Do you make "special" dinners for your toddler if they don't like what you are eating - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 11:07 AM
 
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I have three kiddos, and have never had to make special or separate meals for them. The older kids will make a pb&j or a bowl of cereal if they don't like what I have made. My 1.5 year old doesn't eat dairy (allergic), so obviously I do make meals that cater to that issue. I am an almost vegan, so most times this isn't an issue. I try to not spice up my dishes because the kids don't like things too "hot". I add spices on the side for DH and I. I do a lot of ethinc food, and my kids have developed an awesome palate for off beat and fun foods.

I also don't want them to think that I am a short order cook So I make meals that have some component that will please everyone, but I don't drop everything to make a new meal if someone doesn't like what is served. I think that sends the wrong message to kids. My older kids feel empowered when they make their own food BTW.

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#92 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 11:16 AM
 
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I am amazed by many of the responses here. Why do people insist on making food a battle ground?? We may all eat similar things for dinner, but it is a rare day when we all eat the same thing. Some days we don't eat the same food at any point! We do not make food an issue at all. The one rule is that if you ask for it, you need to eat. Not even all of it needs to be eaten, but usually, it does get eaten. It is his decision. No coercion.

Why do people have such rigid rules on dining? I will never understand this.

If I am in the kitchen or dh is in the kitchen making a meal, neither of us cares that they are making a few different things. Even on a work night, it just really doesn't matter.

I believe that eating should be a time of having good food and enjoying each other's company.
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#93 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 11:50 AM
 
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Hi,

While I can see what you are saying, I have to say that my dinner table is never a "battleground". If the older kids don't like the meal, they are old enough to get up and make something else. I make enough variety within a meal that usually everyone likes some part of it. I make the whole meal myself, with some "help" from the older kiddos. DH gets home from work around the same time that I serve dinner. Weekends are more laid back, and DH loves to cook.

Now, as far as lunch and breakfast go, I usually just ask everyone what they want to eat (DH and DS are at work and school for lunch so it is just me, DD and the baby). We also eat all of our dinners as a family, which unfotunately is becoming a thing of the past.

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#94 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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At our house, I make a big family dinner. Sometimes DH eats it, sometimes he eats leftovers from the fridge. If DS want to eat what I make, fine. If he wants to share from his father's plate, fine.

If he doesn't want to eat anything at dinner, I will offer him a bowl of cereal as a second option. Usually, he just isn't hungry. He's not even 2 yet, so I'm pretty lenient with what he does get. If he wants food after we've eaten and cleaned up, I give it to him.

I grew up in a house where if you didn't eat what was served, you went hungry. DH has such a different philosophy that I thik our kids will get to eat whatever they want. We try to have only whole foods in the house tho, so that limits the 'junk' they might eat.

I think having lots of nutritious options available takes a lot of the fighting out of it. I don't care if he eats an apple, a banana or a peach - I just want him to eat some fruit.

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#95 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 12:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raynbow
I'm willing to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a substitute - but only until they are old enough to make it themsevles. Not the epitome of nutrition, but solid enough (on whole wheat bread) - and since my toddler is usually willing to eat what I make, it's not really a big deal.

My stepdaughter had an issue with eating anything we made for dinner... and it just became a huge problem. I wonder now if I could have handled it better by just not letting it become a point of contention... she was (most likely) doing it for attention and maybe if I had just let her make a PB & J sandwich with no fuss.. ah, well... what is past is past.
My cousin is 11 years old and exists soley on PB sandwiches, cold cereal, milk and fruit juice. IMO she's not very healthy either. Her color doesn't seem healthy, kind of pasty. I think there needs to be some kind of a balance, I mean what do you do if your child slowly narrows her food choices down to 3? and won't budge?

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#96 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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sometimes i do, i know my kids don't like ribs so i will make them spaghetti or something else. i also had a stepmother who would make me sit for hours in front of food, i hate mayonaisse on cheese sandwiches or caraway bread but she would make me sit there until i was done. Once she told my father and brother to grab a handful of mashed potatoes and smash in on my head because i wasn't eating it quick enough. It took forever to get it out of my hair.
So i am a little more easy going about them eating it all.
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#97 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 12:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Nope, but I'm not going to prepare a single thing.
See, I get not wanting to be a short order cook, but I think this is harsh.

I grew up in a house where the food served at supper was almost never something I liked. My parents were big steak eaters, and I hated steak. It was always steak or pork, some kind of bland overly steamed vegetable, and potatoes. I would eat the potatoes mostly, but they were rationed out. I went to bed hungry more nights than not, and I really don't think that was good for me. I would snack tonnes after school, because I knew that was the last food I would get til the next morning, and usually what I would eat was ice cream, sweetened cereal, etc. I got kind of obsessive about food because I didn't like feeling hungry.

