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Am I a dinner time meanie? - Page 2

post #21 of 135
oops, double post!
post #22 of 135
I forgot to add that, from a financial standpoint, we simply can't afford to provide separate meals or dishes for everyone. And we're upfront about that with the kids. Food is a limited resource. And while I make tasty meals, the food is more about taking good care of our bodies, and spending family time together, than it is about indulging personal preferences. I want my kids to enjoy eating, but not to hyperfocus on food. The food should nourish our bodies and the time spent together should nourish us emotionally. We have the rule that no one can leave the table til everyone's done eating. So we end up having good conversations and often times lingering around the table, just having a good time.

I've thought about how many people in the world eat the same things over and over and over again because that is what is available and what they can afford. They don't get to choose. My kids are much more fortunate compared to many people in the world, so I don't feel like I need to constantly make food ultra exciting or exactly what they want at any given moment. I also don't want to encourage habits that lead to pleasure eating all the time, and obesity.
post #23 of 135
This is the part that is sticky for me:
Quote:
My 3 yo chooses not to; it's not traumatic or shameful or anything; it goes unremarked. If she says she is hungry, she is invited to eat from the selection of wholesome food in front of her, or she can wait until the next meal or snack.
What if that isn't enough and she doesn't like the other things available? She indeed has to go hungry for some period of time. I don't think you need to go through the effort to make something special, but I think you should try to keep some things on hand that you *know* she likes and will eat and that she can get together herself if she's still hungry and doesn't like the other things available. That's just IMO.

Also, in your first post, you talk a lot about the effort you put into meal preparation and food selection. It might help if you kind of remove your own feelings from their food likes and dislikes - it isn't personal. It's just a food preference. Kids have stronger taste buds and they'll usually start eating more things eventually, so long as they're available.

So IMO I'd back off a bit. But I do recognize that I'm very easygoing about meal times. Much more easygoing than most people. So I understand that not everyone will agree with me about this stuff. And that's OK.
post #24 of 135
I also like that part.

In our house, I make one meal for dinner. The kids can choose to eat it or not. I have absolutely no problem with them picking things out that they don't like and not eating them. If I make stir fry that has peppers, they usually pick them out - no biggie. I won't make separate meals. If I try some new, unusual dish and after they taste it, don't like it, then they can have something else, but it is something very simple. However, when I try something unusual - I try to make something familiar with it.

They only time I get on to them to EAT is when they are goofing around, and we need to get done with dinner and go somewhere!
post #25 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
This is the part that is sticky for me:


What if that isn't enough and she doesn't like the other things available?
She likes fruits and vegetables, which are offered at every meal. To be honest, if after all that and she still doesn't find anything acceptable to her at the time, she can't really be "hungry". She's at no risk of starving or becoming malnourished in any case.
post #26 of 135
I don't make an entire separate meal for my ds. But I do make accomodations for him, he has mild sensory issues and hates sauces and cooked vegetables.

Tonight I made chicken marsala, with cooked carrots and mashed potatoes.
I cooked the chicken, and before I added the sauce, I saved him out a plain piece. He got bread and butter (he hates potatoes of any kind) and raw carrots instead of plain. So, basically the same meal, he got what he liked with only a little extra effort on my part.
I do this with curry dishes and casseroles too.
If I make spaghetti and meat sauce he gets his spaghetti plain, with some of the plain ground turkey from the meat sauce.

Sometimes it bugs me but I only have one child, I'm sure if I had several I'd be less willing to do this at every meal. Plus, I'd rather have him eat than gag and push his plate away.
post #27 of 135
As far as the offering of a sandwich...even if they choose that option, they won't forever. My younger brother had a PB&J sandwich for over a year for dinner, because all he liked was that (he has some MR/DD issues, FWIW). We had healthful meals and were encouraged to try one bite.

Now my DD who is almost 5 has issues with casseroles and sauces. I can safely modify what we are already having and accomodate her desires and needs. As stated by other posters, I keep are protein plain, and sauces or sides uncombined. Same meal, just presented differently. She does have a diverse palate, but knows what she is willing to eat. And I always offer new foods with a side of dipping sauce....not the best nutrition per se, but she is more willing to try new foods if there is catsup or ranch available. And she gets exposed to the new texture and flavor. Small concession on my part, and expands what she likes.

Good luck to you!
post #28 of 135
Until a few weeks ago, this was never an issue. DD1 who is 5, always ate almost everything, the only exceptions being when I made a spicy meal, then I would make sure she had stuff she could eat. Now she "doesn't like that" at almost every single meal. It is getting old very quickly, she is thumbing her nose up at things she has loved for years. I am doing a one bite rule, if she doesn't like it then fine, but I won't cook anything special for her. She however is more then welcome to make her own dinner/lunch, she has many times. Sometimes, it's just yogurt or a salad, I will help her reheat leftovers, and I'll cook an egg, but that is the extent of it. I don't want to create a food struggle, but I'm also not going to be a slave in the kitchen either. She has been being more responsible, and planning ahead, thinking about things she can cook, she has asked me to teach her how to peel things, work the microwave, etc... so it has been a good teaching/learning experience.
post #29 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
When cooking dinner for my boyfriend, I always make sure to make things he likes so that we both enjoy the meal, same as when he's cooking for me. I can't imagine forcing him to eat what I thought he should eat before I'd give him something he likes.

