I need some help..
Can someone please explain "why" it is wrong to tell children they need to eat X before they can have Y. I know essentially that it makes whatever food Y is to be the "forbidden" or "better tasting" food than whatever X is..I just need some more clarification.
I am struggling. I know I do NOT want to be doing that....I just need to get it stuck into my head some more or something. DH and I seem to be bribing our daughter to eat such and such first before she can have ice cream or a "treat" of some sort. I even have done it with telling her she needs to eat some cucumbers before she gets some pasta (which I know is not good to do but can't seem to realize it at the time).
I also seem to be having some struggles with my 3 year old and meal time. For one...she ALWAYS wants peanut butter sandwiches. Granted it's organic peanut butter on healthier bread..but I don't want her to be eating that all the time! She also loves loves loves carbs...and it makes me nervous for some reason...(not quite sure why?).
She loves breads, pastas, any baked goods, crackers, etc. (She is just like me in that respect..though I don't eat very much of that stuff around her at all).
We give her choices. For snacks, we've eliminated all processed snack foods from her diet. She can have apples, pears, mangos, pineapples, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. for snacks. She always chooses fruit. She loves fruit..can't get enough of it....it's the vegetable part I worry about.
Now..she does love cooked broccoli and cauliflower and peas. She loves beats too. Is that enough? We try and sneak squash in things and she'll eat that..and sometimes she'll eat sweet potato fries if I make them...I just worry she's just not getting enough vegetables at all.
Also, she's kind of a grazer. She doesn't seem to like "big meals" so should I just eliminate big meals from her diet and let her have healthy foods all day long as much as she wants? She adores yogurt and cottage cheese, milk, organic lunch meats, etc.
I really need some help to make meal times more fun and less stressful!!
In addition, we do sometimes talk about we have X if we do Y. It isn't exactly tit for tat and it isn't a real, real bribe but we do have a general policy in place that we have a "special" snack if we have a "nice nap." (Cheddar bunnies or ovaltine or something).
Also, all my kids are real carnivores so if DS wants more meat or whatever then he was served we'll usually require that he finishes some other parts of his meal before a second helping. He will usually give some attention to the other grain/veg that we have and have more of the steak whatever. We only use this strategy if it is something that he likes or is likely to eat not known issues that he has a problem with but they we continue to serve (never likes cheese or certain vegetables). So, no, not entirely self-directed and yes, techinically not free will but we don't make it about YOU MUST EAT THIS FOOD OR but about the need for a balanced diet.
We will also, especially when DS was little, make veg the snack and hang out on the play mat with it.
Finally, we never lie about veg but we do sneak a lot into to other friends. We often have meats will say a grass fed lamburger crumbled into quinoa/cherry tomatoes/parsley/grilled zuccini with a little olive oil/lemon dressing or tofu with vegetables and brown rice and a little Japanese sauce. Olive oil, soy sauce, and Japanese dressing go far in our house and DD likes a little umph on his veg.
Smoothies are my friend Organic yogurt fruit and a little milk
I make pumpkin, applesauce vanilla yogurt ( with a dash of pumpkin pie spice) every so often
I add pumpkin to his pancakes ( in the mix) We also make healthy muffins.
Oh and the only meat he will eat is bacon
strawberries, my kids will stand there picking and stuffing their mouths wit hstrawberries
mesculin or other salad mix is easy to grow in a pot or on a ledge, and it grows quickly. and edible flowers, nasturtiums,e tc. only one of my kids doesn't love to eat flowers
they love salad, we'll add peaches or strawberries or blueberries, a splash of vinegar and some oil and pepper, honey and mustard are good too.
collards are easy to grow and easy to cook / eat. my dd has a recipe she makes all by herself with chard and garlic she grows
let em add peanut butter or anything they want. often if the help make it they eat it.
Abra, Married to George, Mother to DS 12/03 & DD1 08/09 & DD2 12/11 + Someone New in May 2015! After years of planning, we are finally living our dream in South America!!
For instance, last night we had Brussels sprouts and carrots cooked in chicken stock, and a creamy pasta thing. Left to herself she'd have chosen the pasta and sprouts over the carrots, so I gently said "No, let's have this bit of carrot and then you can have some more pasta" a few times. She likes carrot OK, so it was fine. I don't think I scarred her for life.
I find DD really loves carbs, so I often have to persuade her to eat veggies, meat or whatever instead of just filling up on bread, pasta, chips or whatever. (Actually we're moderately low-carb at the moment, so it could just be the novelty when she gets them!)
She definitely loves to eat when I eat, and I've noticed she'll eat more if we're all eating calmly together. If I leave her at the table to do stuff in the kitchen while she finishes her lunch, she'll lose interest; if we're watching a movie while we eat, she'll eat less because she just wants to watch. Quiet companionship without too much talking seems to be the key.
