What options do you offer when kids refuse main meal you cook? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 148 Old 01-08-2011, 12:46 PM
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I thank my lucky stars that I have bountiful food supplies in my house to share with my children, and therefore I'm always happy to give them an alternative.  I do insist that they eat some sort of protein if they're not eating dinner--so cheese, yogurt, soup, whatever. 

 

 


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#62 of 148 Old 01-09-2011, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We do allow (boring) alternatives, but my son doesn't avail himself of them very much...and I think a good part of that is luck, and some is keeping the pressure down (and the alternatives healthy and boring). A different child might need a different approach. He's kind of veggie-oriented anyway.



What kind of boring alternatives do you offer?  thanks!

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#63 of 148 Old 01-09-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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My son has autism and sensory issues so food is a fun one around here eyesroll.gif He's been in feeding therapy on and off for years (is currently in it again after taking a break due to behavior issues). As part of the feeding therapy we never ever force him to eat anything. Food is fun, not a chore thumb.gif There is a whole step by step process we do with ds and food. The first step being "allow the food to be in the same room". The last step is chewing a swallowing the food. Needless to say, there are dozens of steps in between! DS is at the point where he can handle most foods in the same room as he is. There are still a ton of foods he cannot stand to look at or smell. After the food is in the room we put it on the table on the side opposite ds. Slowly, over time (days, weeks, months- not all in the same meal!) we move the food closer to ds's plate. Eventually we put a small portion on his plate. When he's handling that well we ask him to touch it. Then there's a whole series of touching, smelling, licking, biting, spitting out, etc that we go through.

 

So, for the original question- ds always has a separate meal than we do. Since the number of foods ds eats is so small, everything is easy to prepare. Actually, most foods are simply eaten the way they are bought- apples are sliced, bananas are whole, celery is cut into 2-3 inch pieces, baby carrots (raw- never cooked), yogurt, peanut butter on a spoon, cheese sliced a certain way, mandarin oranges out of the can, applesauce, etc. Foods cannot be mixed in any way (the only exceptions to this is he will dip potatoes- fries, etc- into ketchup and he will eat a certain restaurants breadsticks dipped in their sauce. Other than that- no foods ever touch). While he will eat bread and he will eat peanut butter- he will not eat a peanut butter sandwich. We have finally gotten him to use a regular plate at some meals instead of a plate with the separate areas for different foods at every meal. While we always offer ds whatever we are eating, and sometimes one of those foods even gets put on his plate, he always has different food than dh and I have. We have too many other battles to fight. Food is not one of them winky.gif


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#64 of 148 Old 01-09-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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Steph has just described the thoughtful, compassionate, eminently appropriate way that she deals with food aversion issues in a child with a pervasive developmental disorder.

When I see a non-disabled child of six or seven being treated in the same way, it makes my skin crawl. Your foods are touching? Really? Well, let's take the focus off that minor issue and put it on the MAJOR issue of you whining and complaining at Aunt Sally's table! Eat it, don't eat it, I don't care, but in a social context, the only words I want to hear out of a school-aged neurotypical child's mouth WRT her plate of food are "thank you."

In the privacy of the home, I'm willing to entertain more food commentary because I can use the information to alter my recipes or menu selections in future. But the choice is still eat it or don't eat it. Demanding alternative entrees from the chef is hideous behavior at any age. Any person who is mentally mature enough to know that temper tantrums in the middle of the grocery store are a no-no is old enough to comprehend that family meals should not be an endless procession of nothing but their favorite foods, because they are not the center of the universe.
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#65 of 148 Old 01-10-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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We make 1 meal for dinner, usually with more than one component to it.  

 

If you dont want it, take one small "no thank you" bite, and you can choose to sit at the table and enjoy the conversation, or ask to be excused and do something on your own (no 'back and forth' to the table allowed, you are either joining us, or not).

 

If he is hungry later, he can have the rest of his dinner, any veggie, or any fruit.   

 

 

He helps cook most of the time, and most of the time he will eat what is in front of him.  He rarely doesnt like something (so far, only really spicy things).  He doesnt eat much to begin with, but he tries everything which is fine with me. 

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#66 of 148 Old 01-10-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Steph has just described the thoughtful, compassionate, eminently appropriate way that she deals with food aversion issues in a child with a pervasive developmental disorder.

When I see a non-disabled child of six or seven being treated in the same way, it makes my skin crawl. Your foods are touching? Really? Well, let's take the focus off that minor issue and put it on the MAJOR issue of you whining and complaining at Aunt Sally's table! Eat it, don't eat it, I don't care, but in a social context, the only words I want to hear out of a school-aged neurotypical child's mouth WRT her plate of food are "thank you."

