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Kids/Parenting: It’s fine, everything is fine.

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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    So, I think stopping cooking is giving the kids too much power. With our oldest, who is only five, we've basically banned that kind of talk, and explained how if he doesn't like something, he doesn't have to eat it, but that people like different things and it is not OK to go on about how much you don't like something when other people are enjoying it.

    How old are the kids? Can you involve them in the food preparation process to give them ownership and involvement in it? My kid has liked doing kitchen stuff since very little, and even has a little wooden chopper he can chop veggies and so on with. .

    :so_raven:
    kimehonovereKayne Red RobeCauldElvenshaeGilgaronJaysonFourBrody
  • Kayne Red RobeKayne Red Robe Master of Magic ArcanusRegistered User regular
    Gilgaron wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    They have to try everything, and negative comments harsher than 'this isn't my favorite' mean they get anything they don't finish for breakfast instead of breakfast foods, which are universally loved, and no one wants to eat soggy leftovers when their sister is eating lucky charms. If they tried something and genuinely don't like it, maybe they only have to eat half of the bell peppers or whatever your discretion and mercy allow. But if they're acting in bad faith the plate goes in the fridge and if they ask for dessert or a snack after dinner it comes back out. Also, it helps if the beverage with the meal is either water or white milk/vanilla vegetable milk etc. Anything sweet and it is gone in a flash and they're 'too full.' They won't stare down quinoa while watching the rest of the family have ice cream more than twice.

    Not to start an argument but this sort of thing always gets my hackles up. Being pressured to finish everything on your plate when you aren't in charge of how much goes on the plate sucks.

    When I was a kid my parents freaked out because I didn't have the same metabolism as my older sister and didn't eat as much. I spent a fair number of nights sitting at the dinner table until bedtime because I wasn't allowed to leave until I finished dinner but I was full and didn't want more food.

    Also, let kids eat snacks, remember how it's healthier to eat smaller meals more frequently? Just try to avoid straight junk food, but if it's 3pm it's okay to eat a half pb&j or something.

    The other side of the coin of course is that you can't give special treatment for foods, what's for dinner is what's for dinner.

    AimMulysaSemproniusBrody
  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    You put the food in front of them and tell them, "This is what is for dinner. Either you eat it or go hungry."

    Not eating a meal isn't going to kill them. It may seem harsh, depending on their ages, but it's a problem that's solved through willpower. It can be tough. I've gone through it with my kids, but it works (at least anecdotally).

    As an aside, the complaints about food thing also doesn't fly at my house. After repeated warnings to not refer to food in front of them as "gross", "disgusting" or other similar terms, I simply took the food away from them and they went hungry for the night. That's a manners thing that I refuse to put up with. You can not like your food, but keep it to yourself. It's extremely rude and I would be embarrassed if they said something like that at a friend's house.

    Kayne Red RobeCelestialBadgerAimJaysonFourBrody
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    You put the food in front of them and tell them, "This is what is for dinner. Either you eat it or go hungry."

    Not eating a meal isn't going to kill them. It may seem harsh, depending on their ages, but it's a problem that's solved through willpower. It can be tough. I've gone through it with my kids, but it works (at least anecdotally).

    As an aside, the complaints about food thing also doesn't fly at my house. After repeated warnings to not refer to food in front of them as "gross", "disgusting" or other similar terms, I simply took the food away from them and they went hungry for the night. That's a manners thing that I refuse to put up with. You can not like your food, but keep it to yourself. It's extremely rude and I would be embarrassed if they said something like that at a friend's house.

    Instinctively, the idea of taking food away as a punishment is something I don't like. I get the connection, because it's a punishment directly related to what they're doing, but it makes me feel uncomfortable... I'd probably try and go for some other punishment in that case.

    Thankfully we haven't had the issue of complaining badly about the taste of food or whatever. Yet.....

    Battle.net ID: kime#1822
    3DS Friend Code: 3110-5393-4113
    Steam profile
    dennisJebus314
  • urahonkyurahonky Dayton, OHRegistered User regular
    Corvus wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    So, I think stopping cooking is giving the kids too much power. With our oldest, who is only five, we've basically banned that kind of talk, and explained how if he doesn't like something, he doesn't have to eat it, but that people like different things and it is not OK to go on about how much you don't like something when other people are enjoying it.

    How old are the kids? Can you involve them in the food preparation process to give them ownership and involvement in it? My kid has liked doing kitchen stuff since very little, and even has a little wooden chopper he can chop veggies and so on with. .

    We have 3: 7 (almost 8), 6, and 2. The oldest will at least try anything. The 6 year old is the main problem. If he doesn't like something he'll be sure to inform you multiple times. We've involved them before but with COVID and germs (and the fact that the 6 year old can't seem to keep his hands out of his mouth) we've kind of slouched on it.

    We've also tried telling them that they have to try everything and they'll just not eat if they don't finish their food. It just adds more fuel to the fire because we're all just tired of each other (sounds awful to say but we've been in the same house, together, every day for over a year now).

    I think the babysitter is really making things difficult here. There was a week where they ate nothing but fast food because she specifically asks them what they want to eat and goes with that.

