Switching to one meal for the whole family? (ie no separate food)? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-13-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katielady View Post
Thanks, all, for the helpful responses!

I'm not sure how we got to this point. I had always intended to make food for everyone, and I actually started out with DS just eating from our plates. He started getting more picky at around age 2, right when I was pregnant and nauseated, and it was just easier to make him hot dogs and not have an argument every time. He is also dairy and (til recently) soy intolerant, which created further meal planning issues for all of us. And, we only eat meals together as a complete family on the weekends. On weekdays, DH leaves at 7, which is before breakfast, and comes back at 7:45, which is after DS is in bed. It's really sad, and not at all what I pictured for mealtimes and for life as a family with kids.

So I guess I do know how we got to this point.

I think it's fixable. I'm not sure how to handle dinner, that's the trickiest meal. Normally I feed the kids dinner and then eat with DH later when he gets home. So that doesn't work well as far as putting out dishes of food and having everyone sample from them. Maybe I should start eating a small meal with DS on weeknights to create more of a relaxed, communal atmosphere. I could try to make it that the meal is done by his dinnertime, and eat a little with him and then have more with DH when he gets home. I imagine the switch would be kind of like when we did our potty training party at around age 3. A few days of wetting his pants and then it was like he forgot he'd ever worn diapers. I think if we're consistent it won't take long before he forgets he used to eat hot dogs every other night.

As far as making the transition, I'm curious what y'all do if they completely refuse to eat a meal. Right now, we keep having this problem where DS refuses to eat the breakfast I made, and then if it's a day where he has preschool, I worry about him being starving hungry at school all day. I end up cajoling him into eating it bite by bite and it's extremely frustrating. Or if it's not a school day, we're generally going out somewhere. Then he gets hungry when we're out, and ends up having like pretzels or something, which annoys me because of the poor nutrition. I can't bring cheese sticks or yogurts since he doesn't eat dairy, and he's rejected soy yogurt and coconut yogurt.

Anyway, what do you do when they don't eat the meal and then want to fill up on snacks that aren't as nutritious?
5 days a week DH doesn't eat with us because he gets in too late. It isn't late, 6, but my kids need to eat at 5:30pm, they are hungry but then and it is either eat dinner or they fill up[ on snacks. I've tried all sorts of things over the years and recently settled on the 3 kids and I eat at 5:30, DH eats by himself when he gets in. It works very well for 4 out the 5 members so that is what we do!

I don't fix separate meals unless what I fixed is too spicy which happens once a month or so. I like hot food, to me it isn't hot, and once in a while I don't realize that my chili, posole, taco soup... is too hot for the kiddos. On those nights then they get pasta, but is isn't that often.

Now there are meals that one child doesn't like but the others do, on those nights I just make sure there are sides that child will eat. I'm fine with them just eating rice and salad if need be. They are always welcome to eat something like an apple or cold cereal after dinner but I will not fix anything else.

My advice would to be start with things he will eat, tacos where you can have different things set out. Or make sure some of the sides are things he likes. Kids are also much more likely to eat something that they helped make so let him help you make dinner.

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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Since it is rare that dd refuses her breakfast, I let her go without eating on those mornings. At her preschool, participating in food preparation is one of the activities she can choose upon arrival. There is a healthy, organic snack offerred around 10/10:30 am, so, she knows she will be without something until then. And I know she will be offerred something good for her by mid morning.

She does (and has since a very young age) participate in meal preparation at home, too, and I do think that this helps with her willingness to eat everything from raw peppers (a favorite of hers!) to flour right out of the jar.

My main issue with her is that it takes her for.ev.er. to eat a meal. I mean forever. We have just gone back to using a timer to get her to finish within an hour.

ETA: for snacks while we're out, I usually slice up an apple, bring a banana, we do cheese sticks since we've got no allergies, and/or nuts (walnuts and almonds being our go-to). This has gotten us through mass the last two weeks! Oh, and carrying water is a must if I bring crackers or pretzles.