With my daughter, she is 2.5, but like a pp said, we are very casual about meals. There is lots of stuff in my kitchen that is easy to prepare, that she can eat if she doesn't want what my roomie and I are eating. A cut up tomato, cut up avocado, hard boiled egg, grilled cheese sandwich on good bread, fruit, whatever.

It doesn't have to be really complicated, but I believe that it is important to give children an opportunity to eat foods that they want, instead of having to choose between something they hate and going hungry. I certainly don't think catering to them a little leads to issues with food - in fact I think the opposite is true.

I can understand if you have many children that this could get to be too much, but then wouldn't some of the children be old enough to do their own basic food prep, like washing a piece of fruit, or making a sandwich?
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#98 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 12:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadianmommax3
sometimes i do, i know my kids don't like ribs so i will make them spaghetti or something else. i also had a stepmother who would make me sit for hours in front of food, i hate mayonaisse on cheese sandwiches or caraway bread but she would make me sit there until i was done. Once she told my father and brother to grab a handful of mashed potatoes and smash in on my head because i wasn't eating it quick enough. It took forever to get it out of my hair.
So i am a little more easy going about them eating it all.

I am so sorry That is just horrible. I don't believe in forcing anyone to eat anything they don't like. My sister has an eating disorder and it definetely stems from my step-father's obsession with "thinness". Because I don't eat meat, and my DH and kids do, I do sometimes make two meals. One for me, and whoever choses to eat veg and one meat meal. The sides are usually veg, so I just make two separate main dishes. I only make meat meals once or twice a month, so really the house is mainly veg.

R
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#99 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 01:11 PM
 
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For me, there is room for flexibility when it comes to meals and food. Like a PP stated, food will not be a battling point (or a negotiating tool, either). I'm just not comfortable with that, and am happy to provide a bowl of cereal or a plate of cheese and crackers to anyone who wants one. Big people or little people My eldest daughter will help pour herself cereal, and is able to fix her own plate of crackers and cheese, for example. It truly isn't more work for me, and even if it takes a moment to help her out it's not a biggie for me.

I think (and not directing this to anyone here) that food has become such a point of exercising parental muscle. I see this in mainstream communities and in magazine articles ~ the fear of letting them get away with something or being finicky or whatever it is. I think that appetites vary, and I'd rather err on the side of being overly flexibile (as some would see it) than overly rigid.

I am just very wary of food = love, food = obedience, food = conformity, I guess. It's my own bias, perhaps.
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#100 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 11:53 PM
 
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I make my child what he wants. It is kind and fair. We get to eat what we want. I believe he has equal rights and I like to serve. I am not a short order cook though. I prepare dinner with what everyone likes in mind. I ask what each child wants and we kind of vote. If my youngest doesn't like anything, I will not cook (no short order cook) but I will offer something uncooked that requires very little effort like bread and cheese, yogurt, fruit etc. I believe they learn to be kind from the way they are treated so I recommend kindness and generosity and find preparing additional uncooked food a good way to meet the need of a child who finds nothing to eat on the dinner table.
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#101 of 114 Old 05-29-2006, 09:21 PM
 
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When DH was little, spaghetti sauce made his lips tickle. So his mom would make him oatmeal and stir in the butter until it melted saying, "Where's the buuuutter?" in a sweet, southern sing-song voice. He still remembers it fondly and sometimes I hear him asking our son, "Where's the buuuutter?"

I pray that my son will have such fond, loving memories of me when he's 40.
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#102 of 114 Old 05-29-2006, 11:49 PM
 
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My kids have a pretty early bedtime and dh gets home just in time for their bedtime so most nights I make them dinner and sit with them while they eat and then dh and I eat after they go to bed. Sometimes we eat the same thing but more often than not I make us something else. My kids are picky and won't eat nearly the variety that dh and I will but they eat a pretty balanced diet so we don't worry about it. I'm not a short order cook when we eat together but it doesn't bother me to make them a scrambled egg or grilled cheese or offer a bowl of yogurt or cereal.
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#103 of 114 Old 05-30-2006, 04:24 AM
 
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I don't usually make a separate meal for DD, but if she doesn't want to eat what I am eating, she doesn't go hungry. I always have some rice and (beans, spinach, mushrooms, etc.) in the fridge that I can just heat up for her. I have also found that if she resists eating when I am eating, she will, 9 times out of 10, eat that food later.
She is sensitive to carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, and wheat, so she can't have anything with these ingredients. However, she is only sensitive to wheat through my breastmilk, so I can eat foods containing the others. If this is the case, I do make her something different since I haven't investigated cross-contamination yet.

