Speaking of eating/dinner issues...

weed30February 15, 2009

My poor mother! I was the youngest of 5. Three of us had "issues" that I can remember:

1. One of my sisters decided she did not like meat. (not trying to be a vegetarian, just didn't like it). Of course this was not acceptable in the 60's. Dinner was meat/starch/veggie. When my parents bought a new kitchen table, they took the old one apart. It was a formica top with hollow metal legs. When they took the leg off of the corner where my sister sat, a bunch of "nuggets" fell out. They were pieces of old and now dehydrated meat that she had stuffed into the leg! Why it didn't smell, I have no idea.

2. My brother had curious eating habits. He did not take a bite of one thing, chew, and swallow. He would scoop up the potatoes, vegetables and meat, as much as he felt was "good" to shovel in, then put down his fork and chew like a fat cheeked squirrel. It drove my dad crazy. hehe.

3. Me. I went through various phases of "food issues". The ongoing theme was that NOTHING COULD BE MIXED! If a speck of gravy meandered over to the vegetable, it was a major crisis for me. I ate each item seperately. No particular order, but I ate all of one thing, then the next, then the next. I got to the point where I would eat all of one thing, then get up and get a *new fork* out of the drawer. Three items on the plate....three forks. I remember one time when I started to get up and my mom said "Don't you dare get another fork!" So I had to improvise and instead wiped off my fork before starting on the next item. I did that for years. I also remember only liking broccoli crowns, and then deciding that I only liked the stems. God bless my mother for putting up with me!

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I came from a family that served big meals. You had to clear your plate. Then they tried to pile seconds onto it! Family gatherings consisted of something like 7 courses! And if you said you were full they said "no there is room there!"

If it was not for the fact that I was an active kid in sports and always outside I probably would have been obese! Luckily as an adult the first thing I did was cut down on my portions because I had nobody shoveling it into me anymore! LOL

My son has given me the worst time with food! He once ordered a side of toast at a restaurant and put jelly on it. Then he decided he did not want jelly and I told him he ordered it and had to eat it because I was not paying for him to let it sit there! He cried for 10 minutes about eating that darn toast!

At home though they have to try everything I put on their plate. I give them small portions. I don't stand for the "I don't like veggies stuff" I do not force them to finish their dinner, but it is understood that there is no dessert if they do not finish dinner.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 9:53PM
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I don't remember a lot of scenes about food growing up, EXCEPT for eggplant. My mother made the worst eggplant (fried, greasy and black) and to this day I don't like it. I would have to sit at the table until it was gone.

With my kids.. if you ate, you ate. I wasn't going to repeat the silliness of my childhood, and now that they are adults, they seem to have a pretty reasonable attitude towards food.

It was, and is, always interesting to have their friends over and explain that they didn't have to try something they didn't like and certainly didn't have to clean their plates. This is still met with astonishment, even with their adult friends. They tell me stories, like Weed's, of hiding food in very original places.

My daughter is the same with the my grandchildren (actually her kids!!). No food battles. My grandson, now three, will usually try a bit of new food, although he likes to sneak up sideways on it, he's not going to make a commitment until he's sure!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 9:53AM
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It's an interesting topic. My rule has always been that you can't say you don't like something until you try it. So one small taste is required. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat any more of it. This worked well with my kids because they realized I wouldn't make them eat anything they didn't like so they were willing to try. Surprisingly MOST of what they thought they wouldn't like, they did! I think it helped that they had an open mind since they knew they got the final say.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 11:14AM
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Whatever I make, someone at the table wont like it. That does not bother me as long as I don't hear about it, no whining. That goes for DH, too. ;o)

Each of my 4 kids has some food they just really can't stand. I respect that and do not make them continue to try it. If I make one of those foods, the rest of the menu is something they will eat, so it's fine.

