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Ag nee man! Your kids look absolutely g&d - hardly starved. They all go through the stage of not eating (I know you know this!!!) My son went through a stage where he would only eat Woollies macaroni & cheese. If it will make you feel better give them a kiddie multivitamin in the morning!

Don't worry Tertia, my little 2 year old munchkin is also going through this stage. Some days she will only eat two small yoghurts, a cheese wedge, and icecream for supper. I have eventually taken away the formula in the morning & evening, and replaced it with tea with a little bit of full cream milk, and it didn't take her long to get used to the new "bottie". She is also not very fond of veggies or fruit, except bananas, mielies and peas, and then not every day either. I give her a multivitamin every day, just to make sure she gets a bit of everything.
I also reckon as long as they eat something, that is good, no matter what it is, except of course for sweeties and chips!
Wendy

It is totally normal. And so is your reaction.

I have a 2 year old, almost 3 now, and we still struggle with her diet. She used to eat only yogurt and cheese, now we have worked back in fruit, but most veggies are off limits. We just keep putting them on her plate, making a big deal about how yummy they are. At her age now, we have started bribing (you can't have a yogurt until you eat 3 green beans, etc).

Good luck!
Amy

I agree with Lizelle and the others. Your kids look healthy. I do believe though that sometimes one has to be a bit strict about these things. I have a daughter of 41/2 and she went through quite an ordeal in the 1st few months of her life, where she was breaking and eventually diagnosed with a form of temporary brittle bone disease. Long story, but I just decided whilst I am still in charge, I would make sure that she eats what I give her. Everything within reason. Give a multivid. Cucumber, tomato in any form is fantastic, fruit slices with a protein, veggies with a nice sauce. I have to admit that I sometimes have to convince her that she has to try something to taste that it tastes nice... sho, does that make sense..I watched Super Nanny once and it was about what to put on your childs' plate. I took the slices of fruit from there. I don't allow my daughter more than one sweetie a day, and much rather give a dried fruit as a 'special' treat.
Without sounding like I want to tell you what to do (I just like to give my opinion...hehehe) food first, milk later. I run a little afterhours drop-off and go babysitting business. Just for a bit of extra income as I'm a single mommy. Most of my kiddies sleep over and through the years I have noticed that most mommies give too many bottles of milk and juice and too little food. My daughter also knows that no juice gets given before meals. Drinking during a meal is out! If they fill up on juice and milk just before mealtimes or during, then they get fuller faster and then don't want to finish their food. With the problem that they get hungry sooner and sometimes this also hinders their sleep. Anyway, everyone has their ways, but I still believe that we as the caregivers of these precious little people, need to do what we were meant to do...Teach, Instruct and Nurture to the best of our abilities. All mums that put effort deserve praise!! So here's a big 'cheers' to you and all the other moms out there.

"I told him that I bet every other mother gives her kids home cooked organic meals with all the essential food groups"

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAA I hardly think so. Well not most moms, unless you have an usually inoordinate amount of time on your hands. I've started using treats as bribes. A no no in the good mommy handbook, but I'd rather her eat a portion of good stuff for one hershey's kiss than NO good stuff and chips with pop. She didn't eat hardly at all for a few days, but she came around. Marko's right they will eat eventually. I just keep offering her good stuff everyday. Well most days. This morning she is going to have a pop tart for breakfast lol.

No no no and no. My son is just 15 months and he does NOT eat,if its not in the form of an omelete or vianna it does not pass his mouth! The multi vitamin is a great idee, Triston gets one every morning after breakfast and then I know he has all he needs to sustain him.

Your kids are happy and healthy, and I know it doesn't make you feel less guilty, but we all think your a great mom!

Toddlers with bottles don't eat.
Ditch the bottles and start making smoothies.
(blended banana, milk, strawberry...)
They are getting everything they need from the formula, so you needn't worry - but it's time to stop.

