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Feeding the grandkids. Man cannot live on toast (and cocopops) alone!

(141 Posts)
Grammajules Wed 23-Jun-21 14:38:29

I have 3 grandsons, a 7 and 4 yr old of one daughter and a 6 yr old with the other. In the holidays and some weekends they all come for a few days and are lovely apart from eating.
The 4 yr old will eat hardly any ‘ proper’ meals at all. By that I mean any veg ( even disguised) or food he is not familiar with. He will not even try it. So he exists on toast, fish fingers, the usual rubbish but does eat fruit. His mum is a good cook and just accepts he is like this. She works full time in a stressful job so I do understand. His brother is a bit better and will at least try new things now.
I know in my day if you didn’t eat it you wouldn’t get treats but he doesn’t seem to care.
Now I am not a formidable gran but it does wear me down and I know he is only 4 and his tastes haven’t matured and I don’t make it a big deal as that will just make it worse but an hour later after not eating his meal he will say I’m hungry…
I don’t want to resort to bribing him, but just looking for any ideas to help him try different things. I just don’t want him eating rubbish all the time he is here. I know grandparents are here to treat them but any experiences or ideas appreciated.

halfpint1 Wed 23-Jun-21 14:42:55

I'm with you on this one as my 3 grandsons are the same no
matter what I give them, even chips! I eagerly await answers
from those who have overcome this.

grannylyn65 Wed 23-Jun-21 14:50:30

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Aldom Wed 23-Jun-21 14:51:13

I have a nephew who as a child existed entirely on Ryvita and peanut butter. It did him no harm. He's now in his early 50's. A delightful, loving, caring family man. A vegetarian. Eats a wide range of vegetarian dishes. Well educated. Successful career.
I would simply give your 4 year old plenty of what he likes. It's good he eats fruit. I wouldn't comment when putting food in front of him. We never made my nephew feel he was different or difficult, because he wasn't. He liked what he liked. Wishing you happy times when your grandchildren come to visit.

Hithere Wed 23-Jun-21 15:00:42

Yes, MEN can survive on toast. If they want to wat anything else, they can to go to the kitchen and prepare themselves something else

Now, we are talking about children. Regardless of their gender, they are known to be picky eaters.

My pediatrician says that as long as kids eat one normally balanced a day, there is no concern.

Enjoy your time with your gc and dont worry about it.

Their parents and pediatricians have it handled.

NotSpaghetti Wed 23-Jun-21 15:06:08

Do they actually cook with you?
My grandchildren will eat anything they think they have cooked themselves.

One of mine likes looking at the pictures in cookery books and will ask to cook things from it.

Worth a shot!
There are some great children's knife sets on the market by the way now so it doesn't need to be frustrating when chopping.

Mine also universally like a mouli type grater and will happily shred carrots and cheese etc (with help when little).

NotSpaghetti Wed 23-Jun-21 15:07:06

It takes 10 tries to accept a new food apparently.
Don't despair!

Gingster Wed 23-Jun-21 15:16:46

My 5 yr old gd is the same. I make her vegetable soup which she loves, but it has to be blended and if I deviate from carrots, parsnips and onion , she won’t eat it. She takes the same lunch to school every day - marmite sandwich, yoghurt and apple juice. She will eat a banana occasionally. If they come to us for Sunday dinner, she has a pizza. We don’t make a big thing of it. The hospital says as long as she’s eating something, don’t worry. She used to have lots of milk but dD has cut it down because it fills her up. I long to see her eat a proper dinner. She is tiny but healthy and very active.

Grany Wed 23-Jun-21 15:34:48

I get finger food Veg, Tomatoes, cucumber peeled, calamari olives and beetroot, sometimes eat beetroot, make a funny face on the plate my 3 year old GD loves eating this and says " You are a good cook Nanny"

Jaxjacky Wed 23-Jun-21 15:35:42

Nothing wrong with fish fingers…seriously, I wouldn’t be concerned, just give the youngest what he wants to eat, 4 is still very young. If he’s not eating his meal I’m not surprised he’s still hungry. Cooking with them is a good idea from NotSpaghetti maybe start with biscuits/cakes, let them choose. My youngest GC only wanted tinned macaroni cheese a couple of years ago, now tries a variety of foods including vegetarian.

