10 yr old DD and fights about food - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if I'm posting this in the right place, but DD and I butt heads a lot, and the majority of the time, I find that it's about food. As much as I'd love us to be a super-healthy sheltered family, we're not. DD goes to public school and is allowed to buy lunch twice a week. I know those school lunches are garbage, but she has early days twice a week for band, and is lugging a heavy instrument and her book bag, so it's easier for her.

What I'd like her to do is pack a sandwich, a snack, fruit and a treat. That seems reasonable to me. However, I notice that any snack I buy (i.e. goldfish crackers) is gone in a matter of days because she packs a HUGE bag and says, "You don't understand how hungry I get." She refuses to take fruit, because she says it gets "gross" by the time she's ready to eat it at lunch, even if she packs it with an ice pack. She puts a piece of lunch meat in a bag because she says she hates sandwiches. So basically her lunch consists of a piece or two of lunch meat (which I' don't even think is healthy) and all carbs and junk food.

I've threatened to stop buying any junk food at all if she can't eat it in moderation, but then DH gets upset that we have no chips or anything. I also have a 16 month old, and DH and I both work, so things are crazy around here, and I'm not always around to be policing her lunch-packing and after school snacking. Oh, and she also says to me at dinner, "Why do you always have to make food that I hate?" She also claims to hate all breakfast foods now, such as eggs, oatmeal, etc. and will only eat flavored cream of wheat or will skip breakfast altogether. I know that she uses all of her spending money on junk food from the snack cart at school or from vending machines, etc.

This is a girl who ate tofu, black beans and avocado slices as a toddler without batting an eyelash. I bake and cook from scratch, and feel like my only downfall is keeping snack/junk foods around. My hope was that they would be an incentive for her to pack lunches so I wouldn't have to keep paying for her to eat the unhealthy school lunches.

I've talked to her about nutrition until I'm blue in the face. Both of my parents died of cancer, and she knows that. I talk about diabetes, heart disease, obesity (though she's very thin), etc, and try to scare her, because I'm a nurse, but her response to that is always very short-lived.

So what do I do? Turn my home into a nutrition boot-camp this summer to de-tox her? Then what happens when she starts school in the fall? We've also tried making lists of healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks she likes and posting that on the side of the fridge, but that didn't help either. I'm SO frustrated, and worried about her health!

Julie, wife to DH , mom of DD 8/99 and DS 1/09 , and #3 due 11/14/10
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#2 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 11:23 AM
 
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I would just back off. There's never any "winning" when it comes to food and kids. You can't force them to eat, you can only provide the food.
So she likes lunch meats, doesn't like fresh fruit because it gets bruised, likes goldfish crackers and cream of wheat - and you both work so don't have a lot of time for prep.
Some ideas:
odwalla protein drink before school or homemade smoothies
baked tofu squares instead of lunch meats if she liked tofu before
healthier lunch meats or even vegetarian ones bc they don't have dyes and preservatives
kashi snack bars
have her help with meal preparation so she's more likely to want to eat the meal
buy a limited amount of snacks and say that you won't reup until a certain day
hardboiled eggs
have carrots and other veggies and dip at home to snack on
make fruit salads or fruit puddings and store in fridge for easy snacking at home
offer her the option of taking dried fruit to school - unsulfured peaches and mangos and bananas and apples are yummy!
muffins with hemp seeds and nuts and fruit for breakfast
string cheese in her lunch

She's growing right now and is likely going to be ravenous at times and will most likely burn off the large amount of carbs she's consuming so i wouldn't worry about the carbs right now.
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#3 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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I pack homemade "lunchables". Slices of cheese, crackers, and pieces of lunch meat (nitrate free).

Ask her to help you make a grocery list to make her feel like her opinion matters. My 11 year old is ravenous all.the.time. It would drive me crazy that she would scarf her dinner down and before anyone else is finished, she would offer to say, finish her sister's food if she didn't. Then, dp and I talked and he made me realize that she is in the midst of a HUGE growth spurt. She really is that hungry. Carbs are energy.
I think as long as there is a good balance of healthy and semi-junk, it'll be fine.
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#4 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I understand about her being hungry, but she doesn't even eat dinner like she's hungry. She picks at it and then tries to scrounge for snacks and dessert later on. If she doesn't eat her dinner she can't eat anything else for the rest of the night, so she usually eats the minimum possible.

