My Son Hates Food…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m not about to write a 1,000 word post, not because I can’t, but because I’m lazy.

The picture above is the beautiful lunch time creation my amazing wife put together for her daycare’s Easter lunch. You’ll notice it looks like one of those Sesame Street skits of “One of these things is not like the other”.

3 perfect Peanut Butter and Fruit Bunnies and one ugly, no makeup, no face Bunny with 2 carrots that it can’t eat because it doesn’t have a mouth.

The empty rabbit is a special lunch modification for my son, who will not touch anything that isn’t a plain piece of bread. Sure he dabbles in carrots, apples and even broccoli if the mood is right but you are essentially looking at his daily feeding.

Before you start the “hide the food in something else” bit, trust me, we’ve tried it. I swear he’s going to become a surgeon someday based on the way he disects every type of food we try to give him, looking for colours that don’t belong.

I sometimes wonder where I went wrong with him in the food department. Daddy loves food. Daddy eats waaayyyy too much of it too. It couldn’t be me! He couldn’t have gotten into my Paint collection, right? Even if he did, this photo wouldn’t scare a child off carrots, would it?

Yeah I know, I’m a monster who draws ridiculously disturbing pictures. We all have our vices. Let’s move on.

He doesn’t even like cake or ice cream or gummy worms!!! The only thing he will eat in the junk department is donuts and thank the lord for that.

Don’t worry, we supplement his diet with vitamins (hidden liquid only because he won’t take a pill or eat a gummy or Flinstone vitamin). We’ve talked to the doctor about it and they said to keep trying new ways to get him to eat his fruits and veggies, so we will.

Some tricks have worked for a few days. The old “I’m gonna eat your food” schtick was good for a couple meals. Then there’s classics like “I’m gonna beat you” or “Apples make you faster and stronger”. Nothing sticks though.

There is some hope though! Recently in a play group circle time, my son was asked what his favorite food was. He responded quickly with this wonderful lie: Apples.

That’s my boy!

Have you ever had problems getting your kids to eat their food? Feel free to share your secrets with me so I can steal them and forget to thank you!


38 replies
  1. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    We have some food issues too, smoothies work sometimes. Lately I have been using those squishy baby food containers because he can’t see what’s in it and really likes that he can squish it out, do maybe try those? Yes I do realize I am giving my 3.5 yo baby food

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      If he can’t see it, he definitely won’t touch it, lol. He’s sort of genius in the way he avoids it, haha. He used to love those yogurt tubes but now he treats them like they are kryptonite!

      • Leslie
        Leslie says:

        The next thing I am going to try is pulverizing freeze dried veggies into a power and adding those to the things he will eat. I bought a variety from Thrive so I will have to let you know how that goes once they arrive

    • Kristine
      Kristine says:

      Here’s the problem with Lucas and Smoothies…lol…he will NOT touch yogurt, icecream or fruit flavours….lol

  2. Jeannine
    Jeannine says:

    We had a fabulous paediatrician who said kids can realistically average out nutritional needs over 3-4 days. If you can manage that as a parent you’ve got little to nothing to worry about. But, we all worry anyway and these little people like to eat in phases. I struggle with vegetable variety which seems foreign since my son used to be really good with them, then at 5 he said he wants nothing but raw carrots, cucumbers and frozen corn-WTH? If your fellow likes bread only (my neighbours son did for a year!), can you bake carrot bread or zucchini or banana or the like? So many flour subs too that can be experimented as well. Trying to help 🙂 patience seems to be the best action but sometimes as parents we struggle with advice overload. Best of luck my friend.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Thanks for the tips! He’ll eat carrot muffins and banana bread so we try to fit that in. There’s only so many carrot muffins one man can eat though, lol.

  3. ashley picco (mamawee)
    ashley picco (mamawee) says:

    what if you have him grow a vegetable garden? he might like to eat his hard work (you could try carrots) or fruit you can do too (strawberries or tomatoes)

    CHEO has a really good program through there Occupation Therapy department.
    They say to try a “learning plate” and the goal is to get the kids to eventually taste it. So you put new foods on the learning plate (which would be beside the child’s plate) and then ask them about it. See if they will pick it up, smell it, lick it etc. Eventually, you want them to taste it. There is a whole list of steps involved in trying something new….

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Thanks Ashley, I’ll check out the learning plate thing. As for the garden, with my shift work and the day care, there’s not much time for growing gardens. Most of the time I am home, it’s all about play time, haha! Shift work is going to end soon though, it’s not the easiest, that’s for sure.

  4. BloggerFather
    BloggerFather says:

    My 4yo eats a little more than your kid, but he’s still a little too picky. His new preschool has a nutrition program, though, where they make healthy food and eat it. Maybe get him to help make more of his food?

    That faceless bunny is so sad…

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Hahaha, as soon as I saw the bunny, I knew who it was for and knew there was a post in there somewhere. We’ve been trying to get the kids more involved in the cooking process so we’ll see where that goes.
      Happy to hear about nutrition programs in school though!