In the privacy of the home, I'm willing to entertain more food commentary because I can use the information to alter my recipes or menu selections in future. But the choice is still eat it or don't eat it. Demanding alternative entrees from the chef is hideous behavior at any age. Any person who is mentally mature enough to know that temper tantrums in the middle of the grocery store are a no-no is old enough to comprehend that family meals should not be an endless procession of nothing but their favorite foods, because they are not the center of the universe.

I've always felt the same way. nod.gif

I practice with DD1-- she is my big one for this. We talk, often, about how she has two things she can say upon arriving at the table: "Thank you," or "No thank you." Even the smallest children can learn to not whine and complain at meals, if they're patiently redirected. And while my DD1 does have these picky-picky issues, like preferring the contents of her sandwich on the side, rather than in the bread, she's learned to say things like, "May I have the cheese on the side, please?" or "Can I have the potatoes with no sauce, please?" Or even, "may I serve myself, so that I can keep things separately?" I've talked to her extensively about how yeah, sure, everybody has preferences and little things they're picky about-- let's face it, we all do-- but that it's rude to expect other people to cater to those preferences- either see to it yourself, politely and without drawing an enormous amount of attention to yourself-- or let it go.

We even practice more appropriate ways to offer commentary on the meal-- we practice saying things like, "I think I liked this better when we had it with the broccoli," or "How about we try this with chicken next time, instead of beans?" Those are much easier on the ears, and much more respectful to the cook, than "EWWW, yucky, I don't WANT chicken."

I don't even ask for "just one bite." What they eat, from the meal I've served, and how much, is purely their own business. I don't get involved in discussion about that. (Other than with DD2's special health issues, as I've described.) But picky-picky rudeness and whining and complaining are absolutely unacceptable at our table.

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#67 of 148 Old 01-10-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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When I see a non-disabled child of six or seven being treated in the same way, it makes my skin crawl. Your foods are touching? Really? Well, let's take the focus off that minor issue and put it on the MAJOR issue of you whining and complaining at Aunt Sally's table! Eat it, don't eat it, I don't care, but in a social context, the only words I want to hear out of a school-aged neurotypical child's mouth WRT her plate of food are "thank you."

It's interesting to me. I think that's respectful to everyone but the eater. I think I fall more into what Llyra mentioned her kids saying. Things like: "Cheese on the side, please" or "I'd prefer no sauce on my noodles".

 

I think that the right to refuse something to eat or to request to eat it differently (as much as is doable) is important. I am totally on board with teaching kids how to politely do that though. :)


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#68 of 148 Old 01-10-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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We do allow (boring) alternatives, but my son doesn't avail himself of them very much...and I think a good part of that is luck, and some is keeping the pressure down (and the alternatives healthy and boring). A different child might need a different approach. He's kind of veggie-oriented anyway.



What kind of boring alternatives do you offer?  thanks!


It's varied over the years but it's rarely varied by month, if that makes sense? The most common one is the nut butter sandwich.

 

He knows he mostly has to substitute group for group, like main dish for main dish, beets for some other veggie, etc.

We pretty much always have carrot sticks and broccoli and cauliflower around washed and raw, and we often have cucumber.

 

Leftovers from a prior meal are usually just fine. We will heat them up but he actually eats a lot of things cold that I wouldn't, and prefers it that way. They may or may not be stuck in a WW tortilla as a wrap.

 

Almond or peanut butter on whole-grain bread with a side of raw carrots/broccoli/cauliflower/cucumber (assume this side with everything). No dip on the veggies. (He doesn't like it anyway, but that seems unfair.)

 

Cheese or yoghurt and a piece of whole-grain bread with butter (or more usually, brown rice that's leftover)

 

Hummus and flatbread, or whole chickpeas and flatbread, depending on what's made.

 

Beans on toast.

 

Also I should have mentioned the timing - we won't do it at the start of the meal. About midway the fastest eater will get the substitute if it's not something my son can get for himself...probably 1/3 of the time, by then he's dug in anyway.


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#69 of 148 Old 01-10-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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For us, it depends. We used to do the offer-a-boring-alternative thing, but DD nearly always chose that, which meant she'd reject the perfectly nice dinner knowing she'd get something "better" later.

 

Nowadays, if I've made something I know DD likes at least somewhat, then it's that or nothing. I know she likes chicken casserole just fine, so she doesn't get to reject that because she'd prefer to have a sandwich. Also, she doesn't have to eat with us if she's not hungry, but if she gets hungry later then it's still the same meal, re-heated.

 

I do make exceptions on the rare occasions when dinner is something she genuinely struggles to eat. I encourage her to try it, but if she really dislikes it then she can have something else instead. I'll keep offering her the same things again and again, and sometimes she warms up to them after a few tries.


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#70 of 148 Old 01-10-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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Well, this just came up tonight. DD, about 30 min after dinner "I am hungry" Me "well, then you should have eaten more dinner"  DD "I want something else" Me "It's after dinner now. You have to wait until breakfast. Do you have any fives?" (We were playing Go Fish. This happens occasionally with both DS and DD. They know this is going to be my response, so there is no long discussion. I guess they still try though, to see if the response will magically change?