And a lot of healthy snacks I've tried with her, like dried fruit, kashi bars, etc. She thinks they're all "gross". But there are some ideas I'm going to try, so thanks for your input!

Julie, wife to DH , mom of DD 8/99 and DS 1/09 , and #3 due 11/14/10
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#5 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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Coming from a place your daughter is sort of in, I'd like to say don't worry about it! My mom provided healthy meals and snacks, but mostly I ate junk food for most of my 18 years living at home. At a very young age I started to refuse to eat meat of any kind, I was picky, so she was glad I just ate, even if it was junk. I ate crackers, pretzles, cookies, goldfish, cheese, some fruit, virtually no veggies, no meat, mostly just carbs and protiens (like from cheese or even flavored milk) I look back at my childhood and can't really believe my mom let me eat all that crap, but she just wanted me to eat SOMETHING. I understand where she was coming from. I was also very skinny, and had a SUPER HIGH metabolisim so I ate EVERY 2 SECONDS!!!! As an adult I have to say that so far I have no lasting effects of the junk I ate and now I'm a vegetarian who mostly consumes a raw diet of nuts seeds, fruits, vegies, and various super foods, with dairy and eggs thrown in their for protien. I cook from scratch, and eat 100% oraginic, I am aware of health and vitality through foods, and I'm very healthy. So even if she eats crap like I did, she's not destined to become an obese woman with diabetes, and cancer!!

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#6 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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It's good that you are on board with how hungry a preteen can be. Eating a bag of goldfish crackers at one go sounds overboard, but frankly, my dd and her friends could do that and more. Their bodies are growing at such an amazing rate at this age. You may need to toss some of your ideas up in the air for a bit in order to see what's going to work. For instance, my child has started to pick at her dinner, but a few hours later is honestly starving and there isn't any reason for her not to eat. Her body is telling her something, so we try to have some good easy protein or a healthy carb/protein for before bed snacks.

It seems that often in this forum we see that the very beginnings of adolescence are heralded by our kids starting to make their own food choices and expressing different needs than they've had before around food. I think it's pretty understandable when we are brought up short and try to bring it back around to healthy, decent schedule, etc. The problem is that they are not little kids, their needs are different, their preferences are different, and it's up to us not to create huge battles around their changing needs. Easier said than done, I know. But it's worth it, IMO.

The school lunch thing is tough, but if she's eating, that's good. If she stuffs lunch meat in a bag, maybe you could alternatively make a roll-up of lunch meat (cheese inside?), and secure it with a toothpick. It seems really important that lunch food be quick, portable and easy to eat-at least from what I see. Would she like something done in a roll-up bread? I would take her shopping as other posters have suggested and get her input. Personally, our fallbacks are smoothies in the AM.
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#7 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 08:23 PM
 
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At her age, she's not only getting ready for a growth spurt, but she's also starting to make her own choices and decisions about her life and her body. That includes what she fuels it with. There has to be a middle ground - banning everything she craves is only setting her up for food-related issues in the future. As is your fighting over food with her.

I would suggest your sitting down - on your own - and deciding which parts of your food choices are non-negotiable, and which you can let go of. (I would also let go of the whole "your grandparents died of cancer, and if you eat junk food you will too!" plan of action. I can see her eyes rolling from here.)

Then sit down with her, and have a heart to heart about what SHE would like to have in her diet and how you can achieve that while staying within your non-negotiables. Give her some control over her diet - stop making it something you dictate to her. Ask her if she would like to prepare dinner one night a week for the family - her choice. Find out what SHE would like to take for lunch. My daughter hates sandwiches, but she'll do a veggie wrap. We prep the veggies, then she takes a wrap and puts it together at lunch. Sometimes she takes cold cuts, rolled up, in a ziploc. Sometimes a bagel. Sometimes a salad. Sometimes we grill up some hot dogs (gasp!) and she takes them. Chicken cutlets are a favorite. There is no point in sending her with food she will not eat.

As for the amounts... My girl can - and will - eat a family-sized pack of Cheez-Its in one sitting. Tonight, she's having two 1/2 lb burgers, two cobs of corn, and a large salad. And ice cream for dessert. I expect she'll be scrounging for food by around 9. The child is hungry, and I intend to feed her.
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#8 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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Oh - breakfast foods! I HATE breakfast foods! I'd much rather have dinner for breakfast. Your daughter may be the same.
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#9 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Based on your replies, I'm getting the sense that I'm freaking abut this way more than I need to.

