To make the same healthy meal every day for dc?

(174 Posts)

I am at the end of my tether with this. Dc are 7 and 10 and their fussiness is increasing all the time. It's bad enough that they turn their noses up at most of the food I serve (and I am not a bad cook and it's not anything outlandish just plain simple stuff) they refuse to pitch in with ideas about what meals they will eat. They just shrug angry

I am tired of the frustration I feel and also of feeling as though they think of me as a stupid martyr because I do all the work and nobody seems to appreciate it (which, let's be honest, they bloody don't!).

So, would I be unreasonable to choose one thing that they will both eat, criteria being that it's simple to prepare and healthy, and just serve it night after night? So I don't have to spend time and energy preparing two different meals, one for DH and I and one for the kids; instead I can just bung on some rice with egg and peas (carbs, protein and veg) for kids and not stress...

NK5BM3 Sun 05-Jan-14 21:40:59

I haven't read the whole thread (first few posts I did) but huge empathy to you op.

I was one of those children who was extremely fussy. My brother was too. We didn't eat a lot of stuff. Really. My grandmother who was a fab cook looked after us before we went to school and after school since we were babies and we drove her mad.

Our staple diet was egg fried rice with spam. I'm sure somehow there was veg snuck in somewhere but that's the staple food I remember. I remember also turning up my nose at her lovely cooking...

I'm Happy to report I eat most things now... Happy to cook most things too. I'm a size 8, 5ft3. grin

I'll try and read the thread now.

Procrastreation Sun 05-Jan-14 21:30:50

Sample slow cooker bootcamp:

Monday: Pasta pomodoro (half and onion, two garlic cloves, a carrot, a bay leaf & seasoning topped up with two cans of value chopped tomatoes. Low for six hours. Blend. Serve with bowl of pasta and sauce spooned into middle - so non tomato DC can have some tomato free pasta. Cheese & olive oil to taste.)

Tuesday: Gammon in coke. Low all day. Serve with plain rice and boiled vegetables.

Wednesday: risotto or other rice dish (I fix mine in the slow cooker - can you tell I'm a fan?). Put a piece of fish on the top to steam with the rice.

Thursday: Chowder (I fix this cos I love it - kids are a bit hmm ). I actually take more trouble over this, because I like it - but I think you could get away with a finely chopped potato, pint of fish stock, carrots, bay leaf , high for a couple of hours - then chuck in some smoked haddock. Finish with cream & peas either on the side or in the dish (depending how nice you feel towards the DC!). Bread on the side.

Friday: Mince dish (eg spag Bol or shepherds pie). In both cases, fry off mince & onions & then cook it all day on low with relevant seasonings. Then either serve with pasta, or top with aunt Bessie mash & serve.

Saturday lunch: Lentil soup. Bag of lentils. I chicken stock cube. Carrot, onion & bay (don't chop - they're for flavouring). A couple of hours on high or all day on low. Serve with hunk of cheddar and chunk of bread. Great in a thermos.

Saturday dinner: Chicken korma. Chicken + jar or curry sauce in slow cooker! I don't typically fry off - it tastes better if you do - but it makes no difference to the kids reaction (in fact DD gets stressed about 'burnt bits' - & it's a lot more faffing ). Breast only takes a couple of hours. Thigs are more resilient - but kids are freaked by bones. Serve with rice & naan & mango chutney & cucumber & generally give it a bit of pizzaz in presentation.

Sunday lunch: Roast dinner

Sunday dinner: Fajitas using roast left overs (use shop bought seasoning mix, and maybe splash out on a few accompaniments for fun - tortilla crisps on the side always get a cheerful response.

CaterpillarCara Sun 05-Jan-14 21:23:59

I think the "bad cook" one was me. I can see how people read it that way. But it was not intending as a criticism of the OP at all - it was a criticism of my own mistakes and I tentatively put out there the chance that OP had made the same error. She hadn't though, so the bad cook crown is all my own still. - I totally erred on the side of too bland food for years. Am still playing catch up to improve things.

Procrastreation Sun 05-Jan-14 21:11:39

My solution for a similar dilemma has been the slow-cooker (and I've also started doing batch cooking).

