Everybody likes pasta, but some kids like it a little too much. Are you cooking more macaroni than your local Italian restaurant?
Your kid has decided he will only eat pasta. You don’t know where it came from, and you don’t know how it started. He won’t eat anything except pasta, macaroni or noodles.
You’ve tried everything. You tried bribing her with treats. You tried punishing her, and you tried introducing other foods in a fun, new way. Nothing works. If she doesn’t get pasta, she’s going to bed on an empty stomach.
Is it harmful to my child to eat only pasta?
Pasta isn’t a terrible food, but pasta alone is not a complete diet.
As a parent, you worry constantly about feeding your kids properly. You know your kid should eat vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meat or fish.
When your child doesn’t eat those foods, it leaves you frustrated and even frightened. Will she be missing out on the nutrients she needs to grow up strong and healthy? Is he going to damage his development by being malnourished?
Your child’s new dietary habit isn’t anything to worry about.
You can set your mind at rest on that count. Eating only pasta for a while won’t hurt your child. It may frustrate you, but it will not cause long-term damage.
You can’t spend every day cooking pasta while still making meals for the rest of the family. There are ways to help your kid get through this.
What is causing this behavior?
Your child’s pasta obsession could be a food jag.
This is the most likely explanation. Many toddlers and young children develop sudden so-called food jags. That means they turn against every type of food but one. This can include food they used to eat with no problem.
There are different reasons this happens. Some children get overwhelmed by different food options and react by fixating on one food that’s familiar. Others feel tired, stressed out or anxious, and the only thing that comforts them is a familiar food.
Food jags can last a few days or a few weeks. They seem to stop as suddenly as they start. It’s just a matter of just riding it out patiently until it passes.
Your child’s love of pasta may be selective eating.
Adults and children can sometimes develop what psychologists call “selective eating.” That means they can only eat a few specific foods. For instance, it’s common for selective eaters to dislike moist foods and only eat dry foods like crackers or toast.
Nobody is sure what causes selective eating, but doctors think it might develop after a traumatic incident. If you almost choked on a particular food or got violently sick after eating it, you might never want that food again.
What you can do to help your child eat more than just pasta:
You can be sympathetic to your kid’s fear of new foods, but you didn’t sign up to spend your life cooking pasta. At some point, encourage your kid to eat other foods.
With patience and understanding, you can help your kid get through this.
Focus on the end goal; not speed.
The next time you make pasta for your kid, add some vegetables or meat on the side. Continue doing this for a few meals. If your kid eats the side items, praise him for branching out. If he doesn’t, don’t berate him. Just let it go.
After a few of these mixed meals, stop offering pasta. Don’t argue with your kid. Just offer the food without comment. You’ll get a fight the first few times, but handle it the way you would any tantrum. Stay calm, stick to your guns, and don’t give in. Your kid will not starve.
Eventually, your picky eater will have to eat something. At that point, you’ll start enjoying normal mealtimes again.