  5. Kat Rowley
    Kat Rowley says:

    My son was terrible about it. I couldn’t get him to eat anything but cereal, usually dry. Finally at my wits end, the doctor told me that if he was hungry enough, he’d eat.

    So I eventually stopped making special dinners for him, stopped buying boxes of cereal, and kept lots of healthy, quick snacks around. He was unhappy for a bit, but he did start branching out. It breaks your heart though because they will throw a fit, but I’m happy to say my son is now a healthy sixteen year old, who is willing to try new foods with me.

    I don’t know if this helps any, but good luck!

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I`m happy to report that for some reason, both of my children ate all of their ham and carrots for tonight`s Easter dinner! I blame it on the fact that they were in a chocolate coma from earlier in the day!

  6. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    I say, relax and don’t make an issue of it. As they get older, (like when you can finally reason with them) just remind them that their tastes may have changed and give it a try.

    If all else fails I have a cousin who has healthily made it to adult-hood on nothing but mashed potatoes, chicken and bread.

    Oh, and get one of those hand blenders – sometimes puree is easier to hide ( I use this on my step’s and they never notice all the veggies I packed into the spaghetti sauce)

  7. Lucretia Pruitt
    Lucretia Pruitt says:

    Our 9 1/2 yr old daughter is the very definition of the phrase ‘picky eater.’ It doesn’t help that she’s also got deadly peanut & tree nut allergies as that limits a lot of the options.

    Fortunately for her, so was I. So I’m living proof that you can survive the first 16 years of your life without liking 99% percent of fruits, vegetables, cheese, sauces, and most ‘normal’ food and not only survive, but end up with an ever expanding palate. My mother first said that she thought her curse of wishing the same un-eating child on me when I grew up had come true – then she said she realized that I was the ideal parent to have that kid as I could sympathize.

    My kidlet loathes meat. For the first 3 years of her life, anything that even *looked* like bread (including cake, muffins, pancakes, waffles, bread…) went on the floor immediately. She would’ve eaten the carrots on that plate, but that’s it. Actually, that’s still true (berries, bread? No way. Peanut butter never will be on the agenda.) If it weren’t for Boca patties (no bun, condiments, just plain), enriched egg noodles and chocolate milk? Her protein intake would be almost non-existent.

    The biggest issues for her are texture-based. But she’s healthy (really healthy!) and she has expanded her menu a lot over the past several years. I have no doubt she will continue to do so as she gets older.

    Don’t worry – every kid comes with his/her own quirks. Just make sure that you keep communicating with his pediatrician to ensure that he is healthy. 🙂

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      He’s doing good health wise, that’s all I really care about. He loves his bread too, I actually bribe him with bread so he`ll eat his veggies sometimes, lol!

      Thanks for the comment!

  8. Multi-Testing Mommy
    Multi-Testing Mommy says:

    Oh man, I feel your pain! Cute bunnies btw, even the plain one! What fun! I have quite a few tricks – different tricks work on different kids. We have a VERY picky eater too. My main tip is consistency – don’t give in and make it plain – put the smallest piece of EVERYTHING on his plate. Even if he moves it off his plate, that is ok, but at least he still sees it, maybe smells it a bit…..that’s the first step. We started with a sniff to a kiss to a lick and now we often take baby bunny bites! Then dinosaur chomps and next thing you know, he’s eaten it without you even realizing it – no fight, he’s in charge….good luck…..I’m in the process of writing a post about this. Have you heart of “Today I Ate a Rainbow”?!

  9. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I’m guessing when you say ‘I’m going to beat you’ you mean lik a race and not I’ll hit you over your head with a club type thing lol
    My kids are sooo picky it is embarrasing. even desserts like pie, no go. but ice cream??? that is a serious case of the pickies!

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      For the sake of this site, I meant ‘beat you” as in a race…LOL. I would never lay a hand on my kids in that way, there are so many other forms of punishment. I guess taking away my son’s dessert isn’t one of them though, haha.

  10. Lisa Marie
    Lisa Marie says:

    Oh. I feel your pain. My oldest is SO so non-food-welcoming that I worry for him sometimes.

    When I tired of modifying meals for him, just so he’ll eat SOMETHING, he is obligated to make his own meal: A cheese and lettuce sandwich on a bun, Mr.Noodles, some chicken noodle soup (but only the kind with no veggies in it!), etc. It’s awesome.

    One thing I have done (since I have 1 VERY picky and 1 sort of picky and 1 doesn’t really care eater), is Muffin Tin Meals.

    I bought 3 of the same muffin tins and make full meals in them. one circle for a fruit of some kind. one for a veggie. one for a grain. one for cheese (or other protein). one for a treat. one for a drink, etc.

    You can do themes – like colours, or starts with the letter A, or based on a book like red fish/blue fish, or numbers, etc.
    I’ve found that meals I serve this way get 95% eaten, whereas the meals I spend hours making go virtually untouched. (here’s the website I’ve used to get ideas –


  11. Pam
    Pam says:

    My kids are actually pretty good eaters. My biggest problem now is my 14 year old daughter who suddenly is watching her calorie intake. Which is a good thing, but I don’ t want her to obsess over it. Just something I am keeping an eye on right now.

