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What do you do when they don't want to eat their dinner? - Page 3

post #41 of 267
maya if they don't want what you serve, how is it better that they make due with the rice side dish and banana on the table, rather than simply making themselves something more substantial?

Again, this sounds like a control issue. They can eat whatever you put on the table, but nothing else?

Maya research has proven that children are capable of rounding out their diets over a period of days if given healthy choices.

I think it's great that you want to provide a variety of foods for them, and I think it is harmful to restrict them to only those choices, if other healthy choices are in the home.
post #42 of 267
My mother would fill up the crisper with foods I liked and I was allowed to go and snack on that during the day. They were good foods not junk and she said it helped a lot. I was always underweight and never much of an eater.

Jennifer
post #43 of 267
Thread Starter 
Hi, OP here. My only concern with making them something else, is I don't want them to learn that if they don't like what they get and they throw a fit they'll get something else. Because life isn't like that. How do you prevent that? And at what age is it realistic to expect a child to make their own sandwhich and what do you d before then?
post #44 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama
maya if they don't want what you serve, how is it better that they make due with the rice side dish and banana on the table, rather than simply making themselves something more substantial?

Have you read Ellyn Satter's research? It show by having foods on the table that form one's choices one becomes over time more accepting (and actually develop a taste for) many foods that one would not, if one felt one could always hide behind grabbing some known 'safe" food. Even if that food is healthy, it does not allow for developing a taste for many foods.

I don't want my kids to be the kind of people who are afraid to try new foods or panic when there is "nothing they like" at a company meal (and I have seen this happen)
post #45 of 267
Quote:
My only concern with making them something else, is I don't want them to learn that if they don't like what they get and they throw a fit they'll get something else. Because life isn't like that. How do you prevent that?
So instead of throwing a fit, they can ask nicely. They can say "Please can I have something else?"

I don't know what age a child can make a sandwich, but if they were too young I would do it for them. It's really not any trouble. When I was five I made baked potatoes stuffed with broccoli and cheese with no parental help (supervision though). I don't know what other five-year-olds can do.

Quote:
I don't want my kids to be the kind of people who are afraid to try new foods or panic when there is "nothing they like" at a company meal (and I have seen this happen)
I carry protein bars with me to all potlucks in case there is nothing I like there. It's really no big deal.
post #46 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya43
On Sunday mornings before I go to the grocery, i ask my family what one main course they want the next week. Each gets a choice of what the main course will be one day a week. (I have 3 dd's) I ask my DH for his choice one day. I choose another. I decide what the sides will be and bake a desert or two every week (though everyone likes those!) and on the weekends we usually eat out or at friend's homes.

Just to give you an example, here is this last week so far

Monday (DD 1's choice Steak) served with bake potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes, brocolli and orange slices. DD 1 ate all but the tomatoes DD2 does not like steak but had potatoes tomatoes and oranges. DD 3 ate only steak and oranges.

Tuesday: (DD 2 Choice Chicken in Soy Sauce) served with rice, asparagus, strawberries and asian slaw salad. DD's 2 and 1 ate all. DD 3 ate only asparagus and strawberries and a little of the salad.

Wednesday (DD 3 choice Salmon) served with sweet potato fries, Ceasar salad, apple slices, rolls and spinach. DD 3 ate all. DD2 ate all but spinach. DD 1 ate only Ceasar Salad and a roll.

No one goes hungry. Everyone finds "something" It works for us.

