Food Wars

(58 Posts)
VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:04:08

I have a fantastic childminder (+ assistants) who do an amazing job of looking after my DS. I’m always impressed by all the activities and learning they do and know that he is in safe hands, but there is one thing that has become a bit of an issue… food.

I’m vegetarian (he’s 90% veggie as my husband isn’t) and to me making sure he eats a healthy diet is just as important as anything else. So I have been making him breakfast, lunch and dinner which he takes along with him.

I know that they would prefer if he ate the same as the other children, but at the risk of sounding like a food snob (honestly I’m not!) I don’t think that they give them particularly healthy options. When I pick him up I see the other kids eating a lot of red meat, star shaped potato things, chocolate, you get the picture….

I'm not saying that they never prepare healthy meals but I also see a lot of processed 'kiddie' food. The other thing I have noticed is that if the kids don’t want to eat vegetables or salad with their meal then they aren’t made to. I’m lucky that at the moment he absolutely loves vegetables, has a great appetite and eats whatever I give him, but I would be concerned if he follows their eating habits that he would then become fussy too.

I’ve had lots of awkward conversations with them about food before but one of the assistants keeps dropping in comments about him not eating his food properly as he is looking at what the other children are eating and wanting the same. The last thing that I want is for him to grow up feeling different but even more so I don’t want him growing up eating what they do!

I don’t feel like I am draconian, I don’t mind when he is older (he's only 10 months) if he has sweets/cakes/crisps at birthday parties or the odd Maccy D’s as a treat I just don’t want these foods being a regular part of his diet.

I feel like I have made my position on it clear and I’m finding it frustrating that they are still bringing up the topic. I would never offend them by telling them I don’t think the food they give the other children is healthy but being tactful obviously isn’t working either.

In all other ways they are fabulous and I am really lucky to have got a space with them so I don’t want to upset anyone.

Am I being unreasonable expecting them to give him something different? As I am providing the food myself I don’t think so, but would welcome your thoughts….

And how do I approach the situation without offending anyone???


InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 18-Mar-14 20:13:01

Ooh dear.... Good luck again!

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 18:42:32

Thanks guys. Food talk didn't happen as arrived at CM's to a find poorly baby and a potential chicken pox outbreak. Little man in bed already and I am about to do the same... have a feeling we're in for a long night!

Perhaps you could let him have a couple of potato stars and a piece of fruit at 3.30 and then give him his dinner at home at around 5.00/5.30?

I don't think YABU at all but I'm the "food snob" hmm in my family.

Teaching a child good, healthy eating habits from a young age is no bad thing. And it sounds like he has the occasional treat so that's fine!

littledrummergirl Tue 18-Mar-14 18:26:58

I have a friend who always sent her toddlers to nursery with their own snacks.
When they were invited to parties, sweets offered around they were the greediest, grabiest ones there. They werent allowed these foods at home, now they are at secondary and get to make their own choices about food they seem to eat a lot more crap junk food than their friends.

Whereisegg Tue 18-Mar-14 18:07:27

Good luck!
You are saving them money surely?

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 18-Mar-14 17:49:46

No problem at all VeggieMum8
Good luck smile

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 18-Mar-14 15:34:24

Good luck smile

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 15:31:28

I think they time dinner for 3.30pm as the older kids have just come back from school and are hungry then - there's a mixture of ages and I guess they want to have one sit down time. I may revert back to giving him dinner at home and just providing a snack for that time. I don't really want to change childminder if I can avoid it as the learning activities they do with him are great and on the whole I'm really happy, it's just the food that's an issue. I'll speak to them again tonight - wish me luck!

I would ask them to just give him a snack at 3.30. That is really early for dinner anyway, seems a bit weird. If he's having something different anyway, surely doesn't matter if it's a proper dinner or some veggies for snacking? Then you can eat dinner together, which is nice.

I also doubt a 10 month old is THAT aware of what's going on food-wise.

zirca Tue 18-Mar-14 14:50:21

Why not just find a different childminder who serves food you approve of?

parakeet Tue 18-Mar-14 14:44:13

Advice from NHS paediatricians and dieticians is never to "force" children to eat any food.

My daughter was quite fussy when she was young, but I never made an issue out of it, said "Just leave it" and allowed her to fill up on bread and butter if necessary (but nothing nicer than that). Now (8 years old) her repertoire is slowly but surely increasing every year.

KellyElly Tue 18-Mar-14 14:26:07

Could you send a snack for 3:30 though, and have dinner at home? Good idea. Do all the other kids eat at 3.30pm? Seems very early for dinner.

KellyElly Tue 18-Mar-14 14:24:54

If he's dropped off at 9 and picked up at 4.30, can't you give him breakfast and dinner at home? Or at least breakfast?