My mom was a dietician and health nut, and when I was growing up, we didn't eat junk food at all. Potato chips were a rare treat. And here my mom and dad both died of cancer in their 60's. So I think that the whole diet and health thing is hard-wired in me, and it's my fears that are making me obsess about what my kids eat.

I do think there are some things I can do, based on your suggestions. I think I also need to remember that this may just be a phase and hopefully one day she'll outgrow it...

Julie, wife to DH , mom of DD 8/99 and DS 1/09 , and #3 due 11/14/10
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#10 of 20 Old 05-14-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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I have very similar feelings to yours. My DD has always had a very healthy diet. She nursed until she was almost 4, has never had a fast-food burger (I'm not sure she's ever had a hamburger...), has eaten lots of healthy whole grains, fruits and veggies. Always loved brussel sprouts and other not-commonly enjoyed veggies...until recently when other kids have said those veggies are "disgusting".
Our DD is almost 10 and going through hormonal changes so I suspect that plays a huge part as well.
No unique answers from me, but I think it does help to not even let garbage food into your home and keep lots of wholesome snacks on hand. I bake a couple dozen healthy muffins and keep them in the freezer. Yeah, I noticed the increase in carbs in her life. Drives me crazy that DD sometimes wants a bowl of cereal at 9pm. Not exactly the time to be fueling up the body. It's constant work. I really feel for moms of boys--I think you'd have to have 2 refrigerators! LOL
You can't force anyone to eat and you shouldn't but you can control what comes into your house and what you serve. The rest is their free will.
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#11 of 20 Old 05-14-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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I would try to involve DD and come to compromises that work for both of you.

First, you feel the school lunches are junk but you also feel she is currently eating junk. If she ate at school would she make sure to get milk, a fruit, a veggie & then the entree? And actually eat it? Because that might be a solution that works for you both.

Another idea: so she eats a lot of goldfish crackers. Do you have other crackers/easy carbs available? Would you feel better if they were whole grain crackers? Would she like the idea of a homemade lunchable like a PP suggested?

Fruit? What fruit have you tried? How did you package it? I've found that the kids won't eat some but will eat others at school (because of heat & squishy). For example, they will eat bananas at home but not at school. Successful school fruits have included mini oranges (in the peel), mini carrots, whole small apples, grapes (in a glass container), applesauce, cut pinapple (in a glass container) and ...

How does she feel about yogurt? About dipping something in peanut butter or other nut/bean dip? Cheese sticks?

Have you asked her what sounds good to her? Would she take leftovers in a thermos?

Good luck!

 

 

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#12 of 20 Old 05-15-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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I really feel for moms of boys--I think you'd have to have 2 refrigerators!
My son eats a fraction of what my daughter does.

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Fruit? What fruit have you tried? How did you package it? I've found that the kids won't eat some but will eat others at school (because of heat & squishy). For example, they will eat bananas at home but not at school.
And that is NOT just the squishyness factor. At this age, there are sexual connotations at play, and I would bet she gets comments about eating bananas.
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#13 of 20 Old 05-15-2010, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all, I just want to clarify that my daughter isn't starving. Just because I'm not happy with her food choices doesn't mean I'm taking the food out of her lunch bag and sending her with nothing!

And, I do communicate with her. I ask her every time I go grocery shopping if there's something she'd like me to buy. I offer to have her come with me, but many times she declines because she says it's "boring". I also invite her to cook with me, but often I get the same response. As I said in my first post, we've written up lists of healthy food that she says she likes. Then I've bought those things and many times they've sat in the refrigerator until I've had to throw them away. Or she takes them one day and then says "I'm sick of that now" or something like that.

I've seen her at school, and she throws most of her school lunches away and then buys a dessert with her spending money.

I've tried so many different foods over the years including fruit in every shape, size and container, leftovers in a thermos, yogurt, dips for whatever, etc. Almost every food that has been posted about, we've tried. Some things were successful, and it helped remind me about that, such as us making homemade granola bars together. I also forgot that she likes chickpeas with Italian dressing...I'll have to resurrect a can of those from the pantry.

