Frustrating food/grocery issues - Mothering Forums
Nutrition and Good Eating > Frustrating food/grocery issues
oceanbaby's Avatar oceanbaby 03:59 PM 08-10-2009
I am really getting irritated by trying to deal with food issues around here. Here are some of my complaints, in no particular order:

If I make an entree for dinner, dh eats pretty much all of it and we never have leftovers. I mean, if it sucks, he doesn't eat it all, but then we don't want those leftovers anyhow. It's frustrating to me because I really rely on leftovers for lunch and quickie dinners. I don't want to tell the guy how much to eat but this is really irritating to me. I don't want to make double of everything because often I don't know how it's going to turn out, it's expensive, and I find it to be a real pain in the butt to chop twice as many veggies, do multiple sautees because it doesn't fit in one pan, etc.

I have the same issue with muffins. I like to make healthy muffins for breakfast. But if I make a dozen muffins the night before, between the kids and dh there will be 2 left the next morning and the kids will want them, leaving nothing for me.

I can't buy any snacky food for the kids to keep in the house because they will eat the entire package in one day. I like to keep some snacky foods on hand, like crackers or sliced turkey, for quick lunches. But the kids ate the entire box of crackers last night as soon as I got home from the store last night.

Ds1 loves to bake, and I enjoy doing baking projects with him. But dh doesn't want fatty food in the house. Yes, there do exist healthy low cal options, but honestly, yummy ones that the kids like are pretty few and far between. So I end up not doing any baking with the kids, and this makes me sad.

Ds1 likes to experiment by making his own recipes. I want to encourage this, but we buy organic, expensive ingredients, and it's a little painful to watch two sticks of organic butter be thrown away because his cookie recipe didn't turn out.

The kids eat very little at dinner, and then are starving at bedtime, and I'm sick of having to either do a second round of food or argue with kids about how hungry they are sending them to bed without getting to eat.

I'm just tired of food in general.

LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 06:53 PM 08-10-2009
I think a lot of my answers are going to involve 'packing' and labeling things in ways that work better.

The other thing is that do you do a meal plan each week? Could you POST that where your family could see so that there's at least an inkling of "oh, mom wants these for lunch tomorrow?" I don't blame you for getting irked, but if they don't know how you're planning on using things, why not eat them?

You don't say how old your kids are, but I'm wondering if they're growing/needing a lot more food?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
If I make an entree for dinner, dh eats pretty much all of it and we never have leftovers.
Can you separate out enough for lunch/another meal BEFORE you serve it? I think it's important to figure out if he's eating because it's there or if he's eating because he is truly hungry. If he's really hungry, then you just need to make more of things that you know are going to be decent. If it's because it's there, then he'll stop when the bowl is empty, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I have the same issue with muffins. I like to make healthy muffins for breakfast. But if I make a dozen muffins the night before, between the kids and dh there will be 2 left the next morning and the kids will want them, leaving nothing for me.
Packaging and labels! Put out 4 or however many you can 'spare' where they can be easily seen. Pack the other 6-8 away and clearly label "For BREAKFAST". Then put the package up high and AWAY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
II can't buy any snacky food for the kids to keep in the house because they will eat the entire package in one day. I like to keep some snacky foods on hand, like crackers or sliced turkey, for quick lunches. But the kids ate the entire box of crackers last night as soon as I got home from the store last night.
Hmm... not so sure here, but I'd try packaging and labeling. And putting them in an inconvenient place. You might also consider the natural consequence. If you eat all the crackers and mom was planning on serving turkey and crackers for lunch, you get turkey without crackers.

I wonder too if this issue is related to your next one: Fatty foods are banned, so your kids have trouble regulating them? If they are rare treats, they are going to be very very desirable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Ds1 loves to bake, and I enjoy doing baking projects with him. But dh doesn't want fatty food in the house.
Why doesn't your dh want any fatty foods in the house? Why should his 'issue' dominate the entire family?

I understand not wanting to have fatty/high calorie foods in the house. I'm doing Weight Watchers because in January, I was 108 lbs. overweight. I've lost close to half the weight I need to lose. But I still have 55+ pounds to go. Having cookies and other baked goods in the house is REALLY hard for me because I love cookies.

However, it's not fair to my kids not to be able to bake because mom is a glutton! So, I bake with my kids. I'm slowly, slowly, slowly working my way toward a more healthy relationship with cookies. I'm working on having 1-2 a day (which fits with my plan) vs. 8-10. But that's MY issue, not my kids.