 

I don't cook anything separate. But I will occasionally make slight variations for them if it is extremely easy to do. (Like tonights very spicy cabbage dish they don't like, but it takes no time for me to leave a few slices of raw cabbage out and put on their plate as is). They can chose to eat or not to eat. We generally have 3 items at the table, and I make sure that they like 1 or 2 of the 3 items. 

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#71 of 148 Old 01-11-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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I don't offer anything else unless the meal is very spicy.  My DS went without dinner 2-3 times before he learned that it was better to eat a meal he didn't like than to be hungry all night.  My DS always has to eat his veggie first, then he can eat as much or as little of anything that he wants.  If he doesn't finish he can't have anything else for the night. 


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#72 of 148 Old 01-12-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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When I see a non-disabled child of six or seven being treated in the same way, it makes my skin crawl. Your foods are touching? Really? Well, let's take the focus off that minor issue and put it on the MAJOR issue of you whining and complaining at Aunt Sally's table! Eat it, don't eat it, I don't care, but in a social context, the only words I want to hear out of a school-aged neurotypical child's mouth WRT her plate of food are "thank you."

It's interesting to me. I think that's respectful to everyone but the eater. I think I fall more into what Llyra mentioned her kids saying. Things like: "Cheese on the side, please" or "I'd prefer no sauce on my noodles".

 

I think that the right to refuse something to eat or to request to eat it differently (as much as is doable) is important. I am totally on board with teaching kids how to politely do that though. :)


I'm similar. I have no problem setting up each plate according to the kids' preferences, I just will not be making them a different meal. The exception is if we're having something spicy or leftovers. Then I will allow them to chose a different dinner, but it has to be something in the fridge or simple to make (PB&J, grilled cheese) because I will not be cooking two meals regularly.

And about the other comment re: neurotypical child...
I have a "highly sensitive child" and according to the book by the same name, roughly 20% of the population fits that description. A common issue with these kids/adults is food preferences. They can be picky about tastes, textures, or mixed flavors. I have realized that my 4 yo doesn't like dishes with too many ingredients--it is like a taste assault. Overwhelming and unpleasant for her. When we make something like a stew or stir fry, I will choose a limited number of veggies for her plate and separate them into different piles. She is much more open to trying them when she can eat one thing at a time. It's the way her brain/nervous system works. Yet she is neurotypical. So that distinction is not always as clear as some people think.
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#73 of 148 Old 01-12-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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At meal time, if they're not hungry or don't like it they don't have to eat, but they don't get a special meal.  I usually give them very small portions unless it's something I know they love.  That way if they don't like it I haven't wasted an entire plate full of food.  Usually, there's at least one or two things they like and they're free to have as much of those things as they want.

 

I encourage them to try new foods, but never force them to eat things they don't like.  Personally, I *hate* potatoes and I'd probably cry if someone tried to force me to eat them.  I try to be understanding of their preferences, but I'm not going to be a short order cook either. 


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I encourage them to try new foods, but never force them to eat things they don't like.  Personally, I *hate* potatoes and I'd probably cry if someone tried to force me to eat them.  I try to be understanding of their preferences, but I'm not going to be a short order cook either.

Right. This. I think this is a concern for so many people... the "short order cook" worry. It was never an issue for us even while allowing food freedom for our kids. There are so many easy, instant even, options for a kid who isn't down with the dinner or just isn't hungry when it's served. We kept things like dry cereal, crackers, yogurt, bread, fruit, veggies, nut butters, and string cheese all down low so they might grab it. My son had his own tiny drawer in the fridge. Easy peasy.

 

It just strikes me as entirely disrespectful to require someone, big or small, to eat something they don't want to eat or to eat at a time they don't feel like eating.


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#75 of 148 Old 01-12-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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And about the other comment re: neurotypical child...I have a "highly sensitive child" and according to the book by the same name, roughly 20% of the population fits that description. A common issue with these kids/adults is food preferences. They can be picky about tastes, textures, or mixed flavors. I have realized that my 4 yo doesn't like dishes with too many ingredients--it is like a taste assault. Overwhelming and unpleasant for her. When we make something like a stew or stir fry, I will choose a limited number of veggies for her plate and separate them into different piles. She is much more open to trying them when she can eat one thing at a time. It's the way her brain/nervous system works. Yet she is neurotypical. So that distinction is not always as clear as some people think.


I have a highly sensitive child, as well.  And while he is neurotypical, he does need some food considerations.  Of course, I encourage him to decline food politely.  I just peeled the inner membranes from each individual orange segment for him and was thrilled he ate some fruit.  I do a lot of PIA food prep for him and find the concept of other people being judgmental about that to be pretty darn obnoxious.


