If you like book suggestions, the book Little Sugar Addicts has several great step-by-step suggestions on getting kinds on board with a larger diet change. (link:Amazon.com: Little Sugar Addicts: End the Mood Swings, Meltdowns, Tantrums, and Low Self-Esteem in Your Child Today (9781400051649): Kathleen DesMaisons: Books)
You might try some of the stuff in there because it's really big on giving children a voice but also addressing the areas that are more firmly a no as well.
I have to laugh- I don't think kids ever want to eat what is in the house. I overheard my boss talking to her daughter about breakfast one day. Kid was whining about "nothing to eat"... boss was rattling off a list: cereal, oat meal, eggs, toast, muffins, fruit and yogurt, make a smoothie. Kid wanted a bagel.
Probably if you had chicken nuggets, cheerios, hot dogs and ice cream, they'd want beef and broccoli.
I have to laugh as well - my mom was a tough old German broad when it came to food. There wasn't ever money in the house for frills of any stripe, and if we got whiney about what food we didn't have in the house, she had her standard answer: "then you aren't hungry enough."
Originally Posted by magnolia1973
There's loads of good advice here!
I'll just support the idea of getting your kids involved with the cooking. It's how I got my 2yo (what, is that too young to help in the kitchen?) to try asparagus ("These are the asparagus you helped Mummy snap!") and creamed spinach ("Remember, you helped Mummy measure and stir in the milk?"). He doesn't exactly love them, but at least it went in his mouth.
Maybe the older ones could read and choose recipes (from cookbooks you have preapproved without fuss).
I grew up with a picky-eater sibling, and mealtime was often stressful. I refuse to cook more than one meal. I can't be too uptight about what our little one eats, since he's in daycare and gets a meal and two snacks there. It's a very healthy menu by conventional standards, but it means he's usually having some type of bread product every day and too much soy by my reckoning. I figure I'll do my best at home, and that will be the example that sets him up for life. I still thank my parents for never letting us have soda, sugary cereals or much processed junk, like chips or boxes of store-bought cookies, in the home. And we pretty much never ate fast food. As a result, I've never really craved those things, and it is normal to be without them.
I figure you're already doing a great job by making the choice to eat real food.
Thanks for this thread!! It's almost a daily battle in my house and I only have one child. She is a self made lacto-vegetarian. She used to eat meat but, by the age of 2 she stopped. She's now 3, I spent over 2 weeks trying to get her to eat meat again(for dinner only) when I first went primal. It was a horrible experience. When she turned to gagging and almost throwing up, I was done. It was not worth it. No one was happy and I hated the stress. Dinner is suppose to be a time of gathering and sharing the day over great food. Not crying, and begging and frustration.
Her biggest problem is textures. If it's too mushy or slimy etc, she spits it out. I blame her father for this. I found out from his mom that he didn't eat meat until well into the age of 7 or 8. He also ate the same lunch everyday, for school, for 12yrs. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. And guess what they don't allow at Daycare and schools? And guess what I know my daughter would eat every day? Annoying!! His mom also told me that she was a picky eater with texture problems too. So that pretty much cements my blame. lol.....Sigh.
I'm at the point now where I barely know what to feed her and she is consently telling me she is hungry. I keep telling her that she needs to eat something with protein to help keep her full. "If you don't like meat then it's nuts or yogurt." She does eat most fruit and the standard veggies (cooked only) and for mains we rotate with potatoes, rice, or gluten free bread with cheese melted on it (oh yah because she only likes cheddar..melted..no other cheese). Snacks are simple. Thank God she eats plain greek yogurt and started drinking milk because she now doesn't like any nuts and will only eat peanut butter. Uggh. And this just started two weeks ago!! Gawd, I think I hate this age
We still put all veggies we eat and I know she doesn't, on her plate but meat, I've stopped. She gets too angry about it and will only focus on that. Every night I offer her meat off my plate but, she says no. That is where we are at. I hate it b/c I swore I'd never have a picky kid as an eater but, I have no control over this. One day she'll like meat, right? Because she doesn't even eat eggs! She's NEVER liked them.
Anyways, no help on this end from me. I just wanted to add that you are not alone and we can only do what we can do. Keep healthy, primal stuff there that you know they like, offer the rest and hope to god the evening becomes less "whiny" as the weeks go on.
Last edited by labmonkey; 07-11-2012 at 10:46 AM.
LOL, I've used a similar line on my son when he complains about a particular meal, but really, I feel incredibly lucky that my son has a broad palate. That kid will eat anything, even stuff adults turn their noses up at (raw onions, smoked oysters, pickled okra). But I haven't pushed the transition on him. We talk about what his dad and I eat, and what foods are best, but if he wants a piece of bread or a cupcake, I let him have it. He'll learn healthy eating by watching us and cooking and eating with us, but at 6 years old, he can get away with eating a bit of "junk" now and then. I know I ate far more junk than he does when I was his age.