A compromise might be to bake and then freeze a goodly portion (though I've been known to raid the freezer for cookies). You can then take out a dozen or so over time (or even a half dozen) and eat them as a treat without having them constantly 'around'. This is what my parents do. There's just two of them, and to keep them from getting stale, they freeze 8-12 cookies in freezer bags. They take a bag out once a week or so, and have 1-2 a day until they're gone. That way my dad only needs to bake once a month. (My parents are the most restrained people I know when it comes to sweets!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Ds1 likes to experiment by making his own recipes. I want to encourage this, but we buy organic, expensive ingredients, and it's a little painful to watch two sticks of organic butter be thrown away because his cookie recipe didn't turn out.
How old is he? If he's old enough, I'd have HIM pay for his ingredients out of an allowance or money he earns. That will encourage him to experiment with something less expensive. It'll also teach him how much food costs, and to budget his money.

If he's too young, I'd call a halt do it and buy him a junior chemistry set. Cheaper all around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
The kids eat very little at dinner, and then are starving at bedtime, and I'm sick of having to either do a second round of food or argue with kids about how hungry they are sending them to bed without getting to eat.
My kids always get a snack before bedtime, no matter how much or how little they ate. Can you find a set of choices that you can live with for bedtime snacks? Ours are incredibly flexible (anything from ice cream to PB&J), but I realize that won't work for everyone. Maybe a sandwich choice, or a yogurt, or fruit?

Then the question becomes: What do you want for your snack? Our ds ALWAYS has a snack. Always. Dd has a snack about 1/2 the time. If she chows down at dinner (yesterday she had 3 helpings of chicken & rice!), then she often skips a snack, or just has a glass of milk.

But having it always be a choice takes the battle out of it.
avendesora's Avatar avendesora 07:31 PM 08-10-2009
Your DS could also learn that he's alloted 1 stick of butter max, and he can do the math to scale down the ingredients to make smaller amounts. It would be an interesting challenge for him.

I'd second the suggestion of dishing for lunch early. My DH actually eats most of the leftovers here - he takes them to work for lunches. He's developed the habit of asking me to put aside lunch for him before he helps himself to seconds. (Why he can't dish his own lunch, I don't know.)

Aven
Magelet's Avatar Magelet 08:41 PM 08-10-2009
I used to have the problem of DP eating EVERYTHING with no leftovers. I know he grew up with a family in which if you didn't eat fast, the food was gone, because there wasn't really quite enough for everyone for various reasons, so thats what he's used to. Also, he feels bad about leaving any food. I explained that leftovers are good, they make lunch easy the next day (getting him to eat lunch also helps). I also talked to him about the fact that he scarfed everything down, and then would often feel sick from eating too much. He's working on eating slower, and waiting 20 minutes before getting seconds. He's discovered that about 80% of the time, he doesn't need seconds! Now he does eat a LOT more than I do, or even than I expect him to, but its more reasonable now. (I'm sure its helping him manage his weight too, which is now healthy and staying that way and yoyoed in the past).

I don't know if that applies to your hubby, but it might. Is it some sort of habit that he eats everything, or does he really just eat more. (I do still have to cook 1.5x what I would make for my mom and I, or even sometimes my mom, younger sister and I. he just needs more food).

also, perhaps explaining to him that you like leftovers, they make it easier for him, so he isn't letting food go to waste by leaving leftovers.

If none of that works, and your sure it isn't that he needs that much food, then definitely, put it away first. Sometimes its a psychological thing. for instance, J would rather have 2 1/4 lb hamburgers than 1 1/2 lb hamburger, because he says that having two hamburgers makes him feel more full regardless of size. if has stuff like that, maybe indulge it? a dish of cut up (like in a stir fry for example, or like chinese food always is, or in pasta) can feel like much more chicken than 1/2 or 1 breast, for instance.

He doesn't want items with fat? or items with sugar? I would say regardless, its unfair to limit what the kids eat because he can't have the self control (admitedly, I feel differently about sugar because it is a physical addiction for most americans. then, not having it in the house is the only way). with fat though... kids need plenty of fat in their diet. I think if the kids want to bake with fat, he needs to learn self control, or get over his fear of fat (since good fat is so healthy)

Maybe put the snacks in "portion" size bags, whatever a portion is, and only keep one bag within reach at a time? instead of having the whole cracker box? though honestly, I know when I was a kid, there were times when I was just ravenous mid-morning, afterschool, and at bedtime, even if I ate big healthy meals. in that case, maybe plan big snacks as well as meals? count on them eating a big snack, but it doesn't have to be snack food it could be a sandwhich or something. fruit.