I find it helps to decouple the effort of making the food & the serving of the food. It makes it less emotive when they are sniffy. My most fussy DC tends to get upset at 'burnt bits' (aka delicious crispy bits) - and actually quite likes the slightly bland and soupy slow cooker stuff.

Slowcooker cooking also gets around the effort/nutrition conundrum.

Procrastreation Sun 05-Jan-14 21:05:59

I feel your pain - and shame on the posters trotting out platitudes about pandering parents (& bad cooks hmm ).

Chunderella Sun 05-Jan-14 11:43:50

I see your point re wifework Buffy. Unfortunately, this is one element of it that can't really be opted out of and is inevitably going to fall on you because of DHs food issues. I do hope you're making sure the other household members are picking up slack elsewhere though! The DC are old enough to do a few jobs.

florascotia at the moment, we all eat at around 5:50-6. If the kids 'like' it, they'll eat loads so I don't know if it's a problem with mismatching the routine with their hunger.

However, all is about to change from tomorrow, because DH starts his new job and doesn't finish until 6. So maybe a more substantial version of the after school snack for kids and a proper meal for DH and I later. This will work even better if they've had school dinners.

TBH I've avoided this in the past because it feels like cooking two meals in the evening, but given the options available (cook one meal but end up feeling crap being the other) maybe this is what will work.

And on the days when it's packed lunches (boo!) I can batch cook pasta sauces, chicken breadcrumbs, use frozen roast leftovers, etc.

Well done Vipers, together we've formulated a plan that I think might just work! smile

BadztMaru Sun 05-Jan-14 11:27:52

Hi Buffy, I can empathise with you, I'm going through the same thing with my son.
I don't know whether to give him what little food he will eat for meals so that I know he is getting some goodness,
Or keep offering different meAls.
I don't know whether to give him his yoghurt which is pretty much the only source of goodness that he gets or to withhold it until he eats something else.
I can't eat out with him, there's no point. He doesn't eat food at parties or at his friends house.
It's very upsetting, I feel I am to blame and I know it's what everyone's thinking.
If he's not offered food that he will eat (junk food crap mostly) then he just won't eat, he will get hungry and ill and still won't eat.
He now has an appointment with a dietician coming up, I just need to know what to do for the best.

florascotia Sun 05-Jan-14 11:07:30

OP , the earlier posters who wondered whether your DC might not be very hungry in the evenings rang a bell with me. If they are having and enjoying a good breakfast (yours sound excellent) and a reasonable lunch, they might not need or want much later in the day. What time do you eat in the evenings?

I'm not so young, and, even for her day, my mother had old-fashioned ideas about meals. That meant, until we were teenagers, on Mondays-Fridays we children had something to eat fairly soon after we came home from school - maybe 4.30 or 5 pm. We were ravenous then, but I don't know if we'd have felt so hungry if we'd had to wait until later. The food was nourishing but mostly cold - and simple for my mother to prepare. (It was varied - I remember ham, cheese or sardine sandwiches, cold roast meat or cold chicken sandwiches, or cheese on toast or beans on toast, or cheese and oatcakes...), plus one or two of tomato/lettuce/cress/celery/carrot etc. Then bread, butter, jam or honey, or perhaps a simple cake, and fruit. If we were hungry again before bedtime, we could have a milk drink (hot or cold) and perhaps a biscuit or two (plain, eg digestive). No snacks otherwise, except for very special occasions. Our parents ate separately, later in the evening.
Weekends were different - we had big family lunches together then, and family teas with nice cakes later in the day.

This might not suit your workload (which sounds awesome) or your DC, but even now, if I am tired, I often prefer just soup or a sandwich in the evening, rather than a 'proper' meal. But for my DH, an evening meal is his preferred main meal of the day ...We are all different.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 05-Jan-14 10:26:20

To be honest, what I would do is to have a mass roasty cook-off; slice the lot and freeze it in slices [make loads of soup that can be frozen with the rest] and then you can do one pan of rice and carrots and sling some peas in at the end; and they can have that with some of the defrosted roast meat - whilst you have a nice meal yourselves - this will get you out of many 'whet shall I cook them' rages.

