How can I get my sons to eat better?

I can not get my 12 soon 13-year-olds son to eat better. I’ve taken him to the doctor tried multiple different things. He literally will only eat chicken, pizza, cereal, or French toast! The kid refuses to eat anything else. I have tried the whole starve till he gets hungry he’ll eat no he went two days without eating and slept and the kitchen table. That did not work. Sorry I had to give in after two days. He would rather starve than eat anything else. I’ve tried everything, and I’m at a loss! Any advice would be helpful! Thanks in advance
68 Likes

On Saturday, do an inventory of what you have in the house, food-wise. Make a list of the main courses and have his pic which sounds better, do the same for one or two side dishes. Instead of you or your SO cooking, have your sone prepare most of the meal. (as long as it is cooked properly like chicken or pork). My kids seem to try new things when they have a hand in preparing them. My rule with new foods is to try at least two bites of it. (but there will be NO other meal prepared). I usually do a carb (rice, sweet potatoes or potatoes, noodles) and two veggies with a protein. I also have window gardens. My kids help plant and it actually helped them try more variety of veggies.

Start spiking what he will eat with veggie & protein powder.

I am not sure what type of doctors you have taken him to, but to me personally, this sounds a lot like neurodiversity behaviors - which can be autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and more. In which case, a psychologist who specifically specializes in that field would be needed. It could mentally be difficult for him to eat other foods. However, that’s not always the case, some kids truly are just picky eaters and they more often than not tend to grow out of it. I don’t recommend starving your child under any circumstances, as that can create a complicated relationship with food. Eating shouldn’t be seen as a reward or punishment. This practice can be more discouraging than encouraging. I feel for now, him being neurodivergent should be explored if y’all haven’t already done so. And I think with kids it’s just important to make sure they’re being fed. This is so common with so many children of so many different backgrounds. It’s okay as long as they eat something, mama. You’re doing your best. I feel right now maybe just try to accommodate to what he does eat, find ways to make them healthier. Buy healthier and sugar free cereals, you can never go wrong with cheerios in my opinion. Go for 2% or low-fat milk, maybe even try to get him to use banana milk. There are so many different ways to make chicken healthy, you can even find ways to have healthy fried chicken these days, it’s all in the ingredients you use and today they have so many alternatives. If he just likes baked chicken and ketchup or something, then let him eat baked chicken and try different herbs and spices with it, maybe try sugar-free or keto ketchup. Every kid likes their pizza and they’re usually dead set on the toppings they will allow, but maybe you can get him to eat some veggie toppings or order a gluten-free crust and don’t tell him it’s GF. French toast, you can use sugar free syrups, gluten-free bread, see if he will eat it topped with berries or bananas. And if you can get him to take some daily gummy vitamins, those will do him good. I feel right now it’s important to make his comfort food healthier and make sure he’s still getting nutrients in his growing body. If there’s more to the food issue, that will be a whole process for you and him both but there are lots of professionals out there who can help. If he’s truly just a picker eater, he will grow out of it - just slowly try to incorporate new foods into his diet - but slowly, he will need baby steps. Good luck on your journey!

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How can I get my sons to eat better?

I’m in the same boat.

I have a 17 year old son that is exactly like this!

1 Like

Following as im in the same boat with my 13 year old daughter😑

Has he always been like this or is it a new thing? If he’s always been like this, then good luck, he’s a monster that you created by allowing it. If it’s new, talk to him and figure out why.

6 Likes

Get them involved…plant a garden. Sign up for a family cooking class?

2 Likes

Is he getting all the physical exercise he needs? Maybe sign him up for Karate, track, get his digestive system really humming!

2 Likes

Don’t feed them what they want you’ll soon see there starving and will eat what’s there, soft parenting these days :flushed:

7 Likes

Starving is not the option. Does he have sensory issues? Let him eat what he likes to put weight on. Have you tried protein shakes?

3 Likes

Get on a recipe blog or website with him. Have him pick a meal. Have him help shop and cook. If he gets to pick the meal he might be more willing to try new things.

2 Likes

His palate will change when he gets older. As long as he is getting the proper nutrition that he needs. I wouldn’t worry about it. I have a grown ass husband that fought to eat his peas last night :woman_facepalming:t2::woman_shrugging:t2:

Does he have sensory issues? My nine year old is the same way bc he has major sensory issues.

Stop buying the same foods that they like to eat and guaranteed go eat something else

5 Likes

I have the same problem with my 10 year old. School is about to start and I have no idea what I’m going to pack her …EVERYDAY!?!

2 Likes

Don’t buy those items anymore. If you do, only get the keto friendly versions. It’s healthier.

