I know IABU I feed my DC rubbish but feel too overwhelmed to change things :(

(148 Posts)
toomuchjunk Sun 03-Aug-14 20:35:24

I have 4 DC and DH in the army away a lot. Me and 4 DC eat rubbish I know we do and I want to change. I have all the cook books, but feel to overwhelmed by all the ingredients etc. Also meal planning for 3 meals plus snacks and deserts takes me hours and I get stressed. DC are used to having sugary deserts like angel delight, jelly, ice cream and I don't know how they would react to plain yogurt or fruit. I cook a roast on Sunday with leftovers on monday but the rest of the week is frozen pizza, fish fingers, baked beans, breaded chicken fillets etc. Lunch is cheese sandwiches, I just cannot come up with other fillings the kids will eat. Each week I plan to buy healthy food but get overwhelmed with all the ingredients I will need to buy. Plus I have no idea how I will get the DC (age one, three, five and six) to change. There is no way they would eat porridge for breakfast, they all like chocolate spread on toast sad they guzzle sugar free squash and will not drink water. I feel so depressed, I had such good intentions when I only had one child, now I have four and I have lost my way and cannot see a way forward sad

Mumof3xox Sun 03-Aug-14 20:39:25

I bet there are plenty on here who secretly do the same

My dc don't eat super fantastic

We are good at getting fruit in them, veg is more of a battle but it does get eaten. They mainly drink water or milk with a max one juice per day but this is in no way every day.

Pudding is normally fruit or fromage frais with the occasional ice lolly.

We do have chicken dippers, pizza and fish fingers weekly. We also do a fair bit of pasta, and a roast roughly once a week

Some nights there is so little time the big ones can get beans and hotdogs on toast, and little one a tin of mac cheese

You can only do what you can do

tattyteddy Sun 03-Aug-14 20:43:22

Hello OP,

Do you think it would help if you made a meal plan for the week ahead? When I'm feeling super organised that is what I do, doesn't happen every week though!

Also what about things you can freeze, eg a big match of home made chilli - you can hide loads of vegetables in it! Perhaps you could make some healthy soup? Xx

tattyteddy Sun 03-Aug-14 20:45:14

Also I just try my best too OP. Sometimes it is pizza and other frozen stuff or my DC but luckily she likes fruit. Xx

callamia Sun 03-Aug-14 20:45:39

Don't even try to change all at once . Be gentle an do t slowly. Can you make one more meal a week that is 'healthy'? A pasta bake with lots of veg snuck in? Fish cakes? Can you change a pudding a week too? What fruit is in season and lovely? Peaches, melons - all sweet and juicy.

RainbowSpiral Sun 03-Aug-14 20:48:13

I don't think it is that unhealthy really. Young children shouldn't have a low fat diet. Do they eat fruit and veg? Are any of you overweight.

I think its great to eat healthily but I think the effort some mumsnetters put in is not easy. I would make a few changes but not beat yourself up about it.

My youngest refused water for years, then aged about 10 he did start to drink it. He really did not drink enough as a littley unless he has milk or squash.

toomuchjunk Sun 03-Aug-14 20:48:34

It just feels like so much food to plan, three meals plus snacks and deserts, every time I try I give up sad

I have one day on my list so far:
Monday:
Breakfast: toast and rice crispies (is that even healthy?)
Lunch: Ham sandwich, carrot sticks and fruit
Dinner: Left over chicken, mash and veg. Desert??
Snacks: Fruit?

I am just useless at this sad

I grew up on microwave meals and tins of sausage and spagetti and frozen food and pot noodles sad I can cook okay but just get overwhelmed trying to figure out so many meals and get more and more stressed the more I try sad

noblegiraffe Sun 03-Aug-14 20:49:16

Baby steps. Look through your cookbooks and find one meal to cook and give it a go, and keep to the fish fingers etc for the rest of the week. Make it a fairly simple one so it's not too stressful.
If it works, then add it to your repertoire. If not then move on.

Nothing wrong with cheese sandwiches. Why not try adding cucumber, or tomato or pickle for variety?

SacreBlue Sun 03-Aug-14 20:49:25

Angel delight now and then won't kill your kids, neither will pizza, fish fingers, baked beans or breaded chicken fillets.

