I once got a fortune that said “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.“
I made someone trade with me.
I love to eat. I’m usually planning my next meal while I’m in the middle of eating one. I don’t know if I was always like this, but I am now. My friend, Busy, thinks we are like this because we are losers who have nothing else in our lives.
My kids don’t feel the same way I do about food. They’re much more apathetic at mealtime. For awhile, my 20 month old, Lovey, ate just about everything we put in front of her. Those were good days. Those days are over. She now seems to be easing off the food. I think her belly and her palate have reached their respective breaking points. We had a good run, but she’s moving on. She’s now eating only bits and pieces of some food and rejecting others. The rejects end up on the floor and for this reason our dog, Floyd Coden, loves Lovey more than anyone else in the family.
My other daughter is almost 4 years old. She’s very busy. Way too busy to eat. She’s two bites in and “I’m done!“ I don’t get that. WHO LEAVES MAC ‘N CHEESE ON THEIR PLATE? The veggies, sure, but Mac ‘n Cheese? That is just wrong. She will be sorry one day. She doesn’t appreciate M&C for all its heaven on earth status now, but she will, and when she does, the calories will count. I can‘t wait for the day when she says: “I’m dying for some Mac and Cheese, but I really shouldn‘t because then I‘ll have to work out for 10 hours.” My eyes will then proceed to roll somewhere into the depths of the back of my head. You had your chance, sister.
I was recently commiserating with some friends over how often we have to make a different meal for every person in our family to ensure that everyone is happy. We do this because we are scared of what will happen if our kids don’t eat and also because we are dummies.
My girlfriend, Segal, said she read something about how if we serve everyone at the table the same thing for several days in a row, eventually everyone will start eating it. Wait. What? Feed everyone the same thing? Put the food out and that is that? The kids just have to deal? I was dubious, yet intrigued. She admitted that she has never tried it, but supposedly it works. If it works, I’ll do it. Sign me up. I did sleeping training with both of my kids, I can do anything!
I was very excited about the prospect of no longer being the short order cook in my house, but when I pressed her for more info, she simply said: “They say it works.”
Who are “They?” Do I know any of them? What if they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about? Sure, it sounds great in theory to serve only one meal and tell everyone to “just deal,” but I will feel kind of bad if my kids pull a Gandhi and end up convulsing in the corner weak with starvation. I wonder where they will be then?
Oh, They. How I loathe you. You had me so excited, why can’t you deliver any concrete evidence as to whether this works or not? Gotta go with the gut, I guess. As parents, that’s all we have. The idea of serving everyone the same thing makes sense, we are a family after all, but unless the outcome of an idea has actually been proven, we’re taking a chance and guinea pigging our kids. On the other hand, what real harm can come from giving everyone in the family one option for dinner and if not everyone is happy, TOO BAD? They’ll either cave and everyone will eat, or they’ll stand on principle and have to skip a meal or two.
I might actually give it a shot (right after I learn how to cook) because really, what’s the worst that can happen?
Isn’t that what they say?
Thanks for being here!
Facebook : DimSumandDoughnuts
we only have one kid so one fussy palate but we do make just one meal and it works, mostly. i do make sure there is at least one thing on the plate that i know she will eat, which helps. she starts on that and then might work her way over to the rest. or vice versa, i put down just the veg and make her wait for the pasta or rice. out of sheer hunger, she will start with the veg (sometimes). i can't say it always works but if she complains, we often just ignore it and say "sorry dear but this is what's for dinner." she will indeed eventually cave. or i will. well yes one of us caves but it's not *always* me. give it a shot. just make sure you've got some plain pasta on back-up in case it gets ugly.
love this because i am constantly making more than one meal and i'm tired! i like the idea a lot and im going to try it. ellen has a great point about at least having one thing that you know the kid will like. thank you both!
I do this most of the time and it does work. Some nights my kids may jot eat much, But if they're hungry they'll eat.
I tell them that they don't have to eat their dinner, but they don't get dessert unless they eat what I consider enight if their dinner. My kids are VERY dessert motivated. Those 2 Oreos or small scoop of ice cream does wonders!
so funny!! I do the same thing, make something different for everyone, so silly. I think my mom made one thing for everyone, and some nights I would take the mystery meat, make into little tiny balls and swallow like pills, then we got a dog.
Heather Thompson says
I have never cooked a special meal for my kids (probably bc my sister did this for YEARS with my niece and I didn't want to deal with what she had on her hands;p) but will say it helps to have one item in the meal that you KNOW they'll eat. We always insist on a "no thank-you" bite (or two) and don't ever force items that I wouldn't want to eat at their age;) Strangely my 5 y/o swears her favorite food is broccoli with cheese?! i do try to keep things fun by offering things they can add to soups (sprinkle shredded cheese, scoop of sour cream, tortilla chips, etc) which makes it more fun. They also like to dip (bbq sauce, ketchup, soup, etc). have fun and good luck!
Sandy K says
How funny, I am currently on the frontlines of the One Family, One Meal War. Going well so far with Big Girl (4.5), Little One (3) is much more stubborn. I always save her plate and when she asks for a banana before bed, I give her the dinner she left behind. Seems to be working. I WILL BREAK HER!!
The Jiu Jiu says
Mom has been known to cook for the entire 101st Airborne Division when it's only the immediate family eating, but we all tend to get the same thing and that's worked pretty well since I can remember. (I also remember the occasional miserable meal where I didn't want what was on my plate and HAD to finish it, but Mom & Dad probably felt just as miserable about it as I did.) Right now the Pipsqueak is still about 1/2 toddler food and 1/2 real food, but there's no problem because she prefers to grab (literally!) whatever's on our plates. No need to make special dishes — but for once all that extra food's coming in handy!
I cook one meal for everyone. My 4 year old has food allergies so that makes it a bit of a challenge, but it works. She now understands that what is on her plate is what she is getting at that meal. When it is something that I know she doesn't like, such as fish, I give her a very small portion (2 or 3 bites) and make sure the other parts of the meal are things that she likes. I never make the kids clean their plates, but they have to try everything on their plate, even if they are sure they don't like it. Some meals go better than others, but they are both growing and healthy so I think they are doing okay.
I also cook one meal for everyone. All 6 of them (ages 6-22) are expected to eat what's in front of them. It works here…no one has starved, everyone is healthy and growing, and most of them will eat just about anything. No other choice–mom is NOT a short order cook. Life's too short for that! 🙂
Do it. It will make you soooo happy. Peanut took to her range from eating everything…to like 5 things and fruit. And that was it. I did it to myself. It took me months to undo the damage. Two year oldish kids are notoriously picky.
First I tackled the picky, cause we eat a lot of spicy, ethnic foods here in the house (and the kid wouldn't eat noodles OR rice). So we had a two week learning curve on carrot sticks and then went food by food. Now she'll try 8 out of 10 things when I show it to her, and that's all I ask.
Now the flip side of it is that once a week or so she will get a kid-meal – fried shrimp or something, and we don't eat as much of the funky stuff that we used to, so she gets a comfort meal every so often, and we're not making Moroccan Beef so much, but for the lessening of angst over dinner, it's worth it.
A wise person once told me: Once you pick a battle, you can't give in. So if you pick it, you'll probably have a rough few nights, but it did work here. And my Peanut is iron willed.
Also, my girls know they get yogurt before bed, so they won't be hungry at night no matter.