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#104 of 114 Old 05-30-2006, 02:43 PM
 
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Nope. The only time we make her something else/modify her meal is if what we are eating is super-spicy.

eta: I should note that my dd is NOT usually a picky eater, though. My DH on the other hand....

I partly agree w/ posters who think that giving your toddler a different meal is setting a bad precedent. But...I only partly agree. Like adults, children have different moods and cravings. What I don't like is when adults insist their children will ONLY eat chicken nuggets or other similar crappy food. The adults are the ones doing the shopping, preparing the meal & serving the food. If you child will "only eat junk food" the adult is the one responsible for introducing that food in the first place. If my dd did not want what we were having, I would be willing to make a healthy substitution within reason. I would definitely encourage sharing in the family meal first.
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#105 of 114 Old 05-30-2006, 04:22 PM
 
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I'm with you! Whatever mommy fixes is what we ALL get! It's not only helpful for us mommies, but it teaches good manners for when the kids are visiting others.....and in some cultures it's rude to turn away food because "you don't like it". So, we try to offer a couple of things, and they need to at least eat a little of it all.....and can eat more of what they like if they want : ) It's challenging at times for sure....but in the long run, I think it teaches our children more about respect than it does about food!
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#106 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 11:19 AM
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I don't make an extra meal, but I will make a sandwich or a different fruit or vegetable. I also usually make some foods that I know she will eat with the new food or food she may not want so that I don't have to get up again. DD can't buy and prepare her own food and I only buy what I will eat so I try not to get upset about preparing something else.
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#107 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 01:32 PM
 
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Hmm, well, actually I am going to be making a "special" dinner for me and DH and any other grownups and DD gets the "real" dinner.

She is 17mo, and just now we are making up an entire new diet plan for her to combat severe intestinal issues. Her new menu has to be extremely high fiber, no dairy, no potatoes, rice, white starcy stuff, etc.

DH and I are not sick and don't need to eat like that and really enjoy eating dairy and potatoes especially. For the most part though, DD gets the same vegetables served as I make for the whole meal, and for our bread and pasta products, we have already switched to all whole-grain for everyone, much to DH's chagrin.

Also, DD doesn't like beef yet. I think she will, she just isn't ready. So when we have hamburgers or a pot roast or something, I will serve it to her but she mostly will only eat the side items and not the meat.
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#108 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 01:43 PM
 
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I to come from a family of punitive eaters. And I was picky and then I think it just turned into a battle of wills. I would sit at the table for hours every night, until eventually my dad would put food in my mouth and hold my jaw shut while I gagged and swallowed. becasue of this I feel in some ways incapable of having good judgement about this and follow dh's lead. Our meal rules are basically this:

1) You don't have to sit at the table and eat with us, but you do have to respect the meal, which basically means leave us alone to eat in peace, if ds doesen't want to eat he usually sits under or near the table and plays quietly.
2) I am not a short order cook, I saw aunts who fell into this and made literally three seperate meals at each time. No way. If they don't like whats for dinner they can get something else (I feel so wierd about it I can't even do a one bite thing, I am just worried I will take it personally) that requires little to no preperation. Yogurt/fruit/crackers/pb bread. we generally haev only reasonable healthy options around so I don't worry to much about it.
3) DS only ate pureed food for a short time and then I started just giving him whatever was finger appropriate out of our meals.

I am really uncomfortable with food disipline and I suspect we often over estimate how much food our kids really need. DS can be a picky eater but its toally random, his loves and hates fluctuate madly every day, so I think it's more about him asserting himslef than anything else, which is fine with me. And you can get him to eat darn near anything if you pretend to be mad at him for eating it, he gets so excited about being "naughty" that he wil chew it up and swallow it before he even knows what it is!
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#109 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 01:48 PM
 
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I always offer ds what we are eating but he can be picky and gets in "moods" with his food. One day he loves it and the next he hates it. I do not want to make meal time a battle so I will offer him something else if he does not like what we are eating, I do not cook a completely separate meal though.

I have too many memories of drowning eggs in catsup and sitting at the table with a hunk of steak in my mouth for hours. Not pleasant!!! I do not want to do that to my ds. I was a pretty picky eater but now I'll try just about everything and I hope my ds will be willing to as well.
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#110 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 03:47 PM
 
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I have only read the first two pages of posts to this thread, but wanted to throw in my two cents while I have the chance.