My 28mo old was an amazing eater up until about 20mo. Now she's all about yogurt, cheese, goldfish (little cheese-flavored crackers), and pretzels. Occasionally she wants a hot dog, but that's about it for meat. Fresh fruit is hit or miss and veggies are definitely not a high priority for her--except she does like carrots so she can dip them in salad dressing. She's growing and doing just fine, so I figure we offer things and over time she'll start to eat a more varied diet. The other day I was eating salami with a ground pepper crust and she asked for some. I didn't think she'd like it, but I gave her some. Her response? "I like 'lami." So it will come.

And Marco needs to realize that with G&D comes the occasional emotional meltdown. I'm right with you in reaching for the bread knife some days!

Ah, same thing at our end. Polly used to eat everything, now...not so much. We're fortunate that she loves fruit, but veggies...not so much.
Things we do:
1) I discovered that she does eat if we give her a "big girl" (ie not plastic) plate and fork. I put her food on a regular dessert plate so it has the look and feel of mommy and daddy's plate. That seemed to work a bit.
2) Knowing she probably won't eat it, I always put something green on her plate, at least so she gets used to seeing it there. Maybe some day she'll fall for it (and I'd rather do that than have her be suprised by green later on).
3) We trick her. She loves macaroni and cheese so we blend in pureed carrot - she can't tell the difference with the color of the cheddar cheese. She can't resist gnocchi so I chop up a couple of tablespoons of spinach very finely and mix them up wiht the gnocchi. She adores banana yogurt so I put chopped green beans inside. It takes her a while to figure out what it is, and by then she's eaten a few.

But I agree with Marko - they'll eat eventually. As long as they still look healthy, this too shall pass.

Part of it is the age, part of it is what you do. They know that you will eventually give in and give them what they want or if they hold out long enough, the sweets. Toddlers are notoriously stubborn. So you need to decide what is important to you, what you will and will not put up with before mealtime.
For example, in our family(and each family is unique)we wont make them anything else if they dont eat. In fact if they absolutley refuse a bite, we will wrap it up and serve it for the next meal. That works for us... but doesnt for everyone. Some people just throw the food away but dont give any snacks/sweets or food til the next scheduled meal.

Most kids are going to choose sweets over the good stuff. Thats a given, so deciding how much they get and when is up to you. You cant battle everything with toddlers or youd end up in a padded room, so you really just have to decide what is most important and let the rest slide a little. Hang in there, you have the double trouble going there!

MJ

I have discovered that being a parent means that you never think you are good enough. You always compare yourself to other mums, thinking "Wow, their kids only watch 30 mins of TV a day, mine can recite the scheudle", or "That mum does all her own cooking, while I just turn the microwave on". As a mum there is no-one to give you a mark out of 10 and you don't know how well you've done for about 15 years at least! No wonder we get stressed.
As far as the eating is concerned please try not to worry. I am completley different to you in the way I do things, but I still suffer the pain of food strikes (I am not eating that, in fact I shall throw it on the dog!). I home cook all her food (yes, I do work full time, but I feel guilty about that and the food is one way of making me feel I am a good mum, so when she goes to bed, once a week or so, I will fill the freezer with protions of food. It helps that i love cooking). Also, if she doesn't eat her dinner, then I will offer the pudding I have chosen for the meal, but NOTHING else, until the next meal or snack time.
I read a book called Toddler Taming by Christopher Green and he said that no toddler has ever starved themselve through being stubborn. Now I don't think I could let it get to near startvation (joke), but in my family it works that I am firm about mealtimes. I also try and eat the same food as her when I am home for tea time (I work shifts), which helps as oftem she will not eat hers, but will happily accept an offer of "Want to help Mummy at this"
Of course if I offer something new and she doesn't like it then I will offer a sandwich or something, but I will keep trying the new food every now and again, just in case (plus I cook everything in huge batches so I probably have a freezer full of it!).
This is what works for me, I am not saying that it is the only way, but most of the time she eats, and I feel OK and less like a bad mother.
Your kids are fine, and G&D of course. I read you blog and often think "Tertia is such a good Mum, why don't I do it like that!" Then the guilt starts off again. Bloody guilt, never mind sleepless nights, they should warn you about the guilt!