Cooking a roast once a week with left overs is a grand thing, getting the family together for a meal and enjoying it.

I started 'selection plates' with my DS, mainly in response to not always wanting to cook or having time to - and I only have one child.

This consists of buying fruit & veg & bunging it all on a plate he can pick from - grapes, oranges, any kind of berries, mushrooms, cheese chopped up, ham chopped up, bread roll or whatever really - left over cold chicken from roasts etc

Mightn't suit everyone but we love it and leaves plenty of room for choice, convenience & enjoyment.

Tests during the war showed you can survive eating potatoes and drinking milk and still get all your body needs <potato fanatic> which just shows that you do not need to over think or over stress about food.

My advice is not to worry, and aim for food being a cross over of necessity and joyful gluttony.

ChillySundays Sun 03-Aug-14 20:50:13

Don't be so hard on yourself. You have a roast once a week with leftovers the next. That's healthier than some. Cheese sandwiches aren't that bad - good sauce of calcium.
Instead of trying to change everything in one go change a meal at a time - spag bog is easy to make. Next week try another recipe. Try a different fruit each week - perhaps eventually they will get a range they like.
My DC are late teens and still won't drink water but I always made the squash weak so oyu could try making waker and weaker.
Good luck.

OneSkinnyChip Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:15

Spaghetti bolognese is quick and easy and great for getting hidden veg in. I buy the frozen chopped veg from Sainsbury the one with finely chopped carrot, onion and celery. Fry the lean mince add veg and then stir in tomato puree tinned tomatoes basil and oregano. I like to add a little spicy barbecue sauce too. You can make this in bulk and freeze. The frozen veg are good in curries too.

Don't try to change too much at once OP or your kids will rebel but think of a few basic healthy dinners and invest in some basic herbs and spices and some tinned tomatoes. You can make so many meals with these.

fuzzpig Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:22

Oh bless you sad I've been in a similar frame of mind. It's easy to get into habits of relying on freezer food type stuff but you WANT to change and that's the best place to start right?

Changing the family diet is a huge undertaking so don't feel bad for being so overwhelmed.

You need to do this slowly I think. Where do you stand with veg? Do they have stuff like carrot and cucumber sticks as an extra on their plate, or peas/broccoli/sweetcorn? You could improve what they're having just by adding an extra portion of veg. And that wouldn't be such a dramatic change as they still have the 'safe' food that they are used to.

Are there any meals they like that you don't do at home - like if you went out for a meal would they have spag Bol or something? May be a good place to start?

Honestly do it really slowly, even one meal a week would be a good start smile

museumum Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:26

Don't try to overhaul your entire week at once. Just do some baby steps. It's good you have the roast Sunday/Monday so why not cook something on Wednesday too with leftovers for Thursday lunch? That would be a good step to take and manageable.

noblegiraffe Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:28

Oh, and bin the desserts. They don't need them every day and it seems to be just causing you more stress. Give them fruit if they are still hungry, or a yoghurt. Mine have yoghurt every day - I think of the calcium!

MrsWinnibago Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:53

It's not SO bad OP. Why don't you start simple and just add some things...so when you do breaded chicken or fish fingers, bake a potato each and add some cucumber slices, tomatoes and maybe carrot sticks?

If you do plain potatoes or chips a lot, change that for brown pasta or rice? Take the desserts away completely and offer them only on weekends as a starter....offer fruit if they're still hungry during the week....they don't HAVE to have a pudding.

toomuchjunk Sun 03-Aug-14 20:52:13

callamia that is such a good idea, if I change one meal per week. I could do that! Maybe I was aiming to do to much in one big overhaul. Thank you so much, I can do this, if I change frozen pizza to home made pizza this week that is one meal changed. Just need to think of a desert to go with it? Thank you so much, I knew I would get some good ideas on here smile

rookiemater Sun 03-Aug-14 20:52:28

Agree with callamia - don't do it all in one go, build on things that work.

Would they eat peanut butter rather than chocolate spread on toast for breakfast ? Cheese sandwiches for lunch are fine - could you chop some carrots up to go with them, or weird one this that my DM discovered - give them some frozen peas. Convenience food isn't so bad for dinner provided they are also eating veg with it.Bolognaise sauce is quick to make and if you use passata then it has no added sugar or additives and you can hide quite a lot of veg in it.