I do not make a different meal for my 2 year old (she's 26 months) but I do find myself getting up to get things for her, sometimes. For us, it generally works this way: she is in the midst of eating her food, and she'll suddenly look up and ask for "kiwi, please?" Or she'll ask for yogurt (she's used to plain yogurt; we buy it locally) or maybe applesauce. (These are all things she's asked for at least once, at one time or another. Not perpetual requests, and not to replace the dinner she's eating.)

She's also asked for "hini butter" (tahini) on Ak-Mak crackers, especially if I've offered it as a snack recently, and MANY times she's asked for cheese. Sometimes cheese and "brown crackers," which is what she calls Kashi multigrain TLC's. She goes through phases of asking for oranges a lot. And she sometimes will ask for walnuts. Every once in a very long while, she'll ask for a cup of "cow's milk." (She doesn't really drink it routinely, so this is sort of a special request, too.)

She usually asks for one thing, if she's asking (though sometimes it's a pair of things if she's used to them going together--hini butter on Ak-Mak, cheese with crackers, walnuts & cranberries, etc.)

It seems to me that her requests often make sense, nutritionally. Most times that she has asked for something like cheese or yogurt, I'm happy to get it for her because I suddenly realize I'm not certain that she's really had enough fat. And if I've got it, I will sometimes give her half an avocado in chunks (as part of her dinner) when there isn't any avocado on our plates. Not necessarily by her request, but different from our meal.

And I've noticed that she'll ask for orange or kiwi or blueberries when she's eating meat, especially if I have not combined the meat with tomatoes or some other source of Vitamin C in our meal. (Or sometimes she'll ask in addition to the tomatoes we already have.) It makes sense to me that she might need the vitamin C to improve her body's absorption of the iron in the meat, and I don't find it impossible to believe that she's asking for something out of some kind of intuitive awareness or instinct about what she needs.

Once she did ask for noodles (we had had leftover spaghetti for lunch, and she'd eaten it all and wanted more) and I remember she was upset when I told her I didn't have any. She got over it, but she was upset, expecting me to make some. The same has happened if we've been out of milk when she's asked. I guess I could have cooked pasta for her, but it seemed ridiculous since she was basically eating her meal, had other things to eat, and it would have been a fair bit of effort. So maybe I'm not acting like a short order cook with her, I don't know. If she asked for pasta during dinner (when we weren't having pasta), I can't imagine myself fixing it for her.

However, the only food she consistently doesn't seem to eat is bell peppers. She is accepting of mosts foods, at least most of the time. So it's not a matter of asking for an alternative to her dinner and me accomodating that.

True, I can't always predict what she'll eat and what she'll ignore (of the things that she likes, I mean. It seems to go in cycles: lately she hasn't seemed as crazy about pasta but more interested in eating all the other ingredients OUT of the pasta dish, which is a switch from when she would devour noodles first) but I've never known her to flat-out refuse to eat a meal that we're eating.

And sometimes I've found that giving her some chunks of cheese, or putting some frozen berries on her plate, or otherwise accomodating her request, makes her eat up something that she was previously stalled on in the meal.

I have sometimes wondered if accomodating her requests for extra things is somehow "bad," in that "maybe I'm making a mistake by following my instinct, here" kind of way. I don't know; it seems to be working for us. I find things that are compelling in various points of view expressed here. It does make me wonder.
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#111 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 07:49 PM
 
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We've been pretty lucky with DS. He's 21 months now, and there isn't much he doesn't like. And he's very good about trying new things. There have only been a couple of times that he really didn't like what we were having at all and so I made him a quick alternative--some pierogies, steamed broccoli, hummus w/pita, etc. But most of the time he'll eat what we're eating.
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#112 of 114 Old 06-01-2006, 11:27 PM
 
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Just to add my two cents...I read and heard some really good advice to help alleviate feeding issues. As a parent, it's our responsibility to offer healthy, nutritious choices for food (and we DO NOT want to be short order cooks in our house and we DO want meal times to be family times which to us means everyone has the same choices more or less to eat) and it is our child's responsibility to eat the food in front of him. If he chooses not to, then that's his choice and we know he won't starve. So we absolutely include him in our eating...we all eat the same. It does make us more conscious of our food choices as well..making sure we eat vegetables and other healthy options.
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#113 of 114 Old 06-02-2006, 10:39 AM
 
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Most of the time DS(13months) he will eat what we eat. But some times he dosent want it. So yes I will cook him something seperate from what we are eating. If he dosent want what we eat.
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#114 of 114 Old 06-05-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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Hi, lately my toddler is asking for foods I would rather not give her. I don't make an issue out of it. I do my best to feed her healthy. She is a reflection of me -- I have not been eating healthy -- and she helps me to see this. I know if I eat helathier, she will learn by example.
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