They were maddening. They’d turn their noses up at everything their mom offered. Same with us when we sat them on Thursdays. Until today.
We had the high chairs all set up, resigned to getting the “I don’t want to eat anything” treatment. The kids were toddling about amusing themselves, when I decided to offer them one of the Clementines on the dinette table. I peeled it and cut up the wedges into little pieces and the kids just loved slurping them up.
Well we went through the most of the Clementine, and one of the kids started slapping his high chair - kid code for “I WANNA EAT!!!”
That little appetizer did what it’s supposed to do - get the juices flowing!They ate like they haven’t in a long long time.
Undoubtedly, most of you Moms have already hit on this idea, but maybe a few of you haven’t. If so, give it a try. Give your kids a little something to whet their appetites before they’re expected to eat the main course.
No flames from me. I agree. If the kid gets hungry enough, they’ll eat. Of course, as they get older, you can start listening to them a little bit about favorites, but catering to their every food whim is ridiculous.
I have no children, but I was a fussy eater as a child. (For that matter, I still am.) While my parents weren’t the sort to insist that I clean my plate, I wasn’t often allowed to get away with eating nothing of dinner at all.
I hate chicken, I’ve always hated chicken, I will always hate chicken, and I’ve had to eat tons of it during my life. There’s been many a night when I chose to go hungry instead of forcing it down. Same goes with squash. And white bread. And…
First, I beleive that houses that have fussy eaters have parents who have child-led houses. This would be more than say, two fussy items they won’t touch. It would be all out seperate cooking for the child because he is so picky.
Unless the child has some kind of allergy and is writhing in pain/getting a rash or whatever from the food, then the parents are a part of the problem. Encouraging the child to try new foods while mixing with favorites is, I’ve found, the way to go.
As I tell my children, " This is not a restaurant. This is what is for dinner. If you don’t like it, you can make your own sandwich/eggs/pancakes/have a bowl of cereal." (they are 8 and 7 and learning how to cook for themselves with supervision.)
The same rule applies if their friends are over and they state they don’t like something. ( They get one pass, and after that, they are treated like mine. I have had parents say they could never get their kids to eat (x).)
You don’t eat now, you don’t get a snack later. You go to bed hungry. It is your choice.
Secondly, I don’t think kids have to eat everything on the plate or be forced to eat it all. Food Nazi’s really, really bother me. ( my mom was and still is a Food Nazi.)
Getting kids to eat has been a battle as old as time, there are no easy answers, but I"m pretty sure that if all they ever ate were pizza, chicken nuggets and mac & cheese, they’d be really happy.
BTW, I’ve got three little ones and they all have slightly different foods they like.
For instance, last night we made burritos. They all like the shell, good. One of them doesn’t like tomatos, one doesn’t like onions or peppers, and one of them likes all of 'em.
Give them a few choices at first and then for future meals narrow it down to two things in addition to the side dishes you know they like.
If we’re making something like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup we know that the oldest doesn’t like tomato soup so we’ll substitute for her.
We always get them to try everything first and then take it from there, usually they end up liking the taste of something but just don’t like the way it looks.
And don’t speculate aloud during meal prep in front of the children. Like, “Oh she’ll never eat that.” or “You’ve burnt the soup, now the children won’t eat it.” It’s a self fulfilling prophecy and if the kids hear her…er…you criticize the food they won’t eat it.
Now that I have a toddler, I believe that there is something to the rule that toddlers tend to be very picky. My daughter eats probably 1/2 the number of foods that she did a year ago (she is about 2 1/2 now), even though I haven’t changed the foods I have in rotation. Some items she used to eat happily just sit on her plate now. I tell her that she will not get anything else, and she doesn’t care. I figure she will survive until the next day, and maybe will be more receptive to what I serve then. She does tend to eat her Cheerios or oatmeal in the morning, so I’m not afraid that she will starve herself to death.
A few years ago I read an article about a nutritionist who prevented the picky-child problem in her house by imposing a simple, unspoken rule at the beginning: she didn’t discuss food. No “mmm, isn’t this yummy?” or “do you like it?” or “just eat half of it”…she just put the food down in front of herself and her daughter, and started eating and talked about other things. If the daughter was hungry, she ate, and often took seconds. If not, mom just waited patiently and daughter ate eventually.
It sounds too good to be true and I don’t know if I’d have the patience to make it work with my (still hypothetical) children. But I’d love to avoid the food dramas I remember from my own childhood (sometimes me, but mostly my sister, who didn’t like anything).
Not to prolong the hijack, but I’m of the Shirley Ujest School of Care and Feeding of House Apes. Don’t force 'em to eat, 'cause yes, there are things a person just doesn’t like, but don’t let yourself be turned into a short order cook, either.
As for the OP, sounds to me, BarnOwl, that sharing some pre-dinner fruit to get the appetite whetted isn’t a problem for you. Heck, just call it “the fruit course”, pop a piece in your own mouth, and there you have it. You’re not exactly bending over backwards making them a totally separate dinner, or offering them junk instead of healthy food. They still have the rest of dinner offered to them, right? I think it’s a great system.
I pretty much had to eat what my mom made or go hungry, too. I’ll eat just about anything that can’t crawl away now.
Clementines are really good, too. They are small seedless oranges of Asian origin, similar to tangerines - sweet, with very easy-to-peel skin. The canned variety are known as mandarin oranges. They are usually sold in 5-lb. boxes around Christmastime, but in the last few years I’ve noticed them being available for longer.