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Do you think it's cruel not to make children extra food if they don't like what you made? - Page 2

post #21 of 103

I make them try it. Each time.  Even if it's something I know they usually hate (like my son with mushrooms).  Every now and then, they surprise me by deciding they now like a previously hated food.

 

I try and provide a good variety at dinner, and allow them to pick out the parts they don't like.

 

And I try to set a good example by making things sometimes that *I* hate (but everyone else likes), and putting on a brave face and eating the peas or corn that make me want to wretch. =P  If I can suck it up, then they'll be more likely to bravely try something they don't like, as well.

 

We allow them to freely eat fruit, vegetables, or yogurt whenever they want.  So if they finish dinner, but don't really fill their bellies, there's always something they can help themselves to, later.

 

I won't force them to eat something they don't like, though.  I worry it'll cause food issues.  I encourage them to try it (reminding them that their tastes change over time), but don't force them to finish what's on their plates.

post #22 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMamaGC View Post

I offer her a plate of food. She has about 20-30 min to eat, and then she has to wait till the next meal time. She has 5 meal times in a day, another opportunity will come to eat. That being said if its something I know is a little spicy, she can have a PB&J. I dont pressure her to eat anything. Sometimes if she is distracted I will try to get a couple more bites in her, but I wont fight about it. 

 

This seems strange to me. Why do you set a time limit on how long she has to eat? Even as an adult I'll take longer than 20 minutes to eat sometimes.

post #23 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkimum View Post

 

I do expect the kids to try foods, not make rude comments about it at the table, and to speak with me in the kitchen (and not at the table) if they can't figure out something else to eat (we'll easily do toast/bagels/oatmeal/scrambled egg/yogurt/sandwich as dinner alternative as dd1 can make most of this herself with a bit of help).  I do expect the kids to let me finish eating before I run off to do more cooking for them if it's really necessary.  I expect their assistance to clean up and put away whatever it is that they prefer not to eat.  I do keep in mind what things they do or don't like as much when I go about planning and cooking dinner.  I certainly don't make 4 different meals every day of the week either for everyone.  I do happen to do lots of customizable meals (think: tacos, chili, veg dogs, rice & beans, fajitas where you have a variety of toppings to choose from in addition to the main item) - this helps us avoid some of our struggles.      

While I don't expect them to try foods, we do have this rule:  "eat what you like, don't eat what you don't like, and don't make a *fuss*."  I do like hearing them speak about what they like and don't like, but I don't want them to whine and complain in a "woe-is-me" kind of way.  They really shouldn't, seeing as how liberal our food "policies" are in this house.  And they don't, mostly.  

post #24 of 103

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. 

post #25 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

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.

post #26 of 103
Liver was the one thing that my mother acknowledged that I had a problem with, because the reaction was so immediate and happened even when she ground it and hid it. Other than that, I suffered as my discomfort was rationalized away.

I agree that the children should not be rude, but neither should the cook. Putting food down with an 'eat this or nothing' attitude is rude. And cereal and fruit nightly is poor nutrition. If the situation is bad enough that the dad noticed, it is worrying to me. Males, in my experience, usually don't notice things like that. (And please don't tell me about the occasional male who does notice.) And I doubt the school lunch is nutritious, in *this* day and age.

I agree what so many have said about making a meal that has something for everyone. That is reasonable.
post #27 of 103

A rule we have is that you have to stay at the table until we are all done.  We sit and chat and sometimes a child will taste (and then eat) something they refused earlier because I am not fast coming with something else.

post #28 of 103

I am not a short order %)(#$& cook. Do not like my dinner? Grab an apple and go to bed.

 

When I was growing up in Russia, in the winter, there was not even an apple to grab.

 

I am good cook and I serve variety of foods at dinner. Main dish and yummy side dishes. I never insisted on everything being eaten but I would never make an extra meal for a "picky kid"

 

My kid are great and adventurous eaters.  Half of their friends are pastafarians.

 

 

There is a difference between kindness and compassion. Kindness can be enabling and compassion can appear cruel.

 

It may be kind to make a second dinner but the the child will grow up feeling entitlement to a special treatment all the time and with very narrow tastes.