I know I mentioned goldfish crackers, but that was a generalization. She prefers junk food, and I think the easiest solution is to just buy less of it and tell her she has x amount for a week's worth of lunches. If I can find other healthy choices for her, she will hopefully learn to moderate her intake of the junk, and find an appreciation for real food again.

Anyway, I appreciate everyone's input.

Julie, wife to DH , mom of DD 8/99 and DS 1/09 , and #3 due 11/14/10
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#14 of 20 Old 05-16-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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My kids can be the same way. And it comes down to this: I don't bring food into my house unless I'm okay with my kids eating it, and eating A LOT of that food all at one time.

Yes, sometimes my kids complain. But their tastes change SO quickly, and quite frankly I'm not in a position to cater to their every whim. I provide them with lots of good healthy choices, and it's up to them to choose. Most of the time I don't buy junk food. If DH wants to eat junk food, he can buy it on his own. He doesn't like this, but he also doesn't like it when I buy treats and the kids finish them off before he has a chance to eat them. So it's just easier for all of us if I don't buy junk food.

As for the complaining about food, it seems like no matter WHAT I do, it's not good enough for my kids. So I decided a long time ago that I'm just going to continue to make what I consider are reasonable choices, and let my kids decide to eat or not. I don't deprive them of food, and junk food isn't completely forbidden. But there's far more healthy food than junk food. Not everyone is always happy with the choices, but no one has starved yet.

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#15 of 20 Old 05-16-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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My niece is 11 and sometimes she eats such crap! She's active and healthy though. She rides her bike all over the neighborhood and climbs trees and has swim lessons and gymnastics. But I spend a lot of time at their house and she often doesn't participate in meals and would rather grab a bag of chips and go to her loft bed to read a book. I think a lot of her food choices are social too. It's so strange. Like maybe she's just too cool to sit at the table with all the little kids and grownups. But I think it's a phase and maybe the best way to limit her intake of completely unhealthy food is to just buy a fixed amount of it and tell her that when it's gone, it's gone. Because I know my niece resorts to making herself scrambled eggs or peanut butter toast when the cheez-its and chips are gone. She also likes to make herself avocado and cheese sandwiches with thin slices of onion and lots of lettuce and snacks on nori strips.
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#16 of 20 Old 05-18-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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My mom cooked everything from scratch, but outside the house I was a junk food maniac. Trust me, she could never have outsmarted me by 10 years old. If a kid that age wants junk food they WILL get their hands on it. I would continue to cook healthy at home and provide healthy snacks--if she wants to spend her money on junk I would not battle over it. It is fine for her to see you stick to your values, even good for her to see it--but she has to experiment some on her own.

And I have to agree fruit gets yucky in a lunch bag. You might see if you can get her into Japanese Bento Boxes. They are WILDLY popular right now and amazing varieties of healthy treats can be turned into mini works of art. I just saw a bento box egg shaper--you drop a hard boiled egg into it, snap the lid shut, let the egg cool, and viola--it is pressed into a FLOWER shaped hard boiled egg.

Bento boxes are hip and cool and healthy--see if you can get her into it. Her friends will be impressed!

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#17 of 20 Old 05-18-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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I can sympathies with your dd. She is 10 and growing. She needs the carbs. t might help if you buy 100 calorie packs..... Do you freeze her bread, it thaws by the time they get lunch and doesn't turn mushy if you keep the meat separate. Do you cut her apples up and put a little lemon juice to help keep them fresh?

BUT I would just let her buy lunch and talk to her about nutritious choices.

If she spends her money on deserts she either needs less money or you need to let go (maybe both).
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#18 of 20 Old 05-18-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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I just saw a bento box egg shaper--you drop a hard boiled egg into it, snap the lid shut, let the egg cool, and viola--it is pressed into a FLOWER shaped hard boiled egg.

Bento boxes are hip and cool and healthy--see if you can get her into it. Her friends will be impressed!
Oh my gosh-can you provide a link or site for this? We have eggs coming out of our ears from our hens, and I'd love something novel for our hardboiled eggs!
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#19 of 20 Old 05-18-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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Oh my gosh-can you provide a link or site for this? We have eggs coming out of our ears from our hens, and I'd love something novel for our hardboiled eggs!
http://www.laptoplunches.com/
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#20 of 20 Old 05-25-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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I couldn't find it here, but I was able to find it here. Never used it before, however.

Egg shaper at Amazon
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