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I have a highly sensitive child, as well.  And while he is neurotypical, he does need some food considerations.  Of course, I encourage him to decline food politely.  I just peeled the inner membranes from each individual orange segment for him and was thrilled he ate some fruit.  I do a lot of PIA food prep for him and find the concept of other people being judgmental about that to be pretty darn obnoxious.


Not to be obnoxious or judgmental, but can't he peel the membranes himself?  This is, to me, a perfect example of the type of behaviour that, when indulged over a long period of time, leads to the pickiness (i.e. "I won't eat the orange... it has strings on it!!!!!!!!!!!!").  I would draw the line there and tell a 10 year old that if s/he wanted the orange perfectly clean they could do it themselves.  If that's what it takes to get a child to eat fruit, perhaps a different approach is needed?

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#77 of 148 Old 01-12-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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I have a highly sensitive child, as well.  And while he is neurotypical, he does need some food considerations.  Of course, I encourage him to decline food politely.  I just peeled the inner membranes from each individual orange segment for him and was thrilled he ate some fruit.  I do a lot of PIA food prep for him and find the concept of other people being judgmental about that to be pretty darn obnoxious.


Not to be obnoxious or judgmental, but can't he peel the membranes himself?  This is, to me, a perfect example of the type of behaviour that, when indulged over a long period of time, leads to the pickiness (i.e. "I won't eat the orange... it has strings on it!!!!!!!!!!!!").  I would draw the line there and tell a 10 year old that if s/he wanted the orange perfectly clean they could do it themselves.  If that's what it takes to get a child to eat fruit, perhaps a different approach is needed?


Ah, you're assuming that refusing to eat something is a whim on the kids part and that going along with it is what causes the pickiness. You've got it backwards. The pickiness it what started the whole thing! You are biased about it from the start, just by your use of the word indulgence. that may be true for some kids, but highly sensitive kids are different, and deserve tolerance and understanding.

Like I said, many kids are hardwired to be picky about tastes or textures. Their own brain is the cause. The kid just will not eat it otherwise. A parent can't just wait for their kid to get old enough to fix all their own food the way they like it, and in the meantime only eat a handful of foods. You work with what you've got, and you accept your kids for who they are.
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#78 of 148 Old 01-12-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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"A parent can't just wait for their kid to get old enough to fix all their own food the way they like it, and in the meantime only eat a handful of foods."

 

Well, they can. I'm not saying that one has to, or even that one should, but people did reach adulthood quite reliably in the days when an orange was a Christmas-stocking treat that one wouldn't dream of complaining about, and criticizing your mother's cooking was a punishable offense. I'd rather listen to the criticism (at home, in private) than have my kids be quietly gagging over my meals, but I also really, truly think it's better for a kid to not eat oranges for a few years than to watch his mother painstakingly strip off the membranes (and then be all happy that he's eating - that's a whole 'nuther thread).  I have a four-year who doesn't care for the "white stuff" on oranges. No problem. Oranges are never, ever the only thing offered at a meal. I'm fairly certain that she'll eat oranges someday - assuming that I can keep those mandarins-in-a-cup nastiness out of my house and make sure that her palate isn't keyed into the fake, processed, sanitized version of a whole food. 

 

It's OK not to like some foods. It's even OK not eat at a meal if nothing on the table appeals to you. I think we're all agreed about that. But I don't have time or money or patience to waste on preparing invalid fare for my healthy children, and I don't think "picky" or "highly sensitive" in developmentally normal children is a condition that is helped by doing such meal prep. Remember, what we are trying to get out of all this is an adult who can eat in a way that is socially neutral. Spending ten minutes massaging their orange is not the way to get there IMNSHO. 

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#79 of 148 Old 01-12-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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I don't make entirely separate meals, but I do make a lot of things that can be customized by the person eating it at the table--tacos I make spicy beans, mild beans, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, and avocado. The kids do mild beans and DH does the spicy with extra salsa. He likes the kick. Neither kid will eat tomato, and since I didn't either as a kid, I see no reason to push it. They wolf down avocado. As long as they eat, and I don't have to plan and make two separate meals, I'm good with that@

 

If they don't want something that's offered, they can skip it and I take preferences into account, but they still have to eat something that's on offer. Just lately they also have to come to terms with the pasta bowl not being endless, and they have to move on to their second favorite thing on their plates. I make extra, but when that's gone, it's gone. (If they ate second servings and everything else on their plates, skipping only their true dislikes, I'd make another batch of pasta; they don't go hungry!) I make cauliflower because DD and I like it, DH and DS don't, that's fine. They just skip the veggie that night, won't hurt them!

 

I did some things with DD like crust-less sandwiches and peeled apples that I don't do with DS. They both leave the crust though, and I don't see a reason to make a fuss about it. 