With your son baking, if he is too young to save for his own ingrediants, I might buy the cheaper ingrediants just for his expiraments. If they come out, he's still eating mostly organic, if they fail, you didn't waste so much money.
Equuskia's Avatar Equuskia 08:45 PM 08-10-2009
I noticed you mentioned that your DH doesn't like fatty foods in the house. Children need a lot of fat for growth and development (the brain is made of fat, for example). Is it possible that your children are eating everything in sight because they are hungry? Fat is very satisfying, and will fill them up more than just fruit or snacks (unless the snacks are high fat, like avocado dip, hummus, hard boiled eggs etc.)
oceanbaby's Avatar oceanbaby 04:17 AM 08-11-2009
By fatty foods I mean high calorie/junk type foods, like cookies, cakes, etc. And dh doesn't like them in the house because he is trying to watch his weight. I vascillate between feeling like his self control is not my responsibility, and feeling compassionate about the temptation of having goodies around. But baking is such an important project that ds1 and do together, that I have lately been going ahead with it.

I will have to think about taking food out before the meal is even served. I do think dh is just eating because it's there, and he also complains about being too full.

I am hesitatant to micromanage anyone else's eating, so this is hard for me. I don't want to tell dh to how or when to eat.

I think I will institute a bedtime snack into our routine. That will take all the last minute craziness out of it.
Therese's Mommy's Avatar Therese's Mommy 08:46 AM 08-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
If I make an entree for dinner, dh eats pretty much all of it and we never have leftovers. I mean, if it sucks, he doesn't eat it all, but then we don't want those leftovers anyhow. It's frustrating to me because I really rely on leftovers for lunch and quickie dinners. I don't want to tell the guy how much to eat but this is really irritating to me. I don't want to make double of everything because often I don't know how it's going to turn out, it's expensive, and I find it to be a real pain in the butt to chop twice as many veggies, do multiple sautees because it doesn't fit in one pan, etc.
At the beginning of each week I make a plan for dinners. If something is supposed to last for 2 days (or more) I let dh know. When he is finishing up his first helping I just let him know if there is more that he can have. If there isn't he has a bowl of cereal or something else if he is still hungry. Speaking up and just being honest saves me alot of trouble in the end
avendesora's Avatar avendesora 10:32 AM 08-11-2009
My DH lost 30 lbs when he instituted his own "no seconds" rule. Maybe he would see it as helpful if you limited his seconds?

Baking - it's just as much work/fun to make 6 cookies as it is to make 2 dozen. Could you and the kids make just one afternoon's worth of cookies at a time?

Aven
khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 11:40 AM 08-11-2009
Will probably get bashed for this...but

You state that your kids eat very little for dinner...that is a huge issue. They are filling up on anything and everything prior to a meal and then not eating. Then when it comes to bed, they are hungry again.

You need to work on this. We have issues like this and I have had to put a set schedule down for things. We don't have a free open 24/7 kitchen. We have the 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks a day. I do have a few food items I will let them have in between if they are complaining.

I also sort of cut off food a set amount of time prior to a meal (like nothing the hour before or so). This way the kids are not filling up on junk before eating and then not hungry for food at meal time.

As for your DH, I am in the same boat. I usually end up eating a very small portion because my DH hammers home the food. He wont slow down to eat or chew his food. It gets shoveled by the tablespoon full, chewed about 6 times and swolled. Its often disgusting to watch him eat.

We rarely have left overs. I am generally not big on them, with a few exceptions.

I second the menu planning idea. I am going to try it myself, and see if things help around here to cut our food costs down.
crunchy_mama's Avatar crunchy_mama 12:19 PM 08-11-2009
I would ditto the idea of packing dh's lunch before supper. when I know that food is going to be tight then that is what I do. Then if there is still hunger we can do a salad or other snack. On those nights I like to put extra in side dishes as dh would be fine just eating meat.
mamaofthree's Avatar mamaofthree 12:29 PM 08-11-2009
i like the portioning snack idea. and the taking the leftover's out before hand.
we also do a bedtime snack here and it works great.
i am not one to control the eating of others, i do think that if what is generally in the house to eat is healthy then what the kids do and don't eat at a meal isn't an issue. when i bake i use less sugar, more whole grains, etc and then when the kids eat something like muffins i don't feel like they are "spoiling" dinner or lunch. also i let every one know up front that the muffins i am making at night are for breakfast, or i make a double batch (which doesn't take much more time) and then everyone can have one as a snack at bedtime and we have some for breakfast too.
it sounds a bit like maybe your dh is eating so much at dinner because it is there, if you take the food out before you put it on the table then you can have food for lunch the next day, and maybe just 1 1/2 ing a recipe would help there be leftovers. i am not sure how big your family is, is it just 4 or more? if it just 4 of you that means they are eating 2-3 muffins a piece when you make them... i don't see a problem saying "just one" and then maybe having milk and/or fruit to go along with it.
i agree with the pp about kids needing fat, and maybe they are going overboard because they are missing that? just a thought. good luck! :

