Does anyone else find cooking for their DC really soul destroying?

(19 Posts)
ladyandthechocolate Mon 26-Nov-12 19:53:59

Just that really.
My DD is 4 and i have 2.7 year old triplets. They all started off being pretty good eaters and then got increasingly fussier as they reached 2 (as is normal I know).
I've always tried to do the 'right thing' - no pressure, hovering. They don't really snack between meals as that really does affect their appetite. Pudding is mainly fruit and yoghurt, occasionally cake, ice cream. I only withhold it if they have refused to even taste their dinner.
Despite all this it feels like every BLOODY NIGHT I'm scraping untouched food into the recycling bin. Every meal is met with suspicion, no one wants to sit up and eat. Bits are eaten but everything is picked at.
I do cook for them from scratch, we mainly eat the same food but we eat later. The usual array of casseroles, curry, fish pie, pasta dishes.
Tonight, I did chicken and broccoli gratin with roast potatoes, roasted veg and peas. I threw most of it away.
I could just feed them pizza, fish fingers and beans all the time. I know that would get eaten but I just think they'll never grow out of it then will they? They are getting all the food groups so I'm not particularly worried about they nutrition.

Aargh! When, when, when will it get better!! Are they still going to be like this in 5 years?

MariaMandarin Mon 26-Nov-12 20:06:01

If they are a normal weight then they are obviously eating enough. Maybe try putting only a tiny amount on their plate to start with so that if they don't eat, it's not wasted as you can have it later or at another time. Sometimes putting food on the table in a big bowl can help as it introduces a competitive element! I find this works with chopped cucumber etc as they all want to make sure they get their fair share.

I would also focus on table manners and behaviour at meal times and not on what they are actually eating so that meal times can be pleasant even if they aren't eating much.

Try to stay cool. If you keep offering healthy food the majority of children will eventually eat well.

trikken Mon 26-Nov-12 20:14:33

one of mine is like this, he wont even look at the food sometimes. it is soul destroying and nothing I do seems to have any effect on his eating. all I want him to do is try one mouthful but he wont.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:19:41

I'd keep at it, once you start doing separate meals it won't end.

I worked with a woman who cooked 4 separate meals every night.

debka Mon 26-Nov-12 20:21:38

My girls are just the same, 3.8 and 1.9.

I make lovely healthy balanced meals. They pick and whinge and cry. I'm the same as you, don't make a fuss but also don't offer anything else. (not that they'd eat pizza or chicken nuggets either). Soul destroying, I agree, delicious meal and they cry when they see it hmm

They are happy, full of energy and healthy however, although the 3yo is whip thin.

debka Mon 26-Nov-12 20:22:38

fluffycloud 4 meals a night shock

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:39:16

I wanted to tell her to grow a fucking backbone but she was the huffy sort. Who says I lack social skills?

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:39:53

That was to debkas post not op!

<worries>

ladyandthechocolate Mon 26-Nov-12 20:47:24

They are all a normal weight, slim but normal. They eat well at breakfast, averagely at lunch then badly at dinner.
They won't even entertain the idea of salad, not great with meat with texture, food with 'bits', things on pizza etc etc.
Good idea to put it all on the table and let them help themselves, I think they'd enjoy that.
Their table manners are variable, with all four being so close in age they really egg each other on and it quickly erupts into either tantrums or a monkey's tea party. Thankfully they're great when we're out, the misbehaving is reserved for my benefit.
I know I must persevere but it's tedious!

ladyandthechocolate Mon 26-Nov-12 20:49:30

Fluffycloud, don't worry I had realised! 4 meals, what a nightmare. I can see how you'd get into bad habits though.

upinthehills Mon 26-Nov-12 20:59:20

Mine were a bit like this. They are a bit bigger, 6 & 4 and I have started sitting down with them and writing a weekly menu. We compromise, so Friday nights are something like fish fingers and chips, but there are stews and things in there too. I put it up in the kitchen and there are no quibbles now - it is working very well for us and it seems to manage their expectations - they know that what is on the plate on Monday, for example, will not be sausages or fish fingers! It does help that DS1 can read the menu and tell his brother! You can be a bit vague (like 'stew', mexican wraps) to give yourself a bit of leeway with ingredients.

Yours are much littler so not too sure if it will work, but one to remember maybe for future.

CakeForBreakfast Tue 27-Nov-12 14:30:24

Hello OP,

How well you are doing, and it is so thankless isn't it.

I relate entirely to you, I have 4 dc's age 5 and under (including twins, monkeys tea party made me laugh out loud - how apt), and I work hard to produce a varied diet of a homemade meal that the whole family can eat as dh and I eat with them. There are so many meals I would love to cook and eat but I know will be met with such unhappy faces, the only meals everyone is happy with are: Homemade pizza, pasta (homemade tomato sauce only), dhal, egg fried rice. Each individual eats other things too, but will be disliked by someone else. My strategies are:

* Where I can be arsed with the extra washing up it works I put things in dishes for helping themselves.

* No pudding unless what they have on their plate is eaten or they have tried something new.

* If they dont like something on their plate they have to eat around it not allowed to push it off or beg for it to be removed. Excessive complaints and tantrums bring about an end of meal for that person.

Those have actually produced results. I have also done a food taster chart with stickers and included the kids in cooking but in my case they have been fun but not made for better eaters.