  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    I agree with the above. We give the kids what we make and if they don't eat it then that's fine. We also try to limit snacks to fruit or things we're eating, but that's definitely a work in progress and isn't realistic in some scenarios. I try to involve my kids in cooking when possible. It usually makes cooking more fun too without adding much time. One other tip that someone on here mentioned a while ago is that I'll ask them what they want, but give options I'm ok with: "Do you want an omelet or avocado toast for breakfast?" etc.

  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited May 19
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    I feel your pain. One thing I would bring up first is to make sure you know the roots of the pickiness. You probably do, since you've found a very specific start at the beginning of the pandemic. But also keep in mind that kids (and adults) tastes change, and they get burn out on foods (again, adults do, too). For example, I never want to eat at Panera again. If the pandemic starting was also joined with them having things they used to like more often, they might have burnt out.

    But the other reason I wanted to reply is because of autism. I have two children, the oldest one (9 y.o.) clinically diagnosed with moderate autism spectrum disorder (and also high ADHD). The youngest one seems neurotypical. As such, I can definitely say that with the oldest kid he's not in control of what he can ingest, much like he's not in control of other things you would tell a NT person to self-control. He will literally have a full scale meltdown lasting an hour or more if told his choice is either eat something he dislikes (as opposed to not just loving) or go hungry. Possibly with screaming and breaking things. His body's "okay, that's about enough, lets turn off the adrenaline/cortisol spigot" reflex just never kicks in. Well, at least not until his body is significantly exhausted. His brain goes offline and no amount of calm discussion or comfort will stop that train.

    So we work around that. We realize that he's not in control of his choices. We get him to try things, and he is willing. He often is the one who offers to try something without us asking. And we've taught him (plus he's matured) to not say really negative things, especially when his younger sister is there.

    I don't know if any of this applies to you, but I know a lot of other people read the thread and figured someone out there might not realize that this is going on with their kid(s) and could take a second look at it.

    My 4 y.o. daughter, on the other hand, seems to be totally NT. She will say she doesn't want certain things or doesn't like them, but when presented with the "take it or leave it" option, she'll eventually back down and take it. With both kids, we've always taken the approach of "you never have to eat a thing, but you have to have tried it, and you won't get any of extra preferred food if you don't finish the portion we gave you of the thing you didn't like." Same approach, but it only works with my daughter, who will often claim to not like the thing that was her favorite two days ago.

    Edit: Oh, and I meant to mention, I can still remember sitting at the table for an extra long time because I hadn't eaten my peas. I'm sorry, but I just loathe the taste and feel of most beans and peas. I so very much wish that were not the case, as it cuts me off from both cuisines and nutrition. But imagine if someone baked you bread but didn't put any salt in it. That's what it's like to me. Yes, if I were starving I'd probably eat it. But up until that point, it's just not going to happen (trust me, I've tried training myself.) As such, I have a lot of sympathy for my son. Part of the DNA that makes him the way he is came from me, after all (5%? I'm pretty sure it's at least 5%...)

    dennis on
    urahonky
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    My daughter is not a picky eater. I think it’s her nature. She just likes food. I don’t care if she eats much dinner or not because she will always like the next meal. If it’s something weird like a hot curry and she tries it and doesn’t like it she gets a plain sandwich.

    You probably couldn’t do this with an underweight child.

  • AimAim Registered User regular
    One suggestion we got was in addition to things they like to eat, they must also have an "adventure bite" at each meal - basically try something new/ that the adults are eating. It took a while, they complain about it, but funnily our oldest kids is developing an interest in spiciness, and our middle kid sometimes follows in his footsteps. It became more of a game for them, and I think it is expanding their tastes, albeit slowly.

    CelestialBadgerlonelyahava
  • knight11eknight11e Registered User regular
    Glad to see so many people saying the same thing that my wife and I do.

    This is what we’re having for dinner. You don’t have to eat all of it, but you do need to try each part. If you want something for dessert you need to finish the dinner we gave you.

    It’s worked well for us so far.

    Elvenshae
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    I haven't decided how I want to handle dessert yet. I don't want to make her "finish her plate" or whatever, because this goes back to I want her to choose what she eats and how much.

    But on the flipside, I obviously don't want her to skip dinner for dessert.... So, we'll see what happens when we do dessert more than as a very special occasion...

    Battle.net ID: kime#1822
    3DS Friend Code: 3110-5393-4113
    Steam profile
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited May 19
    Oh, and to be specific about what my son will eat:

    Hamburgers, sausage, brats, meatballs, pasta, sloppy joes, hot dogs, bacon, scrambled eggs, chicken fingers, fried shrimp, breaded tilapia, most typical fruits other than bananas and mangos, french fries, tomato soup (either made by Panera, Noodles & Co. or a very specific recipe I finally found after several were rejected - and it was declared the FAVORITE of all), Alexia Sweet Potato puffs, sweet potato fries (but so far only restaurant ones). Tandoori chicken. Pizza (sausage, pepperoni, meatball, hamburger). Peanut butter and crackers.

    That's pretty much it. We're screwed if he stops eating the sweet potato puffs, as they're one of his main easy healthy vegetable sources. He used to eat broccoli but eventually that fell along the wayside (along with a lot of things, year by year).