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#80 of 148 Old 01-13-2011, 02:03 AM
 
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Not to be obnoxious or judgmental, but can't he peel the membranes himself?  This is, to me, a perfect example of the type of behaviour that, when indulged over a long period of time, leads to the pickiness (i.e. "I won't eat the orange... it has strings on it!!!!!!!!!!!!").  I would draw the line there and tell a 10 year old that if s/he wanted the orange perfectly clean they could do it themselves.  If that's what it takes to get a child to eat fruit, perhaps a different approach is needed?



Ah, you're assuming that refusing to eat something is a whim on the kids part and that going along with it is what causes the pickiness. You've got it backwards. The pickiness it what started the whole thing! You are biased about it from the start, just by your use of the word indulgence. that may be true for some kids, but highly sensitive kids are different, and deserve tolerance and understanding.Like I said, many kids are hardwired to be picky about tastes or textures. Their own brain is the cause. The kid just will not eat it otherwise. A parent can't just wait for their kid to get old enough to fix all their own food the way they like it, and in the meantime only eat a handful of foods. You work with what you've got, and you accept your kids for who they are.


Bolding mine.  We are talking about kids who are neurotypical.  What you are describing is not neurotypical.  Neurotypical kids who do not have SIA or other issues... having the parent take every little string off of the orange when the child is 10 years of age and perfectly capable of doing it themselves... yes, I call that indulgence.  My dd doesn't necessarily like the strings on the orange, but since she was about 2.5 years old, she was free to take off as much of the string as she wanted.  She learned that it wasn't really worth it and after a couple of years stopped taking the strings off and got used to them... but she's neurotypical and not picky. 

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"A parent can't just wait for their kid to get old enough to fix all their own food the way they like it, and in the meantime only eat a handful of foods."

 

Well, they can. I'm not saying that one has to, or even that one should, but people did reach adulthood quite reliably in the days when an orange was a Christmas-stocking treat that one wouldn't dream of complaining about, and criticizing your mother's cooking was a punishable offense. I'd rather listen to the criticism (at home, in private) than have my kids be quietly gagging over my meals, but I also really, truly think it's better for a kid to not eat oranges for a few years than to watch his mother painstakingly strip off the membranes (and then be all happy that he's eating - that's a whole 'nuther thread).  I have a four-year who doesn't care for the "white stuff" on oranges. No problem. Oranges are never, ever the only thing offered at a meal. I'm fairly certain that she'll eat oranges someday - assuming that I can keep those mandarins-in-a-cup nastiness out of my house and make sure that her palate isn't keyed into the fake, processed, sanitized version of a whole food. 

 

It's OK not to like some foods. It's even OK not eat at a meal if nothing on the table appeals to you. I think we're all agreed about that. But I don't have time or money or patience to waste on preparing invalid fare for my healthy children, and I don't think "picky" or "highly sensitive" in developmentally normal children is a condition that is helped by doing such meal prep. Remember, what we are trying to get out of all this is an adult who can eat in a way that is socially neutral. Spending ten minutes massaging their orange is not the way to get there IMNSHO. 



Word. 

 

I am neurotypical, and was a picky kid.  I learned from an early age to modify foods to fit my texture and taste preferences, scraping, shoving to the side, picking off, etc. becasue the alternative was....well, not eating.  Self preservation and hunger are motivators, for sure - and I have ZERO resentment towards my parents at all; it would never even occur to them to offer me an alternative for the dinner my mom made for all of us.  I could leave piles of stuff on my plate after eating around them or cleaning them off or whatever that would make my mom laugh out loud in bemusement, I was so thorough in separating what I wanted from what I didn't want - and there was a realtively substantial list of things I didn't want (or didn't want mixed together).  And here is further anecdata:  I am having to actively teach my kids this skill because *I have been doing it for them for several years and they don't know how*.  They are entirely capable at 4 and almost 7 to pick stuff apart and leave what they don't want.  I had to actually explain to them how to dissect a lasagna so they didn't have to eat the ricotta. But now that I've started explaining it to them, they've started doing it on their own to other casserol-y/stew-y combination foods (which is really their only objectionable food type right now).  I could scrape sauce off a chicken breast like a pro, and weed out diced onions from a meal like nobody's business.  Should I feel mad at my mom for forcing me to do that?  I'm actually pretty glad she didn't cater to my neurotypical neuroses (that everyone has) and just let me do my thing to make my meals acceptable.   For a neurotypical kid, there's NO reason they can't learn to take stuff apart on their own to suit their tastes...and if they don't want to do that, then they can just eat whatever they find acceptable that's been served until they're ready to take apart whatever it is.  I believe that all of us have agreed that there's always *something* on the table that the child likes, so nobody is being forced to eat a plateful of foods they don't like. 

