How do i say "no"? - FamilyEducation
How do i say "no"?
04/18/2007 at 11:38 AM

I have a three year old who is getting very fussy at the dinner table. All he likes to eat are chicken nuggets and fries. We have tried to feed him healthier options, but he refuses to eat them.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to get my child interested in healthier food?

It's all about what you put in front of them. Maybe try tofu "chicken" nuggets and sweet potato fries (just slice up sweet potato, toss with olive oil, and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes). And the old "take two bites of broccoli and then you can have a french fry" can really work too. Good luck!

Why don't you just let him go hungry - he'll eat some time! Elisar

My husband used to get paid for eating his green beans. While I don't really think this is a good plan, you can try a healthy reward for trying new foods, like a trip to the park, or an extra ten minutes of playtime. He might respond to that.

My 5 year old son has been going through a picky phase where he only wanted the "fun" foods like chicken nuggets and the like.  We simply made the rule that they eat what is served for dinner or they are hungry.    The ball is in thier court and they make the choice.  I watched my mom cook two seperate meals for years for my younest brother who was a picky eater.  He has never grown out of it and he is now 20, because my mom enabled him.  He is also obese and very unhealthy.  The important thing to remember is that we are supposed to teach our kids healthy habits even if it means saying no and getting tough when needed.  We need to help our kids develop lifelong healthy habits.

Lisa Pierce
Work At Home United
 Personal Mentor & Proud mom of 3 Boys!


I have a niece who only wants jelly sandwiches. I have 6 nieces that come and spend the weekend with me when it's lunch time I fix them carrots,green beans, sweet potatoes and some fruit. then she has a choice eat or go without she always eats and after she is finished she is allowed to have a jelly sandwich.


Boy I'm thankful I was never like, I used to be a picky eater...I'm not quite sure how other than I recall I'd try and get out of eating dinner halfway through and fake being full. For that, my mama gave me Flintstone vitamins because she was worried I wouldn't get all the nutrition I needed. Actually back then I ate more different things than I do now, it grosses me out now but I remember one of my favorite snacks were hard boiled eggs.

But I do remember one time, I was 7, "Muppet Treasure Island" was going to be on TV, I wanted to see it, and I was still at that eating half meals phase, my mama told me unless I ate every bite on my plate, I couldn't watch it. So I ate. So I agree on the healthy rewards thing, maybe you could also try widening the variety of what's for dinner. Somebody suggested taking your kid to the grocery store and every week let them pick out a different vegetable or something to try.


if u make the food interesting, such as make faces with the food, or make it look fun to eat. Al;so just give him vegtables.


You should tell him that if he doesn't eat this he is not getting anything else. What is worse seeing your kid cry or seeing your kid eat unhealthy. I think that he should learn to eat better now or he could eat bad the rest of his life.


My Aunt and Uncle told a funny story about me coming over for dinner (about 7-8yrs old) and they had a big bowl of peas on the table and I had no idea what they were. ha ha My older brother hated green vegetables except for green beans so it had become a habit for my mother to just serve green beans or corn. Knowing this story when I had my own child I always served her all kinds of veggies since she was old enough to eat them. She was picky about her meats for awhile but she always liked chicken and I just kept introducing ground beef till she would eat it which we have since excluded from our diet. We now usually eat ground chicken or turkey. It took awhile to get used to the taste but now it's tastes like eating ground beef to us. She's 7 years old and my mother has  taught her to read the food labels. We drink organic milk also.  I would just start serving the good foods and restrict the junky stuff like chicken nuggets and fries and the child will eventually eat it. Then maybe they can be rewarded with something they like better after they've eaten the healthier foods. Also for those who are just starting I wouldn't introduce things like chicken nuggets or fries at all until your child has an acquired taste for the healthier foods. I take my child to places like Golden Corral and she will fill her plate with veggies by choice because she has learned to eat this way. I think they even recommend that with babies when feeding baby food. Not to do as much fruits, instead lots of veggies, otherwise all they'll want is the fruit. I did this with sugars and candies and also soda. My daughter still does not drink soda. She is milk and water and juice occasionally and it's because I never gave her those things when she was younger. 


Hey everybody, I'm kind of new here and just want to say hello first. I think everyone agrees that we need to be stern with children at the dinner table. Not everyday can be chicken nuggets and French fries. I remember being a fussy eater when I was younger and my parents would literally take the food away when everyone else was finished. It really taught me that I either need to eat what is given to me or make it work. I do like the idea of bringing your kids to the grocery store to pick out vegetables. Once he/she recognizes something they enjoyed, they will continue to eat it. Also, you can try to make food fun and interesting, but do not do it at the cost of the entire meal. Don't make your entire family eat Spaghettios because thats all your 3 yo will eat. It is just not fair.