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#1 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am feeling a little conflicted about what to do. I made turkey sandwiches for ds1 and dh. I asked ds1 if he wanted cheese on his, and he said no. Dh had cheese on his. As they are eating, ds asks if he can have half of dh's sandwich. I ask ds if he just wants a piece of cheese, and he says no. So dh gives him half. Ds takes one bite, then I see him pulling it all apart, breaking the bread up. I ask him not to pull it all apart unless he's going to eat it, because otherwise it's wasted and no one else can eat it. He says he's going to eat it. Fine. He proceeds to eat the cheese, and then says he's done. There's quite a bit of turkey and bread left that no one else really wants to eat since ds kind of mangled it, all the while being cautioned to only do so if he was going to eat it all.

So, do I make him eat the sandwich the next time he's hungry? I hate to force anyone to eat anything they don't want, but he also needs to learn that he can't just waste food like that. We've talked about food, and how food costs money, and if we waste money on food then we don't have money for fun things like toys and the like, but ds either doesn't get it or doesn't care. So if I don't make him eat the sandwich, how do I get him to get that he needs to be more mindful of not wasting food?
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#2 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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My ds has a history of this as well. The rule in our house is, you ask for it you must eat it before you get anything else. I make what the kids want for their breakfast and lunch. Therefore they are getting what they asked for and need to eat it if they want something else. I serve them small portions to lessen the chances of food getting wasted. I think that's key. Therefore if it ends up going down the drain or in the trash since they didn't want it, it wasn't much to begin with. If they love it and eat it up they are welcome to more.

At dinner, I serve a variety of foods that I know they like and have eaten before. If one of the foods is something they don't want that day there are at least two other options they can eat. Again, they get small portions.

In your case I would not have given ds any of dh's sandwich. I would have offered him his own cheese and if he turned it down then that would've ended that. He could eat his sandwich or be finished with lunch. There's, usually, plenty of fruit, veggies, yogurt, or nuts in the house if he wanted something later.
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#3 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 08:34 PM
 
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I would not ever make/force a child to eat something that they didn't want.

I can understand that people do not want to waste food, but I would rather lose half a sandwich than to force the sandwich on the child.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#4 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 08:53 PM
 
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With our 2.5 year old we waste a lot of food. I figure it sort of goes with the territory.

There are plenty of times when I order something at a restaurant - or make myself something - and then decide later that I don't really want all of it. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to eat it all, or it doesn't taste the way I hoped it would. We allow dd to make those same decisions, in that respect.
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#5 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 08:56 PM
 
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I would NOT make him eat it.

Nothing good can come from forcing food on a child.

But it seems like there is a VERY simple solution:

I would only allow smaller amounts on his plate (1/4 of a sandwich for example) letting him know he is welcome to more once that is done.
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#6 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 08:59 PM
 
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My kids have done this, too. We, also, have the rule that if you ask for it, you have to eat if before you get something else. I don't hold with food frivolity. Having two kids adopted from Ethiopia, I can't stand the idea of wasted food, and just because we live in the US and have access to an overabundance of food does not mean we should be wasteful of it or encourage our children to believe that they are entitled to be finicky.

Namaste!
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#7 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 09:05 PM
 
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I don't force them to eat it but I tend to give my older two very small portions of foods that they are known to try to waste. Worst, comes to worst, food does not go to waste in this house. Even if it is torn about my 1 year old (or me) will eat whatever the other two leave behind, usually (he is teething right now and is very picky at the moment but usually he will eat anything in any kind of condition.)

As far as you situation, I would of given him one bite at a time of your DH's sandwich. In our house, if you try to eat my lunch you will only get one bite at a time because I want to loose at little of my lunch as possible!!!
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#8 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There are plenty of times when I order something at a restaurant - or make myself something - and then decide later that I don't really want all of it. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to eat it all, or it doesn't taste the way I hoped it would. We allow dd to make those same decisions, in that respect.
This is how I generally feel and why I am conflicted about this. At 2.5yo I wouldn't even think about it. But I guess it's because we asked ds (who is turning 5 in a few months) specifically not to destroy the sandwich because dh wanted to eat it if ds wasn't going to that it tweaks me a little.

I have never forced a child (or an adult for that matter) to eat anything, and it generally goes against everything I believe about relationships with food and listening to your body.

