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A wasting food WWYD

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
I am feeling a little conflicted about what to do. I made turkey sandwiches for ds1 and dh. I asked ds1 if he wanted cheese on his, and he said no. Dh had cheese on his. As they are eating, ds asks if he can have half of dh's sandwich. I ask ds if he just wants a piece of cheese, and he says no. So dh gives him half. Ds takes one bite, then I see him pulling it all apart, breaking the bread up. I ask him not to pull it all apart unless he's going to eat it, because otherwise it's wasted and no one else can eat it. He says he's going to eat it. Fine. He proceeds to eat the cheese, and then says he's done. There's quite a bit of turkey and bread left that no one else really wants to eat since ds kind of mangled it, all the while being cautioned to only do so if he was going to eat it all.

So, do I make him eat the sandwich the next time he's hungry? I hate to force anyone to eat anything they don't want, but he also needs to learn that he can't just waste food like that. We've talked about food, and how food costs money, and if we waste money on food then we don't have money for fun things like toys and the like, but ds either doesn't get it or doesn't care. So if I don't make him eat the sandwich, how do I get him to get that he needs to be more mindful of not wasting food?
post #2 of 104
My ds has a history of this as well. The rule in our house is, you ask for it you must eat it before you get anything else. I make what the kids want for their breakfast and lunch. Therefore they are getting what they asked for and need to eat it if they want something else. I serve them small portions to lessen the chances of food getting wasted. I think that's key. Therefore if it ends up going down the drain or in the trash since they didn't want it, it wasn't much to begin with. If they love it and eat it up they are welcome to more.

At dinner, I serve a variety of foods that I know they like and have eaten before. If one of the foods is something they don't want that day there are at least two other options they can eat. Again, they get small portions.

In your case I would not have given ds any of dh's sandwich. I would have offered him his own cheese and if he turned it down then that would've ended that. He could eat his sandwich or be finished with lunch. There's, usually, plenty of fruit, veggies, yogurt, or nuts in the house if he wanted something later.
post #3 of 104
I would not ever make/force a child to eat something that they didn't want.

I can understand that people do not want to waste food, but I would rather lose half a sandwich than to force the sandwich on the child.
post #4 of 104
With our 2.5 year old we waste a lot of food. I figure it sort of goes with the territory.

There are plenty of times when I order something at a restaurant - or make myself something - and then decide later that I don't really want all of it. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to eat it all, or it doesn't taste the way I hoped it would. We allow dd to make those same decisions, in that respect.
post #5 of 104
I would NOT make him eat it.

Nothing good can come from forcing food on a child.

But it seems like there is a VERY simple solution:

I would only allow smaller amounts on his plate (1/4 of a sandwich for example) letting him know he is welcome to more once that is done.
post #6 of 104
My kids have done this, too. We, also, have the rule that if you ask for it, you have to eat if before you get something else. I don't hold with food frivolity. Having two kids adopted from Ethiopia, I can't stand the idea of wasted food, and just because we live in the US and have access to an overabundance of food does not mean we should be wasteful of it or encourage our children to believe that they are entitled to be finicky.

Namaste!
post #7 of 104
I don't force them to eat it but I tend to give my older two very small portions of foods that they are known to try to waste. Worst, comes to worst, food does not go to waste in this house. Even if it is torn about my 1 year old (or me) will eat whatever the other two leave behind, usually (he is teething right now and is very picky at the moment but usually he will eat anything in any kind of condition.)

As far as you situation, I would of given him one bite at a time of your DH's sandwich. In our house, if you try to eat my lunch you will only get one bite at a time because I want to loose at little of my lunch as possible!!!
post #8 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
There are plenty of times when I order something at a restaurant - or make myself something - and then decide later that I don't really want all of it. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to eat it all, or it doesn't taste the way I hoped it would. We allow dd to make those same decisions, in that respect.
This is how I generally feel and why I am conflicted about this. At 2.5yo I wouldn't even think about it. But I guess it's because we asked ds (who is turning 5 in a few months) specifically not to destroy the sandwich because dh wanted to eat it if ds wasn't going to that it tweaks me a little.

I have never forced a child (or an adult for that matter) to eat anything, and it generally goes against everything I believe about relationships with food and listening to your body.

After reading your replies and thinking about it further, I'm just going to chalk this up to a learning experience and remind ds about this next time he asks for something of ours and balks because we only give him a few bites at a time. It's very important to me that ds understands and appreciates that we are very fortunate to have such an ample supply of food, and that it is important that it not be wasted, but maybe that is still a few years off.
post #9 of 104
This is about the most difficult part of parenting for me. We strive to be non-coersive and so far I have been able to be OK about food, but sometimes I have to go in another room and scream into a pillow. I do not waste food. If I order soemthing or make something I don't like, I force myself to eat it. Not healthy, I know. But our food budget is more than our mortgage and I just cannot justify throwing out good (or at least edible) food. Can. Not. Do. It. My problem, not dd's (or dh's for that matter), but it is so hard for me. I most definately have eating issues. Plus cooking is my one talent. It is the only thing I do that anyone outside of myself thinks is "gifted" so I cannot admit defeat. Yes, f'ed up. Anyway, I am all ears to solutions to this problem. My dd would have insisted on having the whole half too. And I would have just had to bite my lip. I am thinking that they will only want to do it a few times (with maybe a relapse or two). He probably understands wasting food. I am thinking you did everything right here. There really isn't a better solution. You could have offered less than the full half, but if he insisted, what else could you do?
post #10 of 104
Quote:
I would NOT make him eat it.

