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Question
Posted by: Tania | 2011/01/26

6 year old food habits

Dear DietDoc,

Not sure if you are the correct person to ask about this. My 6 year old hardly eats much variations of foods as she is just so darn fussy and I cannot force her etc. She mostly eats for breakfast either a slice of toast or noodles with cheese and vienna or polony. For lunch its maybe three or four viennas or again noodles or toast and maybe a yoghurt or two. For dinner there are often times she has the same food, although we try force her to eat some rice, meat possibly some potato and we try either pumpkin carots etc. I know this is not enough but cannot force her to eat she just refuses.

What supplement is there that I can give her as I am worried that she develops an illness due to not eating correctly.

Foods she eats are: 2 minute noodles, viennas, polony, yoghurt, cheese, on the odd occasion bread, ham, cream cheese, marie biscuits plain, simba puffs, chicken pops, a bit of rice, potato, small portions of meat, chicken and very few veggies oh and fish fingers, smash, coldrinks like cream soda, fanta etc. and oros

Foods she does not eat: fruit, milk and just about everything else.

Do you have some advise for me,supplement wise etc. etc.

Thanks
Tania

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Tania
It is a great pity that your 6-year-old lassie eats such an unbalanced diet which basically consists of snack foods. Undesirable foods/drinks that you have listed are: viennas, polony, biscuits, Simba puffs, cold drinks and Oros. These foods are high in fat and sugar, and don't really provide a growing child with the nutrients she requires for healthy growth at this time of her life. As you mention if would be desirable for her to leave out these foods/drinks and rather eat/drink milk, fruit, more vegetables and some wholegrain cereals. Her relatively low intake of calcium from dairy products can prevent her from developing strong bones and teeth. Forcing her to eat is not the answer because this causes conflict and can make a child avoid healthy foods for the sake of not backing down. I think you need to tell her that you have thought long and hard about her health and because you have her best interests at heart and would like her to grow up strong and healthy, you are from now on not going to buy any of the foods/drinks listed above, which don't contribute to healthy nutrition. Ban these foods from your shopping list and home. Then present her with healthy options and if she won't eat them, don't make a fuss, but don't give her the high-fat snack foods either. Be calm and kind and explain why she needs healthy foods and a varied diet. Children of 6 years are perfectly able to understand the idea of eating healthy foods and the link to good health. Be kind, but firm and she should start eating healthy foods when she realises that the less healthy options are not going to be available any more. If she throws tantrums, make sure she can't hurt herself and leave the room because a tantrum is only effective if the parents are watching. Hopefully your daughter will change her eating patterns with your example, support and love. If after 6 weeks, she is still refusing to eat a more balanced diet, I would recommend that you consult a child psychologist (ask your gp to refer you), because she may be using her refusal of healthy foods and dietary changes to exert pressure on the other members of the family or because she had an underlying problem such as anxiety. The child psychologist will help her to learn better coping techniques so that she does not have to turn to food fads to express her feelings.
But do first try the snack-less, kind but firm approach.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2011/01/27

Dear Tania
It is a great pity that your 6-year-old lassie eats such an unbalanced diet which basically consists of snack foods. Undesirable foods/drinks that you have listed are: viennas, polony, biscuits, Simba puffs, cold drinks and Oros. These foods are high in fat and sugar, and don't really provide a growing child with the nutrients she requires for healthy growth at this time of her life. As you mention if would be desirable for her to leave out these foods/drinks and rather eat/drink milk, fruit, more vegetables and some wholegrain cereals. Her relatively low intake of calcium from dairy products can prevent her from developing strong bones and teeth. Forcing her to eat is not the answer because this causes conflict and can make a child avoid healthy foods for the sake of not backing down. I think you need to tell her that you have thought long and hard about her health and because you have her best interests at heart and would like her to grow up strong and healthy, you are from now on not going to buy any of the foods/drinks listed above, which don't contribute to healthy nutrition. Ban these foods from your shopping list and home. Then present her with healthy options and if she won't eat them, don't make a fuss, but don't give her the high-fat snack foods either. Be calm and kind and explain why she needs healthy foods and a varied diet. Children of 6 years are perfectly able to understand the idea of eating healthy foods and the link to good health. Be kind, but firm and she should start eating healthy foods when she realises that the less healthy options are not going to be available any more. If she throws tantrums, make sure she can't hurt herself and leave the room because a tantrum is only effective if the parents are watching. Hopefully your daughter will change her eating patterns with your example, support and love. If after 6 weeks, she is still refusing to eat a more balanced diet, I would recommend that you consult a child psychologist (ask your gp to refer you), because she may be using her refusal of healthy foods and dietary changes to exert pressure on the other members of the family or because she had an underlying problem such as anxiety. The child psychologist will help her to learn better coping techniques so that she does not have to turn to food fads to express her feelings.
But do first try the snack-less, kind but firm approach.
Best regards
DietDoc

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