So, this is my stepdaughter's typical weekday diet (long): - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 43 Old 04-24-2010, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(She's with her mom during the week. I am not asking for criticism of her diet there or attacking her mom--see below.)

I asked her what she eats in an average day, so I could get a better idea of how to make food she likes. This is what she told me (and I have no reason to doubt this is true):

Breakfast: Lucky Charms, white milk, gummy vitamin.

Morning snack, at school: Whatever's in the snack cabinet. Could be fruit snacks, could be cereal bars, goldfish, that sort of thing.

Lunch: PB&J, Juicy Juice, strawberries, and two boxed chocolate-chip cookies.

Afternoon Snack: Graham crackers.

Dinner: Deli ham, canned green beans, milk.

Breakfast and lunch really don't vary (maybe some grapes instead of strawberries, or if she gets the hot lunch it's the usual school dreck)--dinner could be pizza (every Thursday), IHOP (pancakes with some sort of chocolate or candy on them, every Friday), canned pasta, Kid Cuisine, boxed Mac and Cheese, etc.

****

So yeah. Lots of white, lots of sugar, lots of processed, not much protein, very little fruit or vegetables. She's healthy, though--active, at a good weight.

We can't change what she eats when she's not here--but when we try to make things better when she IS here, it's like we're introducing poison. (And I'm not talking about anything too exotic--but a stir fry or a noodle dish or even a homemade chicken nugget or plain yogurt without sprinkles are seen as bizarre and wrong.) Even formerly beloved things like scrambled eggs and bananas are getting thumbs down. We're tired of the food wars. And our former "this is dinner, if you don't want it you know where to find the acceptable replacements in the fridge" isn't working either--she stomps off, says we don't love her, and she'll just starve to death.

I don't want to keep Lucky Charms or canned pasta in the house (as I have been advised, in order to keep the peace). I don't want my son to grow up on that diet, nor do I want to have to explain to him why Big Sister gets to eat all the stuff with the cartoon characters and he doesn't. (We don't plan to be overly rigid unless there's health/allergy reasons--the occasional sugary cereal or Happy Meal is fine, but not every day, and by keeping that stuff out of the house, we don't make it immediately accessible.)

Is there anything we can do to improve my stepdaughter's diet, without launching a battle, when she is here? (I know I've posted things before, but nothing's working.) She knows about nutrition and about balance and she's watched Jamie Oliver talk about good school food (she thinks he's cute) but nothing sticks.

Thanks.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
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#2 of 43 Old 04-24-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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Welllll, I don't know that I have advice really, but ITU! My stepdaughter was like that when I first met her. She was 6 and was the one choosing her own nasty frozen kids dinner at the grocery store. She hurt my feelings so badly (I had never encountered a child like this before==this was almost 17 yrs ago, btw) when I made a chicken tortilla casserole that I went outside to eat. I'll never forget it. At that time she was living w/her mom and would come see us every other weekend. It was awful. It was a teary situation (her or me, lol) every time. She came to live w/us and has ever since, and finally saw the light regarding nutrition. She now eats everything and loves her veggies and fruits. Somehow, your dh is going to have to be the one to make the changes/put his foot down, etc. I wish I had answers. I wish you luck!

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#3 of 43 Old 04-24-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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Seven can be a tough age when it comes to eating in any situation. It is going to be more difficult for a young child already dealing with going back and forth between two homes to have to deal with changes in what she is offered to eat depending on which house she is in.

What does her dad say about it?

Which of the things on the list of what she typically eats are you okay with having in your home? Are you okay with milk, PB sandwiches and strawberries? Does she like homemade muffins or pancakes?

What I might do in your situation is always have a loaf of bread and some peanut butter and jam available on the table along with whatever else is being served. That way you aren't making something different from her, she is exposed to new foods without being forced to eat them and you know she will get something to eat. At some point she will start trying other things, but on her own timing, not anyone else's.

It is possible to have some things on hand that she likes without buying the cartoon packaged foods on hand.