Whereisegg Tue 18-Mar-14 14:03:17

AIBU is full of threads where grandparents look after their dgc for free, and the op feels that the gp feed their dc too many treats/won't discipline them/has the tv on all day/won't stick to the dcs routine.
All replies are that as the care is free the op should suck it up, or pay someone so they can 'be in charge'.

Well you are paying op, and people are still saying yabu.
I don't think you are, keep sending in his meals and don't worry too much.

Could you send a snack for 3:30 though, and have dinner at home?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 18-Mar-14 13:51:25

And I used to be pretty uptight about food I have relaxed a lot now but would still have issues with what is being provided.

Mn seems to be full of parents who's kids eat a tom of food so other people feeding them is a huge help a d they never struggle to have them eat again at home after large heals else where.

My dd on the other hand, it is very noticeable in her behaviour and appearance if her diet hasn't been great for a few days.

memememum Tue 18-Mar-14 13:48:05

I think it's ok if you're paying for the service and they haven't said that it's against their policy to do it.

Like someone else said, it's likely that at some point your DC will become a bit more fussy or willful about food. When that happens, if you still have to have him somewhere where you don't like the food, maybe you could just provide one of the meals, or how about he gets to eat their food on Fridays as a treat/reward?

As for not offending anyone if you need to speak to them about it, IMHO we should all just try and be nice and straight forward and matter of fact in order for important information to be passed on clearly and so we don't drive ourselves crazy wondering if the message got through.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 18-Mar-14 13:47:42

That level of processed food would bother me too tbh.

No way would my ten month old have been allowed gammon or sausages due to salt content. And habits are soon learnt at that age what they are exposed to matters. They are too young to explain to that that's what they eat there and that's what u eat at home.

And yes I would want my dd encouraged to try. Not forced. Absolutely not forced but there are ways to encourage without making dinner a battle ground.

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 13:46:55

Apologies InSpace that's my own guilt about being a working mum coming through!

When he wakes up he doesn't want to eat straight away so it makes sense for him to have it there. I used to give him dinner when we got home but the CM asked if he could have it with the other children as he was watching them eat. Personally I would rather he just had a snack and then sits down and enjoys a meal with me at home but I agreed with their request and it does seem to work for him. I try and share a bit of fruit or avocado later on so we get to eat something together.

I'm not totally convinced that at 10 months old he is that aware/concerned that the other kids are eating something different, but maybe I am wrong....

The CM confided in me that when she was Ofsted inspected the only thing they pulled her up on was that some of the food options weren't that healthy. The difficult situation is that I think she is great in every other way and don't want to offend her, especially as I saw how personally she took the feedback from Ofsted, but from what I see I would tend to agree. tricky situation!

Lunchbreak is coming to end will log back on later!

If he's dropped off at 9 and picked up at 4.30, can't you give him breakfast and dinner at home?

I'm not vegetarian but I don't like processed foods either and so I can see your concern -- but I think you would find it easier to deal with if he was only having lunch and an afternoon snack there.

I do think you should start looking for another childminder. You're not necessarily being unreasonable, but I agree you're setting up a problem for down the road.

Waltonswatcher1 Tue 18-Mar-14 13:35:01

Firstly I think he could eat at home for at least one meal . Timing seems to allow for it or are you spending a lot if time travelling ?
You have every right to feed him your food . Surely that's a basic principal ?
We eat only organic and I would not like my children eating anything other than free range . We dont eat processed kiddie food ever .That's my choice and they are my kids.
As for him looking at the other kids meals , this will just be a phase and he will get used to it . Dd2 has serious allergies and at 10 mths the restrictions were no dairy nut wheat gluten egg soya seeds cocoa . She obviously had to get used to people around her eating different foods .
Stick to your principals .

whois Tue 18-Mar-14 13:23:08

Your son's diet is not a matter of health or religion

Why should ethical considerations be less important than religious food rules?

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 18-Mar-14 13:13:55

Not sure why you think I'm having a go at working mums, I work too! My point is, 3 meals in 6 hours is strange. Why can't he have breakfast at home at 7.30 and dinner at home at 5? confused

snowpink Tue 18-Mar-14 12:55:46

When my dc went to the childminder at 10 months he took food from home. For exactly the same reasons you describe. And I continued to do so until he was 2 I think. They probably gave him the odd fishfinger or chip but it wasn't his entire meal. But thankfully my childminder never made an issue out of it

LatinForTelly Tue 18-Mar-14 11:14:55

I don't think you're being at all unreasonable.

It's ridiculous to suggest because you're not a SAHM, you can't make choices about your son's food whilst he is a baby, and when he is a toddler.

I agree with those who say, at 10 months, he is unlikely to be coveting someone else's sausages.

But yes, a compromise in the future could be to let him have one potato smiley or something with the food you prepare for him.

TeacakeEater Tue 18-Mar-14 11:06:03

Yes MaryLou it's a shame the CMs have made an issue of it and I know CM who wouldn't mind OP's approach at all.

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