Mine don't eat much either. John more than Anna (Emma never ate, thus the g-tube.) One thing I can get Anna to take is liquid yogurt, I put that in a bottle with milk and she'll drink it (with her sugarry powdered donuts.) She throws all of her food and sometimes will eat nothing at all (now, she'll eat candy at the drop of a hat but I'm talking food here.) Some days she may have a bite of a banana and a few noodles but other days it may only be chocolate poptarts, chocolate donuts, etc (doesn't milk chocolate count as milk?????) It doesn't help that she is so small for her age (3 1/2 yrs old, maybe 25 lbs & 33" tall) so I worry. John is bigger and eats better but I still can see his ribs, etc. The doctor says he's fine but I worry.

Talking with other toddler moms you'll find that there is a general consensus that they stop eating when they turn 2 and drive their mothers crazy with worry. I guess it's to prepare us for later turmoil! This is just the beginning!

Anyway, if they seem healthy and look healthy and pass their physicals with flying colors I wouldn't worry. I also present my kids with lots and lots (and lots) of food options to get them to eat maybe 1 thing. I know that we're probably not supposed to do this but it may be the only way I get Anna to eat anything in a day. I can sometimes bribe John by saying he'll get a chocolate poptart AFTER he eats (eggs or oatmeal or noodles, etc.)

I will agree with the ditching the bottles. If they fill up with formula they won't want to eat regular food. Start by replacing the formula with whole milk and then gradually switch to 2% (low-fat?). I would get them off bottles if you can too (I know...easy for me to say that...). Everything that I have read is you give them a choice of healthy foods (noodles, cut-up fruit & veggies, whatever)...just give them a choice (toddlers are testing their power and need choices) of what to eat. They will eat when they are hungry. Don't give them sweets & chips just to get them to eat something. That isn't doing them any good.

Very normal...both Kate & Adam's actions and yours. I think all mothers stress more than dads about this.

Oooh! No kids myself, but I used to nanny for a family with picky-eating toddlers. The mom used to steam veg aside from the bolognaise sauce and then use one of those hand held blenders to mash them both together until it was just a thick sauce. The kids never knew the difference. Brilliant I tell you!

Oh, also, my son went through a phase where everything was dipped in ketchup. He also loved dipping veggies in ranch dressing...actually he loved dipping anything in anything ('dip sauce' he called it). I think it gave him control.

i was an extremely fussy eater as a kid. i ate white bread with strawberry jam for lunch (with chocolate milk!) all the way thru high school. white bread was my main food group. and yet, as an adult, i am healthy and gave birth to a healthy daughter. they will be fine.

i would just keep offering the healthy stuff but i see nothing wrong in also giving them something you know they will eat.

My daughter is 14 and eats only the following food:

Rice, ramen, meatball sub sandwiches, beef & corn taquitos, roasted chicken, doritos and chocolate. I make her take a vitamin every day and I limit her to one cup of rice and one package of ramen a day or else that is all she would eat. She has rarely eaten vegetables and little fruit except for strawberries dipped in brown sugar and sourcream. Nevertheless, she is a healthy girl, who could stand to gain ten pounds. I have spent many, many hours agonizing, worrying, pushing, and yelling over this issue. All for naught! They'll eat what they want. All you can do is provide a meal. My daughter can now cook for herself but when she was little, I presented the food and that was all that was available along with healthy snacks in a box in the fridge. She survived. Kate and Adam will too! Save yourself the angst!

Our pediatrician told us this, "Your job is to offer the food. Your daughter will decide what to eat. Don't worry - she won't starve herself."

I have to say, and please do not take this the wrong way, but everyone I know with a picky eater brings or makes "special foods" (ie, foods that the parents and/or rest of the famly are not eating) at mealtimes or other times during the day. They can't stand the idea of the children not eating and so they give the kid whatever the kid WILL eat willingly.

I think you are being played like a fiddle by your children. Hell, I wouldn't eat fruits and vegetables if I knew that in an hour mom would give me cheese crackers!

Seriously, Tertia, your children will not starve themselves. They are too young for the kind of willpower behind an eating disorder.

You should spend about three days where the entire family eats healthy foods at set times. Do not make a big deal about whether your kids eat what you offer. If you try to force them or beg them or bribe them, then food becomes about power. Food should be about sustenance and enjoyment, not about power. Eventually, when your kids get hungry they will eat some of the things you put out. When they do, do NOT make a big deal out of it! Because that makes food about power.

