much you can do.  I hide carrots and green veggies in tomato sauce and sneak veggies into meatloafs, meatballs, casseroles and sauces, but it's hard to sneak veggies into chicken nuggets and potato chips.  You can try to get them to take a gummy multi-vitamin - my skids love them.

FWIW, one of my skids (SD7) doesn't eat a lot of fruit and veggies. SD4, on the other hand, eats plenty of fruit and likes a number of veggies. SD7 has perfect skin; SD4 has eczema and gets other rashes.  I don't think it has anything to do with fruit/veggie consumption. It may be allergies, but if the child's parents won't take her for testing, again, there's little you can or should do.

Frankly, I couldn't respect a man who neglected his child's health.

SteppedOut's picture

Big ooof. It sounds like your SO is borderline neglecting his two young children.

Are you ok with that? Are you ok with being the one that always has to step up for children you didn't choose to create? You aren't married (nor did you mention plans) and you are already having to do heavy lifting for his children he has with someone else. 

It sounds like you have vastly different parenting values (and morals). Do you want children of your own? If so, do you want him to parent your children like this? I surely wouldn't and I don't think you would either. Really let that sink in.