Each of my children has gone through phases where they get super picky and stop liking things they have always liked, like your scrambled eggs and bananas example. It annoys me but I don't make a big deal out of it.I let them know that deciding they don't like a nutritious food any more doesn't mean that I will start serving them unhealthy food just so the will eat. They don't like eating just toast and an apple for supper but eventually they have always started eating different foods again.

I know that all of the members of my family don't always like the meals I like to prepare. I try to keep some balance so that the menu regularly includes meals that everyone likes. Tonight I am making falafel which my kids don't like (there will be pita bread with melted cheese on the table to choose too) so tomorrow I am making the kids' favourite soup. I would prefer to make something else, but it is a matter of timing.

How long have you been a family? I understand the desire to improve her diet but it might still be time to focus your energy on strengthening and deepening your relationship and letting the diet thing slide for a time. Ultimately that will be more important to her growth and well being. I am not saying that sugary, salty processed food is okay, but how the two of you relate will have a bigger impact on her life and your son's life than whether she eats peanut butter sandwiches instead of something more nutritious for her weekend meals.
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#4 of 43 Old 04-24-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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What if you started by only serving healthy versions of what she likes to eat, and then when she starts to accept those then introduce things like stir fry.

Make homemade pizza on whole wheat crust with veggies, cheese, and nitrate-free sausage

try giving her plain yogurt, but sweeten it with some honey or maple syrup

She likes deli ham, does she also like deli turkey? Could you roast a turkey breast and slice it really thin like from the deli and serve it cold.

for breakfast will she eat a healthier pancake? Would she try hot cereal like oatmeal. You could start by making the instant kind, and then start making the regular kind but adding cinnamon and sugar and gradually decrease the sugar.

try making homemade chicken tenders, but instead of baking them actually fry them. They will taste way better and still be healthier than a store bought or fastfood nugget that is filled with junk and fillers. Make sure she has something like bbq sauce or blue cheese dressing to dip them in if that's what she's used to.

Would she eat frozen green beans instead of canned? how about carrots dipped in blue cheese dressing. Lightly steamed broccoli is also great dipped in blue cheese.

Does she only like canned pasta? Would she eat regular pasta and homemade meat sauce? You could start out with white pasta and then start using whole wheat pasta.

On her visits could she help you plan the menu for the next time she's coming? Take her to the grocery store or look through cook books with her. Tell her whatever she chooses you'll make, but it has to be made from scratch.

I definitely wouldn't buy things like sugary cereals or canned pasta. Anything that feels like an outright no no in my house wouldn't come into the house. But otherwise I might focus my effort on giving her foods she likes that are healthier than she is otherwise getting. Give her similar things, but made with better sugars (natural like honey or maple syrup, and no HFCS) better fats (no trans) and more whole ingredients. As far as the new baby goes I wouldn't worry so much. She's only there every other weekend. That means you can cook what you want 86% of the time and the other 14% you have to make compromises, that's not so bad. You will still have the largest influence on what your little guy eats by far.

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#5 of 43 Old 04-24-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Kids have a hard time being introduced to new foods. I think the easiest way is to have her involved as much as possible.

Have a saturday night pizza party-go to the grocery store, buy crusts,sauce, and toppings WITH her. Make a rule that you can pick the veggies BUT their must be at least <insert number> of veggies on the pizza.

Also if she eats her dinner she can have dessert-frozen yogurt with berries, homemade muffins, even a healthy cake with strawberrys on top

Pasta-hide veggies into the sauce-puree steamed veggies right into the sauce for extra nutrition-or just add in jarred organic baby food to her portion.

With my ds- I ALWAYS prepare the salad ahead of dinner, so when he's whining at my feet that he's hungry while Im finishing dinner...ok, heres your salad x amount of bites then dinner will be ready

Go to the library with her and find kid friendly cookbooks, helped ds. Same with youtube clips-He loves watching Elmo cooking with Dr. OZ(kid is obsessed w dr oz!)