2 Likes

Don’t buy that trash. Your kid will eventually eat the healthy food you put in front of them

Could be sensory issues. My granddaughter is exactly the same way since birth. Alot, of her isn’t just taste it texture, smell. Might check on that.

1 Like

I was the same. I would literally go a week or longer without eating & didn’t give 2 craps about doing so. Then, if I was hungry enough, I would fix what I liked myself. I’m 27 & still the same.

1 Like

Make sure they get vitamins everyday and stay hydrated. You can’t do anything about the foods they like and don’t like . The only thing I would ask mine is to try it and if they didn’t like it they didn’t have to eat it . After awhile it worked . Maybe watch food network would get them interested and wanting to try different things. Coming shows help.

1 Like

Ha e him tested for sensory inergrated disorder. Had the same problem come to find out it was taste n texture

Do healthier versions of those items! Like whole wheat French toast with sugar free syrup or use incorporate fruit. Get him involved also! You can do healthier versions of pizza with whole wheat crust or even whole grain tortilla shells.

3 Likes

Try getting him involved in meal planning. Show him other ways to eat chicken, give him easy recipes to follow. Have him pick out other things he could be interested in trying and include it with the things he does like.
My 8 year old is pretty picky too. I always have him try a bite of food with his eyes closed. He can’t judge it off of what it actually is, just what it tastes like. He’s opened up and enjoyed new things.

4 Likes

I was the same way. When I became an adult, that’s when I learn to eat a variety of foods.

Teaching more on nutrition and healthy food choices should help. The issue is from long ago. It will be hard to break.

Is he autistic? This is very common if he is. I’m almost 20 and still do this

1 Like

Make him eat one bite of something new/different daily at dinner and keep introducing new foods. Repeat the foods and eventually he’ll develop a taste or you’ll find some other things he will eat.

4 Likes

Some are like that all their lives. A few told me it’s the texture of the other foods that they don’t like. Feed him and let it be.

2 Likes

What the heck is wrong with some of you people. You do realize your the adults and set the standards and rules. I see it in my friends now that let younger children refuse to eat and carry around ravioli or chicken fingers with them so whenever they go they can feed their kids. Two days isn’t starving I’m sorry. If you are truly hungry you’ll eat and try something new and or different. Give them options but not a choice

3 Likes

Same here!! My son is 13 going to be 14 january. He lives on bread pasta cheeze pizza pizza rolls and tacos with only mincemeat the only healthy thing he eats are rice with cooked vegetables and potatoes. O and 2 min noodles and that pasta with cheese sauce, also chiken strips.

“StOp bUyiNg Him tHe saMe tHinGs” :woman_facepalming:t2:
Don’t listen to some of these people. I was exactly like this growing up. My mom literally shoved veggies down my throat, and I still to this day don’t like them. But as I got older I explored new foods on my own. When I was that age I’d be at the kitchen table for hours bc I didn’t wanna eat the green beans on my plate. Let him eat what he likes, but I’d say maybe get him to try cooking with you. Different things that are kinda related to what he likes but made differently. Good luck :heart:

3 Likes

Please don’t starve him anymore… that will only make things worse. I’d get him involved in cooking with you, make it fun.

3 Likes

At a early they should be introduced to every fruit veggie & meat. So many parents let their kids get by with this. Make them try at least 1 bite chew it up & swallow it. So many parents give into cake cookies pizza & ramen noodles & any other junk. Or mom will say I don’t like this or that so the child follows right along. If they have always been this way it’s more than likely the parents fault for letting them get away with it. If you don’t buy the junk it’s not there for them to eat. Who’s the parent here??

1 Like

He may have food aversions or sensory issues with textures. Try having him help make dinner and pick dinner ideas with you.

Have you tried setting up a “melting pot” style dinner? Broccoli (trees in cheese), etc?

1 Like

Eat dinner together at the table. Make out a meal plan, if only for the week so everyone knows what’s being served. Make at least two sides, a starch and a vegetable. Make one item a night that you know they will eat - either the main or a side - but make the other things stuff that you want them to start eating. The rule is you have to try a small bite of everything, but then you’re allowed to fill your plate with what you want from what has been served. No alternatives (cereal, yogurt, etc). Then don’t make a big deal about what they choose to eat. Don’t stress over it. Give them a multivitamin and let them fill up at other meals if they want.

6 Likes

You gave in? That’s when you lost.

6 Likes

Don’t buy that stuff at the store and start buying small size fresh vegetables

2 Likes

News flash if he doesn’t like something, the taste, texture , he’s not going to eat it . Well then he’ll sit there and starve … no he won’t and that’s cruel. My mother made me vegetables that I couldn’t stand , made me puke and did the same thing . Served the same dish 5 days in a row , I wouldn’t eat it. Those same foods I still won’t eat. Why force something like that ? Oh I’ll teach them , you’ll eat what I give you … I’ll teach them … NOW READ IT AGAIN , Is that the parent you want to be ??