Also, for food prep with a littler one around, I usually put him on my back in a wrap or mei tai, and, before long, he's asleep! Yes, all 23 lbs of his completely relaxed weight. Good way to keep my upper body strength!

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Old 01-13-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Have you read Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter yet? It's a very well-regarded book on childhood nutrition.

Her philosophy is - parents choose what foods, and when to serve; children choose which foods to eat, and how much to eat. In a nutshell. But the book gives a lot more information and tools. She's not AP per se, but she's not anti-AP either. Really more focused on creating and reinforcing healthy eating habits. (Her breastfeeding chapters are outdated IMO - she's supportive of it, but it's OLD school information and not necessary to understand the toddler/childhood feeding stuff- skim if you want but then move on).

That said, I wish she did say more about how to work with food-allergic kids and the transition from their elimination diets into eating foods which previously had been avoided. It's difficult when a child has learned for years that something is "not for them," and then to have parents encouraging them to eat it, and adding it to foods. BTDT with both girls.

Check out the Ellyn Satter book; it will give you more information and courage.

Meanwhile, I'd say that the best way to do it, is to go cold turkey. Probably talk about how much more WORK it is to make separate meals, and that you want to be able to spend more time playing together or whatever, and this should work better (positive approach). Then do it, and make sure that at least one item on the table is something your ds will eat. (Satter thinks bread at meals is important because she believes most kids will eat that, for instance). Satter also believes it's best for kids to dish themselves up. And she warns that in the early days of changing your approach to food with your kids, there will be some genuine power struggles over it. Do read the book so you've thought that part through. I think some of the foods she thinks kids invariably like, are funny (tuna casserole? WOW) - but the underlying gist of what she's saying is what matters.

DD1 transitioned from her elimination diet to eating regular food pretty well; we'd been all on her diet anyway so it wasn't such a big deal, and she outgrew all her allergies except egg by the time she was 2 1/2. So it was easier and frankly she's got a more adventurous palate. She likes eggplant, and raw green onions, and all sorts of foods that might be considered unusual for a kiddo her age.

DD2 inherited her daddy's palate. She's very suspicious of new foods, remembered clearly that dairy was off-limits, as were legumes (she didn't outgrow 'til around 3). She got to watch her daddy and dd1 eat all sorts of foods that "weren't for her," too. So that got reinforced for her in a way that it wasn't with dd1. Basically the only vegetables she eats without question are potatoes, cooked tomatoes or onions, and carrots. BUT we aren't pushing it - we offer, and enjoy our veggies. I used to dish some onto her plate but she would remove them. One thing I do with snack time and often lunch, is we have a large container of veggies that I've washed and cut up for easy eating. DD2 used to be strongly opposed. Then she started paying attention to me and DD1 eating them, commenting on them and giving us more. Now she supervises me cutting and washing them, and wants to help. She loads her plate up and talks about how delicious they are and how she will eat them. Then, she gives them all to me to eat. Gradually. But she IS improving, and last week actually ate and liked cauliflower! And occasionally she'll eat winter squash again, too.

It takes awhile of being patient and letting them reconcile themselves to things but it's working for us. I do give her a multivitamin, meantime, so that she is hopefully getting some of the vitamins and minerals she needs (I know it's not as good as whole food sources, but it's better than nothing and we need something while we work on this!). She likes the multivitamin - it's an iron-free gummy vitamin.

I think the first few weeks of transitioning are difficult for everyone. But if you approach with a sense of humor, keep calm, and maintain a positive and loving approach with your ds, you'll get through it. Slowly.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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a word to helping prep food.

ds (2yo) helps use this chopper, he loves it, and it really helps him be involved in the kitchen in a useful way (he caught on to busy work, like stirring flour!)
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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I only do one meal for the whole family too. With 3 kids, I just don't have the time and energy to be a short order cook catering to personal tastes. I generally make stuff I know the kids will like (or if it's a new recipe, includes ingredients they like). I always try to make sure there's something on their plates they all like. DD and DS2 generally eat anything I put in front of them, it's DS1 who's my challenging eater. We have a "one bite" rule, where before you can say that you don't like it, you have to try one bite. This has been quite successful with my oldest. If after trying a bite of everything, he doesn't like it, he's welcome to go make himself a PB&J sandwich and grab a piece of fruit.