Farmers Market! Seriously..a lot more fun then the grocery store AND their is no whining that they arent getting the sugary cereal since the farmers market doesnt have any! WOOHOO

Last ip I have. If you can try and plant some veggies with her...She might like being able to pick her own tomatoes and such

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#6 of 43 Old 04-24-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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I see every negative/challenging situation as an opportunity to teach...

Talk openly with her about food, why you choose the food you do for your house, and discuss how it makes her feel. Set the expectations/boundaries regarding meals at your house (what you have (whole foods, non-processed) rather than what you don't have (Lucky Charms, junkfood) Tell her you know she doesn't like the food, you understand why and it's OK for her to not like it.

Get books from the library, take her to a nutrition fair (we have those here, they're fun -- maybe you have something similar?) or nutritionist to let her learn more about it. You can ask her for input or have her fully participate in the meal planning and cooking -- if she wants.

At mealtimes to start, I would provide a variety of foods her to choose from. If she does not eat, that is her choice -- acknowledge the fact that she's done eating and just continue with the meal conversation and excuse her from the table at the same time as everyone else.

Right now she is in control of the situation. Your worried she's going to be hungry if she doesn't eat and, honestly she probably will be. Once you get a new routine established, she'll start making the choice to eat once she understands the consequences ie --being hungry!

It may get more challenging before it gets better as she is going to make sure you mean it! But, by the third meal, she'll be happily chomping away on a big crunchy piece of green lettuce.

To sum it up, you provide the meals and times to eat, she decides if and how much she is going to eat. She will [I]looooove[I] you for it
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#7 of 43 Old 04-25-2010, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tips.

To answer some of the above questions, in kind of random order...

Her dad and I have been together for over five years, living together and on this same basic schedule for four (married in October, but nothing fundamentally changed--same house, same routine), so she's not adjusting to the household dynamics. (She will be getting a brother in July, but the food issues have been going on for years.) Her dad's on the same page I am here, though I do most of the cooking (and he doesn't post here, so that's why I'm asking).

We've been doing farmers markets ("Can I have a crepe? Can I have a churro, but only if they're not out of strawberry?") and gardening with her for years--she will patiently plant the seeds, tend to the seedlings, water them, ask about how they're doing when she's not here, harvest the vegetables...and gleefully hand them off "here you go!' and never touch them again.

Frozen green beans are a no-go. Same with deli turkey or pretty much any other deli meats except salami.

Menu planning works only so much--on more than one occasion, we've tried menu planning, and made the exact menu she requested, but in the intervening week, she's dropped a food ("I used to like bananas but I don't anymore"), or she's "not hungry for X" by the time we make it. Yeah, it's a power game. We'll go out of the way to get the canned green beans, then she'll eat three of them. She also has a weird thing against leftovers, unless it's pizza.

Adding to this is that she's only here a couple of days at a time, so she knows that if she flat-out refuses to eat, she eventually will be rewarded with a trip to the drive-through AND getting her mom all riled at her dad for not feeding her. (That's often what happens if she goes back to her mom hungry Sunday night. We've tried to nip that by packing dinner to go for her (with her mom's blessing), which worked for awhile, but then her mom would tell us things like, "she had such a sad face when I asked if she'd eat your dinner, and she said 'no, mama, I like when I get to eat a yummy dinner with you' and my heart melted. I can freeze the food you sent if you want it back.")

Sigh...

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#8 of 43 Old 04-25-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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that must be so hard.

Sounds like a combo of bad food habits, regular picky kid stuff, and large dose of manipulative step child behavior.

I would cease the war, without compromising your dietary beliefs too much.

As Shantimama said, I would always have pbj available. I make freezer jam with no added sugar and low sugar pectin (very yummy and nutritious). If she doesn't like a meal, at least she can fix herself a sandwich.

For the yogurt, let her stir in some jam! Or try "milkshakes" (smoothies.)