    You can look at the list and notice a lot of groups, like ground meats or breaded meats. Foods that are dry and crispy will generally be acceptable. Foods that are moist but "stringy" will not be. Things he definitely will NOT eat: any roasted or roast-adjacent meat. So no baked chicken, pork, etc. I'm not sure why Tandoori works but it's definitely the exception. And no casserole-type dishes. Though he will eat pasta with sauce on it, he will not touch lasagna. I think it's the combination of textures. This is a common thing among people with autism. He no longer drinks milk.

    What's funny is that autism can be the exception to what I said earlier about burnout. Or at least not as quickly. He has literally eaten a peanut butter sandwich (former with a normal amount of jelly, then small amount, then none) every school day for the past several years with no complaint. Just the opposite, as he requests them. About a month or two ago, he finally went off them. But he will still eat peanut butter and crackers.

    It's also a challenge with him because his ADHD medication makes him want nothing to do with breakfast or lunch. We were doing good to get half a peanut butter sandwich in him during lunch. This also makes the "just don't eat" approach not work, as ADHD kids have to really make sure they're getting enough calories or they have to switch off that medication. Because when given that choice, he just won't eat and will be angry.

    My daughter, on the other hand, eats almost anything. I'm always astonished by just how many raw veggies she will gobble up (something I just haven't been able to like, beyond cherry tomatoes). She also likes most of what I cook and loves a good deal of it. She will eat and tell me "this is delicious, thanks for making it!" So I know it's not because I'm a terrible cook. Yet I approached both kids the same in the beginning. You could even make the case that she'd be more picky, because she's seen how her brother eats her whole life and by the time she came along both her parents were kind of broken. Yet apart from being stubborn, she probably eats the most variety of anyone in the whole house.

    Sorry, that was supposed to be a short addendum but I have the tendency to run on and on.

    dennis on
  • urahonkyurahonky Dayton, OHRegistered User regular
    Yeah I have my suspicions that my son may be on the spectrum but my wife continues the "he's just a young boy" thing. But he doesn't sit still at all, has a hard time focusing on things he doesn't like, and just will always be talking. But put him in front of something he likes (pokemon, video games, minecraft, etc) and he'll sit through it and talk slowly. It's very interesting.

    But thanks for the responses everyone. My wife and I have just been in a constant state of exhaustion this past year. We're already spending the day fighting them with at-home schooling, going to bed, brushing their teeth, taking a bath, getting pajamas on... It's like we only spend the day with them arguing about things. So it's hard to add dinner to that list as well. We're pretty broken and hanging on by a thread most days.

  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited May 19
    urahonky wrote: »
    Yeah I have my suspicions that my son may be on the spectrum but my wife continues the "he's just a young boy" thing. But he doesn't sit still at all, has a hard time focusing on things he doesn't like, and just will always be talking. But put him in front of something he likes (pokemon, video games, minecraft, etc) and he'll sit through it and talk slowly. It's very interesting.

    Definitely keep it in mind. There's ADHD and ASD, and the two are often co-morbid. We thought my son just had ADHD, and we got that diagnosed when he was 6 1/2. That's when his wonderful teacher gingerly brought it up in a parent-teacher conference. She was afraid we'd react badly, but it was incredibly helpful to have someone who had years of experience with lots of kids (rather than our entire datapoint of one) say, "I think your son might not be like most other kids". The more we researched it the more everything fit (all the way back to him walking at 9 months). We thought that was it for a couple of years, then got a lot of that under control with medication and accommodation, then realized there was something deeper and finally wound up with the official diagnosis for ASD a couple of months back.

    If you think there's a good possibility, I would encourage you to look into professional help. A kid with significant ADHD (much less ASD) will go through hell if people keep trying to pound them into a NT-shaped hole. I'm talking about both family and teachers. We were lucky that Montessori school was an ideal environment for a kid who couldn't sit still and follow along with the class. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been. Just simply knowing that a professional third party said "yes, he has ADHD, and he's doing these things because of that and not because he's a colossal asshole" did a lot to heal our family dynamic. Yes, the medication helped a lot, too. But even without that (which we might have forgone if his level of ADHD wasn't so very high), it was a turning point.

    dennis on
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    So, I think stopping cooking is giving the kids too much power. With our oldest, who is only five, we've basically banned that kind of talk, and explained how if he doesn't like something, he doesn't have to eat it, but that people like different things and it is not OK to go on about how much you don't like something when other people are enjoying it.

    How old are the kids? Can you involve them in the food preparation process to give them ownership and involvement in it? My kid has liked doing kitchen stuff since very little, and even has a little wooden chopper he can chop veggies and so on with. .

    We have 3: 7 (almost 8), 6, and 2. The oldest will at least try anything. The 6 year old is the main problem. If he doesn't like something he'll be sure to inform you multiple times. We've involved them before but with COVID and germs (and the fact that the 6 year old can't seem to keep his hands out of his mouth) we've kind of slouched on it.

    We've also tried telling them that they have to try everything and they'll just not eat if they don't finish their food. It just adds more fuel to the fire because we're all just tired of each other (sounds awful to say but we've been in the same house, together, every day for over a year now).

    I think the babysitter is really making things difficult here. There was a week where they ate nothing but fast food because she specifically asks them what they want to eat and goes with that.