But I have one who is difficult. #2, he's 12. He either loves a food or hates it, doesn't recognize in between. If it's not a favorite, he claims to not like it and won't eat it. I've used every approach in the books, and always receive sage advice from grandmothers about encouraging a "picky" eater to try and like new foods. Not happening. He *would* let himself starve for days if I made several meals in a row that he doesn't like. I do not make something different for him, and I don't let him make something else b/c that makes more mess and uses food I had planned for another meal... and it encourages his ways. This is dinner, eat it or don't, there is something on this table you like well enough to fill your belly. But he gets... I don't know... emotional about it, takes it personally if it's not his favorites. Just the one kid, the others don't do it at all, even the younger ones. He has missed meals, gone all night without eating, because he doesn't like dinner. I used to feel guilty when he was little, he didn't know the consequence would be waking up in the night with hunger pangs. Now he's old enough to know... picky people go hungry. It does not change him. He will eat a slice of bread and a few grapes for dinner b/c he doesn't like the meat or carb that I cooked. I calmly tell him, "That is not a healthy dinner for a boy your age, it's not enough calories for your age." I want him to think about making good choices for his health, and he is starting to.

I feel, though, from his responses, that if I push him, he'll eat less variety, try even less. If we order pizza, he'll eat 8 slices, I get my money's worth at a pizza buffet with that kid. LOL. But he simply will not put food into his mouth that he has any distaste for at all. We talk to him about being able to enjoy going more places, knowing he'll always find something to eat. Sometimes he pouts about it, but not often. He just doesn't eat much variety. He does not give other people grief, at friend's houses he is more likely to eat a small amount of something he doesn't like. He does not complain at Grandma's, again, more likely to sit in silent hunger and push his food around, waiting for a later meal he will like and make up for it.

I have hope that when he grows up he will be more reasonable, but it clearly will have to be his choice. If we leave him alone, once in a while he will surprise us... shock us, actually! He is healthy, height and weight were both in the 50th percentile last check up, so he isn't starving. He is not allowed to make up for it with junk; he eats almost every fruit, bread, cheeses, some meats. Breakfast and lunch foods he's fine, he'll eat a monster of a sandwich. It's recipes, dinners, with various ingredients where one small ingredient will make him refuse the whole thing. Like he'll eat pizza and cheese sticks and love it, but won't touch lasagna. (which drives me nuts, same stuff, different arrangment!)

It's too much for me to keep up with, so it's his problem, not mine. I put the food out there, that's my job. He puts something in his mouth, or not... that's his job. Oddly enough, he likes to cook with me, even if he doesn't end up eating the food.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 1:56PM
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Calves liver. For some reason my mother believed we needed to eat it. I can remember sitting at the table, in the dark, for hours (well, it was probably an hour) because I wouldn't eat it and they wouldn't let me leave the table. My mother finally realized I wouldn't eat it and she let me leave the table.

One strategy I read was that you let each child list foods they won't eat, limited to 1-3 things, and you don't make them eat it. You may still serve it to others, but they don't have to eat it. They can change the list with 24 hours notice (otherwise the smarties would change it with every meal).

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:09PM
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Fun topic. My niece and nephew are over for dinner just about every day so we get that challenge of trying to make them eat the healthy stuff we cook. (They live with grandma so you can imagine what they get to eat all day long.) We just try to get creative: for a while we all called broccoli "cancer-fighting-superheroes!" and would race to get them down just in time to get the bad stuff out of the other food we just ate, lol!

Then for a while I would let them pick out the veggies from the store and help me prepare and cook them. Involving them can be a good way to get them to try new things, especially if you praise their spectacular cooking, or name it the "little johnny smith special"

Sometimes we let them eat everything on their plates with their fingers. Mashed potatoes night is always fun :-)

When the games no longer worked I had to start chopping it up finely and hiding it in ground beef or rice or other side dish (carrots are the hardest to hide, they're detectable no matter how small I chop them...maybe I need to blend them!)

My mom was too lenient on us as kids IMO: if we didn't like what she spent all day cooking she'd just cave and make us something else. I think there was a year where my bro ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and carnation instant breakfasts. Then it was honey nut cheerios all day every day. Although I don't really agree with letting your kids decide all the time, strangely it hasn't really made him a picky eater as an adult as one might think. Quite the contrary: He is a gourmet cook and is always sending me recipes that use stuff like portabella and capers and fresh rosemary, homemade sauces, it's amazing! So I guess both philosophies can work out ok.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 12:29AM
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