Monday, November 16, 2009

Mommy Makeover Monday - It's Time for Dinner!

Do you remember this?
Long long ago I started doing Mommy Makeover Monday, an idea I stole from a parenting magazine where they would give a mommy makeover, covering anything from fitness, life coaching, time management, clothes and make-up, child discipline, etc. Basically they would take anything that the mom could use help with and give her a life "makeover." So I started asking the questions to get help in the areas I would like to have for a makeover. That covers a lot of material. And my blog seemed like the perfect forum for a little community discussion on these issues. Lots of varied input and opinions. No need to feel inhibited by others' reactions.
But I got a bit tired of it and gave it up.

Now, with NaBloPoMo, I'm going to revisit it a little. Maybe at least for this month. To give me more to post about.

So, to start off, I wanted to address a small issue that I was thinking about last week.
More specifically why it seems that the only meal that we serve that all the kids agree on is pizza.
Anyone else have this problem?
All the kids but one like tacos.
Only 2 of the 4 like spaghetti.
One eats lasagna, the rest won't.
Zac and I like stir fry and none of the kids do.

So, how do you deal with this at your house? Or what did your parents do with you?

Our plan from the beginning has been that they can either eat what we fix, or they can make a peanut butter sandwich. So at least they aren't going to bed hungry. But I haven't really thought that forcing kids to eat what's placed before them is always a good idea. But I do know some families that have trained their kids to eat what they're given. Period. And sometimes I wish my kids would just do that.

And I admit, we did go through a stage (when Samuel was losing weight instead of gaining as a toddler and the Dr. was getting concerned), that we would fix anything at all that he would eat. Just so he would eat something. Because he had to gain weight!!

And frankly, I sometimes get tired of not being able to fix some of the meals that I would really like to eat because I know none of the kids will even touch it.
And I get tired of all the complaining. grrrrrrr . . . .

We did start a ticket reward system where the kids earn tickets for doing chores, behaving nicely, etc and then redeem the tickets for small prizes, or activities. We decided they would get one ticket for sitting at the table, behaving politely and not complaining about anything. And then another additional ticket for actually eating at least a little of every food we put on the table.
But it doesn't seem to really be improving things as much as we would like.

So what do you do?
Do you just fix things you know your kids like?
How do you get them to try new things?
Do they have to eat whatever you serve them?
Please share.


Jane said...

We struggled with Halle when she was 3 with her eating and we decided that she had to eat what was served. She is now not a picky eater. Sure, she's more excited when I order pizza over me making meatloaf. but she does like the meatloaf--usually she complains before dinner that it's not something else, but by the time we're eating it and afterward she's thanking me for such a yummy dinner. So, she's learned to like a lot of things because of this. We're not totally mean about it. if she's like seriously gagging because it's "gross" we have her eat "3 more bites" or something then she can have a sandwich or cereal or something else.

I think if you're going to try and enforce something like this it will be very hard--since your kids are older. But I think it would be beneficial to them as well. They will learn that they do like more foods than pizza and peanut butter. And they'll be open to other options. Halle loves shrimp and crab legs because of her being open to trying new things.

Sorry for the long comment. Hope this helps. I'll think some more and email you if I come up with other ideas.

Davis and Carter's Mommy said...

We have something different almost every night at our house. And no, my kids don't eat much of it all. They are averse to new things and so just rarely eat much at dinner. I do, however, tailor breakfast and lunch more to their liking so I know they are getting some nutrients. And if they are really hungry at bed time they can have a slice of bread with butter but that is really the only concession I will make. I do try to make side dishes they like when I can but for the most part they get to try what I made or they can wait for breakfast.

Christina G. said...

I'm too much of a foodie to stick with just one or two things that I know the kiddos will eat. Plus, I don't want to be a short order cook all the time. My oldest eats great - as a result of eating what we eat or waiting until breakfast. My not quite 2 year old is going through a not eating dinner phase. It's tough, but if he's hungry he can eat what we eat. He will like something one day and the next he acts as if merely looking at it will kill him. Tonight he ate 2 bites and then screamed bloody murder for the next 30 minutes. But, he didn't ask for anymore food, guess he wasn't really that hungry.

Anonymous said...

an ongoing issue with bren, for sure.

having almost thrown up when i was made to eat oatmeal as a kid, i've never wanted to force him, but dang it is frustrating that he's so insanely picky. he has learned to like a few things over the years (his dad i guess does force him to eat or at least try things? i'm not sure..)

basically, i make whatever i want and make something else for him usually (or these days, he'll make ramen). i try to make him try what i'm having, but am not real strict about it. i do give him a mini lecture about how his body needs a variety of foods, etc, just about every day..

honestly though, i have not been enthusiastic about cooking at all lately, so we've been settling for frozen pizza- alot. *sigh*


Jennifer said...

We are of the school of thought of trying a lot of new things and that what's on the table is all there is. However, we are about bribing as well. We are a dessert family and so the kids know that if they eat their dinner they will be able to have dessert. There are times when Dylan will choose to have no dessert because he hates what's for dinner so much. Dessert for us can be something special that I make, like brownies or cookies, or something from the store, like dark chocolate or a lollipop, plain old vanilla ice cream with fruit is popular as well. If the kids have something sugary during the day we count that as dessert. So a good thing is my kids will eat anything, they are very adventurous. I'm not counting Dylan, I still think that he is just in a certain phase and that he will grow out of it as his older siblings have. Bad thing is that when my kids eat at someone's home they expect dessert, which in my siblings homes is pretty much unheard of. The fact is, I cook for Kenneth and myself and the kids are invited to eat if they would like.

Amber Baker said...

I'm with Jen's train of thought. I do a dinner group, which simplifies my life. The kids don't always love it, but I say tough. Usually they either eat it or make themselves something else. Most of the time they eat it or modify it. Meaning, they eat pick things out or only eat a couple of the items that are brought. That's OK with me. We had beef stew tonight with salad and rolls. They liked the stew and rolls, but passed on the salad. Amelia loves veggies, so I am happy to make her some cut up veggies if it's something I know she doesn't eat. It's tough, Annabelle is my pickiest eater. Alle eats almost anything. I don't believe in the clean plate club though, and J does. That's been a big source of dispute at our home.

bonitinha said...

I've been really struggling lately because we don't have a single meal that everyone likes. Apparently in our house the best you're ever going to do is please 4 out of five and count yourself lucky. Our dinner policy is that you are more than welcome to eat what's served or not but please be polite (that part is mostly ignored) and no you may not have anything else to eat. But for breakfast and lunch I am a short order cook and they get what they like. I've also been trying to have a variety of healthy snack options available so that over the course of the day (or a few days) they're getting some decent nutrition. Especially since there are a lot of protests at dinnertime. And overall I think this program is working for us. The two oldest are becoming more willing to try something new, or choke down a few bites of something they don't love in order to stave off hunger. Ben is 2 and therefore subsists on graham crackers and air and wouldn't eat no matter what's on the table. (Unless it's ketchup which he'll drink with a straw if allowed.) But we may not be the best parents to look to, as our oldest child hates peanut butter (even when covered in chocolate!) and begs for brussels sprouts and turnips. I think our family may just be a little weird.

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