 

I think *everyone* has their "things".  Neurotypical neuroses and pickiness and sensitivities, I just, I don't feel like everything needs to be catered to.  People with diagnosable medical issues, YES.  Absolutely with a capital A, should have accommodations.  But neurotypical people with garden variety quirks and pickiness?  Meh, everyone has quirks.  If you would cry eating potatoes, don't eat potatoes if someone serves them to you - I don't see anyone on here saying they'd force a kid to eat an entire serving of something that would make them cry.  Take a small polite serving, push it around, and then eat whatever else is on your plate and be thankful that someone cooked something for you.  Then eat again at your next snack or meal.  I have to be honest, and will put on my flame-proof suit here, but a lot of this conversation, when pertaining to neurotypical but quirky people sounds like speshul snowflake syndrome to me.  And to be clear, I am guilty of having the syndrome myself sometimes, but I'm working on it.  How does that saying go?  "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should." 


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It just strikes me as entirely disrespectful to require someone, big or small, to eat something they don't want to eat or to eat at a time they don't feel like eating.



It strikes me as unusual that you wouldn't want to have people on basically the same eating routine if there are regular snacks and meals available.  If you have a smaller appetite, eat less at each meal and snack so you still want to eat every few hours; if you have a larger appetite, then eat more at each sitting so you can go longer until the next snack or meal.  It just seems weird to me to have people living in the same house on different eating timetables on a regular basis.  If you're talking about a one-off, then sure, we all have times when something is up that we don't want to eat and the person is excused....but not as a regular thing.  We all need and want to eat at regular intervals, so we've tweaked it so those intervals coincide and we have as many meals and snacks together as we can.  Sharing food together at a table is an important thing to both DH and me, so it's something we're teaching the kids as well.  I guess some of it might just be the personal values on meals and food in general.


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Not to be obnoxious or judgmental, but can't he peel the membranes himself?  This is, to me, a perfect example of the type of behaviour that, when indulged over a long period of time, leads to the pickiness (i.e. "I won't eat the orange... it has strings on it!!!!!!!!!!!!").  I would draw the line there and tell a 10 year old that if s/he wanted the orange perfectly clean they could do it themselves.  If that's what it takes to get a child to eat fruit, perhaps a different approach is needed?



Ah, you're assuming that refusing to eat something is a whim on the kids part and that going along with it is what causes the pickiness. You've got it backwards. The pickiness it what started the whole thing! You are biased about it from the start, just by your use of the word indulgence. that may be true for some kids, but highly sensitive kids are different, and deserve tolerance and understanding.Like I said, many kids are hardwired to be picky about tastes or textures. Their own brain is the cause. The kid just will not eat it otherwise. A parent can't just wait for their kid to get old enough to fix all their own food the way they like it, and in the meantime only eat a handful of foods. You work with what you've got, and you accept your kids for who they are.


nod.gif  Lest people think I spend hours a day with tweezers preparing my ds's food, he hadn't eaten oranges in a year.  Sure, I could not do these things and have him never eat fruit or vegetables.  But I like to keep his palate exposed to the variety of things he will eat so he can continue to expand them.

 



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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Lily View PostLike I said, many kids are hardwired to be picky about tastes or textures. Their own brain is the cause. The kid just will not eat it otherwise. A parent can't just wait for their kid to get old enough to fix all their own food the way they like it, and in the meantime only eat a handful of foods. You work with what you've got, and you accept your kids for who they are.


Bolding mine.  We are talking about kids who are neurotypical.  What you are describing is not neurotypical.  Neurotypical kids who do not have SIA or other issues... having the parent take every little string off of the orange when the child is 10 years of age and perfectly capable of doing it themselves... yes, I call that indulgence.  My dd doesn't necessarily like the strings on the orange, but since she was about 2.5 years old, she was free to take off as much of the string as she wanted.  She learned that it wasn't really worth it and after a couple of years stopped taking the strings off and got used to them... but she's neurotypical and not picky. 

My ds is as neurotypical as the next person who thinks wool is scratchy or whatever.  If he isn't neurotypical, then no one in my family is, lol.  Being discriminating about tastes and textures is very much a natural way to be.  It's a strong self preservation instinct that isn't as important when we get our food from grocery stores as it is when we forage for it.  It's especially common in kids and becomes more minimal as they age.  Ds also has a strong gag reflex which I suspect he protects with his food texture preferences.  Sure he could peel the fruit himself if he was interested enough in the results.  He isn't.  And I feel an odd obligation to encourage him to eat a little fruit or vegetables every once in a while.  Crazy, I know.  And we are getting exactly where we want to be with ds developing into a well adjusted polite adult who will be invited back to meals.  I don't care if others would take a more forceful approach.  I just think they should manage to be mature enough and polite enough to accept people are different and not have visceral reactions to it (unless they aren't neurotypical winky.gif), especially when they aren't even responsible for the person in question.
 


