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Meal time madness

There are about a million things that I could ask other moms about to get advice but there has been one thing lately that is driving me nuts and as I look around I find that its a really common problem. Mealtimes. My five year old thinks that he is entitled to eat what he wants and when he wants. I will slave over a big well balanced home-cooked meal and he will turn up his nose and say "No thanks, I think I'll just have some cereal." Sometimes I feel like I make four different meals at each mealtime to suit the tastes of each member of the household. Hubby wants eggs for breakfast. Jack hates eggs and wants toast. Abe throws the toast and eggs on the floor and begs for a banana. I know that I need to just get strict and let the kids go hungry or eat whats for dinner but most of the time its far easier to just bust out the goldfish crackers or chicken nuggets. Food storage really gets me going. I can barely get my husband and boys to eat fresh gourmet masterpieces, let alone canned meals or reconstituted dry milk. I have a year supply of food but honestly, its just so that I can check the obedience box and hope for the best during the apocalypse. I have a million fabulous recipies for wheat and chicken chunks, but no one will actually eat them but me. Do you guys have any good strategies to get the family all eat the same meal? With all of the special orders I feel like we are operating a restaurant. (My husband is the worst one, by the way) Maybe I should just give in and buy a year supply of rice krispies and go-gurts.


Anonymous said...

My rule is: no one has to eat something they hate--but there's a condition associated with that.

1--you must try everything on your plate--1 bite each.
2--if you don't like what's for dinner you may substitute any combination and amount of the following foods: triskets, peanut butter and raisins for your ENTIRE dinner. (Children and hubby no allowed to eat some of the other dinner and supplement with the three alternative and no saltines for triskets or craisins for raisins, for example.)
3--no drama. After child or hubby have tried what I've made and they decide they don't like it, no discussion. They simply get up take plate to sink and then get the substitute dinner without comment from anyone and we move on down the road. I do not "help" child acquire these foods. I already served one dinner.

Once they know there's a way out and that I'm not fighting, a lot of the struggle and complaints will end. This isn't so much about you being a lousey cook or choosing to make things they hate as much as it's about them fighting you.

PS--no, they're not going to become malnourished by eating triskets, raisins and peanut butter every night for a week. Actually it's more healthy then so much of that prepared crap it sounds like your kids are demanding.

Good luck.

Hoenesclan said...

Wow! I don't know how you do it. That would drive me bonkers! I think you said the magic words "let them go hungry" you get what you get and you don't throw a fit! Especially your husband! If he doesn't like what you cook, then oh well! He is a big boy and can fend for himself. I think when you kids are younger than 3, I personally don't think they are old enough to understand the whole go hungry idea. But if they are older, then let them be hungry. You may be the only one eating your meals at first, but I think eventually everyone will catch on. Good luck!

Shalee said...

Ah man...I feel for you! It is hard to try to balance our role as a cook/source of nourishment and our sanity!

What if you made a monthly or weekly meal calendar together with your family? Maybe if you all pick the meals you want to eat that week then when dinner comes around they have to take responsibility for their choices.

As frustrating as it is I think tough love is necessary too. We don't make our kids eat things they don't like but they have to at least try a bite first to make sure they won't like it. That is usually a struggle.

Good luck! Maybe have your husband cook for a week so he can see how frustrating it is for you!!

Cassi said...

That is tough! And I agree with the other comments. You definitely shouldn't be operating a restaurant! My husband can be picky but he knows I can't always make his favorite meals. I think it would be harder to teach your children to eat what they are served when they see their daddy complaining along with them. I'd have a talk with your husband about maybe just sucking it up a bit to be a good example for the kids! Or like Shalee said, have him cook for a week!
As for the kids, I make my kids try everything. If I know they really do hate it I don't make them eat it but that is really rare. Usually they don't mind the food but would rather have something else because they don't love what I'm serving.
So I make one meal and that's it. I know enough now what my kids can't stand and I avoid those foods but I definitely don't make something different for everyone. If they throw a fit then they don't have to eat, but I'm not making something else.
And really, they get to pick what they want for lunch and with kids I think a few bites of dinner can be enough. At least, that's what the dr told me.
Good luck!

The Paynes said...

Here, here! I have one son who is notoriously picky, but guess what? He can eat one green bean or bite of chicken pot pie(who doesn't like that? Crazy kid!). I try to make lots of different dishes and give two sides. If they don't try what's on their plate, they don't leave the table. Just one bite. If they want more of one thing, they have to clear their plates. Try starting with small portions. I dislike a lot of foods as well, but I make a big show of eating a little bit, too. My husband doesn't like vegetables, but he's a good sport and pretends. Also, offer a small dessert as a reward for clearing their plates. That works great for us. Stick with it. If you offer an out, they will never try new things. My kids would pick cereal 4 out of 5 times if I let them, but they know cereal is only for breakfast. Best of luck! It will be a fight at first!