Originally Posted by Crabbcakes
Personally, I think that a gentler transition works best, especially with picky kids. Cut out the junk a little at a time, and replace it with healthier options, but sometimes the stress created by fighting with the kids about food is worse than just letting them eat the food. Find what they will eat and serve that. It is okay for them to eat the same thing all the time. Just give them a good multi, too. I think some days my son would live on bananas and pickles, and I'm okay with that, because it's better than living on Snickers and Coke, and it's not worth the stress to try to get him to eat something else. And don't look at just one day of nutrition. As long as it balances out over a week or a month, they should be fine.
This is where we are at! Last Dr's visit they really got on me about her iron levels (with no blood test drawn, like come on!) and I told them the problem so they suggested a multi and told me to go to the health food stores for one since I didn't like the options at the standard pharmacy. Funny thing, the Dr then handed me a sheet of foods to feed my daughter. I promptly handed it back and told her I didn't need it. I know what she needs and she not eating it!
Originally Posted by Danielle5690
The last thing I want to do is take that sheet home and stress over what she doesn't eat. I remember the horrible advice I got with breastfeeding and caring for her when she was a baby. Oh she hasn't done this, that's a problem or she feeds this way, it's not the same as what they told me. Stress, stress, stress.....F*ck that
Wow. I have to say it: I was never allowed to choose, and I was a VERY picky eater. I simply had to eat what was in front of me or go hungry. I hated meatloaf, turkey, burgers, chicken. Didn't matter. That is what was made.
Funny story: my two stepsons were little, six and eight years old. They had "texture" issues -- which I totally appreciate, because I have them with some things too. I wasn't told this, however, and made them a healthy dinner (at the time according to CW) of peas, mashed potatoes, and ham. Their father said they liked this sort of food (it was my first time cooking for them.) They threw it up -- or regurgitated, really -- all over their plates. I cried like a baby. So I gave in and made them what I learned they liked: tater tots, chicken fingers, french fries and pizza. Oh, and the daily hot dog, cereal and pop tart.
Then I had to go gluten free due to Celiac's disease. Out went all the junk food from my kitchen. They were allowed one bag of junk food and a loaf of bread. Otherwise, I cooked what I could eat, and it tended to be a great deal healthier. Oh, the regurgitating and whining ensued. We spent hours at the table. Interesting thing: kids won't go hungry. They will whine and complain -- but then, don't we all when change occurs and it's not of our own making? We throw our own fits and curse and complain. But eventually, we get used to it and it becomes the norm. After a few hungry nights, the regurgitating stopped, the refusing to eat stopped. THEN we had a conversation about each meal -- what did you like, what didn't you like. They had to eat a reasonable portion of it first, then they could choose a substitute for the next meal if they didn't like it. Before long the oldest was eating sushi and the youngest was eating raw vegetables.
My point is that they aren't going to suffer emotional or mental damage because you are making different meals. I stopped talking about it and just cooked it up and put it out. And eventually, they stopped making a fuss over it. The only damage comes from the vicious battles that can ensue (and their father was not a patient man.) And they also didn't hate their step mom -- they'd go to their mom's and brag about the foods they'd eaten, and she'd text me in wonder that I'd gotten them to eat such things.
Hang in there. You are doing right by them. And let's face it, they are supposed to hate you some times (by the time they are teens, pretty much all the time.) You are raising them to be healthy, adjusted adults -- and you are definitely going down the right road with good nutrition.
@ labmonkey -- if your daughter's main meat problem is with texture, have you tried crispy bacon? How about meat/bone broth? If she's a good chewer, maybe beef jerky?
I agree that if she's that emotional about it, trying to push things will only make it worse. If you're worried about her getting enough protein, maybe you could fortify her milk with protein powder.
I did food battles with my oldest (now 16) following the logic that "they'll eat if they're hungry" and discovered that some children are pretty resilient and won't actually eat. Honestly, I think I partially starved the poor kid for several years when I was really really strict on foods. But finally reached a point where I wouldn't stress over her hating dinner as long as I made sure that other meals during the day and snacks were nutritious with foods she liked. One rule that went well was that you can serve yourself but you must eat what you serve, so be it only 3 green beans. Honestly though, she didn't really start liking food until she was about 14 or so, it's been a long road for her.
I do think I'd go nutty if I had many many picky attitudes to sort through. Maybe doing the one-meal only will work for dinner if you're feeling like they've got in good other options and snacks during the day.