Here is how it works.
post #47 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokerama
Hi, OP here. My only concern with making them something else, is I don't want them to learn that if they don't like what they get and they throw a fit they'll get something else. Because life isn't like that. How do you prevent that? And at what age is it realistic to expect a child to make their own sandwhich and what do you d before then?
I don't make something else. I usually have them "helping" while I'm making dinner so they are interested anyway. We all sit together at the table and eat or don't eat. If they decide they don't want to eat, they can leave the table and wait until everyone else is done. After the table is cleared, I sometimes get requests for snack food or they help themselve. My son is almost 4 and my daughter 2 1/2. They have free access to fresh fruit, dried fruit, snacking veggies like baby carrots and celery sticks, cheese cubes (cut up in a container in the fridge) and bread and butter. They also will ask for juice or kefir sometimes.
For me, it's not a matter of control, it's just a matter of logic and my personal capabilities. I spend a lot of time and energy cooking a meal and then I'm really hungry. I involve them in the preparation a bit too. If I sit down to eat and they want me to be a short order cook, they are going to have to wait until I've finished eating. And even then, I may have a kitchen full of dirty dishes and dirty pots and not be available to even BE a short order cook for the simple fact that I would have to wash some dishes before I could cook some more food. So it's just tough luck on their part if they sit down to thai curry or stir fry and request lasagna instead. It's just not going to happen. But we'll talk about lasagna and how yummy it is while eating (or not eating) thai curry.
Sometimes they really aren't hungry at dinner time. It may be because they snacked shortly before dinner or who knows why. But we all sit at the table together and everyone gets a plate. If they want to get up, that's fine. I usually leave their plates on the table for an hour or so and they come back to it. My son will ask for his meal to be reheated or my daughter will just eat it as is. They've never gotten the concept of asking for something different. I've never offered it to them either. But they just don't have to eat what's in front of them if they don't want to.
post #48 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokerama
Hi, OP here. My only concern with making them something else, is I don't want them to learn that if they don't like what they get and they throw a fit they'll get something else. Because life isn't like that. How do you prevent that? And at what age is it realistic to expect a child to make their own sandwhich and what do you d before then?
Well first of all, of course life IS like that! :LOL Many people get their way by throwing fits.

I think if you don't make food a big point of contention, you won't get contention back. i also think that you should treat a child like any other person to whom you are serving dinner. That is, you should not make things you know they actively dislike or can't eat, and you should provide some alternative food if you can afford the money and time to do that. For example, you can put a basket of bread on the table, or you can have rice with your meal, and your child can eat those things if they unexpectedly don't like the food you are serving.

I am at the "before sandwich" age and I always have hard-boiled eggs, cheese, olives, crackers and fruit available in my fridge. It costs me almost no effort to go open the fridge door and add these items to the table. I figure he will learn to make a sandwich at about three or four years old. I could be wrong!

So far ds likes my cooking and hasn't really turned down any food. I hear the fussy phase is coming. I'm a much better cook than my mom was and I think that might help me avoid some of the food struggles, but we'll see!
post #49 of 267
Maya wrote:

Quote:
I don't want my kids to be the kind of people who are afraid to try new foods or panic when there is "nothing they like" at a company meal (and I have seen this happen)
That could be for many reasons, and believing 100% that it is because they were not expected to choose from their table as children isn't logical maya. Regardless of what one voice with research shows, there are other studies showing clearly that children do just fine if giving a variety of healthy choices. If someone "panics" at a company meal, that sounds like a more serious issue than just having been a picky eater as a child.

Maya your approach isn't something new. An entire generation of Americans have been raised to eat what was put in front of them. We have some of the worst food habits and obesity problems in the world.

Everything about your approach IMO is fine up to the point that you insist your kids choose what is on the table. This hasn't even worked in your own words. One child on the list ate only a salad and a roll at one meal, another child ate orange, potato, and tomato.

That doesn't sound like a substantial meal. I am confused as to how that is "working". It seems like they are simply going without according to the list.

Again, I think your approach is fine up to the point that you would rather restrict them to a salad and roll than let them add something from the fridge to that if they don't want the main course.