If it's any consolation I only have one DS age 8 and his diet is fairly limited. I have spates where I try loads of things then times when it's busy and I go back to the standard favourites.

chesterberry Sun 03-Aug-14 20:52:49

I think if you look at everything you want to change at once I'm not surprised you feel overwhelmed, I don't think it's realistic to change everything at once but perhaps you could break it down into smaller, more manageable changes. Could you aim to change one thing a week (or a fortnight/month - whatever would suit you) rather than look at everything all at once? So this week you might look at offering your children healthier puddings after their meal. If they don't want it they don't get anything else so they're offered something healthy or nothing - there's no harm in them not having a pudding every day if they don't want it.

Maybe then you could look at another area such as breakfast - the change doesn't have to be dramatic (eg: toast and chocolate spread to porridge) but you could try and replace chocolate spread with a sugar-free nut butter or, if relevant, replace white bread for brown.

Could you aim to cook one new meal a week? Say Wednesday night (or whichever night best suits you) you will cook something new for you all.

OneSkinnyChip Sun 03-Aug-14 20:52:55

And pudding shouldn't be seen as an essential part of a meal - really it's a treat so a yoghurt and fruit should be the only things offered during the week.

MrsWinnibago Sun 03-Aug-14 20:53:10

More than just swapping bought pizza for homemade...just add more fresh veg and salad all week long. And cut the puddings!

Deluge Sun 03-Aug-14 20:53:15

Maybe try to start small? You dont have to completely overhaul your whole family diet and start making complicated recipes every night. Way too stressful with four DCs!

Could you introduce some new family rules? We only have proper pudding on Sundays. Its yog/fruit only the rest of the time, for example. The kids are allowed a tea time treat (cake or biscuits etc) on Fridays after school. The rest of the time I limit what we have in the house in terms of snacks, so there is less choice (fruit, crackers & cheese, toast) and less temptation. If there are kitkats and crisps, the kids will inhale them, so I just rarely buy them now.

Also, when I got completely stuck in a food rut, I learned to cook one new, healthy dish a week and made it. Nothing time consuming or requiring loads of fancy ingredients (I started with proper Italian spaghetti & meatballs, then moved on to stews and curries, then would pick something I knew they liked e.g. Chicken and find a few different ways of coking it etc). Yu'll build up a repertoire eventually and can slowly change the family diet to something healthier and more interesting bit by bit.

I also meal plan and write the plan up (or get one of the kids to do it) and pin it to the kitchen noticeboard. Maybe two/three nights it is something very easy and quick like macaroni cheese, a pasta bake, eggs in some form etc.

I sympathise. Easy to get stuck in the breaded-something and beans rut.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 03-Aug-14 20:54:47

I would change one thing at a time, gradually. (Like you, I grew up on a very limited, unhealthy diet, so it didn't come naturally to me)

for example, find out what fruits your dcs like. If funds permit, buy a selection and chop the fruit up. (The children can help). Have fruit for pudding once or twice a week to start.

introduce water as the drink at lunchtime to start with, not a sudden ban on squash.

would they try cucumber/pepper/carrot sticks as an alternative to baked beans? make your own pizza; use pitta breads and spread with passata or even ketchup. get them to add toppings such as sweetcorn, ham, pineapple etc. top with grated cheese and grill.

titchy Sun 03-Aug-14 20:55:57

Set yourself very small goals - maybe for the next two weeks aim for a healthier breakfast 3 days a week - weetabix, or whole meal toast rather than white bread. Maybe beans on toast or scrambled egg in toast once a week.

And aim for just one meal a week to be healthy - spag Bol or shepherds pie. When you do them fish fingers or chicken nuggets serve with veg, peas and corn on the cob maybe. Swap chips for jacket spuds or new potatoes.

Small steps!

fuzzpig Sun 03-Aug-14 20:56:14

Xpost. Seriously don't be so mad at yourself (easier said than done I know). You've not been brought up with home cooked meals so of course it's been hard for you to learn it yourself! You're doing your best and you'll get there smile

Mumof3xox Sun 03-Aug-14 20:56:15

It could be worse op

I knew a three yr old who would only eat cereal and pot noodles

So she had two pot noodles a day, bowl of cereal and that's it

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