And keep saying when they are big enough they can have what the grown ups eat.

[I don't eat meat but that's what I'd do if I did]

brettgirl2 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:21:39

It isn't soul destroying if the dcs refuse to eat what I've cooked. I eat it and enjoy it, dh eats it and enjoys it.

If I do tea for them alone I do one if their favourites (and I understand why this is tricky in your case)

I wouldn't give them anything between meals at all.

Joysmum Sun 05-Jan-14 10:04:31

There's a huge difference between being fussy, and genuinely hating the food on offer.

I would never offer genuinely hated foods but I do serve up stuff they don't hate and just would prefer something else.

If they don't eat it then they aren't hungry enough, nobody will starve to death and having tested the boundaries they realise the world doesn't revolve around pandered to in order to have favourite meals.

Let's face it, a well balanced and healthy diet isn't generally what people would choose to eat based on enjoyment criteria, if black forest gateaux and cheese were the perfect diet I'd have no problems!

Borntorun25 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:02:07

OP, I feel your pain. I think the roast and roast II with easy options like rice, egg, peas other days sounds fine. Good healthy diet with all necessary nutrients, up to your DC if they get bored they will join with your meals, if not you are feeding them well and minimising your stress. Take the stress out for you as much as possible is important.

My DS2 gets pasta about 5 times a week, this is plain pasta, no sauce or additions accepted!! He does get a variety of pastas though, penne, macaroni, spaghetti, shell shaped, does that count? grin
He will eat very little else, used to eat loads as toddler but now refuses almost everything and gags if I make him sit and try. I intermittently stress myself silly about it and then go all zen like and think, well only another 9 years to go before he leaves home.....

Love the post about it being parents job to provide nutritious meals but DCs job to eat them. That will be my mantra from now on.

Morning all. Roast chicken for tea today anyway, so no flash points there!

Still feel cross this morning, everyone is leaving me alone grin. Just about to take the dog out, which will cheer me up.

Thanks everyone who posted for talking me down yesterday smile

Toecheese Sun 05-Jan-14 08:06:38

I think you are taking the wrong option sorry.

In your shoes I would stop any snacking and eating between meals completely. Hide the cheese and use the oat biscuits in the lunchbox only. Don't let them graze at all. I don't let my youngest ones graze because they then won't eat tea if I do. My eldest can graze because he will eat his tea despite snacking.

Secondly what time are you giving them lunch? Can you feed them a bit earlier so there is a larger gap between lunch and tea. More time to build up hunger. Also are they over eating at lunchtime? Are they eating a tea sized lunch? Sandwich, a bit of cheese and fruit should be enough possibly.

Thirdly I think you are building a rod for your own back if you cook two evening meals. Your kids need to be exposed to a variety of food and by feeding them the same meal everyday you are enabling poor food habits. You really won't be doing them any favours seriously.

I think you need to remain as you were - making one family tea and them either choosing to eat or not. Then Offering nothing (except the meal again) if they are hungry later. They clearly won't starve and will at least have the opportunity to eat a varied diet.

Most importantly stop snaking!!!

Toecheese Sun 05-Jan-14 08:04:31

I think cooking two meals would be v stressful, time wasting and annoying. Just cook one and stop caring if they eat or not.

Toecheese Sun 05-Jan-14 08:02:21

I think you are taking the wrong option sorry.

In your shoes I would stop any snacking and eating between meals completely. Hide the cheese and use the oat biscuits in the lunchbox only. Don't let them graze at all. I don't let my youngest ones graze because they then won't eat tea if I do. My eldest can graze because he will eat his tea despite snacking.

Secondly what time are you giving them lunch? Can you feed them a bit earlier so there is a larger gap between lunch and tea. More time to build up hunger. Also are they over eating at lunchtime? Are they eating a tea sized lunch? Sandwich, a bit of cheese and fruit should be enough possibly.

Thirdly I think you are building a rod for your own back if you cook two evening meals. Your kids need to be exposed to a variety of food and by feeding them the same meal everyday you are enabling poor food habits. You really won't be doing them any favours seriously.