    So, I think maybe cracking down on the 6 year old's negative talk might be a good idea, but you've got more experience here than me anyways. You could also get the kids involved in the meal planning. I don't make my son eat things I already know he doesn't like, or if he decides he doesn't like them. He doesn't like cabbage, so if we have something with cabbage in it it he can skip that.

    You need to set expectations and parameters around food with the babysitter.

    :so_raven:
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    My 3 1/2 year old god-daughter has accumulated every excuse to avoid bedtime.

    I need to watch Simon!
    You have to read me a book!
    I need minions! (Crackers she gets at bedtime)
    I'm hungry! (She ate 1/3 of her supper)
    I need water!
    I have to go potty! (She doesn't go potty)
    You need to lay with me Mom! Mom! MOOOOOOOOOOOM!
    No! I want Daddy! Mom you Need. To. Get. Daddy!
    ...
    I need to go potty! (She might go potty now. She probably won't.)
    No! You need to lay with me!
    ...
    Mom! MOOOOOOM! I have to go potty!

    It's an endless cavalcade of blatant excuses but I don't have to deal with any of it so my job is to not let them see me laughing.

    It may seem funny now, but endlessly drawn out bedtime routines can become a source of immense frustration for the responsible parent.
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    I'd advise finding something they will tolerate for during the day that is nutritionally acceptable and having that ready for all the daytime meals. The babysitter isn't a nutritionist, so, make it easy for them to serve something you approve of.

    For evenings and meals you serve, the strategy others have suggested is the way to go. You get what you get and that's it and you only get anything else if you try things. Not hungry? That's fine, but you get nothing else other than water till bedtime.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Ellie is 5.

    And I noticed that she's very much like her father, she eats lots of small meals often, she grazes.

    And if she's hungry there's no real getting her to eat a big meal.

    So she gets a "cold dinner" as soon as we get home from after school care. This usually consists of cucumber slices, some form of cheese (babybel, sliced, or shredded), one other veggie, and one fruit. She might also ask for crackers or a piece of buttered brown bread.

    And that's what she eats at about 5pm. Hubby doesn't get home until 630 most nights, so I have dinner with him. And she sits at the table with us (now that we have a table).

    And through this she's been a Lot more curious about what we're eating, since she's not so hungry she wants to kill things. So she gets a second hot dinner with us. This will usually consist of white rice with butter and then a bit of whatever protein we're having. Ellie will eat fish, chicken (light and dark meat, on the bone or off), and steak. She even really liked the meatloaf that I made last time and ate also an entire slice.

    This hot dinner will also include some more veggies. And when she's done a decent amount of food, or at least trying what she's asked for, she's allowed a small sweet (depending on how many sweet things she's already had that day). Usually one cookie, or one marshmallow.

    She's gotten a Lot more adventurous with trying our food and she knows that she needs to take at least one good mouthful/bite and then swallow it.

    And sometimes she'll say "that's really good but I don't want any" or "I don't like that" or "more please!"


    She knows that she needs one protein, one carb, and lots of veggies and fruits and some nights we'll go through the fridge and she'll pick her choices. The choices she makes will make me roll my eyes at times, but she's the one making the healthy choice, and helping me cook.

    She loves garlic and will come into the kitchen following her nose as soon as she smells me coming garlic.

    Kayne Red RobeBrody
  • GilgaronGilgaron Registered User regular
    Gilgaron wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Parenting thread: How do you guys handle picky eaters?

    My oldest doesn't eat toast, american cheese, or potatoes.
    My middle son doesn't eat corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, and some other stuff.

    Peanut butter is out because of our babysitter having allergies.

    We stopped cooking anything because hearing "this is disgusting" at every meal eats away at our patience. We have a babysitter come over 10a - 5p so I can WFH without interruption and she's resorted to ordering McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Pizza just about every day which I am very much against. Please help me figure out how to resolve this. I want to go back to cooking meals for my kids... They just turned picky immediately after the pandemic.

    They have to try everything, and negative comments harsher than 'this isn't my favorite' mean they get anything they don't finish for breakfast instead of breakfast foods, which are universally loved, and no one wants to eat soggy leftovers when their sister is eating lucky charms. If they tried something and genuinely don't like it, maybe they only have to eat half of the bell peppers or whatever your discretion and mercy allow. But if they're acting in bad faith the plate goes in the fridge and if they ask for dessert or a snack after dinner it comes back out. Also, it helps if the beverage with the meal is either water or white milk/vanilla vegetable milk etc. Anything sweet and it is gone in a flash and they're 'too full.' They won't stare down quinoa while watching the rest of the family have ice cream more than twice.

    Not to start an argument but this sort of thing always gets my hackles up. Being pressured to finish everything on your plate when you aren't in charge of how much goes on the plate sucks.

    When I was a kid my parents freaked out because I didn't have the same metabolism as my older sister and didn't eat as much. I spent a fair number of nights sitting at the dinner table until bedtime because I wasn't allowed to leave until I finished dinner but I was full and didn't want more food.

    Also, let kids eat snacks, remember how it's healthier to eat smaller meals more frequently? Just try to avoid straight junk food, but if it's 3pm it's okay to eat a half pb&j or something.

    The other side of the coin of course is that you can't give special treatment for foods, what's for dinner is what's for dinner.