 

Denying an additional dinner may seem cruel but the ability to try different food and getting along with people will serve your child well!.

post #29 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

Ha!  I've already instituted the "one meal" rule, and when she refuses but is still standing at the pantry door crying and saying "I eat!" and "Bites!" and "Please!", I give her bread with peanut butter or hazelnut spread on it.  You know, the husband-person gave me crap about it, something about "bread and water" for her.  As the cook, I find the "dinner or PBJ" method very reasonable.

 

This is what I do, too. Except with so much sensitivity to different textures and foods, there isn't a lot that I make that they truly don't like.

post #30 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

I am not a short order %)(#$& cook. Do not like my dinner? Grab an apple and go to bed.

When I was growing up in Russia, in the winter, there was not even an apple to grab.

I am good cook and I serve variety of foods at dinner. Main dish and yummy side dishes. I never insisted on everything being eaten but I would never make an extra meal for a "picky kid"

My kid are great and adventurous eaters.  Half of their friends are pastafarians.


There is a difference between kindness and compassion. Kindness can be enabling and compassion can appear cruel.

It may be kind to make a second dinner but the the child will grow up feeling entitlement to a special treatment all the time and with very narrow tastes.

Denying an additional dinner may seem cruel but the ability to try different food and getting along with people will serve your child well!.

This is extremely cruel if the child has a food intolerance or allergy. Parents don't always recognize or believe that a there is a physical problem. I suffered a lot growing up, and spent too many years hungry and criticized for "pickiness"
post #31 of 103
Well I only cook one meal but I take DS's preferences into account when I cook it. Also, he has free reign of the kitchen, and I try to make sure there are always healthy(ish) snacks around: fruit, hummus & crackers, cheese, leftover cooked veggies, yogurt, nuts, etc. so he can grab a simple snack any time he's hungry without me having to prepare extra food.

I don't think it's cruel to refuse to be a short-order cook, but I do think that if your kids are refusing dinner every single night (and are going hungry) then you might want to consider changing your menus up a bit so they can actually eat something. What kind of meals do you make?
post #32 of 103

Oh, I so hear you. Nobody in my house agrees on food. My husband and son are incredibly picky eaters. My husband could eat steak every night and he has hereditary high cholesterol and is on meds. He likes everything plain, which is easy. I just make some frozen veggies to go with it and an occasional starch for him. My son is the same exact way, except he likes sea salt on his veggies. Easy enough. My daughter is more adventurous with food. I usually make something else for me and her on the nights when the boys have steaks or burgers. We like fish, veggies, beans, etc. She devoured the lima beans tonight! She has been eating salad since 2 years old but my 10 year old son won't touch it. To make matters worse, my daughter has had stomach issues, since infancy. So, I have to limit acidic and spicy foods for her, which she loves. Adores tomatoes, vinegar, etc. We go for more testing tomorrow. So, needless to say, I make simple meals, but a variety of stuff, so that everyone eats. I feel really bad, but when I have had a bad day and my daughter is rude, and I am giving her a choice of two things she usually eats, and she still says she doesn't want either, I have been known to say.."I guess you're not eating, then." She eventually comes around. My kids will try to get away with not eating their veggies too. I will say "two more pieces of broccoli and you can have dessert" and they will pick the smallest pieces. My parents were pretty hard on us and really tried to force us to finish our food. I think it effected my sister more, as she would physically gag. There were many scenes at the dinner table. My parents were from European immigrant families who survived wars and the depression, so they were probably forced to stay at the table until they ate as well. Probably not the best approach, but me cooking two different meals, and allowing my kids to have dessert when they didn't eat all their food is not good either!

post #33 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

I am not a short order %)(#$& cook. Do not like my dinner? Grab an apple and go to bed.

 

When I was growing up in Russia, in the winter, there was not even an apple to grab.

 

I am good cook and I serve variety of foods at dinner. Main dish and yummy side dishes. I never insisted on everything being eaten but I would never make an extra meal for a "picky kid"

 

My kid are great and adventurous eaters.  Half of their friends are pastafarians.

 

 

There is a difference between kindness and compassion. Kindness can be enabling and compassion can appear cruel.