Take it from a formerly EXTREMELY picky child, make it yourself meals are awesome. Things like tacos, wraps, mini pizzas, etc. are awesome. Put out all of the fixings, and if her torilla ends up with cheese and that's all, go with it!

What about breakfast for dinner? She apparently eats at IHOP, so make it fun. Pancakes or waffles with real whipped cream, real fruit toppings, dark chocolate shavings for sprinkles... and other healthy breakfast foods that she doesn't have to have if she doesn't want them (eggs, meats etc.)

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#9 of 43 Old 04-25-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by caiesmommy View Post
...
Farmers Market! Seriously..a lot more fun then the grocery store AND their is no whining that they arent getting the sugary cereal since the farmers market doesnt have any! WOOHOO

Last ip I have. If you can try and plant some veggies with her...She might like being able to pick her own tomatoes and such
love these two ideas. esp. the farmer's market. its so fun and there usually arent crap in a box treats, though some markets might have pastries, just steer clear.

otherwise... know for sure that dsd's mom probably will not change her food choices, and especially will never do so based on anything you say, or based on anything dsd tells her you say (third party communication, avoid at all costs). try and accept this and get on with life.

my advice is to be persistent. you are basically feeding a person who is being fed addictive, processed, super-high sugar/carb, refined foods much of her life and these foods are manufactured to make folks come back for more. it will be an uphill climb to help your kid love real food but it is worth it.

i dont believe it is right to feed our children crap, but much of america, and people in other wealthy countries, have been conned into thinking they are actually feeding good foods, like jelly (it supposedly has fruit in it so it must be healthy).

feed dsd real foods, dont offer any stuff from a box if you can help it. feed lots of protiens, healthy fats, and complex carbs like sweet potato, acorn squash, even white potatoes mashed. offer a variety of vegetables and explain thier healthy properties and fun facts about how they are grown. continue doing this, every meal, every day. it is worth it.
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#10 of 43 Old 04-25-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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I think that to an extent, you may have to compromise. Yes, definitely don't keep lucky charms in the house. but things like honey instead of white sugar? quite frankly, it's clear that she is very addicted to sugar. to an extant, maybe giving her organic white sugar (or brown sugar or rapadura or something) is at least better than corn syrup. I still wouldn't keep a lot of sweet stuff in the house, because you need to protect your son from them.

I'm sorry it's so hard.

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#11 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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I think that to an extent, you may have to compromise. Yes, definitely don't keep lucky charms in the house. but things like honey instead of white sugar? quite frankly, it's clear that she is very addicted to sugar. to an extant, maybe giving her organic white sugar (or brown sugar or rapadura or something) is at least better than corn syrup. I still wouldn't keep a lot of sweet stuff in the house, because you need to protect your son from them.

I'm sorry it's so hard.
organic sugar, honey, etc all raise blood glucose the same, which is damaging to our metabolisms and can lead to diabetes and other medical problems later in life. unfortunately no sweeteners are without effects like this. the artificial one, even stevia, have questionable effects and make you crave more sweets even if they dont raise your blood sugar.

it really sounds like your dsd is not getting many essential nutrients, especially protien and maybe not enough fats, well good ones anyways.
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#12 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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The thing is that you won't be able to change her overall nutritional status or preferences on weekends alone. While food is obviously designed for our nutrition it symbolizes so much more and may be the biggest source of power struggles between children and parents.

Of course it matters that children are raised with good eating habits and nutrition but that alone will not raise a happy, healthy, well adjusted child. If you aren't the primary person preparing her food the majority of the time you just aren't going to make the changes you would like to see. You do, however, get to set the tone for how it feels to be with you and her dad and whether or not food is a power struggle.

If she spends the weekends eating PB & J, strawberries, cheese and crackers and milk but has a loving, fun time, it won't matter as much that she isn't consuming a better diet. She is seven years old and her tastes will change many times over the years and what you want is a happy, solid family for the children to grow up in. The food children eat matters but I don't think it is so important that it should be a huge stress in a situation like this.