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DS weaned earlier than I wanted (22m) and I was really concerned about the goodies. He still eats a plain yobaby in the bath every night, sometimes two if dinner was a disaster.
Oh, and we also have a jar of six kinds of colored sugar sprinkles that I got at Target one time. That thing is a serious lifesaver for boring morning oatmeal or plain yogurt.
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We try very hard not to create power struggles over food, and I feel like "Finish X before you have Y" sets you up for those kind of struggles. I don't really care what order my DS eats his food but I share your concerns about too many carbs (or too much fruit) etc. so we just don't have a lot of carb-heavy foods constantly available. In fact, I've been on a gluten-free/corn-free diet for the last month so aside from some rice we don't have much in the way of carbs in the house at all, and DS doesn't really mind -- he just eats more of the fruits/veggies/nuts/etc. now. If we cook rice pasta as the main course, I might mix a pound of pasta with 3lbs of veggies (and put some aside for leftovers) so proportionately it's almost impossible for him to eat too much pasta.
Oh and I'd let her put PB on everything if she wants -- and maybe introduce her to other nut/seed butters for variety.
I make one meal. I put it on the plate, and if they don't eat it, that's fine. It's not my tummy. But, they aren't having something else later either. Unless they'd like their dinner reheated. I'm happy to do that.
I always put the dessert on the plate too. It gets eaten, so there's no reason to ask for another dessert, because clearly, she wasn't hungry enough to eat anything else on her plate, so she couldn't possibly still eat another dessert.
I don't expect everyone to like everything I make. But, I don't make substitute foods either. I have several foods at each meal, there's bound to be something they like. I have bread, meat, vegie and fruit at every meal. So, if someone goes to bed hungry, that was a bad choice, but it was theirs to make.
Our family is all grown up now, and everybody is a good eater, so I've never had a problem with anyone not eating at all. But, my daughter and I love cooked vegetables, but my husband hates them. I hate cauliflower and avocado, buy my daughter loves them. I try to be as fair as possible.
My daughter likes a variety of foods, but of course has her favorites.
But sometimes, she will only want one of the things on her plate and will ignore the rest. When she asks for more of the thing she likes, I tell her she can have another bite of what she likes when she takes a bite of "x", which she will do, and then I give her a bite. "X" usually ends up being some form of protein or a veggies she isn't sure about, I do not force her to eat something I know she doesn't like.
I can't negotiate entire items yet, because she doesn't get the concept (As in I can't say "You can have more noodles when you finish your chicken), but we can do it bite by bite.
I don't generally negotiate with sweet treats for after dinner, but she usually doesn't get something special for after dinner anyway.
I just don't want to start "negotiating" every bite of food.
As far as I'm concerned, everything we give him - except for occasional treats like stopping for an ice cream cone or dim sum - is good food and it's up to him to decide what to eat or not. It's true that I usually won't give him additional portions of meat or pasta, for example, because I didn't cook more but I am always happy to give him more vegetables, a piece or fruit or some plain yogurt.
I think some of the alarm is because the technique -can- become a control issue if it become detached from the reasons we need to model/encourage balanced eating and the big picture of toddler nutrition (that a decent diet can look really different from kid to kid).
We will say she does not get her dessert (fruit or ice cream or baked goods) until everyone is done eating. That does serve to make her eat more entree and side items, but it takes the negotiation away from being control over what she eats and turns it more into a manners/rules of the house point. If she wants to ask to be excused (if we're at the table) and play while we all finish, she gets to do that.
We don't get too many tantrums about this unless either of the grandmothers are there. Thankfully, the grandparents are all pretty good about her food intake, always giving her lots of fruit (got to work on the protein with MIL), and not undermining us. The anchoring of ice cream (my mom) and cookies/cakes (MIL), however, I will pin on them.
I have started to limit her fruit. She will always ask for it and I now tell her that she's already had plenty of fruit so far today, but her body hasn't had enough veggies or proteins. Then I'll offer to make her a snack of carrots and hummus or something like that. (You could do carrots and peanut butter, since your DD likes PB so much.) If that doesn't make her happy, well then, too bad. My DD has always gained weight just fine, so if she skips a snack every now and then, it's no big deal.
Lately, DD has been snubbing her veggies (she's usually very good about eating a little bit of everything, but I think she's going through a phase), so we do ask her to try a bite and then thank her for trying, even if she declares it "yucky". Then we eat ours and really talk them up -- how delicious the salad is, how wonderful it is that it came from our garden, how yummy the zucchini is, etc. I trust she'll come back around. In the meantime, I'm not giving her more of the other food groups to compensate. If she's that hungry, she'll eat her veggies.
We only do desserts once or twice a week, and usually it's on the weekends. DD loves her treats. I don't make them conditional; if we've agreed to have a treat that day, she gets a treat regardless of how she's eaten that day. I just don't want to use food as a reward.