My first son was an amazing eater. He ate everything we offered him, only ever refusing cooked carrots. We took him to friends’ houses for dinners without worry, introduced him to exotic meals and watched him grow and thrive. So when my second son came you can imagine my confusion when we took all the same steps with him and he started out eating just fine but over the course of a year he started to refuse all foods. All foods except for carbs.help-your-picky-eater-grow

I lovingly call my son “The Carbivore.” If it’s not a carb, he’s not interested. Bread, Pasta, Corn, Cereal, Crackers, Potatoes…you name it, he loves it. We can get him to eat meat on occasion and fruits & veggies are touch and go but for the most part, he refuses anything but carbs.

I tried it all to get him to eat the foods we eat and he was just not growing. He’s my smallest on the growth chart and had plateaued for a long time when we started trying some new things to get him to grow even when he wouldn’t eat.

We started pureeing nutrient rich foods to add to the foods we knew he would eat. Adding in these foods didn’t change his favorite foods enough for him to notice most of the time, but added in all of the ingredients essential for growing. Here are some tips from our picky kitchen to yours:picky-eaters-and-growth

Puree Vegetables To Mix Into Sauces

OR You can use baby food! We used butternut squash in our mac + cheese, sweet potatoes in our spaghetti sauce, cauliflower in our mashed potatoes (or you can make cauliflower “potatoes”!) and really anywhere we could make it work. Choosing mild flavored veggies that are similar in color to what you are adding them to will make the transition easiest. If your child loves to dip their food, try making dips using veggie purees!

Swap Your Milk

If your child is having trouble growing, swapping out their morning/evening milk with PediaSure will be a win-win. PediaSure comes in several delicious flavors that my son LOVES and I love that it has vitamins, protein and calories to help him grow. Over time you can slowly transition back to milk once their growth is no longer a worry.

Mix Up Your Proteins

My son has a hard time with meats, but giving him nuts for a snack, including eggs anywhere we can, pureeing beans into some of his foods & really chopping or mashing meat down as small as possible when we make sauces with meat help to get some extra protein into his diet.

Re-Think Your Approach

With my kids, I try different things until we find something that works. Sometimes we have to change it up weekly because they catch on, but the one thing that has worked across the board for all of our kids when it comes to food they “don’t like” is to re-name it. All of my kids despised mac + cheese. They turned up their noses to it (which was just fine with me until we were at a friend’s house and they refused to eat) until I called it “Cheesy Spaghetti.” No joke, they each had seconds because that Cheesy Spaghetti was SO DELICIOUS! We call steak “chicken” & any sandwich that isn’t peanut butter and jelly is a “grilled cheese,” even if it’s not grilled. My kids won’t eat a ham sandwich, but call it grilled cheese and it’ll be scarfed. Come up with names for the food that will appeal to your kids. Use what you know they like-in our case, our kids LOVE spaghetti and they love cheese so by calling mac + cheese “Cheesy Spaghetti” they realized that something they thought they didn’t like was actually yummy (and mixed with some squash!).what-to-do-when-your-picky-eater-wont-grow

Getting my son to eat foods that will nourish him and help him grow isn’t always easy but it IS possible. It takes some creativity and willingness to try new things, but with all these tips, my son is now slowly gaining on the growth chart little by little.

For more info and tips on promoting growth and healthy eating for your toddler, check out these great tips for swapping ingredients, meal prep and healthy habits for picky eaters from PediaSure!

Brought to you by PediaSure, all opinions are my own.