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Old 01-13-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dachshundqueen View Post
It's what I've always done. Although I will say that I don't intentionally make food people hate.


I also try to make sure there is at least one thing that he will definitely eat like rice or bread. I wouldn't call my son picky because he likes things like curry, chili, and a bunch of different veggies, but he definitely has stuff he won't eat like salad or eggplant.

I never ever offer an alternate meal for dinner, but I will make the pre-bed snack bigger if he didn't eat much for dinner (usually something boring but filling like oatmeal chunks or cheese).
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:56 AM
 
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We converted to that for our family dinner. I've got a really picky eater (one, the other is very adaptable) so I geared meals around the picky one. Every meal has at least a dish that I know he'll eat. It might be a side like rice or baked potato but that's ok, he's eating our food and I'm not making something different for him. I also make kid friendly meals for the most part--tacos, chicken and mashed potatoes, pasta and meatballs, Jambalaya, pancakes and eggs, stir fry, etc. I've noticed that over time he's eating more and more variety. That might be his age.

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Old 01-14-2010, 08:29 AM
 
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Lately I feel like I pour so much time and energy into thinking of meals he'll eat that I have nothing left for cooking for DH and I.
perhaps you are over doing it.

i think at 3 you are perhaps over thinking his eating a little too much. that is going to change at around 5 or 6 again.

for me its waaaay too much trouble trying to think what dd MIGHT eat. like pp i include what dd eats in our meals. part of our meals. right now she is off veggies. and i respect that. since till 7 she has always loved veggies.

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Old 01-14-2010, 08:33 AM
 
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a word to helping prep food.

ds (2yo) helps use this chopper, he loves it, and it really helps him be involved in the kitchen in a useful way (he caught on to busy work, like stirring flour!)
not unless you have one as pig headed as mine.

she will help and even cook you the meal - yet not touch it herself.

she loved helping with making blueberry pancakes when seh was 18 months old. she loves cooking me broccoli and cheese at 7. yet she wouldnt eat either of them.

for her eating and helping/cooking are two different things. one doesnt imply the other.

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Old 01-15-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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95% of the time, we're a one-meal family.

If it's something I know one of the kids hates, but the rest love (like seafood), then I'll give the kid who doesn't like it the option of scrambled eggs or a PB sandwich. (Not a lot of effort on my part.)

I've never made a meal that everybody didn't like one part of it... even if it is just the salad, fruit, rice, or bread that is served with it.

We kind of follow Ellyn Satyr's guidelines... .my responsibility is to provide healthful food, the kids responsibility is to decide how much of it they want to eat.

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Old 01-15-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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OP, I'm with you. I do wish there were respondents who have actually BTDT - the experiences of those who said they "never" fed their kids separate meals are not nearly as relevant.

I am thinking about going cold turkey. The biggest thing that is holding me back is that DH is very concerned (and rightly so!) that DD gets enough to eat, and I don't know how long it will take her to start eating our food, that she does not touch now. He (rightly!) doesn't want her to starve to death, lol.

Me, I'm a little more laid back than he is and think I could hold firm.

For us it's really not a matter of making sure I somewhat avoid foods that DD doesn't like... that covers pretty much everything we eat except the (plain!) rice and MAYBE ground beef (drowned in ketchup). For us it's about DD learning to like real food. And that's what I want.

What would REALLY help me is to hear experiences of people who actually made the switch (not just said "wow, I would never have fed my kids anything different in the first place"). It would be REALLY helpful to hear, "she ate just morsels here and there for 2 days and was cranky on the 2nd day, but on the 3rd day she ate a huge helping of ____ which she'd never tried before, and by 2 weeks of cold turkey she will eat pretty much anything except ___ and ____ which is fine since I will always serve a different side dish or something with those."