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#84 of 148 Old 01-13-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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"but I do make a lot of things that can be customized by the person eating it at the table..."

 

Oh, me too. I feel like I'm coming off as the Food Nazi here, but in reality, my meals are very, very friendly to picky folk. I am, in fact, surrounded by picky adult eaters, which is one of the reasons that I am so gung-ho about food manners and refuse to be made miserable at the table by a litany of what's wrong with the food and how it could be improved by increased effort on my part. 

 

WRT the neurotypical issue - it's a continuum. My son has ADHD with heightened anxiety. In one sense, he is not neurotypical. But I don't think that lowering my expectations around food manners would help him in any way. He's much better off skipping the entree and just eating the bread or fruit or whatever he finds inoffensive than complaining about "touching foods" or "yucky vegetables on my plate" and having a positive social experience turn into a negative one as the entire family/class/restaurant turns their attention away from their conversation, and towards DS and his "special needs." 

 

(DS is almost 7, BTW. I didn't expect this kind of social restraint and consideration of others when he was a toddler!)

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I think in some ways, timing plays a part.  At least in my experiences.

 

The older boy was never a particularly picky eater, but sitting down to dinner at 5pm or later was a setup for trouble.  He could have his most favoritestestest food on the planet, and would be whiny & not eat it.  Sit him down at 4pm with a food he'd never seen before & he'd gobble it right up.  He just wasn't hungry later in the day; he could eat a snack at 3pm and still eat dinner at 4pm, but not at 5:30pm.  It took me a WHILE to figure this one out.  In a similar vein, naps earlier in the day (10-11am) were far more productive than a nap at 1pm.  *shrug*

 

This *did* create a small problem, in that the family wanted to have dinner together, but when it was just a whinefest (and not about the food in particular, but anything in general), the solution was offering the boys dinner earlier, then when Daddy came home everyone still sat at the table together.  The boys could have a snack if they wanted, but OB usually just played with a car toy or two while engaging in the family conversation that happened at the dinner table.


And everyone got the same food. I wasn't cooking 2 meals!  *LOL*  I was also super-flexible about what was served; sometimes there was steak for breakfast & sometimes yogurt and eggs for dinner.  I also found out that serving their "biggest" meal (which most people leave for dinner) at lunchtime worked better overall.  So, lunch might have been a nice stew & dinner a sandwich or wrap & a little salad.  They seemed to sleep better with the lighter meal later in the day.

 

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"but I do make a lot of things that can be customized by the person eating it at the table..."

 

Oh, me too. I feel like I'm coming off as the Food Nazi here, but in reality, my meals are very, very friendly to picky folk. I am, in fact, surrounded by picky adult eaters, which is one of the reasons that I am so gung-ho about food manners and refuse to be made miserable at the table by a litany of what's wrong with the food and how it could be improved by increased effort on my part. 

 

WRT the neurotypical issue - it's a continuum. My son has ADHD with heightened anxiety. In one sense, he is not neurotypical. But I don't think that lowering my expectations around food manners would help him in any way. He's much better off skipping the entree and just eating the bread or fruit or whatever he finds inoffensive than complaining about "touching foods" or "yucky vegetables on my plate" and having a positive social experience turn into a negative one as the entire family/class/restaurant turns their attention away from their conversation, and towards DS and his "special needs." 

 

(DS is almost 7, BTW. I didn't expect this kind of social restraint and consideration of others when he was a toddler!)

Yes, I expect my ds to politely decline any foods he doesn't like.  He has always had good social awareness so I'd have been taken aback by him complaining (and would have assumed he was way too hungry to keep it together) at a meal with anyone other than just me.  I don't pick apart his food for him when we are at a meal.  I do think having his food preferences respected makes it easier for him to be polite.  He never had to get whiney or loud to be heard...  I imagine he might have resorted to that if I didn't figure out his texture issues and tried to coerce him to eat things that made him feel like gagging.  So not knowing other people's kids as well, I'll assume they have reason for their behavior and simply be glad it isn't my child. smile.gif
 


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#87 of 148 Old 01-13-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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 I am, in fact, surrounded by picky adult eaters, which is one of the reasons that I am so gung-ho about food manners and refuse to be made miserable at the table by a litany of what's wrong with the food and how it could be improved by increased effort on my part. 

 

My boss took a bunch of us to a really nice restaurant. Some of us got a great seafood platter and a few of the other people just went on and on about how "gross" it was, or how it "smelled yucky." And these were grownups!! And neurotypical grownups at that.

 

So, I am sorry if it makes me a food Nazi but my son is not going to act like that at the table. Of course I have age appropriate expectations and I do consider strong dislikes. But, he is being taught that we expect good manners at the table regardless of what is served.