Your baby hasn't been born yet - so it is at least a good year before he is going to be old enough to notice what others are eating and ask for the same. Your step daughter may become more flexible during that year and may even enjoy helping to feed him solids when he is old enough. If you get her to help prepare finger foods for him and explain why you choose the foods you do she may catch on because she will be that much older. She is still pretty little if she is only 7.

Her food likes and changes sound pretty normal for a 7 year old and not so much like a power struggle. Kids do change their minds on a dime what they like from one day to the next but I don't let it become a bid for power in my house. It happens, it is annoying, but life carries on. One week they like nothing but crackers and cheese, the next week all cheese is "gross" and why don't we have any frozen blueberries? The fact that last month they swore off blueberries doesn't occur to them
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#13 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 09:06 PM
 
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organic sugar, honey, etc all raise blood glucose the same, which is damaging to our metabolisms and can lead to diabetes and other medical problems later in life. unfortunately no sweeteners are without effects like this. the artificial one, even stevia, have questionable effects and make you crave more sweets even if they dont raise your blood sugar.
I think that honey and maple syrup are much better options, in moderation. My point was primarily, however, that at the least using organic cane sugar, which would be gmo free, or even natural sweetners like honey/maple syrup which have minerals or enzymes in them as well are MUCH better than high fructose corn syrup. I wasn't saying they were healthy, but if the kid is addicted to sugars, and the op doesn't have enough power over her diet to get her un-addicted, better it be natural sugars, or even cane sugar, than corn syrup.

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#14 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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Can you make your own pizza for one dinner? It's easy to make the dough ahead and freeze it. Let her put whatever she wants in it and add cheese? That way, its healthy and nutritious and she gets to eat pizza. Also, sign her up for cooking classes with daddy or on her own.. she'll probably eat what she cooks, when you aren't around. it's all power struggle, like you said.

Also, you can make a darned good imitation of the boxed mac n cheese using real stuff...

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#15 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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As the divorced mother of a seven year old girl...I wonder if some of what is happening here may not have anything to do with the actual food choices, but everything with a young childs navigation between two households that she feels completely powerless about and her making an attempt to express some forrm of control or at least make a statement by creating issues between the grown ups about food?
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#16 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I am going to be a dissenting voice.

It is your and your dh responsibility to provide nutritious choices to her, no matter what bio-mom is doing. If your dh agrees with your food choices catering to her current diet is going to create more issues later on.

1st off your other children. You don't want them to eat it why does their sibling get this privilege. Having special food foods will cause strife with the other children. -- I am not saying never have a special treat now an then but it should be with our with out her.

Also expense, the older she gets the picker she may become (and I have seen it happen). She will expect you to cater to her.

Being the stepchild is special, but when it comes to food barring allergies she can deal with your standard diets. Making her feel special and welcome should come elsewhere. Treat her no differently than you would your other children.
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#17 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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will she eat beans? Baked beans can be pretty sweet with molasses or brown sugar and maple syrup, but would have tons of protein, iron, fiber, etc. Or make some black beans, some spiced ground beef, and have make your own tacos. Provide tortillas (start with white flour ones or crunchy corn ones) and lettuce, fresh or bottled salsa, tomatoes, cheese, etc. Or even nachos...kids usually like nachos
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#18 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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try some of the cookbooks out there that show you how to "sneak" veggies and fruits into kid favorite foods. My friend lent me one called "the sneaky chef". Might help with your current situation.
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#19 of 43 Old 04-26-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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As the divorced mother of a seven year old girl...I wonder if some of what is happening here may not have anything to do with the actual food choices, but everything with a young childs navigation between two households that she feels completely powerless about and her making an attempt to express some forrm of control or at least make a statement by creating issues between the grown ups about food?
Good point.

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#20 of 43 Old 04-27-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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I like sunflower's comment. I think she's dead on.