Right now, they realize that they have all the power because they can get you to feed them whatever they want.

If you stop caring whether or not they eat what you put out, then they will not make eating a power struggle.

We have used this strategy since my daughter started eating solid foods (she is now 3 1/2), and people are always amazed at how well she eats - she eats fish, beans, broccoli, mushrooms, nectarines, blueberries, etc. We have NEVER, EVER brought food for her to a restaurant, party, someone's house, etc. She may eat what is being served or she may go hungry. And if she chooses not to eat, then she has to wait until the next meal or snacktime to eat. And by then she is REALLY willing to eat what we put in front of her.

Please don't think I'm passing judgment because really I don't care what your kids eat. They're obviously healthy and loved, and their eating habits do not impact my life one bit. But since you asked...this is what I think about kids and eating.

You know, here in Spain we really are terrible mothers, we keep the bottles for as long as our toddlers, children, drink them and we even supplement the formula, milk, with multivitamins, cereal and other things, as long as they take two big bottles of this mixture per day we are happy and don´t care too much what they eat or don´t eat. Taking away the bottles? are you crazy????

Well, maybe I´m exaggerating a little, but this approach works for my family and friends, and I´m still waiting to know an older child who doesn´t enjoy food or has any health problem because of years of bottles ;-)

My kids definitely don't manage to get their proper nutrition, if you are going with the recommended amounts of fruits, veggies, etc. Apparently, you can grow and thrive and do wonderfully w/o a balanced diet! I offer my kids the same foods as we are eating (often separated, like no sauce on their pork chops, or plain noodles). They almost never eat the veggies.

I was a picky eater as a kid but now I like everything. I am hoping for the same for my kids. Although right now I can only see them eating macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and cereal as grownups. Surely something will change. Anyway, it is not worth the worry.

Sorry but I'm with Marko on this issue. Toddlers go through eating (or no-eating) stages which is perfectly normal. Just offer them a variety of choices along with their favorite foods. By making eating more of an issue, it can create more resistance from the toddlers. Just RELAX, offer choices (they won't starve because they WILL eat when they are hungry), and don't make it an issue if they don't finish their plate. It might help if you replace the formula with regular milk or soymilk, whichever is your preference. Offer multi-vitamins if you are worried about the lack of nutrients.

Another blogger blogged about this issue and some commenters referred to this woman's website for tips:
http://www.ellynsatter.com/

Good luck! =)

Must agtree with the above to ditch the bottles. They are way too old for them, no matter how much they love them. They are filling up on the milk/formula. Unless something is really wrong with them, and I don't think there is, healthy children will eat, when they are hungry. So cut way back on any snacks, just a small piece of a vegetable or fruit until the next mealtime. No carb snacks. No milk. No juice. They will get hungry. And, they can wait for the meal to be served. Hungry and whiny for a short time is OK. You will also have more success if you all eat together as a family, which you are probably already doing. My daughter became a much much better eater once snacks vanished, and I also try to look at the daily total of her fruits/veggies, not per meal. Good luck!

J.Q., who used to eat fish and tofu and black beans and all sorts of revoltingly diverse foodstuffs, morphed into a picky toddler like every other. Nothin' but yogurt, Goldfish, frozen waffles and demands for the ridiculously inappropriate ("Soooda!", "Ffffff!" [his word for canned whipped cream - appropriate, no?]). I am tired of battling over solitary green beans; I am ready to relinquish control and trust that too many Goldfish won't transform him into a serial killer or something.

Repeat to yourself the offical two-part mantra. Repeat it to yourself a million times a day. It goes like this:

No child will starve if offered good food every meal (snack).
AND
It is normal for toddlers to choose to skip a meal.