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#88 of 148 Old 01-13-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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My kids are 3 and 5 and they pretty much eat what I make. I'm not a short order cook. I already make 3 meals a day for 4 people plus at least one sometimes 2 snacks a day. That's more than enough! That said I am the picky eater out of all of us. Dh will eat anything and the kids are good about eating all kinds of food. I try to add more veggies into meals and such though so that we get more of them. I just try to plan meals that we all like. I don't force them to eat everything on their plates but I don't make them anything different either. They usually eat what was made. I think most of the time they are just testing me or they may not be ready to eat yet. I do try to make meals with a variety of things we all like though and just let them eat what they want of it. Like the soup I made last night. DD ate two bowls of it but not one piece of meat out of it and ended up leaving most of the potatoes too. Nothing else left in the bowl either time. DS ended up eating some of everything but leaving a few veggies left over. Over all they get a good balanced diet. I have noticed at this age some days they seem to not eat much of anything. Even if I offer something I *know* they love. I'm afraid they must be going hungry and worry all day but they just don't eat much. The next day they may eat huge helpings at every meal and maybe even seconds. Their appetites definitely seem to come and go so I think that changes how much of a dinner they eat most of the time, not whether or not they really liked it.


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#89 of 148 Old 01-13-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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It strikes me as unusual that you wouldn't want to have people on basically the same eating routine if there are regular snacks and meals available.

Hmmm. We didn't have a schedule for meals (or much of anything else really lol). We did fall into something of a loose routine or pattern of sorts though. For years we didn't even have a dining room table. We've never required communal eating, though we often did eat together. It was never "breakfast at 7, lunch at 11, snack at 2, etc". Before we pulled the kids out to unschool we'd offer some breakfast in the morning if they wanted it. When the children were young I always made them meals, and when they got older the one standard meal of the day was dinner... usually around 6 or 7 pm. Essentially though? We ate when we were hungry to the extent that option was possible. :)

 

 

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Sharing food together at a table is an important thing to both DH and me, so it's something we're teaching the kids as well.  I guess some of it might just be the personal values on meals and food in general.

That's a good point; how each family or person values food. Every family has an "eating culture" and that's got to play a large role. The eating culture of our family is what I would call half and half: very communal and very individual. Our kitchen has always been the hub of activity. It's where you'd find everyone naturally gathering to talk, where parties both planned and impromptu happened, etc. Often during food prep my kids would just appear and help, it's where my Ds and I would talk for hours in the middle of the night when he was a young teenager while eating some leftover thing. But regularly scheduled dining hasn't ever been part of our culture. The individual aspect is that we all just ate when and what we want. And where. Often my kids would choose to eat in their room, outside in good weather, or not at all. :)


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#90 of 148 Old 01-13-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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It's OK not to like some foods. It's even OK not eat at a meal if nothing on the table appeals to you. I think we're all agreed about that. But I don't have time or money or patience to waste on preparing invalid fare for my healthy children, and I don't think "picky" or "highly sensitive" in developmentally normal children is a condition that is helped by doing such meal prep. Remember, what we are trying to get out of all this is an adult who can eat in a way that is socially neutral. Spending ten minutes massaging their orange is not the way to get there IMNSHO. 


As I said above, I don't make special meals. I'm just talking about setting up a child's plate according to their own preferences, like being more careful with corn or orange strings on one plate, or separating the vegetables, or making sure the foods don't touch, that sort of thing. I don't make separate meals. But I see nothing wrong with making some alterations to the meal everyone else is eating, according to my kids' preferences. We've also learned a lot about nutrition and health in the last few generations, and I know that if I can get my kids to try and like a variety of foods at ages 0-5, that will have an enormous influence on their taste throughout life. Waiting until they might want to try it later just doesn't cut it for me.
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Bolding mine.  We are talking about kids who are neurotypical.  What you are describing is not neurotypical.  Neurotypical kids who do not have SIA or other issues... having the parent take every little string off of the orange when the child is 10 years of age and perfectly capable of doing it themselves... yes, I call that indulgence.  My dd doesn't necessarily like the strings on the orange, but since she was about 2.5 years old, she was free to take off as much of the string as she wanted.  She learned that it wasn't really worth it and after a couple of years stopped taking the strings off and got used to them... but she's neurotypical and not picky. 

I'm sorry, my kids ARE neurotypical. Maybe your definition doesn't take into account the full range of typical. It doesn't sound like your child is as sensitive, which is fine and must make it easier for you. But there are plenty of neurotypical children that are more picky about those things. If you don't have a highly sensitive child, aren't highly sensitive yourself, and have no knowledge of it, then it's coming off as awfully judgemental to tell people here that their kids are neurologically atypical.

As far as the other poster's orange example, I can only say that my child is 4.5years old and able to take the strings off herself, but when she was younger I, too, peeled the membranes for her. She decided she liked them and we worked up from there. With some kids it takes more effort to get them to eat a variety of foods.
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