Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And so it begins

I have a long history with food. Not all of it great. Lots of dieting, thinking different foods are BAD, obsessing about it, counting calories and then stressing about passing that onto my own kids. One of my big parenting goals was to NOT pass this disorder thinking about food onto my kids. I try very hard to live by the advice "I give the kids the good food, and it's their job to eat it". We try to sit down and eat as a family as much as possible. On the weekends, when they are too excited to sit and eat breakfast, we explain that you can get up without eating, but no snacks. Next food chance is lunch. Food is a relatively low stress parenting area for me, honestly.

I try to get them to try new things, but in general, they eat pasta, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, and grilled cheese sandwiches. All fruits, a few veggies, and usually both kids eat what I would classify as a good dinner. Sometimes we will have ice pops or cookies or brownies, but I try to not make that a nightly thing. And I also try to not tie the treats to finishing their dinner. On the other hand, I don't let them only have cookies for dinner, either. (I will admit to ice cream for dinner every once in a while, though).

I don't know if I over think the food thing because of my history, or if this is totally normal for all parents, but I am grateful that in general, my kids eat decently and have age appropriate table manners.

As with all things parenting, I've finally gotten to my breaking point with dinner. Every night we cook what I would classify as 1.5 dinners. We cook for Aaron and I, and then we are sure to cook something we know the kids will eat. It isn't like it HUGE time consuming thing, but it's another pot to clean, appliance to turn on, blah blah blah. And since I haven't been working from home, I can't prep dinners in advance like I used to. I just want things to be a little easier, and I feel like the kids are old enough that we can all just eat the same thing. I know, Jen. You are smart and have been doing this since day 1. But I feel like now, the longer I put it off, the harder it may be! So, tonight, we begin the hardcore 'this is what we are serving for dinner'. I know in my heart that they won't let themselves starve, and I also know that even when I give them exactly what they want for dinner, they sometimes don't eat it. My kids usually eat really well at two meals.

But I also don't relish losing my relatively safe and drama free dinner time, either. Hold me.


Stace said...

We "make" the kids eat what we eat, but I do tend to make sure there is something in the meals (sides usually) that I know everyone will like if I know the main course won't be a favorite for all. That way, no one starves and life is drama-free(ish). I also try to encourage the "try it" rule, but sometimes that's more dramatic than it's worth. And, really, I'm not the most adventurous eater so, while I want my kiddos to try and like way more things than I do, I can understand the pickiness. :)

Rachel said...

Yes, we are also finally cracking down on the fusspot (age 4) about food. No more whining until she gets a back-up meal. For most of this spring I have been cooking 3-4 separate dinners: high fat for the mini-man, low carb for me, white carbs for the preschooler, and often something different for my husband who doesn't exactly appreciate my "healthy" cooking and would like something a little more traditional.

Read Ellyn Satter if you haven't yet. It will make you feel so much more comfortable with the one family dinner. I still need to cook something separate for the dumpling but I have decided one family meal for the rest of us.

But honestly, I really feel like so much of our kids food issues come from school/friends/American culture. I have never even taken my kids to a fast food restaurant (truly, I can't eat there so why should they get to, I know they've been plenty of times with daycare/grandparents so they are not missing out entirely) and yet my kids know to ask about fries and toys and all of that stuff. And the fusspot never met a food she didn't like until she started school. It feels like every store we go into tries to offer my kids a lollipop (argh, sushi restaurant which handed each kid a lollipop on the way out as we were literally on our way across the street to buy them ice cream ...) and every activity comes with a snack and it is just hard to really encourage kids to eat well despite all of that.

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Catwoman73 said...

I do the SAME THING- 1.5 dinners. Every day. My daughter is about to turn four, and I think it might be time to crack the whip in our household, too. Good luck!

HereWeGoAJen said...

Oh lord, we don't do that. I mean, yes, I do that when they are babies and aren't picky yet, but tonight Matt, Ryan, and I had taco soup and Elizabeth had plain spaghetti leftover from last night and strawberries. I don't really cook separately for her, but she almost never eats what we eat. I can usually get away with giving her parts of our dinner not mixed up. Like if we have salad, I pile parts of it on a plate for her before I make the salad. She doesn't like food mixed. Although, Matt really doesn't like food mixed either.

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