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Old 01-15-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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OP and leohaire...

I really recommend that you check out some of Ellyn Satter's work. (She's very well regarded in the field...and has published quite a few studies.) She talks a lot about your concerns... and has plenty of real-life examples.

https://ellynsatter.com/articles.jsp?id=278

In general, she advises that you put the food on the table (if you child is old enough to serve themselves)... and she always recommends that you have at least one food that everybody likes... even if it's just bread and butter.

My cousin had two very very picky eaters.. to the point that their pediatrician was very concerned.... but catering to their pickiness did not solve the problem. It was when she started following Ellyn's advice that she saw a big change. Took a few weeks... but she said it made a big difference. That's why we turned to Ellyn when DS1 had the opposite problem... eating too much to the point of vomiting.

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Old 01-15-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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I really recommend that you check out some of Ellyn Satter's work.
Thank you. I saw the mentions of her book earlier in this thread but I didn't think it seemed strictly relevant (at least to my case). But I looked at the website you linked to and think maybe it could be helpful. I requested the book through inter-library loan.

It's really hard also to find a true balance. Some people feel like the slightest restriction will lead to an eating disorder - like if my kid begs for ice cream and I say "not today" she will grow up to binge on it. On the other hand I *DO* see that a parent can have hang-ups about food and those can have negative consequences for children. I am extremely interested in nutrition and have some views about it that would be considered extreme by many Americans (views, but not actions). Ironically, my DD is eating anything but a nutritious diet, partly because of the cultural pressure I have to not restrict her.

Unfortunately the upshot is that I'm not relaxed about it, am not comfortable with her diet, and feel like I am stuck between being a "food nazi" or watching DD's health be damaged in the long run with the very poor diet she is eating. I never wanted to be a food nazi, all I wanted was a kid who ate real food and not just boxed cereal, pasta, frozen pizza and fruit (I'm fine with the fruit). It's the extremes that get me; if my kid ate frozen pizza, but also ate the soup I make, and a chicken drumstick, and mashed potatoes, and so on (*ETA: not neccessarily in the same meal of course! I mean, throughout the WEEK) - I wouldn't care. I'd be happy. But when she eats exclusively processed foods made with white flour and virtually no nutrition (again, the fruit I'm not fussed about) then I feel like being extreme in response, you know? Like banning those foods from our house. I don't see how I can acheive moderation when my kid will always hold out for the cereal and basically live off of it.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 01-15-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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Your cold turkey plan can be a very successful way to go. Just serve what you are planning to cook. We've always had the rule that you need to have one bite of everything before you are done. One bite, and you're welcome to say yuck. Combine that with making sure there is something your child will like, a vegetable, or a side dish, even just bread, and you know they'll be ok.

For your DH's concerns, you've got all the other hours of the day to make sure that enough calories are getting in. If you're planning a dinner that you're pretty sure your child will turn their nose up at, serve a late afternoon snack.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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For your DH's concerns, you've got all the other hours of the day to make sure that enough calories are getting in. If you're planning a dinner that you're pretty sure your child will turn their nose up at, serve a late afternoon snack.
Then that won't be any different than what we have now. I didn't think we were just talking about dinnertime, I thought it was all meals. So, sure, I can serve frozen pizza as an afternoon snack and just feed me and DH for dinner, that's basically what we're doing now except the only difference is that this way DD will eat at a different time than DH and I do. I don't see the advantage.

My goal isn't to make my life easier. The effort required to make a frozen pizza or a bowl of cereal are about nil (actually they ARE nil for me, since DH does basically all of that - I do the "real" cooking). The goal is for my kid to eat real food so she can thrive. She's at 3rd percentile for weight-for-age and it's no wonder, cereal and frozen pizza don't have much if anything for a growing body.