h
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 01:42 PM 08-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I am hesitatant to micromanage anyone else's eating, so this is hard for me. I don't want to tell dh to how or when to eat.
But by taking food out, you're not micromanaging how much he eats, you're PLANNING for the next day's meal(s).

If I happen to make a 'lighter' dinner that doesn't satisfy dh, he makes himself cheese & crackers after dinner, or sometimes plain old toast. If I told him not to do that, THAT would be micromanaging. But making enough for dinner & lunch the next day is reasonable, and I wouldn't feel bad at all about that.

FWIW, through my weight watchers journey I discovered just how much 'damage' those 2nd helpings were doing. Portion control makes HUGE difference in terms of my weight loss. I wonder if your dh has thought about that. My suspicion is that he could have cookies sometimes if he didn't always eat until the bowl was empty.
lil_earthmomma's Avatar lil_earthmomma 02:52 PM 08-11-2009
Some other ideas for your baking:

Give the treats away!!! This teaches your ds about spontanious acts of kindness and it's so fun!

Freeze a portion so they aren't a huge temptation to dh.
cristeen's Avatar cristeen 03:18 PM 08-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
If I make an entree for dinner, dh eats pretty much all of it and we never have leftovers.
What really helped me with this issue was not serving dinner "family style" with the dishes on the table. It's more work, but I dish up the meal onto individual plates/bowls and leave excess in the kitchen. Then I can tell DH "there's more in the kitchen" or "that's it - but if you want more food I can get you X or Y". When I started doing this, the number of days he would go back for seconds dropped drastically. It went from every day to maybe once/week. If there's a particular day when I know I need the leftovers for his lunch the next day, I pack that before I dish out dinner, so that I know I have enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I have the same issue with muffins. I like to make healthy muffins for breakfast. But if I make a dozen muffins the night before, between the kids and dh there will be 2 left the next morning and the kids will want them, leaving nothing for me.
How many kids? If it's less than 9, that's not acceptable, and it's no wonder they're not eating their dinner. I know the allure of hot baked goods... they're so tempting. But really, I'd try instituting a "1 each" rule. I bake a dozen muffins, here's one for you, one for you, one for you, and one for me. The rest are off limits - they're for *whatever* (breakfast, work, grandma, etc.). Any child over the age of 4 should be capable of understanding that - if it is communicated to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I can't buy any snacky food for the kids to keep in the house because they will eat the entire package in one day.
The problem with "snacky" type foods like crackers is that not only are they not filling - being primarily wheat - but they're also just not that healthy of a snack on their own. I would probably discuss with them that if they want crackers they need to be eating something with those crackers - cheese, PB, bologna, hummus, whatever their options are that would make it a filling snack and not a mindless munch-fest. I would also get some mini-ziplocs, open that box of crackers and portion them out, then stick them back into the box. So instead of grabbing and eating out of the box, they can grab one bag and that's a snack portion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Ds1 loves to bake, and I enjoy doing baking projects with him. But dh doesn't want fatty food in the house.
Well, calories are not the primary concern when it comes to "fatty" foods... I understand that this is not what our society teaches about food... but looking for "low calorie" foods generally means that they're also low in fat, and high in sugar, which makes it really easy to eat a TON of them, and are actually worse for your metabolism. I'd work on finding some healthier alternatives for your baking needs. Low/no grain, low sugar, high (real) fat baking is wonderful. Making cookies or cakes with almond meal and honey instead of wheat and refined white sugar makes them much more filling, and a lot healthier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Ds1 likes to experiment by making his own recipes. I want to encourage this, but we buy organic, expensive ingredients, and it's a little painful to watch two sticks of organic butter be thrown away because his cookie recipe didn't turn out.
I agree with several pps - discuss scaling with him. Encourage him to experiment with SMALL batches, which can then be scaled up if it's a success. Teach him to write down his experiments as he goes so he can duplicate it. And buy him hormone free butter instead of organic to experiment with. Encourage him to buy his own expensive ingredients if he's old enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
The kids eat very little at dinner, and then are starving at bedtime, and I'm sick of having to either do a second round of food or argue with kids about how hungry they are sending them to bed without getting to eat.
I agree with the pps about bedtime snacks... but, that's not the whole solution, IMO. Not eating dinner can have several causes, and getting to the root of that might help with the bedtime snack problem. Are they snacking to excess before dinner, do they not like their options for dinner, why exactly are they not eating their dinner?