I don't know why it would be ok to do the same thing to a child.
I agree with this to a point. DD and I both fiercely hate onions. DP loves them, but he modifies recipes that call for onions out of consideration.

However, what if your boyfriend changed his mind anywhere from every three days to every couple of weeks about what he likes? That's seriously what my dd does. Trying to keep up with and accommodating preferences that change so regularly is totally unreasonable. We've had dd help prepare our grocery list or pick out what she wants at the grocery store and then had her state literally two days later that she no longer likes half of the stuff she chose. If my partner was doing that, I'd have to, at some point say, "Tough cookies love. I can't keep up and I'm not going to keep making myself crazy trying." Which is what we had to say to dd. She does, however consistently like a wide variety of fruits and a narrow variety of veggies and we always have those in the house. I'd like to say we always have other items and snacks she likes, but those change all of the time too.
post #30 of 135
That's awesome. Can you imagine if your partner decided that they changed up what they would and would not eat every couple of days, and never informed you until AFTER you'd made the meal everytime.

Oh man. Imagine how well THAT would go over after a week.
post #31 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
That's awesome. Can you imagine if your partner decided that they changed up what they would and would not eat every couple of days, and never informed you until AFTER you'd made the meal everytime.

Oh man. Imagine how well THAT would go over after a week.
DD often does exactly that.
post #32 of 135
Just wanted to add we had another success with this method last night. I made Shepard's Pie, which he swore he did not like and knew he didn't like it and didn't want to try. We reminded him that "it's okay not to eat something you don't like, but we really want you to just try one bite."

He groaned and tried the one bite. Turned out after eating that one bite, he loved it and ate a whole lot of shepards pie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by artgoddess View Post
We use the "you have to try it." rule. But it's nothing like the size of his fist. It's just one bite. If he doesn't like it he doesn't have to eat more. DP and I stick to our word on that too. I think that because we have never pushed him to take a second bite of anything he did not like he is a little more open to trying. I'd say at least 75% of the time he tries something he claims he won't like he will turn around and say, "oh never mind I like that." I think if we pushed it the other 25% of the time it would be more like with your dd, a self fulfilling prophecy.

I also don't jump up to make a whole new meal for DS. if he won't eat anything, which is rare. I usually make at least one thing he likes for sure, as he is involved with making choices about what to have for dinner. But if for some reason he doesn't eat what we are having or not eating much of what he does like I will leave his plate for him to nibble on later. About an hour after dinner I offer him an apple or banana or something so I know he isn't going to go to bed hungry.
post #33 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lingmom View Post
And really... I don't think anyone really 'forces' their child to eat food. Short of a gastric tube, I don't think you can force a person to eat any more than you can force a person to sleep... As parents, we merely provide the opportunities for good eating (or good sleeping) to take place. The question is more... is it our idea of good eating or our child's idea of good eating that we follow...
Well, I doubt anyone hanging out at MDC is forcing their children to eat. I assure you that it is possible because I have really awful, vivid memories of it. It is not, I assure you, pretty or gentle and I will not give everyone nightmares by describing some of those scenes. But yes, it can and is done. Which is why this is such a massive hot button for me.
post #34 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinnamongrrl View Post
I forgot to add that, from a financial standpoint, we simply can't afford to provide separate meals or dishes for everyone. And we're upfront about that with the kids. Food is a limited resource. And while I make tasty meals, the food is more about taking good care of our bodies, and spending family time together, than it is about indulging personal preferences. I want my kids to enjoy eating, but not to hyperfocus on food. The food should nourish our bodies and the time spent together should nourish us emotionally. We have the rule that no one can leave the table til everyone's done eating. So we end up having good conversations and often times lingering around the table, just having a good time.

I've thought about how many people in the world eat the same things over and over and over again because that is what is available and what they can afford. They don't get to choose. My kids are much more fortunate compared to many people in the world, so I don't feel like I need to constantly make food ultra exciting or exactly what they want at any given moment. I also don't want to encourage habits that lead to pleasure eating all the time, and obesity.

Eating food you like isn't what leads to obesity. Gorging on food you do like once you finally get it is what leads to obesity as well as being forced to follow someone else's guidelines for how much you have to eat rather than what your body gets to eat. A sedentary lifestyle is also a big reason for obesity. I think that tv viewing and lifestyle is a lot more pertinent to the subject of obesity risk factors than letting your child eat nutritious food even if it is just a plain whole wheat egg salad sandwhich rather than the nutritious but bland meal that you make so your children won't enjoy eating very often.
Being to poor to afford bread and eggs to supplement a meal is another issue. If you are really to poor to let your kids have a quick easy to prepare alternative when they find the one you make to gross to stomach then they are going to have to get used to that sadly. I think it is good to offer a easy to make cold alternative rather than making a child go hungry though. Food is not a good thing to battle over because it leads to the desire to gorge on the good stuff and if you tie love into food your feelings of rejection that stem from your children refusing your food may make you act out in ways you normally may regret upon later reflection.
post #35 of 135
Posts about food are always a source for lively discussion since food is so tied up in our parenting styles, our childhood, and our cultures.

