My constant battle to get my 6 year old to eat…

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting an endless battle and you almost always walk away as the loser when it comes to eating?

If you answered yes, then I sympathize with you. If you answered no, welcome to my world, please join us for supper one night to experience this circus.

Being a fussy eater or picky eater is an understatement. We all have our likes and dislikes but can a list of dislikes really be THAT long? Especially when you haven’t really been on the planet for long?

In Danny’s case, yes.

Meal time, every meal time, is a fight. Most times we just give in and let him have his way and eat 2 min noodles (which take 3 ½ minutes to make) or a cheese sandwich or sausage, but other times we fight it out (sometimes not the best solution to the problem but it gets food into him). My other problem is that his list changes like the weather in Cape Town, something he ate yesterday and loved would be at the top of his dislike list today, to a point where he cries bitterly over this. And we’ve discussed it, is it the taste or feel of the food. Trying to identify any problems and he doesn’t know or understand how he should answer and then we give up and within 5min he is happy. I have tried to get him involved with cooking thinking that would assist but nope, I was wrong.

The reality is that I just can’t keep up. You never know what you’re going to get with him so I try my best to keep the peace and cook Danny friendly meals but with our attempt at eating healthier its been hard, prepping 2 meals for 4 people daily.

What do you do as a parent? Let them have their way and give in to whatever food they want or continue the food struggle?


There are a few favourites that he loves, good and faithful Mac and Cheese, Dance food (Sausage stew), Chicken nuggets with chips or veggies, Cottage pie and Sweet Chicken. The other recipes are old favourites in most people’s homes, but not so much the Sweet Chicken, anyhoo I thought I’d share the recipe

Sweet Shicken


RECIPE BY XOLISWA NDOYIYA (Former President Nelson Mandela personal Chef)

1tsp paprika
½ tsp white pepper
2T mixed spice for chicken
450g chicken breast (sliced) or strips
325ml sweet fruit chutney
250ml mayonnaise
2T medium curry powder
250ml water

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Combine the paprika, pepper and chicken spice and rub the chicken pieces all over with this mixture.

Place in an ovenproof dish and roast for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, combine the chutney, mayonnaise, curry powder and water and mix well to form a sauce.
Remove the chicken from the oven and cover it with the sauce.
Lower the oven temperature to 160°C and roast the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Serve with rice, garnished with a sprig of fresh flat-leaf parsley if desired.

If you have any suggestions, recipes or anything which could make meal times a pleasant experience in our home PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THEM!


  • flametjie

    I have the exact same problem with my 6 year old, except for a few slight differences. The only meat he will eat are nuggets or pops, but luckily he loves stew (as long as there are no chunks of meat in his serving) and spinach (of all things) so at least I know he does get some goodness in.

  • chevslife

    My 7 yrs old is the same. At one stage he lost so much weight all you could see were skin and bones. He was placed on special diet with nutritional shakes, had a milkscan and gastroscopy (sp!!) And they detected some reflux problems and slow digestive system. He was put on meds. I stopped stressing, stopped the meds after a while and just let him eat what he wanted to and when he wanted to. His favorites are KFC and McDonald small cheeseburgers, jungle oats and maize, noodles, basically anything that is soft and does not require too much chewing. Some days he eats a lot other days he will literally have a bowl of cereal in the morning and 2 spoons of food. I just figured that I’d rather have a child happy to eat what he likes or a child that becomes anxious whenever it is mealtimes (this started to happen). He’s picked up weight, is healthy and it turns out that his eating habits is more of a sensory thing than anything else…if food don’t look “right” or smell “right” then he also won’t eat it. Cereal needs to be fresh and at the right temperature – sometimes he waste A LOT! I love it when he eats apples or any kind of fruit, this is a BIG bonus 😀

    • lindsaytom

      I love that

      I’d rather have a child happy to eat what he likes or a child that becomes anxious whenever it is mealtimes (this started to happen). 

      I think I’m going to adopt that

  • Tash

    I have the same problem with Aurora, she doesn’t want to eat the dinner I put on her plate (I already know she doesn’t like butternut roasted or sweet, but will have 2 helpings of butternut soup, go figure!) Stew is popular but not practical in summer (for me anyway). I never make her something else though. She must eat what she’s given. Problem is when bedtime rolls around then she’s hungry and raiding the fridge for fruit and yogurt. No matter how many times I say no she blatantly defies me and does what she wants… :/

  • catjuggles

    We took the hard route and from small little ones they had to eat what the family eats and what is on the plate. Boy we had hugely tough times but at about age 5 they all ate almost anything. It does make life a hell of a lot easier. We allow them one item that they do not have to eat – for A its bananas, L its oats and for C its carrots that are sweetened.

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