Nothing good can come from forcing food on a child.

But it seems like there is a VERY simple solution:

I would only allow smaller amounts on his plate (1/4 of a sandwich for example) letting him know he is welcome to more once that is done.
This is exactly how I feel about it. If I have a good feeling that my dd won't eat something she asks for, I give her a small portion and let her have more if she finishes it.
post #11 of 104
I figure, a person should never be forced to eat anything. And kids are still learning how to read their hunger cues, judge how much food they need, and what foods they like. So many of us adults that were forced to clean our plate as children now dutifully clean our plates whether we're hungry or not, and then complain about the extra weight we carry around.
post #12 of 104
Right now we are going through a thing about "trust" because DS have been teeling some fibs (totally age appropriate). So I would chalk this up to an experience (I WOULD tell him that I was upset/disappointed that he did what he did). But the NEXT time he wanted half of daddy's sandwich I would tell him that I was sorry but that since he destroyed it (AFTER I ASKED HIM NOT TO - that's the issue here IMO) I couldn't trust him not to do the same thing. I would give him a bite at a time but not the entire thing.
post #13 of 104
Daddy gave it to him, so I guess I feel it was his to mangle! Daddy does not have to give him food that he would like to eat himself. DS can mangle his own food next time.
post #14 of 104
Feed it to the dog or the cat or the neighbor's dog or cat? Or take the bread and feed ducks and eat the turkey? Or feed the turkey to a stray cat?

We don't waste food here as a matter of course, but find creative solutions for food wastage that might occur. Like composting. It's another way to recycle.

My littlest always eats the crusts from my biggests sandwhiches. And the cat will eat whatever fish we don't want but don't want to save.

Now throwing what you don't want on the floor: that makes me crazy.

post #15 of 104
We have had similar issues at our house. Kitchen rules are that if you ask for it, you eat it. If you don't eat it you don't get any snacks, treats, other food until you do eat it. If you still don't eat it, then you will not get served that food again. None of my children now are allowed food from "us", the adults in our home. Often times they will beg for something we are eating only to waste it. Often at times this was the last thing of that sort to eat, which really makes me upset because to me its like a form of stealing.
post #16 of 104
I'd try getting him to help prepare lunch for everyone (including his little brother.) Seeing that there is effort involved in preparing food might make the point more clearly than any rules.
post #17 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by yoopervegan
]You could have offered less than the full half, but if he insisted, what else could you do?
Tell him, "I'm sorry, but this is mine and I don't want to share an entire half of the sandwich. You have a sandwich too."

Namaste!
post #18 of 104
Boy, I know exactly where you are coming from. Wasted food is a real touch-point for me. I've lived in and visited countries where people have no options about what they will eat that day. Not to start a debate, but food seems to follow the same mentality of the other excessive abundances in the US. I want to teach my dd conservation in all aspects of life and that DEFINITELY extends to not wasting food.

So many people say that they don't want to FORCE their kids to eat, but I think it's important to teach kids to really think things through before requesting something or discarding food. It can easily be refrigerated and heated later as a snack. About 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in the US each year. That's staggering!! And, hopefully it makes people think.

<Stepping off of my soapbox>

We try to do small portions. When that doesn't work, if someone else won't eat the food, we put it in the fridge and dd must finish it when she's hungry. We talk a lot about conservation, recycling, reusing what we can and not wasting. She's only 4 (next month), but I can see it getting through. She will often ask to finish her lunch on the way home from school so that her lunch isn't wasted. (Her lunch time is short and she usually can't finish her food in time.)
post #19 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic
Boy, I know exactly where you are coming from. Wasted food is a real touch-point for me. I've lived in and visited countries where people have no options about what they will eat that day. Not to start a debate, but food seems to follow the same mentality of the other excessive abundances in the US. I want to teach my dd conservation in all aspects of life and that DEFINITELY extends to not wasting food.
:

I'm glad someone else brought this up. I wanted to but I didn't feel comfortable doing it. Americans have this idea that we are entitled by our comparative wealth and privilege to be finicky and fickle. My Ethiopian son and daughter either ate what was served or didn't eat, and personally, I see NOTHING wrong with this. "Needing" to have lots of food choices and saying it's not healthy to eat food that isn't totally appealing "right now" are products of extravagence. Wasting food is a a cultural artefact that I don't wish to pass on to my kids.

Namaste!
post #20 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
Wasting food is a a cultural artefact that I don't wish to pass on to my kids.Namaste!
Well said!
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