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Old 01-15-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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Have you tried any of the Sneaky Chef recipes? It might help you make the foods she likes slightly healthier. She has some really good recipes... and you can find free samples on her website. If you don't want to go all puree crazy, you can use baby food... or just buy frozen veggies and blend them. http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_sn...ef_recipes.php

I also have an older book called "Stealth Health" by Evelyn Tribole. I use her black bean brownie recipe and the mashed potatoes (with cauliflower blended in) all the time. I finally told my kids that they had cauliflower in them, and my eldest proclaimed "Wow, then I must love cauliflower."

Or could you try making pizzas at home? I have a 6, 4, and 2-1/2 year old--and they all love making their own pizzas. (They love commercial and frozen too. ) My grocery store sells pizza dough in the bakery area... or you can make your own.. . buy Boboli... make it on pita bread... etc. If you make your own dough, you can gradually increase the ratio of whole-wheat, oat, or white-wheat flour in the dough. If you make your own sauce (although we sometimes use store bought spag sauce or pizza quick sauce)... you can easily add in carrots (chopped finely)... and perhaps a few other veggies.

For cereal, if the kids really want sugary cereal (I grew up in a no-sugar cereal household, and I think it was a bit too extreme), we'll mix it with a healthier version like Cheerios or something. Or offer the cereal she loves as dessert or a snack.

My kids loved the really sweet yogurt, but I found that they were just as happy with Greek yogurt, a squeezy bear of honey, and a bunch of fruit I knew they liked.

For a replacement for Spaghettios (which I admit, I even still like from time to time--probably the forbidden fruit aspect to me), we use Anabel Karmel's cheesy pasta stars recipe. It is really yummy (Mom can eat the whole dish)... and pretty easy to make too. http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes...sy-pasta-stars

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Old 01-15-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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Have you tried any of the Sneaky Chef recipes? It might help you make the foods she likes slightly healthier.
I'm all for sneaking but first I gotta get her to like some real food. Hard to sneak stuff into frozen pizza and cereal

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Or could you try making pizzas at home?
I used to for a while. DD would only eat the crust. It would drive me batty. And it was good pizza, too, really good. (I haven't stopped for any particular reason other than haven't felt like making it for a while.. been making a lot of stews and soups recently).

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For cereal, if the kids really want sugary cereal (I grew up in a no-sugar cereal household, and I think it was a bit too extreme), we'll mix it with a healthier version like Cheerios or something. Or offer the cereal she loves as dessert or a snack.
DD doesn't eat Trix, thankfully, just stuff like Special K, Corn Flakes, Kix, Rice Krispies, etc. The problem is that even though they aren't the 50%-sugar-by-weight cereals, they are basically fortified cardboard. I would not care if she ate cereal every morning for breakfast; what I care about is that she eats little else. Offering this for dessert or snack just means that she only eats dessert and snack, you know?

Again, it's not that I am having a heart attack that DD eats ANY cereal and frozen pizza. It's that it's ALL she eats. And if I am just offering her those things for snack only, that just means she will eat snacks only.

Does anyone think cereal and frozen pizza alone is adequate for a growing child? I do not... and other than cold turkey banning these things and insisting she eat the food that I make for me and DH, I don't have any ideas. All other ideas basically lead to where we are already.

I guess I could limit these things so she only can eat frozen pizza every other day or something - but I fear that will simply continue the dependence, and she will simply hold out for it and go hungry inbetween. I want to make real change in her eating habits, not just continue the status quo.

YES, that's a ridiculous position we're in, but regardless, that's where we are.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 01-15-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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Thank you. I saw the mentions of her book earlier in this thread but I didn't think it seemed strictly relevant (at least to my case). But I looked at the website you linked to and think maybe it could be helpful. I requested the book through inter-library loan.
I'm sorry I wasn't more clear when I recommended it earlier. I really think that Satter's work would in particular be very helpful for you!! She works with exactly the situation you're in - and her other focus over the years has been disordered eating. So the things you're worrying about, she has dealt directly with. The "Child of Mine" book looks at both kids who overeat and kids who don't eat enough, and 'picky eaters' too -- but it will definitely address your concerns.