9 Likes

My son is autistic that is literally his diet

5 Likes

Just add a vitamin regimen

3 Likes

I let my kids pick two things they’ve never tried from produce or the deli every time we go grocery shopping. They don’t get to pick out anything else. I shop completely off my list.

Do the " at least try it " or " 1 bite" and mix that with meal replacement shakes until he learns that nutrition has value.

Please don’t do the eat it or starve method. That’s just cruel. He might have a legit reason for not liking much else.

3 Likes

If he is craving those and as long as he is getting his nutrients I wouldn’t fuss at this point. He is growing fast at this age, getting food in him is more vital than trying to hunger him out. I do agree with the idea of trying one bite. My Grandma called it a ‘no thank you’ bite. Just one, didnt have to eat more if I didnt like it. It helped me extend out my tastes.

2 Likes

Stop bringing it in the house.

1 Like

My kids ate everything from day one. …good luck

That was mu sons diet at 3 to 5 yrs old. I stopped buying those foods he eventually gave in I have my kids sit and eat majority if not all their food. Even new foods. Sensory can play a big part but same time he is a teen and needs to understand meal times do not consist of what they want but what yall agree on.

1 Like

He wants pizza, ok. Blend vegetables into the pizza sauce. French toast, ok. But he has to eat a side of fruit or drink a fruit smoothie. Don’t starve your child please. Don’t even make food a fight. Taste buds change and evolve as we get older. He will develop a taste for other, better things as he grows up. And if he doesn’t, at least he won’t remember all those times his mom starved him because he didn’t like the food being served.

7 Likes

I’m going through the same thing with my almost 12 year old. When you figure it out let me know!

Well my best advice is what my mom would say back in the day … EAT WHAT I MAKE OR GO WITHOUT …we ate it… and worked every time !

2 Likes

Kids will eat what they’re given. Parents allow their children to rule them. Period. So, either you’re not eating what you’re trying to get them to eat or you’re just giving in. Either way it’s not on your son.

3 Likes

Find a food therapist in your area. Usually at your city children’s hospital.

1 Like

Try OT or speech therapy.

Are you a good cook :rofl:sorry, couldn’t resist. I’ve gone to bed hungry because I wouldn’t eat something. Please don’t do this to your child.

1 Like

My kids eat what I make or get a peanut butter sandwich no other choices that way I know they are eating and not starving but at the same time I. Not cooking a whole other meal

3 Likes

My son is 9yrs with the same vitamins and fix meal eat some before you get back on (his favorite thing) my son’s is his XBOX …and he would eat at least most of it…and some foods he realized he really did like! That worked for me😊

Had a neighbor kid who ate only cheese toast for over a year then tried everything. Kids???

After day 4 he would have gave up

6 Likes

My 16 year old was like this around this age and even younger. I made sure he had daily vitamins, when I made his dinner plate everything I made was on it (I always made sure there was something his liked included in meals) and that went on for years. Finally, he grew out of it and will eat better.

1 Like

I’m currently getting my 2 year old to try new foods by having him cook with me. Maybe getting him interested in new foods by making them himself will help. And definitely stop bringing the trigger foods into the house. If he wants pizza make it at home

2 Likes

He’s old enough to understand nutrition. Take him to a nutritionist

1 Like
  1. Don’t starve your children.

  2. Consider talking to an occupational therapist. Sometimes there are underlying conditions that cause food aversions.

  3. Don’t make a huge deal out of it with him. Kids often go through phases where they don’t want to eat variety. He’s going to be okay, especially if you’ve discussed this with his doctor.

  4. Try connecting with him. Explain to him that he could eventually get sick if he doesn’t eat the right nutrients, and you just want him to stay healthy. He’s old enough to understand this.

  5. Offer different ways of cooking healthier options. Try different sauces, seasonings and dishes. Maybe try to get him involved. Ask what he thinks might help it taste better.

Good luck.

3 Likes

I’ve been there with my 8 year old for about 6 years. Tried it all too, even the he will eat when he’s hungry. His doctor said as long as he is not drastically gaining or losing she is not worried. He has vitamins daily and drinks an ensure a day.

2 Likes

Should have taken care of this 10 years ago. :woozy_face:

6 Likes

My 13 year old daughter is the same way she will not eat vegetables or fruit, I decided she either tries something new when we eat at least but either way the doctors say she’s healthy so I’m not gonna fuse to much I think the older they get their taste buds will change!

Is he on the spectrum?

He could have sensory issues with food that make it hard for him to eat anything but his preferred foods.