Quote:
Well, I doubt anyone hanging out at MDC is forcing their children to eat. I assure you that it is possible because I have really awful, vivid memories of it. It is not, I assure you, pretty or gentle and I will not give everyone nightmares by describing some of those scenes. But yes, it can and is done. Which is why this is such a massive hot button for me.
Of course you're right... I suppose what I mean is that physically forcing or emotionally forcing a child to eat is not effective in the short or long term and probably only comes about from either some serious misinformation and/or some extreme over-controlling parenting styles. "Forcing" food is *not* what the original poster nor later posters were talking about when they spoke of fixing only one meal for their families or asking their children to try a food before turning it down.

My point is that the word *force* carries with it a serious connotation of an abuse of power and is not an appropriate word to be bandied about.
post #36 of 135
I remember sitting at the table indefinitely until we ate one large tablespoon of everything that was served. I found it disrespectful of my own tastes. I certainly can not imagine treating any guest that way. My sister, to this day, at 42, will never, ever eat green vegetables...


Pat
post #37 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lingmom View Post
"Forcing" food is *not* what the original poster nor later posters were talking about when they spoke of fixing only one meal for their families or asking their children to try a food before turning it down.

My point is that the word *force* carries with it a serious connotation of an abuse of power and is not an appropriate word to be bandied about.
I agree that there are serious connotations. And I assume that no one here is really talking about physically forcing a child to eat. But I do think that when you state a rule such as "You MUST try two bites" then you have to ask yourself, "What am I going to do the day they say no." Because most children will at some point refuse. For most here, the answer is probably reasonable. For some parents, that sort of "defiance" is what sends them down the road from "should" to "will" to "make them". And that gets ugly.

But I also think that "eat this or go hungry" is a form of force. "Eat this to make Mommy happy" is too. "Sit here until you eat this" as well. They all use the parent's power to require the child to do something they don't want to. Sometimes that is a necessary thing, but I'm not sure I see very many situations where its essential regarding food. After all, no one has every died not trying new foods or not liking green beans. And I think that all of these statements have the potential to cause eating issues down the road and/or escalate to the point of causing emotional pain, if not physical.
post #38 of 135
The kids can have cereal or a PB&J if they don't like what I made. Thats the only choices. If I know dd won't like the main course I make sure she likes at least one side. I do not make a seperate meal, and I will not make ONLY the things she likes.
post #39 of 135
Quote:
I remember sitting at the table indefinitely until we ate one large tablespoon of everything that was served. I found it disrespectful of my own tastes. I certainly can not imagine treating any guest that way. My sister, to this day, at 42, will never, ever eat green vegetables...
I hope I'm doing this quote thing right... What about respect for the person who took the time to prepare the food for you? It's a two-way street and I was raised to always try at least one bite of everything on the table (especially important when a guest of someone else) and I'm hardly scarred for life. My DH was raised the same way too and so is our daughter. Barring an actual medical allergy, "no thank you" is not an option on the first go-around.

We fix one meal and one meal only. We always take into account everyone's likes and dislikes and fix at least one thing that we know each person will like, even if it's not an all-time favorite. Everyone (adults included) follows the rule of trying at least one bite of everything on the table. To this day, that lesson sticks with me and without it, I'd probably never eat most vegetables. As much as I hate peas, DH and DD LOVE them, so I make sure to pair them with a dish that I can easily disguise them in. We give our daughter a reasonable serving (3-4 kid-size bites) of everything on the table. She only has to take one bite of each thing, but if she wants dessert or a before bed snack of her choosing, she has to finish what's on her plate. She does have the option to walk away after one bite of everything and she does sometimes. If we make something that we know is too spicy for her, it'll be modified to slightly to fit her palate, but that's it.

-Astrid
post #40 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoyNChrist View Post
I don't have much of a parenting perspective, since my 1 year old only eats small amounts of "table food", but I frequently (like, almost every day) have neices or nephews over for lunch and dinner. My policy is you eat what I fix, or you can have a sandwich (turky, pb&j, or whatever). One neice and her brother will try anything new, one nephew eats what I cook about 1/2 the time and the other half opts for the sandwich, and one neice refuses to try anything and eats sandwiches every time.

A sandwich takes me almost no extra time to fix, and it avoids arguments. Obviously it might get old trying it every night with my own kid, but I figure he would eventually get tired of turkey sandwiches and try something new. Or not...whatever. He eats well the rest of the day, so I don't think it's worth the fight.
This is us. If you don't like dinner you may have a turkey sandwich. Also any dinner leftover from previous meals that can be reheated easily are acceptable. Picky eaters often have a stronger sense of smell the then typical person so some foods really offend them.



My sisterr used to put particular foods only on her plate and when the kids asked what it was she would say, "it's not for little kids...only for grown ups"
the kids would Beg for it and she would "give in" letting them have just a little spinach...oh ok here's a little more but don't eat it all it's mommy's" That kind of thing. It worked and it makes me laugh.
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