And then stop pandering. Seriously. Every toddler in the world, given the opportunity to choose his or her own diet, will pick three bland foods, and infinite sweets. That's why you don't let them go grocery shopping themselves yet! Make a good meal, put it on the table, leave it there for 30 minutes (read them a book, make little vroom-vroom noises with a spoon, suggest they take a bite before you turn the pages, whatever), but don't make a big deal of it. Yup, they'll be a bit hungry and cranky for a few days, but then they will eat. Don't cheat with snacks, otherwise they'll get all their calories there. "Here's your snack, it's grapes and cheese cubes. Don't want it now? Okay, let's go play with blocks. Supper's at six!" Repeat the mantra again:

No child will starve if offered good food. It is normal for toddlers to choose to skip a meal.

It is true. Honestly.

my 18 mos old is doing the same thing right now. her lunch yesterday was 1/4 of a string cheese stick and teddy grahams. i've been told it's totally normal, and like others have said, i think your reaction is totally normal, too. :) your kiddos look super healthy, and so does mine... why do we still obsess over their eating (or lack thereof)?? i know you despise assvice, and i can't believe i'm actually dispensing it to *the* G&D Tertia, but this worked for us last night and i about cried with happiness. i'd read that a momma had had success by serving her children's meals cut up in pieces w/ toothpicks stuck in them, cocktail weinie style. she got the idea when she noticed her picky eater ate anything that was offered via toothpick on the food sample days at the grocery store. so, we tried it last night at dinner by giving her a toothpick to use in place of her fork (with super ultra parental supervision, of course), and IT WORKED! my vegetarian 18 mos old ate 3 whole meatballs! i about threw a party. something to try? i dunno. good luck, tho, both on getting the kiddos (esp kate) to eat and to worry less. it's hard, i know!

my 18 mos old is doing the same thing right now. her lunch yesterday was 1/4 of a string cheese stick and teddy grahams. i've been told it's totally normal, and like others have said, i think your reaction is totally normal, too. :) your kiddos look super healthy, and so does mine... why do we still obsess over their eating (or lack thereof)?? i know you despise assvice, and i can't believe i'm actually dispensing it to *the* G&D Tertia, but this worked for us last night and i about cried with happiness. i'd read that a momma had had success by serving her children's meals cut up in pieces w/ toothpicks stuck in them, cocktail weinie style. she got the idea when she noticed her picky eater ate anything that was offered via toothpick on the food sample days at the grocery store. so, we tried it last night at dinner by giving her a toothpick to use in place of her fork (with super ultra parental supervision, of course), and IT WORKED! my vegetarian 18 mos old ate 3 whole meatballs! i about threw a party. something to try? i dunno. good luck, tho, both on getting the kiddos (esp kate) to eat and to worry less. it's hard, i know!

whoa, sorry for the double post, not sure how it happened. :\

ALL children go thru this stage, they will not starve or be deprived. My only advice (assvice) having survived this stage 3 times (5 year old twins & 3.5 yr old) is DO NOT stop offering the healthy food. Keep putting it out there along with the 3 things they like to eat. Also STOP the formula, they won't eat if they are getting that. You must also try to limit the junk food ALL kids will prefer to fill up on that then eat “real” food. Hell, I prefer to eat that way too!

It is okay for childern to survive on the same foods or to skip a meal. They will start eating everything again as long as they are still exposed to it. It has nothing to do with the fact that you are not cooking. Good luck, remember this too shall pass and then it be will something else!

First, let me say that I have tremendous respect for you and your parenting instincts. You're doing a great job giving your kids the most important things - your love and a sense of security. The best advice I ever received on parenting came from my daughters' preschool teacher, a lovely, wise woman, who, in observing the myriad families that comprised our school (working and non-working, multiple nanny/housekeepers to do it all ourselves types, one parent-, two parent-, even three and four parent- families,) told me that her decades of experience told her that there is no right way to do things. It all works. All these different kind of families turn out just fine. Just choose your path and stick to it, without being overly anal in your stick-to-it-ness.

That being said, stop the bottles. Seriously, how long were you planning to keep the bottles up - till they're three? Longer than that? When they were babies, it was your job to feed them. Things are different now. You (and I mean you and Marko equally) have a responsibility to teach Kate and Adam how to nourish themselves - they're not babies anymore. And the sweets and chips should be a rare treat. Not to get all Al-Anon on you, but don't enable their bad eating habits. Give them a multi-vitamin and offer healthy food (fruit, yoghurt, cheese, crackers, nuts). Toddlers are picky eaters, and most of them don't eat vegetables. My two kids also "regressed" between one and three, giving up foods they had previously enjoyed. Now that they're seven and nine, they're starting to add foods back in, albeit slowly.