When I read your original post and my thought was also to do make your own pizzas. Don't worry about the crust at this point... go with something she'll like. You can provide more/different toppings ("everything" "hawaian theme" and so on) each weekend. If you do this as a regular thing you can slowly add more whole wheat or healthier toppings. But don't push those... pizza in general is pretty healthy if it's homemade. For now focus on homemade rather than super duper healthy.
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#21 of 43 Old 04-27-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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I am going to be a dissenting voice.

It is your and your dh responsibility to provide nutritious choices to her, no matter what bio-mom is doing. If your dh agrees with your food choices catering to her current diet is going to create more issues later on.
totally agree with this. and yes, this issue may be one tiny way for a child living two different lives to maintain some semblance of order. but you can provide consistency by saying/doing the something like the following;

when dsd complains about lack of sweets or processed foods etc. simply say
"we dont have those foods at our house, i know they taste good and you get to enjoy them at your moms, but here at dads we eat a bit differently".

if she asks why she cant have X food (ie. jelly every day or kid cuisines or whatever), explain simply that there are many ways/foods to eat, people all over the world, in her school, at the supermarket eat different ways/foods, and her two families eat different ways, for various reasons. if you want you could get into the nutritional aspect of why sugarry foods are not so great, but id keep it simple and not engage too much in that as its likely to be reeated to her mom, who will probably feel judged and you know how that goes...

just focus on your love for your dsd and tell her you and her dad care about her and believe you are making good choices for her with the food she gets to eat at your house.

i really do not think we are doing our kids, or stepkids any service by allowing them to choose all the foods they eat. many kids would only choose refined foods that are purposefully marketed to kids, if they had a choice. check this out, i like the way this author puts it-

"I don't doubt that most people love their children dearly and would stand against an army of darkness in their defense, but then there's that troubling reluctance to read and understand what's in a box of cereal. Parents, what's going on?"
http://www.breadandmoney.com/docs/parents2005.html
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#22 of 43 Old 04-27-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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#23 of 43 Old 04-28-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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BUT can't you stick to your nutritional ethics and cater to her desires!?! People have given MANY wonderful suggestions to help keep the power struggle to a minimum.

Do you really want to have a power struggle EVERY. SINGLE. weekend? No. That's why you (the op) are here asking for suggestions.

Please, as someone who was tortured by a well meaning but totally misguided parent (macrobiotics. No one can argue that that isn't healthy. But I hated it. Every bite, every day, for every year of my life in my parents home. I gagged every night. I refused dinner almost every night. By grade seven I was so malnourished BY CHOICE that the school called social services. )

There is a middle ground here. Sometimes we get so caught up in the demon sugar and the evil HFCS and processed crap food that we forget that moderation is very much important, and helps to keep peace, especially in a situation like the op's where other emotional factors are involved.

Peace.

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#24 of 43 Old 04-28-2010, 09:31 AM
 
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I have 2 children that are as different as night and day. One would survive on air and chocolate milk if I'd let him. The other eats anything. Same household, same rules, same everything (they are 1 and 3).

For my picky one? I just make sure that there is something on the table he will eat, and I try to balance it over time. This is mostly an issue at breakfast and supper. For lunch, we tend to have things he likes (which is pb&honey 4 or 5 days a week!).

At supper and breakfast, I'll put out a fruit, bread, cheese slices, carrot sticks, yogurt, or rice (things he'll always eat), even if they don't go along with the meal. He's still little, so I make up his plate, with some of everything. He gets to choose how much he eats, though. I figure my responsibility is to provide healthy food. His is to choose to eat it or not. This does require some rules around treats, though. We do have snack times (again, either eat it or not, but here it is), and occasionally treats (granola bars, sweets, popsicles, etc).

My brother was a really picky eater as a child. Food battles were awful at my house. I didn't want that in my household as an adult, so this is the best solution we've come up with.

