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  1. #1
    trcy is offline Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    Default How much do you 'cater' to your DC at meal time?

    Help settle this disagreement between DH & me. I feel that we are not a cafeteria & what we make for meals is what we are eating. My theory is, as long as we offering something we know she likes, she will eat when she is hungry. i also worry that by constantly catering to her & cooking her a separate meal will create even more of a picky eater. DH worries that if DD won't eat what is served & we don't make her something else she will go hungry and this would be detrimental to her health & well being. Who is right?

    Also, hit me with your best veggie tips. We have bit a roadblock in that area. TIA!
    DD 12/10
    DS 10/15

  2. #2
    rin is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    We do not cater at all. The vast majority of children (with some exceptions, of course) are not going to allow themselves to starve. There are definitely meals where they don't eat much, but they make up for it at the next meal/snack. We try to make there be something at each meal that is more likely to be eaten, but we don't go all-out; for many meals, for example, they can have a choice of eating the stir-fried veggies & meat with rice, or just the rice. If they only like one thing from the stir-fry, they can eat just that, but they don't get any more of it than would be in their usual serving (so no raiding the serving dish for all the chicken and leaving the rest of the family with only vegetables).

    IMO your DH's approach absolutely sounds like a recipe for creating a picky eater. You might enjoy reading some of Ellyn Sattar's work? She writes about feeding kids and creating a division of responsibility where you are responsible for picking what & when gets served, and your child is responsible for deciding how much gets eaten.

    Our best veggie tips:

    *vegtable smoothies! Kale, spinach, beet, and carrot smoothies are all big hits here (not all in the same smoothie!)
    *Parmesan cheese. A sprinkling of this seems to make everything taste better for our girls
    *having them help with the prep. Our girls are still little, so this is usually something like "washing" the carrots or helping pick lettuce from the garden, maybe adding salt. We then really talk up the co-chef angle.

  3. #3
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    I'm ashamed to admit, I cater. . I've tried making one meal and insisting everyone eat it but either we end up in a power struggle, or they don't eat their food and are grumpy and asking for snacks right before bedtime.

    I'd rather that I make a healthy version of what they like and everyone is satisfied, full and content with no arguments. . Bedtime goes much more smoothly when they are full. I do give them about 3 choices- I don't just take orders. And just to clarify- this hasn't made for picky eaters. I find that when we can agree on a meal and there is no fighting about what they will and won't eat, they are less defensive at meal times and more open to occasionally trying something new.

    As for veggies, my kids love to dip raw veggies in different dips. I like the Newmans own and Annies dressings for them to dip veggies in. They love grape tomatoes, raw strips of bell peppers, baby carrots, and sometimes snap peas. They also love steamed broccoli and green beans with butter and salt on them. I usually prepare the veggies and set them next to them in a separate bowl or plate. I tell them to try a little but if they don't like them they don't have to eat them. I find they scream less when the suspicious food item is not next to their preferred food.
    Last edited by gatorsmom; 06-29-2013 at 12:38 AM.
    "It is not 'progressive' to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life." Pope Francis

  4. #4
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    My reply is, it depends what your definition of catering is! DS doesn't like things like sauces or butter on his food. So, if we're having pasta or veggies I will take some out for him before adding either of those. Generally, he also doesn't like his food to touch or be combined in any way. So, if we're having something like tacos or quesidillas I'll give him one with beans or cheese only, not both together. Tonight we had make-your-own-pizza. I made the same whole wheat crust for everyone, but we all had different toppings. I just set them all out in bowls and everyone made their own.