I'm also with a pp who questioned whether they're truly hungry/needing more food than they're currently getting, and wondering if that's the cause of the bedtime snacks, and the munching. Particularly if fat is restricted in their diets, that alone can cause compulsive eating behaviors as they're trying to fill up their bellies with low-fat options... it's just not very effective. Keeping higher fat food options in the fridge at all times, available for them as snacks can help both the disappearing food problem, and the feelings of irritation you're suffering from. Cheese cubes, bowl of hummus, PB, cream cheese/sour cream based dips for veggies, hard cooked eggs, etc. These are all great fillers of tummies, and much healthier than eating a box full of crackers.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 03:34 PM 08-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I am hesitatant to micromanage anyone else's eating, so this is hard for me. I don't want to tell dh to how or when to eat.
I can understand that, but if you're packing up a lunch for yourself before serving dinner, that's hardly micromanaging people's eating, imo. It's just allocating the food...just as you do when you decide what to put in the grocery cart. If your dh doesn't care, and you want the leftovers for lunch, this just make sense.

If you cooked double, and froze half of it for another dinner, before serving, would you feel that you were micromanaging anyone? This is the same thing on a different scale, imo.

Quote:
I think I will institute a bedtime snack into our routine. That will take all the last minute craziness out of it.
I think I need to do that here. DH gets upset about the kids being hungry at bedtime, but if it was an established part of our routine, it wouldn't cause so much stress.


And, honestly, I don't have these issues. My kids are all expected to ask before they eat anything. I've made it clear why they have to ask (so they don't eat something I bought specifically for a recipe, and so that nobody clears out something without everyone having a "chance" at it) and it applies to my 16 year old, too. DH doesn't even really eat stuff without at least mentioning it ("hey, sweetie, I'm taking the leftover chicken korma for lunch"). It simplifies food managment around here immensely.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 03:38 PM 08-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
Particularly if fat is restricted in their diets, that alone can cause compulsive eating behaviors as they're trying to fill up their bellies with low-fat options... it's just not very effective. Keeping higher fat food options in the fridge at all times, available for them as snacks can help both the disappearing food problem, and the feelings of irritation you're suffering from. Cheese cubes, bowl of hummus, PB, cream cheese/sour cream based dips for veggies, hard cooked eggs, etc.
Nuts.

DS2 frequently asks for something sweet when he's been carb-loading all day. If I say "would you like a cheese sandwich instead?", he says "yes" at least 9 times out of 10. (A cheese sandwich, in ds2 speech, doesn't involve bread - it's two slices of cheddar, with two smaller slices in between.) For whatever reason, he always goes for fruit, crackers or bread when he's hungry...but he usually really wants cheese, nuts or a hard-boiled egg.
khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 04:49 PM 08-11-2009
My DH has the same problem with eating everything. If I don't fix him a plate of food, he wont eat veggies or fruit. He will just eat the meat and chips..nothing else.

I think a lot of times men don't really see how much they are eating.

Here is an example. I am on a dairy free diet as we suspect DD2 has a milk issue. I purchased a big package of Hummace from Sam's Club for a snack or topping with lunch. I had about 1-2 spoons full out of it (mind you this was after the kids were asleep). The next day I went to get some out for lunch and the package was 1/3 - 1/2 gone. I questioned DH about it. Until I pointed out how much he had eaten he didn't realize it.

And it is not just with the hummace. If he dishes out the food for the kids, the portions are so huge you would think he was making a serving for an adult.

My mom is doing WW and snacks are fine, in moderation. Even on Biggest Looser, they show that it is ok to have some junk food, but in moderation. What they teach a lot of is portion control and getting your calorie count under control. They also seem to teach/show you how to properly eat.

My DH will get a McDonalds Chicken Club Sandwich, super sized fries and super sized drink and have it all eating within 5 minutes and still be hungry. He has no concept of how much he really should be eating and what he should be eating. There is no balanced diet between the food groups.

My next goal in the family, after getting us to eating more at home this summer, is to start serving balanced meals (meaning each person gets food from each food group) and properly portioned sizes.
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