Grany Wed 23-Jun-21 15:36:37

And peppers

Chewbacca Wed 23-Jun-21 15:37:10

One of my GC will eat anything presented to them, not fussy at all. The other GC varies from week to week and day to day sometimes as to what they will eat. I've found that, by telling them that I need them to help me cook the meal, they eat whatever they've cooked. As soon as they're involved in the prepping and cooking, they're much more keen to eat it because they're so proud of what they've achieved.

Galaxy Wed 23-Jun-21 15:38:04

I wouldnt panic too much, my eldest wouldnt eat anything, I was mortified, once he started school dinners it all changed and from then on he ate everything, things like home made chicken nuggets with cucumber, raw carrots on the side worked well for some reason.

Namsnanny Wed 23-Jun-21 15:39:00


Tough!! You had your chance


geekesse Wed 23-Jun-21 15:52:54

I used to make cooking a meal together a big treat - the youngest chopped mushrooms with a plastic knife, the next one up had a normal table knife to slice peppers, the eldest had a kitchen knife and chopped onions, and one grated carrots. They were all willing to eat food they had prepared themselves, so a stew or lasagne or stew was both a fun thing to do together and a good way to introduce new foods.

If all else failed, I would refuse to give a child something and say ‘you won’t like that - it’s a grown up taste’. That was guaranteed to make them say ‘but Mum, I’m a big boy now. I like broccoli/ sprouts/ olives/ whatever’.

aonk Wed 23-Jun-21 16:00:53

What about do it yourself fajitas or wraps or sandwiches? Put out the ingredients for them to help themselves. Maybe a reward for the biggest number of ingredients chosen?

varian Wed 23-Jun-21 16:10:14

I remember one grand-daughter, then aged two, wanted her Mummy to play but was told Mummy had to get the tea, so she replied "Granny can get the tea" which was I suppose some sort of compliment.

Grammajules Wed 23-Jun-21 16:17:26

Please explain your negative comment or it is meaningless

Grammajules Wed 23-Jun-21 16:19:12

This reply was meant for grannylyn65

varian Wed 23-Jun-21 16:19:18


varian Wed 23-Jun-21 16:19:47

Sorry, I thought it was meant for me

Nannarose Wed 23-Jun-21 17:16:05

This is so variable! I do know that getting stressed about it makes things worse!

Nothing is guaranteed, some kids are just like that and yes, they do seem to survive to healthy adulthood.
Cooking together helps.
Have 'free' foods for younger kids - basic fruit,veg, bread, some families add in yoghourt or similar. If you don't eat your meal and you are hungry, you can have those things. Be very clear about for instance, do you allow butter on the bread, do you allow other 'bread products'?
Older kids - plan menus together, each family member getting to choose, within guidelines, say once a week. If you don't try foods, or moan, you don't get your choice next week.
Assume that the child will 'grow out of it'. Say things like 'well you don't like X now, but you will when you're older'. This is based on evidence, and is also how many cultures operate.
Pick your battles and go for easy wins.

Visgir1 Wed 23-Jun-21 17:31:06

My daughter was the same, I stressed about it and in the end she grew out of being so one dimensional with her food. She went from starting school to leaving school eating Peanut butter sandwiches every day. She's a healthy 6 foot, mother now.

Katyj Wed 23-Jun-21 17:34:31

Oh so with you on this. We have our two staying this weekend aged 3 and 6, I’m already stressing about what we’re going to eat, they seem to be living on ice cream at the moment! Last time they were here they helped me make pancakes, I then put small pieces of strawberries and raspberries on the side the little one only ate the fruit the other one ate half a pancake 🙄 Let us know you get on.

Lucca Wed 23-Jun-21 17:36:25

Mine are similar ages. When they come to stay I pretty much give them what I know they will eat.( porridge/ yoghurt/ beans/cheese/ fishfingers/ home made chicken goujons/ pizza / pasta Bolognese)
I do insist they have a bit of fruit (not just bananas) and I make them a smoothie which sorts the fruit consumption! They will also eat my soup as they have no idea what I put in it ( sweet potato butternut squash carrot tomato etc). Whenever I start to worry about it I just stop and think they will grow into eating more food at some point.