2 Likes

My boys …
Sounds normal to me

Omg, that is exactly what my 11 year old only eats… refuses to try anything and will also rather starve then try anything new … I’m following this post lol

If he’s not overweight then i don’t see a problem. Just let him know he also has to eat vegetables. He’s a pre teen, he’s going to eat everything in sight.

I have 4 grown boys… it’s really not that big a deal. If he’s eating and growing… no need to fight about it.

4 Likes

My sister was so picky growing up and only ate a handful of things like hotdogs, pancakes, French fries, she was just super picky, then she met a chef and she tries new things and is healthy, if there is concern talk to a doctor, and don’t starve them

1 Like

Stop offering those foods. Don’t keep them in the house.

5 Likes

Get em some good vitamins!🤷

Some of these comments :woman_facepalming:t2: Wow! I guess when you posted this you were expecting help and judgment but really… I just hope the ones judging with no actual help get put in your place at some point in life! Anyways I read a couple comments about having him help you cook, I’ve known that to help also don’t make a big deal about his eating habits to him; at that age they love getting a rise out of us parents. Take the free foods he does eat and try different recipes with them. Kids/teens are always changing be kind yourself and know that you are doing your best :heart:

2 Likes

I told my mom what I wanted to eat. She forced me to taste it and things o didn’t like I would Puke it out. She never force me to eat what I didn’t like and now I am very picky and won’t try new things. Now as an adult forcing myself to try different vegetables but as a child I ate 0.

Well he going to be 13 he is a teen he had his own mind if he was 5 or 6 u could do that but at the age he eat what he likes but he grow out of that when he more older there taste buds change I was a picky eater my mom would force me to eat oatmeal yuck but now I like oatmeal

Get creative with those meals. He wants pizza make
It homemade. Pulse some spinach up in the pizza sauce. They won’t taste it and do veggie pizza. Cut up berries in his cereal strawberries, blueberries bananas etc

1 Like

I really wouldn’t worry about it just let him eat what he wants and he will hopefully grow out of it

Occupational Therapy. It could be a texture issue.

1 Like

Ya he sounds neurodiverse of some sort. You should NEVER starve a child. That was abusive, please forgive yourself and just don’t do it again. You’ll find something that works!

3 Likes

You know they used to say breast is best and now they said feed is best Well go with it and just let him eat what he will eat! Nobody died eating French toast, cereal, chicken or pizza! He will eventually change his eating habits so don’t stress yourself about it! Stop listening to everyone else and just let him eat what he wants! Be glad it’s not straight sugar :woman_shrugging:t2:

1 Like

Give the kid what he likes to eat & a gummy vitamin daily.
Why In Gods name would you starve him & subject him to sleeping on the dining room table???

WTH is wrong with you people that you need to control children thru food :nauseated_face::face_vomiting::angry:

4 Likes

First, make sure they’re getting vitamins.
Second, stop bringing those foods in the house. If you want them to eat healthy- only buy healthy foods.

3 Likes

I would just feed them what they like.

I would give him a vitamin and just let him eat what he wants. It’s a phase. Keep offering him other things. Personally I’m not into making meal time a battle and I’m not going to let my kids starve or force them to eat something they don’t like. Just my opinion :woman_shrugging:t3:

Make it taste good !

Feed him what he will eat do not let your kids go days without eating that’s how eating disorders start. Coming from someone diagnosed with one and it all started when I was a kid

2 Likes

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food Amazon.com: Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food: 9780061767937: Seinfeld, Jessica: Books

Does his doctor say he’s healthy? Many years ago my boys were like that. The doctor had me make my oldest sit at the table and try at least one bite of everything on his plate. He would fall asleep around 9 o’clock sitting at the table. I took my son back to the doctor and the doctor told me that if he was that stubborn I was not going to win and to leave it be, He was healthy. I gave them a vitamin every day. He is now 33 years old and in very good shape and very healthy.

1 Like

As long as they’re eating, it doesn’t matter. Their body absorbs what it needs while in the small and large intestines anyway.

He’s in preteen mode. Teens like junk food. What can you say? You cannot starve your child for any reason!!

Don’t bring the junk into the house. Whatever is for dinner is what he gets.

2 Likes

Stop buying chicken, pizza, cereal and French toast. If it’s not there he will learn he won’t get it.

6 Likes

Chicken isn’t bad for you , and cereal is good for the calcium intake. Each of the food have some sort of benefit … as long as they get regular exercise then it shouldn’t be a problem

Feed them what they like but the healthy version… pizza - make a healthy pizza dough and add healthy ingredients make it tasty with seasoning and a little butter and cheese and so on… cereal… buy the healthy kind or mix in the healthy cereal with the sugary cereal. French toast can be healthy. Depends on how you make it

4 Likes