SJ never got to the point your dd is at, in part because of her food allergies - processed *anything* was pretty much not an option for a long time, so they weren't available. But that doesn't mean that she didn't glom very heavily onto a relatively restricted diet (mostly meats, potatoes, carrots, bread). The Ellyn Satter book has helped us work through it, we are improving, it isn't magical and you will second-guess yourself. We were lucky in that SJ's weight is OK, so her weight wasn't worrying us; I think it's a greater leap of faith to make if you've got a child who is low or high on the charts.

It will help you relax, while motivating you at the same time. It is a leap of faith at first. My challenge while reading it, and now too, is that I kept asking myself, "But what about the food she doesn't FINISH?!" Because our food is home-grown or organic as much as possible. It's not cheap, and we sacrifice to afford it. At the same time, I don't want to just finish her meals (hello, already ate what I wanted on my OWN plate!) .... Satter's statements about self-regulation though are true and the more I trust SJ to eat what she wants and needs, the less leftover food I have on her plate. Incidentally, when I first started reading her book, I kept thinking, "But what about candy/sweets/junk food???? I can't just let her eat those without limits!!" and Satter does agree - she says that dessert is dessert, and it doesn't follow the same rules for letting kids self-regulate. They get one serving, and that's that (well, it's more nuanced than that in terms of snacks, Hallowe'en etc., but you get the general idea).

Read the book. When I read it this summer, I didn't have anyone IRL to talk about it with. If you want to start a support/discussion thread on it in the Book Club section, I will post there too and I'm sure umsami would do so as well.

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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Laohaire - I'm in what sounds like a very similar situation, in that my daughter eats a VERY limited number of foods, which I worry about and my husband thinks she'll grow out of. I've often contemplated going cold turkey, but I'm worried that dd, who is very strong willed, will actually starve to death. I mean, I know that she won't, but I'm not sure how long she'll hold out and it makes me very nervous. I'm not comfortable with the "provide a snack she'll eat" approach because then I know that she'll just hold out and eat less than she eats already, which isn't very much to begin with.

I did read "Child of Mine" but it didn't provide me with the reassurance that I wanted that, truly, dd would start eating. Even just a sense of how long it would take for her to decide to eat would be comforting...

As for how we got to this point, I'm not really sure. DD does have food allergies, and that certainly contributed, but it just sort of slowly happened until she eats hardly anything.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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Hey KatieLady!

So YOU inspired me and we did it. Cold Turkey.

I utilized some of the advice here and took cues from my kids (and DH) on what might work for them. Basically we now have a Family Style meal. Been doing it for a week now and there have been zero food struggles at dinner. The food choices will be limited for DH and I on regular nites. I'll make us one nice meal per week (nice means spicy for DH)

I put everything on the table making sure there is something for everyone. We pick and choose. I am so much happier.

If they still don't want it or if I feel they haven't eaten enough I will offer cereal. But I won't cook anything else.

I hope that you've found a plan that works for you - -give us an update!
Thanks for starting this thread I was at the end of my rop with dinner time here. Now I say -YAY!
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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I am extremely interested in the book being mentioned in this thread. Thanks for the suggestion!

OP, no advice, but sympathy. I've watched a s-in-law truly struggle w/this issue, and ultimately it became about so much more than the food. The kids are teens now, and the situation hasn't much improved--absolutely no trying of any new foods, limited, and pretty unhealthy diet, and probably worst for s-in-law, kids won't eat at other people's houses, or expect seperate food prepared for them. It's very hard.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:35 PM
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My 7 yo ds is a processed white flour junkie! I'm trying to reduce the availability of it in my home. Right now I'm down to buying raisin bagels and blueberry waffles (we need convenient breakfast foods as a homeschooling family of 6 and my other kids will eat yogurt and hard boiled eggs), but this kid will eat half a bagel every two hours. I'm frustrated with trying to find something else he will eat, but I'm proud of all the other junk we've stpped buying (goldfish, nilla wafers, crackers, white bread, etc) and how he has adapted accordingly (he'll eat salami, fruit, etc)
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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pjs...have you tried the Kashi frozen blueberry waffles? They're pretty good...and slightly better from a nutrition-standpoint than Eggos. We actually find them at Costco--so it makes them much more affordable long-term. (Of course, I'd buy one box at your regular store and try them out before getting stuck w/ 48 waffles from Costco. )