After reading your replies and thinking about it further, I'm just going to chalk this up to a learning experience and remind ds about this next time he asks for something of ours and balks because we only give him a few bites at a time. It's very important to me that ds understands and appreciates that we are very fortunate to have such an ample supply of food, and that it is important that it not be wasted, but maybe that is still a few years off.
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#9 of 104 Old 01-16-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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This is about the most difficult part of parenting for me. We strive to be non-coersive and so far I have been able to be OK about food, but sometimes I have to go in another room and scream into a pillow. I do not waste food. If I order soemthing or make something I don't like, I force myself to eat it. Not healthy, I know. But our food budget is more than our mortgage and I just cannot justify throwing out good (or at least edible) food. Can. Not. Do. It. My problem, not dd's (or dh's for that matter), but it is so hard for me. I most definately have eating issues. Plus cooking is my one talent. It is the only thing I do that anyone outside of myself thinks is "gifted" so I cannot admit defeat. Yes, f'ed up. Anyway, I am all ears to solutions to this problem. My dd would have insisted on having the whole half too. And I would have just had to bite my lip. I am thinking that they will only want to do it a few times (with maybe a relapse or two). He probably understands wasting food. I am thinking you did everything right here. There really isn't a better solution. You could have offered less than the full half, but if he insisted, what else could you do?
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#10 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 12:17 AM
 
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I would NOT make him eat it.

Nothing good can come from forcing food on a child.

But it seems like there is a VERY simple solution:

I would only allow smaller amounts on his plate (1/4 of a sandwich for example) letting him know he is welcome to more once that is done.
This is exactly how I feel about it. If I have a good feeling that my dd won't eat something she asks for, I give her a small portion and let her have more if she finishes it.
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#11 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 12:38 AM
 
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I figure, a person should never be forced to eat anything. And kids are still learning how to read their hunger cues, judge how much food they need, and what foods they like. So many of us adults that were forced to clean our plate as children now dutifully clean our plates whether we're hungry or not, and then complain about the extra weight we carry around.
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#12 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 01:13 AM
 
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Right now we are going through a thing about "trust" because DS have been teeling some fibs (totally age appropriate). So I would chalk this up to an experience (I WOULD tell him that I was upset/disappointed that he did what he did). But the NEXT time he wanted half of daddy's sandwich I would tell him that I was sorry but that since he destroyed it (AFTER I ASKED HIM NOT TO - that's the issue here IMO) I couldn't trust him not to do the same thing. I would give him a bite at a time but not the entire thing.

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#13 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 02:26 AM
 
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Daddy gave it to him, so I guess I feel it was his to mangle! Daddy does not have to give him food that he would like to eat himself. DS can mangle his own food next time.
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#14 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 02:38 AM
 
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Feed it to the dog or the cat or the neighbor's dog or cat? Or take the bread and feed ducks and eat the turkey? Or feed the turkey to a stray cat?

We don't waste food here as a matter of course, but find creative solutions for food wastage that might occur. Like composting. It's another way to recycle.

My littlest always eats the crusts from my biggests sandwhiches. And the cat will eat whatever fish we don't want but don't want to save.

Now throwing what you don't want on the floor: that makes me crazy.

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#15 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 03:04 AM
 
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We have had similar issues at our house. Kitchen rules are that if you ask for it, you eat it. If you don't eat it you don't get any snacks, treats, other food until you do eat it. If you still don't eat it, then you will not get served that food again. None of my children now are allowed food from "us", the adults in our home. Often times they will beg for something we are eating only to waste it. Often at times this was the last thing of that sort to eat, which really makes me upset because to me its like a form of stealing.
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#16 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 10:03 AM
 
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I'd try getting him to help prepare lunch for everyone (including his little brother.) Seeing that there is effort involved in preparing food might make the point more clearly than any rules.

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#17 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoopervegan
]You could have offered less than the full half, but if he insisted, what else could you do?
Tell him, "I'm sorry, but this is mine and I don't want to share an entire half of the sandwich. You have a sandwich too."

Namaste!
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#18 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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Boy, I know exactly where you are coming from. Wasted food is a real touch-point for me. I've lived in and visited countries where people have no options about what they will eat that day. Not to start a debate, but food seems to follow the same mentality of the other excessive abundances in the US. I want to teach my dd conservation in all aspects of life and that DEFINITELY extends to not wasting food.

So many people say that they don't want to FORCE their kids to eat, but I think it's important to teach kids to really think things through before requesting something or discarding food. It can easily be refrigerated and heated later as a snack. About 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in the US each year. That's staggering!! And, hopefully it makes people think.