I think you need to remain as you were - making one family tea and them either choosing to eat or not. Then Offering nothing (except the meal again) if they are hungry later. They clearly won't starve and will at least have the opportunity to eat a varied diet.

Most importantly stop snaking!!!

jellyandcake Sun 05-Jan-14 06:20:41

The NHS Birth to Five book basically recommends the approach you suggest in your OP, Buffy. It says when dealing with fussy eaters not to worry about a varied diet but that if you serve up the same few healthy things that they do eat then that's fine.

I have a really fussy three yr old. Finding healthy things he will eat is really difficult. We did blw and for the first year of eating his enthusiasm for all sorts of food was amazing and so much fun. Now he refuses all veg, cheese, eggs, won't eat anything like stew, won't eat anything with mash eg shepherd's pie etc. Only likes fish if it's smoked (therefore really salty) or in the form of fish fingers. Only likes potatoes in the form of chips or roasties. Not very keen on porridge. Gets upset at the whole concept of mealtimes really because he's so busy playing all the time and sees coming to sit up at the table as a resented interruption ("oh no, not DINNER!"). Would be delighted to live off fruit, yoghurt, milk and biscuits. It is so, so frustrating and a highly charged emotional subject!

However, I was a really fussy eater as a child - horribly, horribly picky. I grew out of it and became adventurous with food, love cooking etc. It won't last forever so I would say just reduce the stress as much as you can for yourself.

JackyJax Sat 04-Jan-14 23:26:29

In my case I don't think it's about kids testing boundaries,etc. At breakfast sometimes I give a choice, sometimes I don't and everyone is happy and eats.

My children used to pull faces like gargoyles when I served dinner, accompanied by howls (family of wolves ;- ). I pulled them up on that so now they sit with normal faces but still don't eat what I serve.

On a side note, I'm beginning to resent lots of my roles in the house-cleaner, cook, housekeeper, etc. The job description of 'mother' needs some work. Op I really do feel for you!

JackyJax Sat 04-Jan-14 23:16:05

Buffy I could howl at the moon with the frustration of it all- sigh.

You could try the website I mentioned. It's brilliant at cutting down your work load. They email you kid friendly food menu for week, you click button for shopping list to be sent to supermarket, supermarket delivers.

It is a brilliant concept. Unfortunately my children disliked nearly everything- their friends on play dates loved it!

Breakfast is our easiest meal too. Everyone is happy re food at breakfast. But at dinner time the whole show collapses hence my howling at the moon....

CaterpillarCara Sat 04-Jan-14 23:15:36

To be fair, I think tapenade is not hard. But yeah, I am quite proud of him in a way being so much better with food. He wouldn't even eat anything with vinegar when I was growing up.

Mine will eat rollmops - wonder if that works in the fishy competition stakes. Definitely from a JAR! smile

Lesshastemorespeed Sat 04-Jan-14 23:10:38

Buffy yabu, but I totally understand why you're at this point.

try here:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/food_and_recipes/1956485-Is-anyone-up-for-a-parents-of-fussy-eaters-support-thread?

Spermysextowel Sat 04-Jan-14 23:06:26

Ha! Mine love tapenade now at 14 & 16 but it's made for me by a JAR. Hats off to your dad.

Tried to compete by making the roulade thing & turned out like a fishy omelette.

CaterpillarCara Sat 04-Jan-14 22:59:37

Smoked haddock roulade sounds disgusting! But mine love tapenade and it was made for them by my DAD who couldn't cook when I was a kid and has now, apparently, learnt.

Next time someone tells you tapenade is Tarquin's favourite, I suggest you turn your nose up at how salty it is... especially when followed by smoked anything which is also probably salty!

Gluezilla Sat 04-Jan-14 22:41:50

I would concentrate on manners rather than constantly change the food you offer.
They are expected to sit at the table at mealtimes, eat without a fuss or if its not to their taste ,politely say they have finished -I would always provide bread on the table BTW
No fuss, no bribery, no denying pudding etc.
If they poke their food or are rude - they are removed.
What you are cooking is not the problem, they are the problem and until they learn manners I would remove them from the table.
You could cook bloody Michelin starred food and they would still poke at it what you are cooking is not the problem its your DC behaviour.

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