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What to do when your dc doesn't like dinner? - Page 6

post #101 of 109
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post
What do you do when your child just does not like dinner?
I give him the option to either eat it or not. But if not, there's only water until bedtime and then he can wait until breakfast.

I'm not a restaurant. I do not make different meals for everybody. Don't like it, don't eat it. Simple as that. No child has ever starved skipping dinner.

I cannot stand picky eaters.:
post #102 of 109
Just to throw my $.02 in here...

I was a picky eater as a child. Very picky. I remember eating mayonaise sandwiches at one point and covering my already sweetened cereal with scoops of sugar. My mom's rule was if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it, which I don't think is exactly what I needed.

So, in our house, there's the one bite rule. You don't have to eat everything on your plate - unless you want seconds. What you do have to do is taste it all. We talk a lot about healthy eating and foods we used to not like but now do because of tasting one bite at each meal. When the boys were smaller, I used tv tray-style dishes to illustrate what we needed to eat - starches, meat, and sweet in the top sections, veggies/fruit in the large bottom section. If a child wanted seconds of anything, all the food needed to be eaten (and was usually served in 1/2 sized portions).
We cook together, we shop together, we garden together, we decide on meals together. So far it seems to be working well. My kids have MUCH better eating habits than I ever had (or do!), with favorite foods ranging from sushi to oatmeal with strawberries. They have a better grasp of nutrition and how it's fuel, with a better understanding of how each food helps them than I did as a kid.

I won't say this way works for everyone, but it took much of the edge off mealtime for us and helped them to develop their own tastes.
post #103 of 109
lately I'm into 'leftover meals' to combat this.

what I do is make something and then also dig through the fridge and heat up a couple other options.

so our meal for the evening might be roasted chicken, a big salad, and rice, and also on the table will be a small plate or two of random leftovers I found in the fridge, like some leftover lasagna, yesterdays sweet potatoes, whatever.

out of that I find my kids typically end up eating some sort of protein, some sort of grain, and some sort of something from the fruits and veggies group.

(they're not terribly picky my 3 year old is just WAY INTO choice and my one year old likes variety. this gives her something different at the next meal without me having to COOK it.)

we usually do a bedtime snack too with fruit and maybe PB and J or something if DS really didn't eat. (PBJ always wins LOL) around a couple hours after dinner

but at dinner you choose from what's on the table or well, you are obviously not very hungry so you wait.
post #104 of 109
Originally Posted by NaomiMcC View Post
No child has ever starved skipping dinner.
No, but they can be very uncomfortable, in physical pain, and in the case of my second child, physically ill (vomiting) from it.

I just can't reconcile this with GD no matter how tired I am of fixing food that goes uneaten. I am still searching for a happy medium.
post #105 of 109
I realize everyone's family does what works for them. But I wanted to pick up on a couple of reason posts.

One is the concept that gratitude is learned by limiting choice. I just wanted to say that my experience is different. When I was growing up my mother used food many, many times to "teach a lesson in gratitude" to the family. One time my father had wasted some money so we ate plain white rice for two weeks for every meal. Another time my sister said something rude about a meal and my mother fed her that meal for days.

What I learned in my teens and early 20s was first of all, that my thoughts, feelings, and experiences were not important at the family dinner table. I started to use my babysitting money to buy McDonalds after school every day (imagine what my arteries look like now) and I just tuned out at the table completely. When I got freedom to eat what I wanted, at university, I gained 30 lbs. For me, food = mother's control, and so later when food = freedom I exercised poor choices.

I realize that is an extreme example, but just think about what really creates gratitude. I think when people say "I learned to appreciate what we had" they are usually talking about a REALITY that their family had. When it is an artificially created lesson (no, you may not have anything else, even though the fridge is full and you can see that it is) I am not sure gratitude is what comes to mind.

Second, lots of people have talked about picky eaters - hating them, not creating them, etc. I wonder if you have read the research on this. While I do think there are some people who won't try things out of habit, scientific research does show that some people are "supertasters" or naturally picky. They taste and sense texture in a different way than the rest of us. After reading that and looking around my family, I honestly think that the vast majority of "pickiness" is either:

a) an inborn trait that you can fight all you like, but it will remain or
b) a developmental stage

Remember that between the ages of 2-5 in "the wild" children would be exposed to a lot of hazardous plants and so on. Their pickiness at an age when they are more mobile and capable is actually probably designed to protect them from eating poisonous things. Also, for most people in the world (and in history), foods were much more limited to what was available locally. Having so many different tastes may not be totally natural to a growing child, and enjoying the same food day after day (while adults tend to eat less, if their choices are limited) may also be a survival trait.

I am not saying anyone needs to be a short-order cook (I am not, although I'm willing to offer quick alternatives). I'm just saying that framing this as a MORAL issue with young children may be setting up conflicts that time itself would handle.
post #106 of 109
I just have two say that in North America there is an epidemic of obesity and eating disorders...given that, there's no way I'm making anyone eat anything they don't want to (but OTOH I'm not giving them dessert for dinner either).
post #107 of 109
I only make one meal each night becasue that is what my time and energy allow - but I make sure the meal has something appealing to everyone. For years I made chicken nuggets on the nights I also made chicken curry. They both came to the table at the same time and were considered part of "the meal" - the nuggets were not made after my kids saw the curry and decided they didn't want it. One by one they all tried the curry and now it is a favourite meal at our house. It gave them a chance to get used to the smell and seeing it aorund while not having to try it right away.

When the table gets set, unless I know it is a meal everyone loves, I make a point of putting a bowl of apples, a dish of nuts and a loaf of bread on the table.

Different familes place different values on the evening meal. Some don't see it as a big deal - get what you want when you want and that works for them. Other familes have different needs or realities. The evening meal is an important part of the day in our family and sharing a common (or community) meal is a value for us. I respect that not everyone agrees with that. I prepare nutritious and tasty options but don't have the time or money to make everyone happy with the choices all of the time.

I feel like there is a significant difference between putting the bread, nuts, cheese or fruit on the table before the meal begins and making it a part of the meal for those who choose it, and people getting up after the meal has started and preparing something else, no matter how simple.
post #108 of 109
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
I can't find it....do ya have the link, perchance?
Post #2.

I know that the point is to be sugar free, but I find that they are a bit more tender if I add 1-2 tbsp of sugar (to the whole batch).
We LOVE them here (but then...I add chocolate chips, because I hate raisins. um, so how healthy are they with my changes? lol)
post #109 of 109
I posted before that I make the meal, include things DD likes, and she can have cereal or crackers and cheese if she wants that instead. However, I just had an interesting conversation with a friend, that she is getting into to confrontations with her son, who will only eat peanut butter sandwiches. 3 meals a day. He is five and this has gone on for two years now, and she is really worried about his health and growth. He is a very stubborn kid, and he really will not eat anything other than peanut butter sandwiches and the occasional apple. She went with the flow for a while, figuring it was a phase, but it has really been two years now and she's worried. He is totally inflexible, and would honestly rather just not eat than eat anything else.

So, I think the issue is more than food--he's stubborn (for lack of a better word) about many things. But how do you handle that? She would rather he eat pb sandwiches than starve. But she really needs to get him to eat something else. How do you keep it from turning into a power struggle and how do you get a kid with an inflexible personality to bend a little?
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