Talk to me about, 'No pudding until you've eaten your mains.'

(60 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Sat 29-Aug-15 22:15:31

I've been trying to avoid this, as current advice seems to suggest that it turns the main course into an ordeal to be got through and doesn't promote good eating habits or a healthy attitude towards food.

However, 3yo DS1's diet is shit. He eats minute portions of beige food, no matter how much choice I give him and bend over backwards to be totally relaxed about the whole thing. Everything I present, is met with, 'That's dis-CUS-tin!' to which I breezily reply, 'That's OK, you don't have to eat it, but I'm not making anything else.' I've never bargained with him about food, never force him to sit at the table, never lose my temper at his repeated food-refusal, give him a choice wherever I can, although this is not always possible. I involve him in food preparation wherever safe, get him to pick out fruit and veg at the supermarket which he loves doing, and let him cut and smell herbs in the garden. However, the only way he'll eat veg is on pizza (on the rare occasion he doesn't pick it off) or sometimes in pesto, so I blitz in anything I can get in there. I have slightly more luck with fruit, but pretty much only bananas, grapes and strawberries.

Tonight, after a day of watching him pick at crap (one spoon of porridge, half a slice of ham, a quarter of a bread roll, accompanying fruit and tomatoes thrown in the floor, pack of Pombears and a cookie devoured entirely), I broke my own rule at dinner when he stropped off to the couch, proclaiming my cheese and green veg pie to be 'howibble' (without tasting it). I said he wouldn't get any ice-cream unless he ate three bites of the pie. After half an hour of fury, he finally gagged down the required amount of pie in a rage and we had our once a week ice cream treat.

This is probably the most veg I have got into him in about forever. If I had no ice-cream to dangle, he just wouldn't have eaten it at all and not been any the worse for it.

Which is the lesser of two evils? Using a desirable food to encourage consumption of the undesirable food in the hope that he'll develop a taste for the undesirable? Or him leading a life nutrient-free until my carefree and relaxed facade crumbles into a heap convinces him that vegetables are actually quite pleasant?

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Sat 29-Aug-15 22:22:08

Personally I am not a fan of the 'they get pudding even if they haven't eaten main ' approach. I think it entrenches fussiness by allowing them to fill up on pudding. I know a fair few family members raised this way who are still mega fussy as young adults. Hunger is a good motivation to separate long term dislike from fussiness I think.

I try to say "that's fine. But pudding is for after main. So if you haven't eaten main you don't eat pudding either".

I will, however, be shot down in flames for this view.

MingZillas Sat 29-Aug-15 22:22:52

Fucks knows but I'm watching this with interest as I just know my dd will be like this.
Do any kids actually like healthy foods?

Andro Sat 29-Aug-15 22:24:44

I'd make sure he had a multivitamin and mineral supplement daily and not use threats/bribery/blackmail (but there wouldn't be pombears, cookie and ice cream on the same day either). Pushing until a food is choked or gagged down can cause issues with food later.

and sorry, but that pie sounds truely awful

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Sat 29-Aug-15 22:25:15

Just to give full disclosure. Mine have gone through phases but are generally pretty good. DD1 is 6 and currently obsessed with radishes.hmm

CultureSucksDownWords Sat 29-Aug-15 22:27:17

I give pudding irrespective of how much main is eaten. But puddings are not frequent and not expected, and are things that I don't mind being eaten. So things like ice cream/cake very infrequently, fruit or yogurt based things more often. I try really hard not to refer to any food as a treat or a reward.

I have no idea if this approach works, but DS will eat mostly everything and doesn't hanker after puddings or ask for them.

trilbydoll Sat 29-Aug-15 22:29:47

I say DD has to make a decent attempt at the main, if she's munching away merrily then declares she's had enough it seems to me that she probably has. If she won't even have a spoonful I assume she isn't hungry and don't offer anything else.

She's only 2.3 though so it might all go horribly wrong when she's older. I do try to emphasise "oh ok, you're not hungry, you don't want anything to eat" to give her the chance to consider if she's making the right decision!

Andro Sat 29-Aug-15 22:29:53

MingZillas - some do, I have 2 who will raid the veg drawers if given half a chance.

SpaggyBollocks Sat 29-Aug-15 22:34:04

puddings in our house are an after thought. they are distributed as necessary if the meal was insufficient.

mabythesea Sat 29-Aug-15 22:37:55

I give pudding but it is fruit and plain yoghurt.

A child who was rude and threw food on the floor would definitely not be getting crisps, cookies and ice cream though.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 29-Aug-15 22:43:06

Andro The pie is delish! It's like a vegetarian fish pie. DH and DS2 absolutely inhale it. DS1 did as well before he learned that vegetables are the antichrist hmm

He only had the Pombears and cookie because we were out all day and they were part of a limited-choice kids' meal at a cafe. Even if they weren't there, he still wouldn't have eaten the salad or fruit. Multivitamins get spat out in a great arc or, if presented in the guise of a sweet, get transported straight to the bin. I have tried, and tried and tried...

We have pudding once a week on a Saturday night. Some hippy gentle parenting type once suggested just giving him a small amount of pudding before mains. Tried it a couple of times - mains never got a look-in once he'd topped up his minute tank with a sliver of cake/tiny biscuit/teaspoon of ice cream.

