Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dinner Wars.

I live in a house of ridiculously picky eaters. If it were just the kids, I might not have dinner anxiety. But oh. Do I ever have dinner anxiety. Unless I want to engage in dinner warfare, the meal must be one of the following:
  • Chicken. Dry. Fried on the stove in a very small amount of olive oil. No sauce of any kind whatsoever.
  • Spaghetti. Sauce must be separated from the noodles. The sauce must not include onions. Not even pureed ones.
  • Hot dogs. With Ketchup for the girls. Strictly WITHOUT for Brad.
  • Pancakes.
  • Cereal.
  • Top Ramen.
  • Casseroles are absolutely not permitted.
Great list, right? Very healthy. Wide variety.

The list stinks. I need healthier food! But I can't figure out how to do it. Just tonight, when we had baked Eggplant Parmesan, Grace cried over her "yucky food" so much that she was sent to her room THREE TIMES. And then she fell asleep. Without eating.

Do any of you have any brilliant suggestions? 

I'm listening. With eager, hopeful, willing ears.


  1. Hello wonderful people. Your Thanksgiving pictures are darling and your grateful posters are sweet. Can't wait to see all of you.

  2. Our tack has always been total nonchalance. You don't like it? Okay. Maybe you'll like what we're having at the next meal. She knows we don't care, so there's never any fit-throwing to get attention/something else to eat.

    Also, it helps when my daughter is involved with buying and preparing food--like she picks up a yam at the store and pretends it's a phone, so I buy it and have her sprinkle on seasonings and roast it in little pieces and she gobbles it right up.

    Can't you make them pizza? Or soup in any form? Tacos? Please, please, please stop buying hot dogs and top ramen. Those things are not food and are not a good idea.

  3. Yes, Brad hates Ketchup. Um, I'm sure your friend is trying to be helpful but we also eat a lot of hot dogs and top ramen. In fact, all my mom ate when she was pregnant with Kev was T.R. and he turned out the skinniest and most athletic out of all of us! Just know MOST all of us also have this problem and you are not alone. I am always on the lookout for healthier recipes too but end up just being glad they ate something. Don't worry so much! The casserole thing is hilarious, I can totally see Brad not allowing that at all.

  4. Lorraine is deffinetly right!! we ALL have this problem. currently with Audrey she takes a bite and then just sits there, we've also sent her to her room where she falls asleep. :) with carson we started a few years back doing a "no-thank you bite" , for him it's more the look of food he dosen't like so he has to at least take one bite. but the dinner will stay there or back in the fridge and will be there waiting when they are hungry again. mean. I know. but I remember my mom doing that with me and I'm not a picky eater. good luck!

  5. Lol, this is so universal, isn't it? And it's a rule that if one of your kids is going through a phase where they'll eat anything, the other will go through a phase where they are pickier than ever before. Ugh.

    We do have rules in our family, and every time one of my kids hits a phase, I have to mentally prepare myself (because there may have been times when I cried because my kids called my food yucky and spit it out one too many times in one day) and remember that it's an investment in them. Anyway, we just have a rule: 3 bites, and if you can't do that, then you can wait in your room until the rest of us are done eating dinner. They're welcome to eat it later if they want, but they can't disturb anyone else just because they don't like it. That goes for Brad, too...haha, jk! Anyway, that's worked well for us. Oh, but if one of them genuinely GAGS, not like "I don't like this" but like "Seriously, Mom, I'm going to throw up", I tell them it was a good try and we just call it quits. I mean, I hated lima beans when I was little, they made me gag and to this day I hate lima beans, so it wouldn't have mattered if my mom made me eat them every day, I would have hated them. However, I'm glad that she made me eat other foods that I have grown into.

    Do what's best for your sanity, I say, if that means making Ramen Noodles while your kids are young and you have a newborn, DO IT. If you are going crazy because you can't make more foods you like, then make 2 days a week or something where you can make whatever you want and the rest of the days you'll cater to everyone else. You could even have an FHE about how you make the food and you're a family, so on such-and-such days you eat what the girls/brad likes, and on such-and-such days, you try new things. That's helped us with Sheldon and sippy cups. He LOVES sippy cups, but it's too much for me to chase around a clean one all day long. So he knows that on Mondays and Fridays when we are out of the house a lot he gets one. On the other days, I just say, "Sheldon, it's Wednesday, you know you don't get a sippy on Wednesday" and that seems to work for him. Everybody's different, though...

    Lastly, have you tried smoothies? We do smoothies at a lot of meals because my kids love them and I count it as a sidedish. I have found that tomatoes and or carrots actually make them sweeter, so I'll throw in just a little to make it healthier. My kids know they have to have just 1 bite before they get their smoothie, and then they get full, get some veggies/fruit, get some fat (I throw in whole fat yogurt or peanut butter, or what not), and I feel good about my meal because I don't hear whining. =)

    Do I sound obsessed with rules or what?

    Anyway, also, if your kids are really picky, seriously, I'd just let myself take it easy until I felt up to the task of figuring out what works for the family, it takes time, energy, and creativity. When I have a kid under 6 months in my house, I'm pretty low on all of that...

    Wow, longest comment EVER!!

  6. We eat Ramen noodles ... just add some chicken and peas/corn to them.

    Do your kids like meatballs? Make some homemade meatballs ON THE SIDE (heaven forbid the food touch) and see if they'll nibble on those at dinner.

    Chili and chips?

    Fruit dipped in yogurt dip?

    Green apples with caramel dip on the side?

    Smoothies made with frozen yogurt that you fib and tell them is ice cream? A frozen banana makes those so dang yummy.

    Rice-a-roni? Both my kids LOVE the plain chicken flavor with peas added.

    Shell pasta with alfredo sauce and diced chicken?

    Sometimes I just make garlic cheese bread on a french loaf and my kids dip it in Ranch, because they are Texans and they think everything tastes better with Ranch. The adults dip it in marinara and call it a meal. lol.

    I'd just play with what they're already eating and try to add things to those dishes. If they don't like peas or corn in their Ramen ... they can pick it out ... but you tried. :D

    Oh. And get a multi-vitamin if you don't already have one. We spend like $10/month on stupid vitamins because I let them pick their own bottle ... which lasts each of them about a month. Princess for Ashley ... Buzz Lightyear for Ryan.

    OH. And, you could always start a reward system for the days when they eat their meals without fussing ... or at least TRY them. Give them a Starburst or Hershey kiss after each meal if they eat without fussing. I'm all about making deals.

    Skip the Deceptively Delicious crap ... I mean, seriously, once the vegetable is cooked until mush and then pureed and then cooked again in the dish ... is there any nutrition/vitamins left in it anyway? I doubt it.