    That's a good point! I do let them control how much they're given in that I'll give them a minimal amount of each part of dinner and then they have the option to ask for more. And no, they have until I've got the dishes done and then that's when we pack it up. The breakfast threat is more for obstinance, if they did a good job giving a try then I'm not going to give them grief about it, if they liked it but just couldn't finish it they often request it be saved for lunch these days. Snacks were more a problem when they were younger, now that they're in grade school they know what counts as healthy snacks. I agree with explaining why we're eating what we are and sometimes only make them eat the 'most healthy' part of the meal. Its with the toddlers you have to be more of a hardass about rules, once you can reason with them it is a lot easier.

    Kayne Red Robe
  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    edited May 19
    kime wrote: »
    I haven't decided how I want to handle dessert yet. I don't want to make her "finish her plate" or whatever, because this goes back to I want her to choose what she eats and how much.

    But on the flipside, I obviously don't want her to skip dinner for dessert.... So, we'll see what happens when we do dessert more than as a very special occasion...

    Hasn’t really come up for us yet, but our approach is going to be to treat dessert just like another meal, except we will sort of randomly decide when it happens.

    So if kiddo refused dinner, and we decide to do desert that night, then it doesn’t matter what happened before they can still have some dessert. Dessert quantities will almost certainly be limited to amounts where they would want more, even if they ate a big dinner, so it will still be unsatisfying as a dinner replacement if they try and game the system.

    Also, since we decide when dessert happens, most likely we won’t do desserts on nights where they are refusing to eat dinner (although we wouldn’t tell them this). Dessert is specifically not a reward for good behavior/good eating during dinner, and it won’t be removed as a punishment. Basically we will treat it like an unknown until dinner is finished.

    After meals, if they didn’t eat enough, I think you have to have healthy snacks they can have at any time, or just more of the meal they skipped.

    Jebus314 on
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  • urahonkyurahonky Dayton, OHRegistered User regular
    The other problem is that we really only grocery shop about once every 2 weeks due to exhaustion. Fresh veggies and fruit simply don't last that long. The kids are milk and yogurt addicts. We have granola bars and other high sugar things. But honestly I have no clue what they could eat that's healthy as a snack that they'd actually eat that doesn't rot.

  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    The other problem is that we really only grocery shop about once every 2 weeks due to exhaustion. Fresh veggies and fruit simply don't last that long. The kids are milk and yogurt addicts. We have granola bars and other high sugar things. But honestly I have no clue what they could eat that's healthy as a snack that they'd actually eat that doesn't rot.

    There are more expensive things you can buy. Go to like, QFC or Whole Foods or whatever, they'll have crackers and similar snacks, often made from veggies and such with no added sugar.

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  • m!ttensm!ttens Registered User regular
    My wife and I have struggled with weight our whole lives and we're trying to instill body positivity, balanced nutrition and good eating habits. Bea (age 2.5) always has whatever we're having, but if we know she may not like it we'll give her short rations of that and supplement with some berries, yogurt, crackers/toast, etc. I ask her to try a "hello bite" (daycare terminology) but don't force it. If I'm eating something spicy I will warn her before she asks to try my food and give her a tiny bit. She loved spicy food when we first started solids but that has scaled back considerably. I try to get her into the kitchen if it's relatively safe and I can fully supervise while also prepping. She loves helping even if it's counting things or handing me spoons or whatever; I think getting kids involved really drives that ownership on them wanting to try something.

    Dessert for us is never a reward for eating dinner and it is always something small, like Ahava said, a single (big) marshmallow or 1 or 2 tea biscuits. Basically we aim for something lightly sweet and/or crunchy and <50 calories.

    Regarding the babysitter, I think doing some meal prep with the kiddos the night/morning before lunch and having premade sandwiches or slow cooker stuff ready to go will be the best for your wallet, and their bellies.

    MNC DoverurahonkyBrody
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    m!ttens wrote: »
    She loved spicy food when we first started solids but that has scaled back considerably.

    We had the same thing, I wonder how common that is.

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  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    kime wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    The other problem is that we really only grocery shop about once every 2 weeks due to exhaustion. Fresh veggies and fruit simply don't last that long. The kids are milk and yogurt addicts. We have granola bars and other high sugar things. But honestly I have no clue what they could eat that's healthy as a snack that they'd actually eat that doesn't rot.

    There are more expensive things you can buy. Go to like, QFC or Whole Foods or whatever, they'll have crackers and similar snacks, often made from veggies and such with no added sugar.

    As always, read the ingredients. I've found that almost every "veggie" cracker or chip is primarily the thing the non-"veggie" ones would have (wheat or rice flour, potatoes) with some unspecified amount of veggie through in. And if you read through the ingredients, the #1 nutrient is salt. And that ones that didn't... well, there's a reason why people don't rave about those chips/crackers and put Frito-Lay out of business. :biggrin:

    What are some of your favorites, kime?

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    I feel like the "Eat what's on your plate or don't eat" crowd is the "Cry it out" of eating habits. I say this as someone who did cry it out because nothing else worked, mind you.