That is just not the real world. I don't understand what that prepares a child to experience. I never have waiters choose what I can order, or grocery clerks restrict what I can buy.
post #50 of 267
Quote:
Yes but you could make yourself something else, and you know that. You choose to eat what he made. That is not the same as making a meal and forbidding your child from eating anything else. The comparison would be your husband making a meal, and demanding you eat it or go hungry. How would that be respectful?
I see this very differently. It would not be respectful of me to turn my nose up at a perfectly edible meal that my husband has worked hard to make. I would never insult him by jumping up to make something else to eat. That would be a very rude thing to do. We also try not to waste a lot of food in our home.

Maya's approach (and mine) does work perfectly well for our families. Our children aren't starving. They manage to find enough to eat from the food we serve. We are teaching them to try new foods and expand their horizons. My older daughter is a joy to take to people's houses for meals because she will always try new foods, and usually she likes them. We don't have dramatic dinner table scenes about food every night, as seems to be the unwritten assumption here. Quite the contrary--we have a great time at dinner 99.9% of the time.

I don't care if anybody else wants to be a short-order or buffet cook. That's up to them. I'm really that our dinner habits would bother anyone else.
post #51 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama
Maya wrote:

Everything about your approach IMO is fine up to the point that you insist your kids choose what is on the table. This hasn't even worked in your own words. One child on the list ate only a salad and a roll at one meal, another child ate orange, potato, and tomato.

That doesn't sound like a substantial meal. I am confused as to how that is "working". It seems like they are simply going without according to the list.

Potato had cheese and slasa in it, the salad egg and cheese. To me these are fine, substantial things to eat for meals.

It is working becuase my kids sit down and eat without complaint. They have never asked for something else, it never has occured to them. They have tried things that I believe they never tried, like Salmon, Tilapia, Eggplant, Beets, and LOVED them. I don't know if they would have if they always had a simple "out".

Satter is not one voice. She is backed by many, many nutritionists in her approach and her approach has been backed my many many studies.

I don't want my kids to feel they need to carry a power bar around because they might not find something to eat. I want them to be comfortable with a wide variety of foods.

This is a VERY different approach than insisting that a child eat a specific food.
post #52 of 267
DD(4yo) and I are the "grazers". DS was too until his teenagehood, now he is more like a food buldozer :LOL

There is always some food around the house (aren't we blessed to be able to say that?), so we pick something up and eat it, usually without interrupting our activities.

I don't think I can "stomack" a full dinner *myself*, just a bite or two. Same goes for DD.

We "both" (well as mush as a 4 yo can count as a second cook) cook for our men though - DH and DS and that's when we have a "family" dinner when guys eat and we join them at the table.

We may have a bite of whatever we cooked, but it is never a struggle or concern of mine.

I do have to sometimes gently remind her to eat (or would actually put something in her mouth myself) if she is too busy with her drawings or blocks or playing house.

Felt like adding some facts:

We are big on fruits and veggies.
DD is 44lbs and 3'5" at 4yo

Just my 2 cents.
post #53 of 267
THere are some great points on this thread and I've really learned a lot (and gotten support for what I'm doing here).

I have 3 kids 4 and under and it just isn't feasible to make something different for everyone. I respect thier food choices but I also respect my sanity and my own need to sit down for 5 minutes and eat. The kids are always able to have toast, or cereal or something similar that is very simple. For anyone else with multiple little ones, do you know what I mean? dinner time is absolutely crazy as it is! But I agree with the other poster that said, if one wants to be a short order cook, more power to ya!

One question I have. . .many mamas have siad that if their child says they don't like something, then the mama believes 100% what the child said. I understand this from a respect standpoint, but what about the child who says I don't like it to a food they have never even tried? I tell dd it's fine if she doesn't like something, but she must at least try something before she can know that.