    DS also prefers the carrots or other veg w/o the dip, or plain pita w/o hummus. For the most part, he eats what we eat with small modifications like that. He makes healthier choices than we do, naturally, so I try to encourage that He's a great veggie and fruit eater, and he eats a wide variety of foods. Very occasionally DH and I will want something that DS won't eat, so then I do make him a completely separate meal. For DH's b-day I made a fairly fancy sea scallop and kale dish which DS wouldn't have touched with a 10 foot pole. I don't mind being a short order cook on occasion, and would prefer not to deprive the adults of yummy things. I agree that a child won't starve themselves, but I also don't like dealing with all the whining. DS has some behavioral issues that are compounded by hunger and tiredness. If I can mitigate that by offering a small compromise, I do. So, I guess you could say that I pick my battles. As a child, my parents made me sit at the table until I ate everything on my plate. I was down there for hours sometimes, occasionally I threw up right on the table because of the "force" feeding, and developed multiple issues surrounding food that I am still dealing with to this day. Feeding is very much a personal choice but I'd rather not repeat that with this generation.

    Every kid is different in terms of what they like or dislike so I don't know that it would be helpful for me to list which veggies DS eats. Rather, I find that it's much easier to get him to eat something if he comes grocery shopping with me and gets to pick something, if he helps me cook, or if we've grown it ourselves. Buy-in is huge
    DS, Summer '07

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." ~Jack Layton

  5. #5
    ArizonaGirl is online now Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rin View Post
    We do not cater at all. The vast majority of children (with some exceptions, of course) are not going to allow themselves to starve. There are definitely meals where they don't eat much, but they make up for it at the next meal/snack. We try to make there be something at each meal that is more likely to be eaten, but we don't go all-out; for many meals, for example, they can have a choice of eating the stir-fried veggies & meat with rice, or just the rice. If they only like one thing from the stir-fry, they can eat just that, but they don't get any more of it than would be in their usual serving (so no raiding the serving dish for all the chicken and leaving the rest of the family with only vegetables).

    IMO your DH's approach absolutely sounds like a recipe for creating a picky eater. You might enjoy reading some of Ellyn Sattar's work? She writes about feeding kids and creating a division of responsibility where you are responsible for picking what & when gets served, and your child is responsible for deciding how much gets eaten.

    Our best veggie tips:

    *vegtable smoothies! Kale, spinach, beet, and carrot smoothies are all big hits here (not all in the same smoothie!)
    *Parmesan cheese. A sprinkling of this seems to make everything taste better for our girls
    *having them help with the prep. Our girls are still little, so this is usually something like "washing" the carrots or helping pick lettuce from the garden, maybe adding salt. We then really talk up the co-chef angle.
    , this is us too...
    Lindsey

    Married to DH June 2005 gave birth to Shawn December 2008 and Lilian August 2012




  6. #6
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    I don't cater. We have neither the time nor the patience to do it. We serve one meal at one time. If she's not hungry, she won't eat; if she is, she will.

    Sometimes she won't eat because she hasn't pooped for a while, but that's a whole 'nother issue altogether.

    Sorry I can't help with veggies - my DD will eat anything except asparagus and, I think, squash.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  7. #7
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    hillview is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Well it depends. I do a weekly meal plan, the kids weigh in -- once it is made up kids cannot decide mid week they don't like xx that we all agreed to. This week it is
    Monday - salmon with veggies -- DS1 won't eat salmon so I am also making spaghetti and will make extra for DS2 as well
    Tuesday - Turkey tips (never made before, expect everyone to eat them -- ketchup will be provided), no alternative meal will be provided with veggies
    Wednesday - Tacos (everyone makes their own)
    Thursday - Burgers and hotdogs -- kids prefer hotdogs, DH and I prefer burgers (they will eat burgers but it is easy for me to make both on July 4th) with veggies and grilled pineapple
    Friday TBD

    Maybe it is a hybrid? I don't know, I usually make 2 veggies for supper so the kids can pick. Often they like both, sometimes they dont but they have to eat one (or well they are STRONGLY encouraged to eat one and usually 90% of the time do a great job). The kids try just about anything so if they don't like it after a while I am ok with that -- just like DH doesn't like hard boiled eggs (I don't MAKE him eat them). I don't allow the "I don't want xx TODAY even though I ate it last week" sort of pickiness.