    So my daughter is picky, but not too bad. There's stuff that she won't touch, and there's stuff she'll grudgingly eat, and stuff she likes, and stuff she loves. My recommendations are as follows:

    1) If your kid loves something, lean into it with variation. We're blessed to live in a time where it's easy to come up with lots of variations for things. For instance, my daughter's always loved cheese, so digging into adventurous cheeses has given us a way to open up her palate without pushback. Your kid likes apples? Try different varieties. Try preparing them differently. Try mixing them with other preferred foods.

    2) Try to teach your child early how to communicate about their food preferences. Explaining sweet and hot and spicy and peppery and herby and what else. This becomes helpful when you're trying to get them to explain why they don't like something. Like, my kid has an issue with things that have 'mushy' textures. Mashed potatoes, oatmeal, etc. It got a lot easier when she could explain what it was she didn't like.

    3) Try to get them involved in the process at any step. Meal planning, grocery shopping, preparation, or food growing. Everything's a potential wedge. We started growing microgreens this year, and my daughter was resisting any attempts at a salad. Until we got to growing red radish greens, which I think she was excited about because they were red? For whatever reason, she latched onto those, and THOSE were the ones where she was okay eating a salad.

    5) Remember that this isn't permanent. I myself was a lot pickier as a kid than I've matured into as an adult. My wife was even worse. She also had food issues as a kid, with a mixture of pressures to try to get her to broaden her palate. All unsuccessful. After we got married, I introduced her to a lot of things she loves now, that she was willing to try when she felt able to. Eggs. Pork chops. Spinach, etc.

    5) Handling the situation is going to be personalized to your kid. There are no absolutes. Some folks kids respond to the "Eat what's on your plate" thing. My daughter meanwhile will engage in a battle of wills and starve herself. No, literally. Everyone's kid is different. Bless you folks where you set boundaries at mealtimes and they worked, the rest of us we have to find a different path. I am a big endorser of the "you have to try one bite" club, and that's an approach that works for my kid. I tell myself that even when she doesn't like something, ever taste potentially broadens the palate. May not help now, but later on.

    Anyways, good luck! I hope you find what works for you.

    CorvusMNC DoverCauld
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    "Cry it out" is different? Or at least, this doesn't have the things that concern me the most with cry it out. For dinner, presumably you are there next to them, they are part of the family, even if they don't like what's happening. Cry it out is explicitly the opposite of that (in increasing durations usually).

    For me, that makes a difference.

    But as always, yeah, the main thing is just do what works with your family.
    dennis wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    The other problem is that we really only grocery shop about once every 2 weeks due to exhaustion. Fresh veggies and fruit simply don't last that long. The kids are milk and yogurt addicts. We have granola bars and other high sugar things. But honestly I have no clue what they could eat that's healthy as a snack that they'd actually eat that doesn't rot.

    There are more expensive things you can buy. Go to like, QFC or Whole Foods or whatever, they'll have crackers and similar snacks, often made from veggies and such with no added sugar.

    As always, read the ingredients. I've found that almost every "veggie" cracker or chip is primarily the thing the non-"veggie" ones would have (wheat or rice flour, potatoes) with some unspecified amount of veggie through in. And if you read through the ingredients, the #1 nutrient is salt. And that ones that didn't... well, there's a reason why people don't rave about those chips/crackers and put Frito-Lay out of business. :biggrin:

    What are some of your favorites, kime?

    Nowadays we're able to make it to the store enough (or well, do delivery a good amount too) that we don't do too many of those snacks. There's one we've done recently a good amount though, I don't remember the brand, but it was essentially just pureed fruits and veggies in a sealed, drinkable package. Something like this? https://www.amazon.com/Plum-Organics-Organic-Veggie-Variety/dp/B01M7SJO1R. But as you said, check the ingredients, I'm sure there are a lot with added stuff in it. Truthfully this is I think mostly aimed towards younger kids, but there's a decent variety of flavors and it's healthy enough, so if the kid likes it then go for it.

    I'd have to check whatever more "older" things we've had success with, I forget :D

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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    The other problem is that we really only grocery shop about once every 2 weeks due to exhaustion. Fresh veggies and fruit simply don't last that long. The kids are milk and yogurt addicts. We have granola bars and other high sugar things. But honestly I have no clue what they could eat that's healthy as a snack that they'd actually eat that doesn't rot.

    So my kid eats a lot of yogurt, but it’s plain hig fat yogurt, often with frozen fruit added. It’s very filling and fairly healthy. A Costco bag of frozen blueberries is cheap.

    Cheese is pretty healthy, so are nuts, though they wouldn’t work with your baby sitter. Thee are nut free peanut butter alternatives I think.


    Also, get grocery delivery or orders, it’s super easy. Like Instacart seems a bit of a shit company, so we use the app for one of our grocery stores, where for three bucks they do your shopping and bring it to your car at the time you’ve booked. Three dollars is cheap as hell to have someone do the shopping and not have to take your kids round the store.

    :so_raven:
    kime
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Food companies are tricky. It's like how almost every interesting fruit juice I see on the store labeled like "Blueberry pomegranate" and it's actually "Apple juice flavored with a squirt of blueberry and pomegranate juice." I really wish this is something food labeling addressed. Force them to put the first juice in the title as the first fruit in the ingredients.

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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    Yeah grocery pickup is free at a lot of stores here and super convenient.