<Stepping off of my soapbox>

We try to do small portions. When that doesn't work, if someone else won't eat the food, we put it in the fridge and dd must finish it when she's hungry. We talk a lot about conservation, recycling, reusing what we can and not wasting. She's only 4 (next month), but I can see it getting through. She will often ask to finish her lunch on the way home from school so that her lunch isn't wasted. (Her lunch time is short and she usually can't finish her food in time.)
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#19 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 11:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic
Boy, I know exactly where you are coming from. Wasted food is a real touch-point for me. I've lived in and visited countries where people have no options about what they will eat that day. Not to start a debate, but food seems to follow the same mentality of the other excessive abundances in the US. I want to teach my dd conservation in all aspects of life and that DEFINITELY extends to not wasting food.
:

I'm glad someone else brought this up. I wanted to but I didn't feel comfortable doing it. Americans have this idea that we are entitled by our comparative wealth and privilege to be finicky and fickle. My Ethiopian son and daughter either ate what was served or didn't eat, and personally, I see NOTHING wrong with this. "Needing" to have lots of food choices and saying it's not healthy to eat food that isn't totally appealing "right now" are products of extravagence. Wasting food is a a cultural artefact that I don't wish to pass on to my kids.

Namaste!
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#20 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 11:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
Wasting food is a a cultural artefact that I don't wish to pass on to my kids.Namaste!
Well said!
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#21 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
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I'm glad someone else brought this up. I wanted to but I didn't feel comfortable doing it. Americans have this idea that we are entitled by our comparative wealth and privilege to be finicky and fickle. My Ethiopian son and daughter either ate what was served or didn't eat, and personally, I see NOTHING wrong with this. "Needing" to have lots of food choices and saying it's not healthy to eat food that isn't totally appealing "right now" are products of extravagence. Wasting food is a a cultural artefact that I don't wish to pass on to my kids.

Namaste!

I totally agree with you. In our house, they have to at least TRY what is served. I am not a short order cook. My oldest will try to get sweets (we keep very little of that around) for a snack, claiming he is SOOOOO hungry. I tell him that there are apples on the table and bananas, and if he is that hungry he can have one. But OH NO. My thing is, if you are really hungry, you will eat the apple if it is there and he DOES like apples. The only time I make an alternate meal for the kids, if it is something I KNOW they do not like and me and DH just want to have it, like fajitas or something extra spicy. But most nights, it is "eat it or leave it". Even our 1 yr old is getting adventurous and loves most things I cook, cut up small of course. He makes the most of those 6 teeth, LOL.

About the sandwich. Next time, I would tell DS that he can have his own sandwich, and that is it. If he refuses, well, he will eat at the next meal. A refused meal or two is NOT going to hurt a child.
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#22 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 12:29 PM
 
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i, too, really want to teach dd good things about food use.

she's nearly 22 months. i really like the rule about if you ask for it, you have to eat it before you get something else. (in addition to the issue of wasting food, i think it's tied to learning the importance of words.. i don't know how to explain what i mean, so i'll move on.)

but i find it difficult to do that at this exact stage (i try to do lots of small portions, though), simply because i'm not confident that she always understands what i'm saying (ie, "you asked for that pita bread with cheese, so i don't want to warm up the pasta for you, i'd like you to eat what you asked for...)

my question is: for those of you that implement some form of this rule in your house, at what age did you start being firm about it?
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#23 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby
We've talked about food, and how food costs money, and if we waste money on food then we don't have money for fun things like toys and the like, but ds either doesn't get it or doesn't care.
I went back and re-read your post and I had another comment. I'm not being critical here, but as a conservation advocate, I wanted to say that perhaps you can teach him to not waste because it's simply wasteful. Not because there won't be money for toys (although I realize that seems to be a natural motivator), but because it's our responsibility to not be wasteful. Just a thought.
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#24 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 12:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bufomander
my question is: for those of you that implement some form of this rule in your house, at what age did you start being firm about it?
Dd will be 4 in a few weeks. It is a hard and fast RULE that we do not waste in general, but it's not perfect in practice. Dd and I frequently put things in the recycling bin together, explaining all along about what we are doing. She has been to a "reduce, reuse, recycle" program at the library. I think she really understands what we are doing, but not yet WHY. The other thing we do is to talk about how we can recycle her food if she doesn't want to eat it. For example... a turkey sandwich... you can toast the bread in the oven, turn it into breadcrumbs, and make (from scratch, of course), turkey with mac and cheese, baked off with the breadcrumbs on top. I've never actually done that, but this would be something we'd at least TALK about. So, we're not yet FIRM about it, but we try in every way we can.
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#25 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 02:08 PM
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ITA with OTF. I won't force my child to eat the sandwich now, but if he wants a snack or something different to eat he has to finish what's in front of him first. There have been many times where he has said my belly's full from dinner (and only eaten a small scoop of pasta) but then he'll eat three bowls of ice cream. We don't waste food in this house.
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#26 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 02:24 PM
 