I am forever optimistic that ds will eat a vegetable willingly, my eldest (age 5) is getting much more experimental and understands she will be hungry if she doesn't eat well and that is of her own choice. Maybe it gets better with age?

good luck. Post back with any successes, I will be waiting for your tips!

babbas Wed 28-Nov-12 12:06:55

Kids go through phases. My eldest was extremely fussy and ate very little. Now he can't stop eating and food he hated he now loves ( salad, fruit, rice cakes, lasagna, pasta, peas). My rules are non negotiable:

Everyone eats the same meal
If you don't finish it's left for bedtime snack and reheated
If too full to finish (I can tell if too full or being fussy) fine to leave dinner
I will compromise and alter veg. Eg ds1 likes cauli/peas/sweet corn but not broccoli. Ds2 likes all veg except cauli. . So ds1 gets more of what he likes and no broccoli. If that makes sense.
We have 'healthy weeks' and if everyone eats well then we have a takeaway of kids choice on Saturday. Do this once a month.
If you don't like something you have to have at least two tastes. If you still hate you can leave it.
If you are fussy and leave dinner virtually untouched then no snack or dessert apart from fruit.

Tbh though, kids usually grow out of dislikes ( and develop
New ones) frequently. Ask your child to tell you what they don't like about it. My son used to hate mash and said it tasted wet and sloppy. Which it kinda does! Ps your chicken and broccoli gratin sounds lovely!!

Tw1nkle Wed 28-Nov-12 19:14:08

I'm really lucky with my DD - she eats the same as me - liver & onions, meat & veg, salads etc.

She will have days when she wants me to feed her - when she's tired mainly (She's just 4).

I do find that eating at the same time as her, at the table, really helps - I've always tried to do it, and she has just copied me.

DH has to eat on his own some nights though! At weekends, we all sit down and eat together.

temporary Thu 29-Nov-12 17:02:18

Keep going, you will get there eventually, but it is a long hard slog in my experience.
I think that what I have done is have a wider variety of things to eat so that hopefully they will each get something down them. So, maybe a selection of three veg with the main event dish and the carb. Some of mine are better with veg and will fill up on that if they don't like the protein, or vice versa.

If trying to get my eldest to eat carrots, I found that just putting a tiny bit on her plate but saying she didn't have to eat it was a starting point and that went on for a while. Then I would insist she just ate one small mouthful, and after quite a while of that it has just dawned on me that she is now eating her carrots. This one particular daughter was a dreadful, ^dreadful, eater, but over about the last 3 years I have expanded her repertoire to an acceptable level. She is 8 now. I have four children too and you can't be dancing to all their whims.

I just want to give you some moral support and say you are not alone and I think it'll get better. I don't think it is necessarily about what you have done or not done, some are more scared of new food than others.

keely79 Thu 29-Nov-12 17:10:48

I completely know what you mean. My DD is terribly fussy - hence howls of process at "green bits" on her pasta (that would be parsley) and an automatic reaction of "I don't like/want it" to everything apart from about 4 or 5 set dishes. I keep trying and hoping that one day she will crack. One thing that works for us is appealing to her competitive side (i.e. "I bet you can't eat those carrots/mushrooms/broccoli faster than Mummy" or "look, DS is eating more vegetables than you. He is going to be stronger and faster if you don't catch up"...

DS1 is 5, and declared last night, that despite him liking separately, meat, pasta and cheese, the lasagne smelt like poo. I use with him the old "I expect you to eat 5 mouthfuls of that" It generally works as he likes counting down to none.

Both my DS also seem to like all their veg raw. He ate a courgette while I was cooking, then after it was cooked, refused to eat it. I just go with it now. My DS2 2yo, will eat more if we feed him. I tend to put a selection of raw veg on the side, carrots, courgette, broccolli, cauli, with some hummus, which he loves, and he will dip them in. I find if I'm sitting with him, and do something with my food, then he will also eat more, as he's wanting to try what I am doing.

I've found there is no magic answer. I don't use the no pudding unless your meal is eaten thing either. Growing up my mother and us had magnificent battles in the food area, but there are just some things I didn't and don't like <or maybe it was her cooking, chicken with apricots anyone?>. I don't want to go down that road.

I do like the suggestion of the food taster chart, this would be great for them to see all the different foods they've tried. I've tried meal planning with DS1 but he's not into it, everything he see's he says NO to. For lunches I've resorted to lots of snacking things, packet of biscuits, fruit pouch, actual fruit, cheese and this week the big hit has been small pepperoni sausages with some mini pita's for filling him up. Give them whatever works, small bits, and a good variety, that's been a saviour for this weeks' lunches.

kateecass Fri 30-Nov-12 23:55:14

Not got time to read it all, but my DS was like this DD not so bad. One thing that really helped and its the right time of year was Father Xmas telling him on that North Pole video to try new foods!! He's always saying about it. Having school dinners has really helped too. I'm a nutritionist so I do really feel like I failed him and I used to love to cook but the fussy kids are won me down over this.

lolalotta Sat 01-Dec-12 17:54:56

I find it less soul destroying if I serve very small portions, this way there is less waste, which makes it easier to deal with I think! I still freeze portions in ice cubes and my DD is nearly 3! This way she is still eating a wide variety and I don't get cross!

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