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  • urahonkyurahonky Dayton, OHRegistered User regular
    Yeah we do pick-up as well. It still takes time to put the order in through the app. Way better than the 3 hours in the store it used to take us though.

    I'll be taking the kids to the store to pick out some veggies and fruits they will eat. I like the idea of meal prep the night before.

  • GilgaronGilgaron Registered User regular
    Another thought, if they love milk and yogurt, kids love smoothies and then the fruit is frozen and won't spoil. My youngest in particular loves coming up with 'recipes' of what to throw in the blender. If they're super ravenous with yogurt, you can make it from milk and a scoop of plain yogurt with an instant pot and then only stock up on lots of milk. Basically whenever the open milk starts to get old or starts to smell like lactobacillus, make it into yogurt. Then they can experiment with what sort of jam or honey to flavor the yogurt. (I put walnuts and maple syrup in mine if I'm feeling fancy).

    kime
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC TorontoRegistered User regular
    Something I've been trying to figure out:
    We're reaching the point now where the little man is eating solids. He's getting a lot of different stuff at daycare, which is great. They're introducing him to stuff faster than we would, which is...somewhere between great and not so much, but we're rolling with it.

    But at home we have two problems:

    First we really need to find some decent recipes for stuff we can freeze, and either defrost at dinner time, or in the morning before. If people have solid recs, that would be great! He's not a picky kid at all, at least so far, so basically anything.

    Second: we are picky eaters. Trying very hard not to be, but both of us struggle, and struggle with different things (the Mrs. really can't stand fish, for example, where I have a lot of issues with fruit texturally). Has anyone had to deal with this? Like, trying to make stuff for your kid that they can eat and is healthy, and trying to get yourself to eat it?

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    CroakerBC wrote: »
    Something I've been trying to figure out:
    We're reaching the point now where the little man is eating solids. He's getting a lot of different stuff at daycare, which is great. They're introducing him to stuff faster than we would, which is...somewhere between great and not so much, but we're rolling with it.

    But at home we have two problems:

    First we really need to find some decent recipes for stuff we can freeze, and either defrost at dinner time, or in the morning before. If people have solid recs, that would be great! He's not a picky kid at all, at least so far, so basically anything.

    Second: we are picky eaters. Trying very hard not to be, but both of us struggle, and struggle with different things (the Mrs. really can't stand fish, for example, where I have a lot of issues with fruit texturally). Has anyone had to deal with this? Like, trying to make stuff for your kid that they can eat and is healthy, and trying to get yourself to eat it?

    We have a little bit of this issue, although for the most part Sapling hasn't been too bad. But also my wife is lactose intolerant, and has celiacs, and I have a lot of texture problems with food (and I also used to be super picky*, all the way up till ~25 or so, and I still am fairly picky, I'm just better at it now than I was), so it can be really hard to find things we can make. Surprisingly enough, Sapling loves curry, so that ones always fairly easy. And I mean loves curry. Its one of the few things we've been hesitant about giving her a bowl full of to feed because it will stain everything, so we just feed her from our bowls, and it end up feeling like we end up fighting just to get some of the food ourselves.

    *So not to make this more stressful, but my parents didn't ever feel like fighting me on stuff, and wouldn't put condiments on my food because it would be too messy, so I ended up ridiculously picky. My tacos were tortillas and cheese, I wouldn't eat homemade mac and cheese, just kraft from the box, I wouldn't eat pasta with sauce, I still won't eat ketchup, or any sort of sandwich style food with sauces (I've gotten a little better on this), no mayo in or on anything. Mostly I've gotten better because A) almost all of it was just in my head, and B) it was fucking embarrassing to be the only one not eating because I'm too picky, every god damn time. The only time I've ever had alfredo sauce was when I was over at a friends, and their little sister made pasta, and she was so excited about it, and I really didn't want to make her feel bad by implying it was gross, so I ended up doing my best to eat it w/o gagging, but I'm not sure how well I actually did. Enough that the kid didn't seem upset I guess.

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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    Gilgaron wrote: »
    Another thought, if they love milk and yogurt, kids love smoothies and then the fruit is frozen and won't spoil. My youngest in particular loves coming up with 'recipes' of what to throw in the blender. If they're super ravenous with yogurt, you can make it from milk and a scoop of plain yogurt with an instant pot and then only stock up on lots of milk. Basically whenever the open milk starts to get old or starts to smell like lactobacillus, make it into yogurt. Then they can experiment with what sort of jam or honey to flavor the yogurt. (I put walnuts and maple syrup in mine if I'm feeling fancy).

    Oh, another fun similar idea. Blend the stuff as though you're making a smoothie, and then pour it into popsicle molds. Homemade, healthy popsicles that won't spoil!

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    The other problem is that we really only grocery shop about once every 2 weeks due to exhaustion. Fresh veggies and fruit simply don't last that long. The kids are milk and yogurt addicts. We have granola bars and other high sugar things. But honestly I have no clue what they could eat that's healthy as a snack that they'd actually eat that doesn't rot.

    Apples last that long. You can also try cheese? Baby bell cheeses and other string cheeses are a great high protein snack for kids. Will your kids eat boiled eggs? You can hard boil a dozen eggs at the start of the week and they will keep the week easily in their shells in the fridge. Also, I've had a lot of success with nuts and salami etc. Not as good as veggies, but they last and are much more filing than Crackers etc.