As an aside, my brother is now 34. He still eats pretty boring food (imo), but the variety grows every year. He will probably always be an eat to live, not live to eat sort of guy, but that's who he is, and it works for him (he has a 2 week rotation that he doesn't deviate from much). Also, I have an insanely picky 1st cousin who is now 25. Insanely picky to the point where he went to college with a list of like 10 foods he'd eat. Many, many Thanksgivings, he ate only white meat turkey and nothing (nothing) else. But, now, at 25, with the encouragement of a very healthy eating wife, he's branching out. HIs facebook had that he tried avocado this week. All his friends rejoiced! The point is, even the pickiest eaters will sometimes get better with time.
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#25 of 43 Old 05-02-2010, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry to have abandoned this thread a bit...

Yes, I'm sure it has a bit to do with the lack of control in other areas of her life (see below).

And no, we are not tyrants. We are not "torturing" her with a rigid diet or NO TREATS EVER! or anything. We have gone to McDonald's, just not frequently. If we do ice cream/frozen custard, we do it out and we do it real (because if we kept it here, I'd eat the whole thing in one sitting). She can eat whatever at parties and she orders from the SAD kids' menu way too often and the occasional soda does pass our lips here.

But it seems like most of the time, we can't do the "middle ground." (As an aside: It seems, looking at it from the outside, that Mom is just as "rigid" with her regimen--it's almost all processed, kid-marketed stuff. The difference is, that stuff is engineered and focus-grouped to be inoffensive and tasty to kids and convenient for the parents.) Anyhow.

We get gagging noises when we try to make homemade mac and cheese (nothing weird, either--elbows and cheddar); homemade pizza sometimes works, more often doesn't. She'll eat "brown beans" when her mom makes them, she will not eat the exact same beans (same brands, from a can, and everything!) if I make them (so, yeah, I know that's a loyalty thing and there's not much that can be done about it). And as I think I posted earlier in this thread, "I'm not hungry for X" gets said A LOT here, even after we've gone shopping, picked out items, cooked them together.

This past week, we got a refusal to eat a *PB&J* because it was cut wrong and still had the crusts. Up until this past week, the crusts were eaten. Nothing has changed about the bread, peanut butter, or jelly. But apparently, her mom has started cutting the crusts and cutting triangles, and now that's the only way she wants things. Which is fine in theory--except we'd given her the crust-on sandwich, cut in half (note we'd not had a request before the sandwich was made, we were expected to psychically know this), and the whole thing was "ruined" and she demanded a new one, which we did not make. (This is toddler behavior and it's really, really trying.)

I know, I'm 29 weeks PG and while I'm not yelling or anything, my reactions are more pronounced than what they'd usually be. I have the patience of a gnat.

Sigh...we are having some other "but MOM says" issues ("MOM doesn't like Pink Floyd so Daddy shouldn't wear his T-shirt anymore") and I think the food issues are getting wrapped up a bit more than they should.

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Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#26 of 43 Old 05-02-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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Sigh...we are having some other "but MOM says" issues ("MOM doesn't like Pink Floyd so Daddy shouldn't wear his T-shirt anymore") and I think the food issues are getting wrapped up a bit more than they should.
Has she had any counseling? On her own, or with you & dad, mom & dad, etc. Obviously she was pretty young when the split happened and her father has been with you for quite a while now. Maybe she seemed to young for it at the time, but could use some now.
Because better to work this out now then when she is 12 and running out the door saying "MOM said I could go car dating with this 17yo boy see you at 2am" Good luck.
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#27 of 43 Old 05-02-2010, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has she had any counseling? On her own, or with you & dad, mom & dad, etc. Obviously she was pretty young when the split happened and her father has been with you for quite a while now. Maybe she seemed to young for it at the time, but could use some now.
Because better to work this out now then when she is 12 and running out the door saying "MOM said I could go car dating with this 17yo boy see you at 2am" Good luck.
Yeah, the split was when she was not even a year old, so counseling (even play-based therapy) was obviously not appropriate...I'll bring it up.