Tips for feeding toddlers -
- buy a good blender and made fruit/yoghurt smoothies
- offer a yoghurt dipping sauce for fruit
- what about peanut butter and other nut butters (cashew, etc)? Perhaps not as common in South Africa as in the States but an excellent source of protein.
- No bottles, no juice. Don't let them fill up on liquids.
- Consider a period of time (two weeks, say?) where you (and Marko) don't talk/stress about their eating/nutrition. Just offer the healthy food and don't make a big deal about it. And if they don't eat it, take it away.
- Consider their nutrition over days, or even a week. Toddlers are notoriously cyclical eaters, they skip meals, they eat the same foods over and over again or they inexplicably reject foods they're always liked. Check the medical literature - you're not going to find a case of a toddler who starved themselves to death because they weren't given chips and sweets.

As parents, it's hard to give up the control we once had over their nutrition. But look on the positive side - you have the opportunity to give your children a tremendous gift - the gift of being in control of their own healthy, strong bodies.

I forgot to add this note for Marko -

Do you have an electronic calendar? A blackberry thingy perhaps? Then add a recurrent note for the appropriate week of the month, something along the lines of "be extra nice to Tertia." I'm just saying.

Tertia- they are clearly getting all the nutrition they need at the moment- they are healthy and growing well. If most of it comes from formula, and you want them to eat more proper food, I'm afraid the only way ahead is dumping the formula (or phasing out...). They *will* get hungry, and should start to eat more food food (as opposed to liquid food). I don't think that very many neuro-typical children of that would let themselves starve. They're programmed to survive. All you can do is present the food you want them to eat. You can't make them eat it, but hunger will propel them, eventually. It could take a while, but make sure they're getting plenty of water (not squash! it has calories, which will take the place of calories from carrots etc...). They may lose a little weight while they go through a transition phase to eating normal food, but try not to let the fear show.

Marco, incidentally, is right- It is not your fault: most toddlers go through this picky phase.

Totally normal. Still annoying and anxiety-raising, three kids later.

I have a 5 year old who is a great eater. One thing I remember doing with her is making her take a "no thank you bite". One bite. If she didn't like it, she didn't have to eat any more of it (at that meal). I read somewhere that it sometimes takes 10 exposures to a certain food for a person to get used to it. She will still offer just a no thank you bite sometimes.

Don't worry, I also have a 3 year old who literally threw up when I made him take a no thank you bite of vegtables once. For him, and I'm not sure if I'm proud or ashamed of this but I will trick or shame him into eating certain things. I'll eat something and tell him I do not plan to share - he'll be begging for some in minutes. We talk alot about the things he needs to grow (sleep, exercise, healthy food, water, etc.). I'll tell him he won't grow - he may even shrink! - if he doesn't eat a couple of bites of healthy food.

I kind of see where he is coming from. I am a very picky eater myself but I want better for him. I also try to keep healthy food around for snacks. As far as the kids know, we don't even have any sweets or chips in the house (I do keep a little stash for myself because I'm a selfish pig).

As far as the bottle, I can see both sides very clearly and I don't know what to say. Perhaps if you save a bottle for the end of the day so you can be comfortable that they got the nutrition without it interfering with their appetites during the day?

My view all along is that eventually, my kids will be choosing what they want to eat so I really wanted to kind of train their appetites toward the healthier foods and eating habits. But, like toilet training, they really are in total control here so all you can do is offer them the good food and wait for them to eat it. They will eat it eventually.

My kids eat more foods, but not any better for them foods!

Don't worry! And don't make it an issue for the kids (or they may have issues with food later in life). Mealtimes should not be battles. Let them eat what they want (within reason..not too much junk). If they refuse to eat a meal, so what?