I could go on but it's dinner time and as I said I've got 3 little ones here!

great thread, though
post #54 of 267
Once my kids were physically capable of making a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter sandwhich, I don't cater to them too much. Around the age of five and six. I try to make something at each meal that each person can stand. I think a lot of times they do try our stuff because its too much trouble for them to get up and make something themselves. They don't have to go hungry but I'm not getting into a power play.
post #55 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokerama
Hi, OP here. My only concern with making them something else, is I don't want them to learn that if they don't like what they get and they throw a fit they'll get something else.
By not giving them the chance to throw a fit. If they know that they have other options, there's really no reason for a fit.
post #56 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom
I see this very differently. It would not be respectful of me to turn my nose up at a perfectly edible meal that my husband has worked hard to make. I would never insult him by jumping up to make something else to eat. That would be a very rude thing to do. We also try not to waste a lot of food in our home.
That makes sense. But, again, it's your choice. And you can also make the choice to have something else to eat later, if you're still hungry. Can your children?
post #57 of 267
I did have another thought. I think it's possible that some children are picky at a certain stage because a lot of foods are new tastes to them, and maybe exposing them to a variety of foods that you like when they are new eaters will be helpful. I'll let you know!
post #58 of 267
Quote:
It would not be respectful of me to turn my nose up at a perfectly edible meal that my husband has worked hard to make. I would never insult him by jumping up to make something else to eat. That would be a very rude thing to do. We also try not to waste a lot of food in our home.
I try to not tie up my self-esteem in whether people like my cooking or not. Which is suprising since, growing up, I would often cook supper for my father when my Mom was working late. One of the highest compliments (coming from him) was, "Mmmm! This is great! You're going to make some husband very happy someday!"
I think that everyone, children included, know what is best for their bodies. If I had a craving for a certain food like hard-boiled eggs, for instance, I'd eat 1 or 2 every day for 3 or 4 days. Then, I wouldn't eat any more of that certain food for about a month. My body needed some vitamin or nutrient that is found in eggs, which is why I craved them. If only healthy alternatives are available in the house, kids are perfectly capable of choosing a diet that is right for them. I'm finding that this is more difficult now that I'm an adult, and I'm in control of what's in my cubbard. I have to force myself to walk past the chips, soda, and rice-crispies cakes in the supermarket and buy healthy fruits & veggies. Given a choice, of course humans will want to choose the food that is bad for them (but tastes good). The trick is to only make healthy choices available.
post #59 of 267
I also wanted to point out that my DD has never been forced to eat a single thing, nor urged to, nor cajoled to, and she is a wonderful eater. You don't create picky eaters by giving them choices, sometimes you empower them to try new things.

My DD doesn't try new foods because she is "supposed to" or to please me, she does it because she wants to.

Quote:
One question I have. . .many mamas have siad that if their child says they don't like something, then the mama believes 100% what the child said. I understand this from a respect standpoint, but what about the child who says I don't like it to a food they have never even tried? I tell dd it's fine if she doesn't like something, but she must at least try something before she can know that.
I have told my daughter that she might like something if she tries it but I don't tell her that she has to try it. I think that there are lots of kids who say they "don't like something" before they have tried it - and millions of adults who do the same thing. It's human nature to be wary of new things and sometimes certain foods look or smell or remind one of foods once eaten that weren't well-liked.

I pick my battles - never trying a particular food (or not trying it at the moment) is just not one of them. I just refuse to make food any type of a control issue, whether it is one bite or a whole meal. I have only healthy food in the house so I never have to stress about what she eats (well, except for the secret stash of Milano cookies :LOL ).
post #60 of 267
Quote:
My DD doesn't try new foods because she is "supposed to" or to please me, she does it because she wants to.
Thank you so much, I agree with this.

Maya, there is absolutely evidence that children can make wise food choices if given healthy options. If you choose to ignore it, it's your perogative, but it makes any discussion with you about respectful and gentle parenting regarding food difficult.

I still have not heard a single reason why a child cannot have freedom and integrity over their own diet.

It's okay to trust our babies to know when they are hungry, but we don't trust our children to make wise food choices?

Being told that you cannot have anything other than what is served is just not respectful of a child.
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