Originally Posted by Llyra
In my house, I plan meals based on what's available in the garden and CSA box, or in the pantry and freezer in the winter. I take everyone's tastes into account, and try and plan several side dishes into the meal so everybody has options I know they like. We will have each person's favorites from time to time, and try new things sometimes.
But once the meal is planned, and cooked, it's the only one I'll serve. My kids are welcome to come to the table or not, as it pleases them, and they can choose from whatever's on offer. They can eat as much or as little as they please, and get down when they decide they're finished. What I won't do is get up from the table once I've sat down, to get something different for somebody who's not happy with their choices.
There is always milk and home-baked bread on the table, and there's always always fresh fruit after a meal, so whoever's not into what I cooked can have that.
So I guess I'm somewhere in between. I'm not going to serve up mac and cheese and hot dogs night after night, because it's "all they'll eat," like my MIL did for DH his whole childhood. But I do take everybody's tastes into account, and I do have options like bread, fruit, milk, yogurt, etc. available so nobody's going hungry if they don't like what's served.
FWIW, though, the meals I serve are the only meals my kids have ever been served-- they've really only rarely encountered what's usually thought of as "kid-appropriate" food. Since they could sit up and pick up food, they've been eating the same stuff DH and I eat. So they really actually like just about everything I cook, with rare exceptions. Even DD1, my pickiest child, has branched out a LOT since I stopped catering to her unpredictable preferences.
Everything you said...to the letter.
I cook everything from scratch using ingredients that come from many places...I cook all day and put a lot of thought into meals. My DD is only one now...but as my kids grow, they will grow up how I did, in respects to food. They will help me make it, so they know how, and they will eat it...because it's what to eat. I'm completely open to criticismm around here, if something ends up on the table that people are "bleh" about...I'll take it out of my line up! I love to cook, it's the way I show love for my family, so I love to cook what they love to EAT!
: Cooking is one of my greatest joys.
Thing is, I have lots of ingredients...but not a lot of "on the ready" options. I mean, yeah...a picky kid could munch on some veggies instead...but the veggies are on the table anyway. Same with the bread, fruit, etc. I try really hard to make the best food for us possible and I save us a lot of money (which makes it possible for me to be home) by creating and sticking to a meal plan...it's just really important that what I cook is eaten, and waht I don't cook is left alone to be used for the mal it was planned for.
I understand kids go through phases....but I can't support picky for the sake of picky. People have to eat! They have to eat well and regularly. I don't want my kids to get in the habit of not eating...but for now anyway, my DD has an amazing appetite and loves everything we do. All the veggies, fruits, everything. She's a real eater! I use variety...I do go out on a limb and make, say, chinese food, or traditional mexican meals, etc. sometimes, to keep things interesting...so, as she grows up, I'll tailor my meal plans so that what ever wild (or tame) thing it is that she loves ends up on the table too...but again...picky...I can't support it.