<Gives a wink and a thumbs-up to Libraries>

AliMonkey Sat 29-Aug-15 22:43:31

If almost nothing has been eaten of main course then they can still have fruit or a healthyish yogurt. If a decent attempt made and it's a day we are having a more treaty pudding then they can have some - but size of portion is approximately correlated with amount of main course eaten. But I'm not very consistent and sometimes do take the "three more forkfuls and you can have pudding" approach. My mum pulls faces at my approach as thinks pudding should only come after a clean plate. My kids do not eat enough healthy stuff for my liking (particularly veg) so maybe my approach isn't right, but having tried my mum's way for a bit it meant my very anxious DS ate even less.

jessiepinkman Sat 29-Aug-15 22:44:03

We have puddings most days. All 4 are non fussy eaters. I think the key may be to not discuss it at all. Otherwise it becomes an issue, power play, all that. I wouldn't worry too much about the number of servings of fruit & veg. Try more hiding techniques if you're really worried. Pasta sauce, veg muffins, beetroot brownies, cauliflower pizza etc

CultureSucksDownWords Sat 29-Aug-15 22:46:04

The pie recipe looks v nice, thanks for the link ��

W00t Sat 29-Aug-15 22:46:06

We don't do this, mainly because it's such an effort to get my 6yo to eat anything. He need the calories in pudding (well- fruit, yoghurt, occasional cake in this house).
He will sometimes eat his main, but be too full for pudding, even if it's cake or ice-cream. I know his appetite is just low.

holmessweetholmes Sat 29-Aug-15 22:46:30

I'm happy to give fruit for pudding even if main course not eaten. Other puddings are less frequent anyway, but wouldn't be allowed if most of the main course hadn't been eaten.

TheUnwillingNarcheska Sat 29-Aug-15 22:48:05

We always went down the yoghurt route when the children were very little.

So no matter how much of the main they ate they would get a tiny pot of yoghurt so they hardly filled up on it.

I have always cooked my own tomato sauce base which included a lot of veg (Annabel Karmel) blended it down to a smooth consistency, portioned up an frozen for pizza base, spag bol, pasta sauce.

Now that the DCs are 12 and 9 they know I make their homemade ice lollies with spinach grin just frozen fruit (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, natural yoghurt and frozen spinach sweetened with pineapple juice)

Sadly school do a pudding and then this becomes an expected item to follow a meal.

Lurkedforever1 Sat 29-Aug-15 22:48:07

Dd didn't eat green veg once we got past the mashed altogether stage either, till past the toddler stage. Unless hidden extremely well, which wasn't always practical as she didn't (and still doesn't) touch runny food like soup. I never pushed it either, just kept putting it on the plate and saying she didn't have to eat it, and eventually after a few years she did.
I always had the rule she had to try something before saying she didn't like it, but I'd make sure something on the plate was something she enjoyed. I'm an adult but there's some foods I'd rather go hungry than eat, so only seemed fair to accept kids can to. And then I tried not to view it over a day, but over a week, when the nutrients evened out more.
As to dessert, I've always stuck to food for hunger, crap for taste. So I'd tell her eg if she was only hungry enough to eat 1/4 of her dinner, she could have 1/4 of her dessert too. She hasn't got much of a sweet tooth though, so never had the issue of clearing the plate to get crap, it was more along the lines of she got more of her favourite part of the dinner, cheese so not sure how helpful that is if they want ice cream etc.

BathshebaDarkstone Sat 29-Aug-15 22:50:50

Mine would get pudding whatever, but we don't have this issue.

BackInTheRealWorld Sat 29-Aug-15 22:50:52

We hardly ever have pudding. It just doesn't cross my mind. When I was a kid we only had 'dessert' on a Sunday evening. It wasnt an every day thing. I s'pose I'm just getting used to the idea it's the norm for most people?

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Sat 29-Aug-15 22:56:31

<waves at elphaba> (Random aside. The baby has been sleeping horribly. For six weeks plus. One night he was up for four and a half hours. Then last week I discovered he had four molars. Thankfully normal service of one wake up and sometimes none has resumed. Hope you are hanging in there).

RabbitSaysWoof Sat 29-Aug-15 23:01:08

If my dc doesn't want to eat main he can stop but nothing after, if he wants something after he has to at least eat the veg and at least try each bit of the rest, but tbh I don't usually have to remind of that because he isn't fussy, something after in my house isn't always special pudding type thing tho it can be cheese and cracker, fruit, yog, ordinary jammy dodger type biscuit.
I don't want him to have pud without mains because it could become a full back if he can't be bothered to try, also I don't personally think you should approach sweet food hungry, it's better as a taster thing in small quantities, rather than eaten quickly to satisfy appitite.

Bakeoffcake Sat 29-Aug-15 23:03:38

Our puddings were usually fruit and yoghurt so an important part of the meal imo. I never made my dds clear their plate- they were taught to stop eating when they felt they'd had enough.

In your situation, I would encourage the "eat a bit then you can have pudding" because you seem to have tried everything else and they haven't worked, this approach worked, so why not use it?
Also I think negotiation and compromise are part of life for everyone.
I bribed encourage my dds an awful lot when they were growing up and it usually worked.

Katymac Sat 29-Aug-15 23:05:25

I serve a small portion, they are allowed to ask for seconds (or thirds)

If their plate isn't empty yoghurt or fruit is available if they are still hungry, because they can't be that hungry if they didn't finish....(often they return to the main meal)

If their plate is empty fruit "plus" (cake/custard/ice cream/jelly - only one) is available....because the "plus" is just empty calories to fill them up so they can go play

NotSoDesperateHousewife Sat 29-Aug-15 23:06:33

We do it, but no pressure, just a simple choice. If they finish their main, there is pudding, if they don't there is not. We bend this rule on the odd occasion that we have "special" pudding such as crumbles we've made together. Pudding is far from every day for us though, they have it once, maybe twice a week and it's usually yogurt.

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