I definitely think you need to celebrate your accomplishments already. No child eats perfectly--and I'm not even sure I'd want that--and it sounds like you've made some great improvements.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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Old 01-22-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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As far as making the transition, I'm curious what y'all do if they completely refuse to eat a meal. Right now, we keep having this problem where DS refuses to eat the breakfast I made, and then if it's a day where he has preschool, I worry about him being starving hungry at school all day. I end up cajoling him into eating it bite by bite and it's extremely frustrating. Or if it's not a school day, we're generally going out somewhere. Then he gets hungry when we're out, and ends up having like pretzels or something, which annoys me because of the poor nutrition. I can't bring cheese sticks or yogurts since he doesn't eat dairy, and he's rejected soy yogurt and coconut yogurt.

Anyway, what do you do when they don't eat the meal and then want to fill up on snacks that aren't as nutritious?
Sometimes my 3y.o. will refuse to eat the breakfast he chose. Generally I say you have to eat before you can do X (whatever he wants to do next) and he either eats what he chose first or picks something else.

For me, letting my child be in charge of listening to his body and deciding how much he needs to eat trumps short term concerns about nutrition. But that's just a judgment call. Could you bring along some sliced fruit or a bag of dry cereal as an alternative to pretzels?

I have never had a healthy child refuse to eat anything at dinner and then want to eat a snack afterward. If they eat very little at dinner, generally there are leftovers, and they are invited to eat the leftovers if they are hungry immediately after dinner. (This assumes dinner came out ok and wasn't weird or too spicy or otherwise difficult for a kid to eat) If dinner is weird, or spicy or otherwise too challenging and they try it, we'll work together to find an alternative, but that's an unusual occurrence.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I am extremely interested in the book being mentioned in this thread. Thanks for the suggestion!

OP, no advice, but sympathy. I've watched a s-in-law truly struggle w/this issue, and ultimately it became about so much more than the food. The kids are teens now, and the situation hasn't much improved--absolutely no trying of any new foods, limited, and pretty unhealthy diet, and probably worst for s-in-law, kids won't eat at other people's houses, or expect seperate food prepared for them. It's very hard.
My sister and my nephew are like this which is why I am so afraid of it. My sis still brings pasta to ANY family event for her 11 yo.
And I do believe that it shows itself in other areas. Trying new things and all.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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What we found useful is not to combine the foods.

It can be harder than it sounds, but it makes for easy meal time. Tonight we have green curry and rice. I cooked the chicken separately because I know DD doesn't like it out of the curry. I added 1/2 the veggies to the curry sauce and 1/2 the veggies were served raw.

So, instead of just choosing between curry and rice, where I know DD would have only wanted rice. She could have rice, chicken and some raw veggies with dip from the fridge. DH and I combined the curry and chicken over the rice and then has some raw veggies too.

Once I started really trying to do this, it because surprising at how much stuff I could spilt out and serve on it's own.
This is exactly what I do. LoveBug isn`t very fond of mixed foods, so I "always" keep things separated. I want him to be able to have a full, nutritious meal, just like myself.
What works the best, is to put everything in different small bowls, like a meatsubstitute in one bowl (I`m vegetarian, he is not), chicken in one, raw veggies in different bowls/plates, cheese, some cooked/steemed/baked veggies, pitabread/tortilla/potatoes/pasta/rice or something similar in one etc. And some sauces/dips. And we both can just pick whatever we want to. Works like a charm every time.

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