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I do think it is appropriate to teach children that wasting food is not very responsible. We discuss this with dd on very simple terms. But I do not think forcing a child to eat anything is OK. Kids can learn the message without being forced to eat something. I like the idea of finding other ways to make the food useful....composting, feeding to cat/dog, etc.....
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#27 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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I serve very small portions to little ones. I also don't have a prblem with wrapping it up and taking it in the car with us, or using it for a snack later. There is a whole lot of room inbetween "eat this or you get nothing else" and "Let's throw this entire sandwich in the trash, because who cares"

Storage/freezing aren't dirty words, afer all. You would also be surprised at what leftovers a hungry child stuck in traffic, or waiting for a sibling to finish gymnastics class , will eat.
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#28 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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There is a whole lot of room inbetween "eat this or you get nothing else" and "Let's throw this entire sandwich in the trash, because who cares"
I think it takes lots of time and patients to teach values. They are not learned by being forced to do something, but by example-- through the messages we give every day in the way we live. I give small children small portions. We save leftovers for later and talk about not being wasteful (not just with food). But I would never say a child had to eat everything they requested. I just don't think forcing an issue is the best way to learn. The child is likely to focus on the unpleasantness of being forced, rather than the value you are trying to pass along.
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#29 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by velochic
I went back and re-read your post and I had another comment. I'm not being critical here, but as a conservation advocate, I wanted to say that perhaps you can teach him to not waste because it's simply wasteful. Not because there won't be money for toys (although I realize that seems to be a natural motivator), but because it's our responsibility to not be wasteful. Just a thought.
Oh, we most definitely have talked about the responsibility of not wasting food. It just didn't seem to be sinking in for ds - after all, all he sees is an overabundance of food all around him. And I haven't wanted to get too heavy about the whole "other people don't have enough food" issue because it feels a little too deep for him right now. He gets very upset about people being hurt or sick, so I don't want to introduce confused hurt feelings into the picture. So I tried to go the route of wasted food=wasted opportunity to do fun stuff.

And I guess I wasn't totally clear in my OP - when I said "force" I don't mean physically forcing it into his mouth or making him sit at the table until he ate it. I meant not fixing him any other food until that was eaten. But I got off easy, as here is what happened: About 15 minutes after I wrote this post, he asked for some oatmeal. I explained to him that he still had the turkey sandwich from earlier, and that I was disappointed that he tore it up instead of eating it. He went ahead and ate it without complaint, and then I made him some oatmeal.

I'm still not sure entirely how I feel about this. I agree with both sides - I agree that it's important to teach respect for food and instill responsibility to not waste it unnecessarily, but I also firmly believe in following a body's hunger cues. We do have an overabundance of food, and we do have those choices - that is a luxury that he is growing up with. I just want him to understand that it is a privilege and a luxury.
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#30 of 104 Old 01-17-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby
Oh, we most definitely have talked about the responsibility of not wasting food. It just didn't seem to be sinking in for ds - after all, all he sees is an overabundance of food all around him. And I haven't wanted to get too heavy about the whole "other people don't have enough food" issue because it feels a little too deep for him right now. He gets very upset about people being hurt or sick, so I don't want to introduce confused hurt feelings into the picture. So I tried to go the route of wasted food=wasted opportunity to do fun stuff.

And I guess I wasn't totally clear in my OP - when I said "force" I don't mean physically forcing it into his mouth or making him sit at the table until he ate it. I meant not fixing him any other food until that was eaten. But I got off easy, as here is what happened: About 15 minutes after I wrote this post, he asked for some oatmeal. I explained to him that he still had the turkey sandwich from earlier, and that I was disappointed that he tore it up instead of eating it. He went ahead and ate it without complaint, and then I made him some oatmeal.

I'm still not sure entirely how I feel about this. I agree with both sides - I agree that it's important to teach respect for food and instill responsibility to not waste it unnecessarily, but I also firmly believe in following a body's hunger cues. We do have an overabundance of food, and we do have those choices - that is a luxury that he is growing up with. I just want him to understand that it is a privilege and a luxury.

Not sure why you are not discussing the many pp's who suggested just giving him VERY tiny portions at a time. (like 1/6 of a sandwhich).

Why would this not give you the best of both worlds. Very little waste if he did not eat it. Un-messed with food left over. No having to tell him that he must eat it to get someithing else???????????????????
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