I am the mother of twin daughters who are now almost 3 1/2. They were born 8 weeks premature and for most of their first 2 1/2 years, both suffered from gastric reflux, to the point that it was common for them to vomit every single meal. By 5 months of age, they both needed gastric feeding tubes because they refused to eat anything.
We worked with a dietician and an occupational therapist from that point on to get them to the point that they were able to learn how to eat. It was not until the vomiting stopped very suddenly about a year ago that either one would eat more than one or 2 bites of food. As they became better about eating, we discontinued feeding with the tubes, until finally this summer the tubes could be removed, and they were discharged from therapy.
Now I have your average 3yr olds that eat a variety of things, but still are very selective of what they are willing to eat. Because of their therapy, they are used to not having to eat things that they don't want to eat. We were taught to pick out what they would be served for meals, and then to let them have the choice of eating it or not. Our goal then was simply to get them to eat or drink something.
Because they are both still very marginal on their weight and size, I am reluctant to see them skip too many meals. But I also don't want them to start to refuse to eat things that I make and then expect me to let them have treats and snacks an hour later.
I haven't been very successful at getting them to try things that they don't want to try and I could use some ideas.