  12. SoberJulie
    SoberJulie says:

    We had one who was like that, tried everything. Hiding it pureed in food, veggies with dip…blahhh on and on. She outgrew it but I’d become a veggie chef by the end.

  13. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    Brandy InsaneMamacita says:

    Hopefully it’s just a stage. Our oldest wouldn’t eat ice cream or birthday cake (mainly the icing was the problem) or whipping cream for years. Now he does. He still won’t eat chocolate. And our youngest, he won’t even eat supper now. He may eat his veggies but that is about it. Never touches the meat (unless it is in nugget form, we’ve tried shake and bake but that doesn’t fool him). And maybe would eat rice but that is hit and miss. I too am hoping he grows out of it.

  14. Nicole @ Domesticated Momma
    Nicole @ Domesticated Momma says:

    My head screamed out “Mine does too!” when I read the title of your post. My son absolutely detests food! At least it feels that way. Meal time tends to be so frustrating. I’m learning to try not to let it get to me, but honestly not always does that work. Especially when you have a doctor breathing down your neck. I get by with snacks. Crackers, plain toast, grapes and blueberries. That’s essentially all my son is willing to eat, so I roll with it. I always provide him with dinner… hoping to goodness that he’ll indulge, but rather he’ll turn his nose up. Really I’m not too concerned. It’s a phase. It’s not like he’ll go to college and just eat plain bread with water for the rest of his life. Geez… I hope not!

    I can totally relate to your post. I get it.

  15. gina valley
    gina valley says:

    Kids don’t get to control much of what happens in their life. They can control what they put in their mouth. It’s important to, unless there is a true health issue, make what they eat a non-issue. If they don’t want to eat, no problem. Just keep providing healthy options at meal time (no juice, other sugary drinks, or other junk). We’ll have another meal or snack in a couple hours. No stress. They’ll eat when they’re hungry.

    That being said, we do have a couple rules. We serve only water or milk to drink. No juice, except mango/orange when sick. That sweet stuff takes away the desire for the healthy, real food. If you don’t eat the meal, the only option you have until the next meal is fruit or veggies, which we keep out at kid level. We make one meal per meal, no special orders. If someone chooses not to eat, they’ll probably be extra hungry for the next meal.

    You do not have to clean your plate at our house to have dessert. You just have to try everything accoring to house standards. A couple of my pack were tremendously picky and turned up their noses to anything new when they were little. The rule at our house is you have to try three normal sized bites, then you are off the hook for that item. When you’ve tried everything, you qualify for dessert (which is small at our house all the time and all who qualify get exactly the same amount).

    By the time they are 3 or 4 our kids would pop three bites of new stuff in just to get it over with and found they liked most stuff. My kids will eat stuff I don’t even like! And, I’ve noticed my older kids serve themselves about a three bite portion of everything when we are out to dinner and they are faced with new things. They are willing to try most anything now.

    I decided on the three bites rule after doing some physiology research. The first bite sort of triggers the “ewww, new stuff tastes bad.” response. The second bite sort of triggers the “maybe it’s not sooo horrible, but it feels funny” response. The third bite is the first honest taste of the food without the panic responses. We still harass Son#2 who swore taquitos were pure evil until the third bite, at which point he realized he loved them.

    The three bite system also puts control back in the hands of the child. It’s totally up to him if he wants credit for eating that food. No discussion. No pleading. He knows what to do. We never try to force more. Three bites is three bites. No stress.

    Above all, relax. If he still isn’t eating by college, have him live in the dorm and he’ll figure it out.

  16. brenda
    brenda says:

    I had the exact same experience with my son tyler (now 4.5 yrs)…there is light at the end….lol…he was just as picky as your son from age 2 until 4. he now eats or atleast tries practically everything. as for suggestions all i can say is keep offering. it helped us that his younger sister 22 months old eats everything happily. it will happen soon and it will shock you.. i cried with joy when Tyler started eating all types of meats,fruits,veggies

  17. Chris Green
    Chris Green says:

    BWWHAHAHAHAHA When my 28 yr old son was young he only liked cereal, potatoes, bread etc. We were able to get other things in to him but it was difficult. We still laugh during the holidays because when he was little his Nana would call to find out what type of Thanksgiving cereal he wanted. He’s normal and very healthy now.
    Our son who is now 8 yrs old was on a corn dog kick for quite a while…and then chicken nuggets. We laugh because he has only ever been to see the doctor for his yearly checkups. Never been sick and is the only one in our family at a normal weight.

  18. Allison
    Allison says:

    This post and its replies just kept me from a total breakdown. I find it so frustrating to feed my kids. my 7 yo and 4 yo like totally different stuff so dinner time is tough. I usually stick to one meal and give the whole, “no dessert if you don’t eat”. It sort of works. My 7 yo is the pickiest. Reading this made me realize that lots of us are in the same boat so we will just keep on trying…..

    Good luck everyone!


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