 

It may be kind to make a second dinner but the the child will grow up feeling entitlement to a special treatment all the time and with very narrow tastes.

 

Denying an additional dinner may seem cruel but the ability to try different food and getting along with people will serve your child well!.

You might be on to something with the sense of entitlement thing. My husband grew up with a live-in nanny who spoiled him rotten. She would cook his favorite foods all the time. Now he is an incredibly picky eater. I'll eat anything, pretty much, or at least try it to be polite. Thanks a lot Nana!

post #34 of 103
post #35 of 103

We have one picky eater in the house, my 6.5 yr old, and we let him make himself an alternate dinner if he doesn't like what I've served. But I keep him in mind when I'm cooking most of the time-- like separating out ingredients because he likes stuff plain, like is more likely to eat quinoa than quinoa pilaf, etc. And we have full out meals that he likes often that don't have to involve separating, like mac n cheese and pizza. He might not eat the broccoli on the side, but at least he's eating what we're eating!

Cereal and milk isn't the worst meal by any stretch, but maybe give them another option, too, if there's something else easy to grab. Like a sandwich, a bagel with hummus or cream cheese, etc. We also tried to make the rule that either carrots or an apple should be part of the alternate meal, but sometimes that doesn't happen.

Since I was a very picky eater as a kid I really relate to my son. Food can be scary. It can make you gag if you don't want it. No one should be forced to eat something or made to go hungry (within reason). I think a nice "no thank you helping" as my mom called it is a good idea. Encourage bites, but don't force it.

post #36 of 103
Nutritional deficiencies can also cause poor eating. For instance, low iron causes poor appetite. Anise pizzelles before a meal has been known to increase appetite.
post #37 of 103
My kids do have allergies, intolerances, etc. but the respect and kindness issue needs to work for everyone. The food situation is exhausting sometimes. I do make a very high fat smoothie that I feel is a good alternative if my kids do not care for the dinner I made. Egg yolks, butter, coconut oil, hot almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, stevia or honey.

However, I believe it is important to explain over and over to kids that sharing a meal is not always about what you like or don't like. I try to make dinners that everyone likes. If it is some crazy kale bean soup, I do provide an alternative. I will eat anything that someone offers me in their home, and cringe if I consider telling a host, oh, I don't care for rutabagas. And I do have food allergies.
post #38 of 103

I mentioned this upthread, but again, I would be more upset at being told food was delicious and tasty and I *should* like it than being told "it's what's for dinner, grab an apple and some cheese if you don't like it".  Even as adults, I have very different tastes in food than one of my parents.  It always made me feel small and terrible when I was told I was wrong for not liking certain things (I am slightly- to moderately-picky, but generally not a difficult person to feed as I can usually find something I will eat).

post #39 of 103

I do not make an extra meal, nor do I allow the kids (or adults!) to make another meal (i.e. pbj etc.)  I do allow them to have a healthy bedtime snack whether they eat dinner or not (usually a banana).  I don't allow making something else because I can guarantee if one kid didn't want their dinner and made a sandwich, the rest would quickly follow and I am not making dinner just for everyone else to make something else! 

 

I do not require them to eat all of their dinner, just to try it.  Likewise, they are mostly welcome to only eat part of their dinners-like, my dd will pick out the beans from her chilli and leave the rest and that is fine with me.  I do my best to accomodate where I can, like putting sauce on the side of pasta if they don't love it, or making burritos with just beans and cheese instead of the works.  I make a really strong effort to make sure I make dinners that most people like whenever I can and I ask for input from the kids about what they want to eat, but I also explain that we can't all have our favorite foods every day because we all have different faves!  It works out fine.  I don't think I am being cruel and I don't think they are being traumatized, it is just the reality of living on a low budget and little time!

 

I should also note that I only do this for dinner-they are welcome to choose and make what they want for breakfast and lunch as long as it is balanced and healthy. 

post #40 of 103

I do not tell people that they are bad for not liking food I made, but I am not a short order cook. If someone  does not  like my food, they can make their own. After whole long day at works the last thing I need is to make 3 dinners.

 

Adults and children all over the world are not picky as they are in US.

 

Both of my kids are now really good cooks.

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