It's all about control when you're 2. Let them control what goes in and how much goes in. My 5 1/2 year old ate barely anything at age 2 yet was still the picture of health. She hasn't had a veggie in about 3 years (no joke!) but takes a daily vitamin. Since I always refused to make food an issue she is slowly starting to come around and try new things ON HER OWN. If she asks for seconds and then takes a bite and decides she's full then she's done. I've always taught her to "listen to her tummy" and not overeat.

My 2 year old (he just turned 2 last week) is now just as picky, but is 37 lbs! lol He won't eat veggies either, and I got so sick of throwing food away I've stopped offering them (unless I'm having some then I'll offer a bite and he usually makes a face and a gagging sound).

One thing they both love is little cups of unsweetened applesauce and the Yoplait Dora Yogurt. Those are my "go to" foods when it seems they are only wanting bread products.

Let them be in control and your life will be easier! Dont' stress about it, they are obviously thriving and growing just fine.

Two year olds DO NOT EAT!! I don't know HOW they survive!!! They will NOT starve themselves, but do not freak out over what they are or are not eating; you don't want it to become a power struggle! Keep the options out there and keep repeating "This too shall pass. This too shall pass..."

Your kids look perfecttly healthy to me! I would stop the formula though, give them full cream milk and perhaps also a multivitamin every day. Offer them what you make for yourself and Marko (within reason)and if they don't eat it, they get nothing else. It sounds harsh but they will eat if hungry, honestly my three year old some nights refuses to eat more than 1 pea and a bite of chicken, so he gets nothing else before bed. Perhaps a banana but thats it. I swear the next morning he will eat a bowl of weetabix! Don't give into candy or trying 10 different things, the kids are too smart and know they can get there way :-) Stand your ground! You will win. And don't worry about the kids, honestly a toddler can get by on a tablespoon of food, I promise you, there eating definately subsides between 2-4yrs old.

Tertia, calm yourself. NO toddler on earth eats nutritious food. Marko (in this one instance, oh the horrors) is right.

They will not starve, they will not get sick, they will be fine. Repeat that to yourself every time you are are stressing about the eating.

There is a really good book that I've heard about regarding kids and eating. I'll get you the name. Basically, what matters is that you offer them a variety of healthy foods (you are doing this, fancy cooking is not required) and don't let them fill up on junk (you are doing this too).

Kids, all kids, will not eat as much if they are drinking their calories, so you really are gonna have to give up the formula if you want them to eat food. At least yours are getting the calories from formula, not apple juice:)

Boog will be 3 in April. When we eat out at a restaurant, there are two choices...fried chicken tenders or pizza. Nothing else will do (except breakfast...pancakes or waffles). He is very, very picky. At home, he will eat ground beef and rice-a-roni or hamburger helper (but only certain varities), stir fried chicken or pork with rice and meatloaf. Sometimes I can get him to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As far as veggies...whole kernel corn and maybe (if I'm lucky) peas or green beans sauteed in butter. He won't eat orange veggies at all. He won't eat any fruit except applesauce or raisins. It's been driving the whole family nuts, because we're tired of eating the same old things. But I'm terrible in that I try to plan my meals around what he'll eat. He is getting better, though. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your kiddos will come around...but it'll take time. In the meantime, just keep offering the good stuff, and don't sweat it.

My oldest who just turned 3, was not really a picky eater just an extremely small eater. She ate so little that I wondered where the huge BM's were even coming from once or twice a day! Our pediatrician (father of 4) told me that my kid will eat when she's hungry, and to take a chill pill. He said as long as I continue to put healthy foods in front of her, she will eventually eat when she's hungry.
I was however advised to immediately stop the bottle when he found out we were still giving it to her. He pointed out that it filled her up and she needed to start relying in actual food instead of whole milk or formula. Something we of course already knew, but like you were reluctant to give up because 'at least she's still getting something nutritous that way'.
One thing I will not do though, is make my kids other food than what we're eating. My mom always said, "Je eet wat de pot schaft". You eat what's served. If we didn't like it, we were made to at least eat one bite. That's what we do with our oldest daughter too and if she doesn't want to eat, fine go watch tv while mom and dad eat their dinner.
My youngest (10 months) LOVES food, ANY food. So she sits at the table with us and usually goes through what her big sister didn't eat. Wonder how long that will last...ha ha...
Anyway,