    Canned and frozen veggies and fruit are just as healthy as fresh, albeit a little harder to serve as snacks! One thing I've found which can work is frozen blueberries? You can freeze them on a sheet pan, transfer them into mini tupperwares, and provided they are half decent they will thaw in a decent state for snacking.

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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    You can hard boil a ton of eggs quickly in the Instant Pot, for those who have one.

    :so_raven:
    dennis
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    CroakerBC wrote: »
    Something I've been trying to figure out:
    We're reaching the point now where the little man is eating solids. He's getting a lot of different stuff at daycare, which is great. They're introducing him to stuff faster than we would, which is...somewhere between great and not so much, but we're rolling with it.

    But at home we have two problems:

    First we really need to find some decent recipes for stuff we can freeze, and either defrost at dinner time, or in the morning before. If people have solid recs, that would be great! He's not a picky kid at all, at least so far, so basically anything.

    Second: we are picky eaters. Trying very hard not to be, but both of us struggle, and struggle with different things (the Mrs. really can't stand fish, for example, where I have a lot of issues with fruit texturally). Has anyone had to deal with this? Like, trying to make stuff for your kid that they can eat and is healthy, and trying to get yourself to eat it?

    One thing to keep in mind. An active child is not going to have any nutritional, health, or weight problems from their meals you serve them every day provided it meets their nutritional needs, unless you serve exclusively Crackers or something.

    Children burn calories like a furnace if they are active. I genuinely don't think there's any amount of food they could eat at mealtime which would cause any serious dietary problems in kids. Adults need to eat healthy meals and healthy snacks. Children can eat pretty much whatever at mealtimes, but still need healthy snacks.

    Think of your kids as bodybuilders. They can't sit around eating chips between meals, and a half pound of candy. But if they are hungry enough to eat a whole domino's pizza at mealtime it's really not a big problem that it wasn't a vegetable curry. Snacks (the timing, content and frequency thereof) are what can mess you up. Spend your mental efforts there.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
    Kayne Red Robe
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Corvus wrote: »
    You can hard boil a ton of eggs quickly in the Instant Pot, for those who have one.

    I find the instant pot effective for this because you get fewer broken shells than in a pan. You want your hard boiled eggs to have intact shells so they keep, and so you don't have to clean egg whites off the others before storage.

    Hard boiled eggs are amazing little things if you can get your darn kids to eat them (only 1 of mine likes eggs). Bulk eggs at Costco are dirt cheap, they travel well, they taste great (ie, you can also use them as an adult snack!), they come in their own biodegradable packaging and slightly older kids can help you make them. You can also (unlike nuts, which are also great) bring them to school in today's allergy environment. My other son loves nuts of all kinds and flavors, but he can't bring them to school.

    Other great things about hard boiled eggs for kids is that you can use them as mealtime foods, or in sandwiches.

    Oh, my other trick with younger kids was roasting veggies and fruit together in a sheet pan so as to have stuff for mealtimes on busy days. Veggies won't last two weeks, but, if you roast sweet potatoes, carrots and apples with olive oil, salt and pepper they will. Then you can freeze them and grab them out at mealtimes if ever you are running behind and don't want to serve your kids takeout again. Roasted veggies and one of the aforementioned boiled eggs, problem solved!

    Maybe I'm too enthusiastic about eggs.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    Curious what other people did with starting their kids on solids. We've never done commercial baby foods, we've done the baby led weaning approach, and the babies have pretty much always eaten the same stuff as the grown ups.

    Our 7 month old is very happy to suck on a strip of roast beef. :D

    It is interesting how kids likes change. Our 5 year old used to love huge amounts of cinnamon on oatmeal or yogurt, but now doesn't like it at all.

    :so_raven:
    honovere
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    You can hard boil a ton of eggs quickly in the Instant Pot, for those who have one.

    I find the instant pot effective for this because you get fewer broken shells than in a pan. You want your hard boiled eggs to have intact shells so they keep, and so you don't have to clean egg whites off the others before storage.

    Hard boiled eggs are amazing little things if you can get your darn kids to eat them (only 1 of mine likes eggs). Bulk eggs at Costco are dirt cheap, they travel well, they taste great (ie, you can also use them as an adult snack!), they come in their own biodegradable packaging and slightly older kids can help you make them. You can also (unlike nuts, which are also great) bring them to school in today's allergy environment. My other son loves nuts of all kinds and flavors, but he can't bring them to school.

    Other great things about hard boiled eggs for kids is that you can use them as mealtime foods, or in sandwiches.

    Oh, my other trick with younger kids was roasting veggies and fruit together in a sheet pan so as to have stuff for mealtimes on busy days. Veggies won't last two weeks, but, if you roast sweet potatoes, carrots and apples with olive oil, salt and pepper they will. Then you can freeze them and grab them out at mealtimes if ever you are running behind and don't want to serve your kids takeout again. Roasted veggies and one of the aforementioned boiled eggs, problem solved!

    Maybe I'm too enthusiastic about eggs.

    I'm allergic to eggs and it makes me incredibly angry.

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