Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
Something that has improved family meal time at our house has been an explanation that we all eat our "not so favorite" meal from time to time. I reminded my family that I hardly ever eat my favorite meal (I reminded them what that may look like and how much they would not like it) because I am more flexible about what I am willing to eat. I then asked the same from them and from there we made a list of things that everyone liked enough to have from time to time. The rule is: "If we have the ingredients for something on that list and someone was willing to cook it, that's what everyone would eat." It's been working pretty well so far.
This right here!
Like others here, as a child I was forced to eat "delicious", nutritious food that made me sick. Literally sick. Not eating was not an option. A PBJ instead was not an option. The situation was so clearly, clearly a power struggle. My mother (and father, who ultimately excused me from liver after I was sick on him and his dinner plate one evening) both love liver. So I would too, or else.
I've had to "enlist" my husband in some vegetable rules. Sadly, vegetables weren't presented in a very appetizing way at his childhood home, and as a result he tends to give the green stuff the hairy eyeball. I've explained that he is excused from the vegetables I don't like (Since why would I fix a vegetable I don't like if he doesn't either?) and two in addition. Everything else we have to find a way for him to eat, so he can be a part of the good example we need to set. Many failed experiments led to him finally discovering that he can "stand" sweet potatoes and yams in chili with black beans. HUZZAH! So aside from Thanksgiving and snacks, that's the only way sweet potatoes are served at our house right now. Because it's not a power struggle, no, but I do need the family unit to eat cheap, nutritious food, and I'm not about to start making 3 different meals every night.
But it must, must, just must be egalitarian. I am not terribly fond of red gravy, but my husband loves the stuff. So once a week or every two weeks, Mama makes and eats red gravy, and Papa's happier than a pig in slop. (I assure you, the metaphor is apt.)
We all eat our "not so favorite" sometimes. If you really just can't eat it, the pantry is right there, bread and peanut butter are on the same shelf for ease of access. But no, it really doesn't need to be a power struggle.
I will mention, my littlest brother has some real issues with food. There are about 7 things on this planet he will eat. The brother I grew up with and I, on the other hand, usually ask what it is we're eating with our mouths already full. (We've regretted this from time to time.) We could probably eat roadkill and not so much as hiccup. But the little one?
When he visited, I had about 3 days worth of food to plan, and I didn't bother asking if he'd eat it or not. I stocked the pantry with his favorite canned dinner. When I put the food out, he asked where his was, and I pointed to he pantry. (He's a grown man, can use a pan and all that.) We know he's got special food needs, he knows he's got special food needs, and if nobody loves him enough to make him his special dinner that day, he knows where his cans are. The way we see it, this is the most fair for everyone. He's been attended to, and nobody got put out. Obviously this method has only worked since he's become an adult and all gas-stove operating an all.
Food is such a sensitive issue because it's one of the most primal, basic ways in which we nurture each other.
Just my $.02 anyway.