    ETA:
    I think letting kids vote on meals is a great way to help the process (DSs each get to pick a meal for the week, I often suggest ones they like etc). I let the kids each pick a couple of veggies for the week and often poll them what veggies they want with supper tonight (we have broccoli, carrots and beets what would you like -- if they pick the same one I make extra of that if they pick different ones, I make both). I don't look at this as catering, they are all choices I like, we have on hand and I don't really care which ones we have. They then have some control over what we have AND are expected to eat some of what they picked

    ETA2:
    The kids have limited options to eat after supper -- nuts and lara bars. I am ok with these choices - nuts are in 100 cal packs. Neither of the boys is small or under weight so I don't worry if they don't eat a lot at supper which often happens with DS2.
    Last edited by hillview; 07-01-2013 at 01:52 PM.
    DS #1 Summer 05
    DS #2 Summer 07

  8. #8
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    I used to follow your philosophy until DD1 went on a hunger strike out of sheer stubborness and ended up lethargic and with low blood sugar and I nearly had to bring her to the hospital. Now, I give her a choice, she can have what we are eating or I will make her a sandwich in a tortilla. SO I think it depends on how stubborn your child is.
    Mommy to my little bear cubs DD1 and DD2- 4/2010 and 4/2012

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    My reply is, it depends what your definition of catering is! DS doesn't like things like sauces or butter on his food. So, if we're having pasta or veggies I will take some out for him before adding either of those. Generally, he also doesn't like his food to touch or be combined in any way. So, if we're having something like tacos or quesidillas I'll give him one with beans or cheese only, not both together. Tonight we had make-your-own-pizza. I made the same whole wheat crust for everyone, but we all had different toppings. I just set them all out in bowls and everyone made their own.
    ....

    Every kid is different in terms of what they like or dislike so I don't know that it would be helpful for me to list which veggies DS eats. Rather, I find that it's much easier to get him to eat something if he comes grocery shopping with me and gets to pick something, if he helps me cook, or if we've grown it ourselves. Buy-in is huge
    This is very much us. Plus, we eat LOTS of left overs. We plan left overs. We try to cook at most 3x/week - so in our family any left over in the fridge is fair game. If the kids don't want X, but they'll eat Y and we don't have to do anything special to prepare it, that is totally fine with me. Often they get sick of one left over sooner than DH and I because they get our left overs for lunch, too. If they don't want any of the items we have in the fridge - we'll offer a sandwich (maybe) otherwise, they're out of luck!

    Veggies - well, in general my kids like veggies, so I'm pretty lucky. NOTHING on this earth will get them to eat green beans, but other than that they do pretty well. Hummus dip sometimes helps. Butter (or our version of it since we're dairy free) helps a lot. Otherwise, I try not to stress too much. They may not eat veggies for several days, or even boycott them for a few weeks, but then they'll ask for broccoli at every meal and cry when we run out...so I figure it all balances in the end!
    --------
    DS - Adopted by loving parents 1995
    DS1 7/2009 ('Stachio)
    DS2 9/2011 (Peanut)

  10. #10
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    I'm with Montreal Mom on it depends on how you define "cater.". I do make things for DH and I that I know my kids don't like. In that case, I will make something different for them. I also modify what I make for them too (leave out certain ingredients or sauces.). FWIW, DD (7) will try almost anything vegetarian, so long as it isn't spicy. There are things I like to make that DD just doesn't like, and I try to respect that. Some people might find my kids picky (DD wont eat hamburgers, hot dogs, casseroles, etc.) but they will eat lots of things other kids won't touch with a 10 foot pole (both gobbled down trout with lemon, caper, dill sauce and roasted asparagus the other night.).

    I feel like its my job to provide my kids with healthy food options, and it's their job to decide what to eat. I don't like to battle with my kids over food.

    As for veggies: my go to dish for veggies is roasted asparagus/broccoli/cauliflower, etc with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on at the end.
    Last edited by georgiegirl; 07-01-2013 at 03:14 PM.
    DD (3/06)
    DS1 (7/09)
    DS2 (8/13)

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