How to handle mealtime issues...

Avatar for ivlolo29
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2003
How to handle mealtime issues...
8
Sun, 11-30-2008 - 9:54pm
My husband and I don't agree on how to handle our daughter's refusal to eat certain foods.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 12-05-2008 - 11:46am
Joanne, please tell me you are eating more than chicken now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Wed, 12-03-2008 - 2:03pm
hello!! yeah-forcing a kid to eat doesnt work. i was a picky eater-if it wasnt chicken, i wasnt interested. my parents-my mom mostly-used to make me eat things i didnt like. she would cut up a portion of meat and force me to eat every bite. she would also do that with things like veggies and potatoes. i would hate that. "just eat 3 more bites for me..." those 3 bites were torture. so i dont recommend doing that. but i dont recommend becoming a short order cook though. you make the food youre going to make. whenever possible, let him tell you what he wants to eat. like my oldest dd (8) hates stuffing and baked beans. so when i make things like that, i make sure i make another side dish. that way she gets something besides the meat-and my 4 year old gets a couple of different things. see if you can
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Registered: 03-01-2006
Tue, 12-02-2008 - 5:28pm

I completely agree with the previous suggestions of tiny servings, that prevents waste and will make trying and eating everything easier on your DD.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Tue, 12-02-2008 - 3:02pm

I agree with the others. It's not good to force kids to clean their plates. It's okay to make them taste new foods, but they shouldn't have to finish it if they don't like it.

I was forced to clean my plate as a child, and I spent a lot of time at the table eating some truly despicable foods. Even if the professionals didn't advocate not doing that, my own personal experience tells me that's not good.

If I remember correctly, kids have far more taste buds than adults, so they are often more sensitive to tastes/flavors than adults. Children also haven't had as much time to adapt to new flavors. I look back at all the foods I hated as a kid but now love (onions, mushrooms, avocado, etc), and I know there's a developmental process that goes on.

As a child, my dh HATED a LOT of foods, esp tomato-based products (catsup, pizza sauce, spag sauce, fresh tomatoes, etc). He eats most foods now, so the kids don't know that daddy didn't used to like certain foods. Two of my kids take after my side of the family and two take after dh. It's been fascinating to me to see that the ones that take after dh also hate the same foods dh hated as a child. Similarly, I loved dried beans as a child (burritos, baked beans, etc), and so do my kids who take after me. It seems there's a genetic component that goes on, too, where certain flavors just don't taste as appealing to certain people.

I make my kids taste everything, and then if they don't like dinner, they can eat something else. I don't make them go hungry just 'cus they can't stomach what we were eating. The only times I've made my kids go hungry is if they turned their noses up at something they usually liked but just didn't feel like eating it that night. You don't have to make a separate meal, but your dd ought to be allowed at least bread and fruit/veggies or something else easy that's also nutritious and filling.

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Registered: 06-10-2008
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 4:01pm
I don't know, I'm of the sort not to force them but everyone is different.

Jane

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 2:07pm

sounds like you have come to a compromise.

I too was going to suggest the smaller portions. The portion sizes for kids is a lot smaller than what it is for adults. I give Lindsay the bare minimum of what I want her to eat and if she wants more she can have more. But by giving her the minimum amount I want her to eat she is more likely to finish what is on her plate which makes dh and her happy. I do make some accomodations because the girl doesn't eat beef so if I am serving beef I make a different protein for her that I know she will eat. I don't put the sauce on the spaghetti. If I'm serving something that I know she won't eat, I cook something else for her. Etc. I don't think it is fair to tell her that I know you don't like curry chicken but that is what I wanted to cook so you have to eat it or go to bed hungry. But I DO think it is fair to tell her that she likes chicken and broccoli so she has to eat it or there is nothing else for dinner when I am serving that.

We also started this thing with Lindsay where she gets to play "food scientist" with new foods. We cut a very small portion of it and put it on her plate. She gets to touch it, poke at it, smell it, touch it with her tongue before putting it in her mouth and tasting it. She ends up eating it and about 75% of the time will decide she likes it and will have more. The other 25% is a mix of she doesn't like it, is not sure, or likes it but doesn't want more right now. This has ended up making dh happy because he feels she is trying new things without making a big deal over it. It makes her happy because the deal is if you try something new without a fuss and you don't like it you get something you do like. It has taken away the danger/risk of trying new foods.

In all honesty I kind of forced dh to adjust the way he handled meals and the kids pickiness. If he wanted family dinners then he needed to stop nagging them over what and how much they ate. If he was going to complain then they were eating earlier or I was limiting what was put on the table to things I knew both kids would eat. In fact this past summer I was only cooking chicken dishes because he had started complaining again. It lasted 2 days and then he wanted to bbq steaks and without thinking "reminded" me to take out chicken so he could bbq some for Lindsay. It hit home to him at that point that it was silly to complain about throwing on a piece of chicken or sauteeing some chicken with vegetables as one of the dishes at dinner because I knew ahead of time that she wasn't going to eat the beef or pork dish I was making as the main entre.

Avatar for ivlolo29
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2003
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 12:58pm
I did print an article out and he read it but said he didn't agree with all of the article.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2008
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 12:17pm

What is it that bothers him? That she is wasting food? That she is not being compliant? The strong feelings likely mirror what he experienced as a child, so until he confronts it and challenges it, he will just feel it.

As a compromise could you serve her 2-3 bites of each different food that meal and she can only have 2nds when she finishes all her firsts?

You could print out a few of these articles that talk about what forcing the issue does to a childs self esteem and also to their stubborness and have him read them. Come up with a game plan that you can both live with, and follow through.