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#28 of 43 Old 05-02-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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The baby on the way may be bringing up old or new issues, and causing food to become not just food, but an outlet for dealing with it.
I'd say therapy sounds like a great idea, and dealing with those issues might make the food issues less extreme and easier to deal with. (dealing just with a sugar addiction and food preferences, rather than those PLUS emotional issues).

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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#29 of 43 Old 05-02-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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We get gagging noises when we try to make homemade mac and cheese (nothing weird, either--elbows and cheddar); homemade pizza sometimes works, more often doesn't. ...
This past week, we got a refusal to eat a *PB&J* because it was cut wrong and still had the crusts. ...(This is toddler behavior and it's really, really trying.)

I know, I'm 29 weeks PG and while I'm not yelling or anything, my reactions are more pronounced than what they'd usually be. I have the patience of a gnat...
oh wow, sounds like dsd is having a really challenging time in life in general and that food is just one of many issues. honestly, i know she says her mom does things better and all that but she might be struggling behaviorally and emotionally there (at moms house) too, you just wont ever hear about it due to stepfamily politics where no one wants to seem/admit to having a hard time with a child.

i personally do not think we as parents do our kids any service by giving in to such silly, trivial demands as cutting bread wrong after the fact. you are doing the best you can i am sure. kids actually suffer from being catered to. it sets them up for very very poor social skills in the rest of their lives and they will be in for some seriously harsh realities outside of the home if they are constantly spoiled. and yes, i mean spoiled.
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#30 of 43 Old 05-02-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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I've been there. My 8.5 yo stepdaughter went through some long and painful(for me, mostly) periods where she wouldn't eat at our house unless it was canned baked beans, bread, or bananas. And at times she wouldn't eat the bread because it was homemade, by me. But she eventually came around... It seems I love to blab on and on about why our style of eating is healthier than what she typically gets, and she started to listen and understand. Knowing that artificial dyes make your brain go haywire, or that sugar causes bacteria to eat your teeth, or that bed fats clog your veins with nasty goo really goes a long way toward getting someone to stop eating stuff like that. I certainly don't think it is too scary for kids to know those things... I didn't feel bad about saying it. I have always been very forthright with my son(5.5 yo) about why we don't eat the things he sees at the grocery store, or on commercials, or whatever. I tell him the truth, but in a way he would understand. She just happened to overhear, in fact many of the discussions were brought up because DSD wanted XYZ and DS wanted to know why that particular item is not allowed... He can tell you what is wrong with about any SAD item, by the way... It's a passion of his. He really helped out... The competition element, which you don't have yet. I totally advocate pulling out the horrible facts on whatever item she is begging for and telling her you love her so much you don't want anything bad to happen to her. I don't think that implies her mom doesn't love her by feeding those things... I'd explain that not everyone understands these foods are bad for you. she might resist, but the creepy facts tend to linger. A friend of mine was into sales... Said a way to remember clients names was to associate the person with something crazy like them exploding or getting eaten by a shark. Proven method, even. Sounds wretched, and I'm not saying to scare the daylights out of her, but the fact that the hydrogenated oil in Pop-Tarts leaves grease in your veins that stops your blood from moving and can make you slow, sick, and overweight(touchy as that subject might be) might stick in her mind.

Another thing that helped, which may or may not be doable, but that worked in my DSD's case... Some of the simple healthy food we had, that she really loved, she never got at her mom's house. She said to me one day that she really loved to have grapes for breakfast. I asked what other fruits she likes for breakfast... She said she didn't get any, her mom gave her Pop-Tarts(which just so happen to be my symbol of dietary evil, *haha*). Further inquiry led to her telling me that her mom wouldn't get things like that because they cost too much money. I explained that Pop-Tarts and a big bag of grapes cost about the same, and that she might ask her mom to get her grapes for breakfast instead. I have no idea how that panned out(we only have her for a couple months in the summer), but she seemed really excited about the possibility. Maybe you might stumble across some magical health food that she not only doesn't get with her mom, but might serve as a bonding moment between you and DSD.
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