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Meal time rules?

I am after some advice from you lovely ladies!

Generally in our house the rules at meal times are 'If you don't eat what you are given, then you don't eat'

My question is, what do you do if your LO doesn't genuinely like what you have given them? Tonight we had pasta with cheese sauce and vegetables, and she tried hers and then pushed it away and started crying and then I got her down from the table and she came round to see what I had, so I gave her a piece of pasta which she put in her mouth and then spat out and gave back to me. Hubby said 'she is hungry, I just don't think she likes it, you should give her something else.' I didn't know what to do really, but in the end gave her spaghetti hoops which she ate brilliantly.

But how do you know when the actually don't like it? Some days she'll gobble up something she has refused before. so when do you give them something else and when do you stand your ground? :?

Help please!


  • Hmm, I don't know if I can be much help as I don't really have hard and fast rules on this, I tend to use my instincts. I don't believe in making a child clear his plate, but I do expect ds to have a good attempt at eating his meal, and trying some of each part of it, without messing around. If he really seems not to like something, I will give him something else, but not something 'nicer', more something so that he isn't hungry, if that makes sense - such as bread and butter, or weetabix for pudding - I don't want to teach him that if he messes with his food he can have something he prefers, but also I appreciate that there will be some things he just doesn't like.

    I usually give pudding (yoghurt or fruit) unless he really insists that the reason he's leaving food is that he's full - although he's never too full for pudding!

    I think I might be a bit soft - I know they won't ever let themselves go hungry, but I don't like to take the chance unless he's really playing up.
  • Same as sunflower really, not so much with dd2 yet as she is 11 months, but with dd1, who can be quite fussy, I just tell her that she has to try everything but don't make her clear the plate at all. But if she doesn't eat her meal and is hungry later she will only be offered savoury, and not her favourite things either iykwim.
  • Thank you for your replies ladies.

    We usually say she has to eat a reasonable amount of her meal to get anything else (yoghurt or fruit or fruit pot) and I am a believer in that they won't starve themselves but as she is getting older I am getting softer!

    Today she ate really well so I am thinking that she just generally didn't like it.....

    Guess I will have to follow my instincts on this!!
  • Not read all the replies - so not sure if I am saying stuff that's already been said, but this is what I tend to do.

    If I am giving Abby something I KNOW she likes then I am quite strict, I work on the theory that if she's hungry she'll eat, and if she's not then there's no need to give her something different. I don't let her have pudding if she doesn't have a good go at eating it.

    If I am not sure if she will like it or not (like if it is something new) then I usually give her bread and butter alongside it - that way she can eat the bread if she doesn't eat the main food. As long as she makes an attempt (she must at least try the new food - and eat most of the bread) then she can have pudding (usually a yoghurt or fruit, but if she has been especially good then she can have a tiny but of cake or chocolate).

  • The same as everyone else really. If Abby tries it and refuses then I offer something plain like bread or potatoes to check whether she really doesn't like it. She has to eat something savory before going onto pudding. However we give much more "naughty" puddings such as cake, ice cream, lemon meringue pie etc. What's the point of pudding otherwise? image

    H xx
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