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Who is BU, settle this disagreement (food related)

(54 Posts)
Tryingtostayyoung Thu 06-Oct-16 11:04:05

DH and I have one DD who is 3 and a half.
When she was younger she used to eat ANYTHING, I was definitely smug at how unfussy she was with food, she would eat and enjoy anything I would make us for dinner, this has all changed very slowly over the last year. We are now at a point where I will openly admit I am making an entirely separate meal for her Every. Single. Night. She will not eat ANY meat apart from an occasional sausage or chicken nuggets.

So here is the AIBU. I have a very relaxed approach to this, I don't get wound up or let it frustrate me, I just make her a different dinner to us. I will admit that I have given up on trying coax her into trying our dinners etc because I just feel like naturally as she gets older she will just start eating more things. However this does now pose a problem if we go to someone's house for dinner as she will not even try other things.
DH approach is to make her atleast TRY what it is we are eating, never ever force her to eat anything but tell her that point blank she will not have anything else until she atleast has a few mouthfuls of everything on her plate to see if she likes it.

Who's right?!

AndShesGone Thu 06-Oct-16 11:08:36

Both are fine approaches. Pick one, toss a coin. It doesn't fucking matter grin kid eats food

I would do it differently and serve up everything in serving bowls for everyone to help themselves in the middle - takes the pressure off, reduces cooking as there's leftovers to eat. Kid will eventually try something in one of the bowls.

Ifeelyourpain2 Thu 06-Oct-16 11:08:50

I don't think there is a right and a wrong in this situation.

However, if you don't encourage her to try other foods you could end up with bigger problems that won't necessarily fix themselves further down the line.

The key is encouragement though, not necessarily insisting that she can't have anything else until she has tried a certain amount of yours.

WitteryTwittery Thu 06-Oct-16 11:09:18

I think I would do something between the two approaches - no forcing her or telling her she has to try XYZ etc, but not entirely making her separate meals each night. I would continue to put food on her plate even if she doesn't eat it - because if it's not put in front of her she can't ever decide to just try it, so I would do her a dinner each night where there was something I know she would eat and something she probably wouldn't.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Thu 06-Oct-16 11:11:43

If you are happy for her to live on chicken nuggets then leave her to it.
If you would rather she tried other things then tell her her she needs to.
You responses to her eating are making her choices seem acceptable.

Oysterbabe Thu 06-Oct-16 11:12:14

I agree with Wittery. Telling her she has to try something first will turn every meal into a big stressful palaver. Keep putting the odd new thing on her plate and don't stress if she doesn't eat it.

ayeokthen Thu 06-Oct-16 11:14:12

I've found over the years that not making a big fuss over food tends to work. The more fuss you make the more of a "thing" it becomes. I put out new things, they eat it or they don't. No fuss.

WorraLiberty Thu 06-Oct-16 11:14:26

I prefer his approach as she's not seeing 'your' food as 'her' food at all by the sound of it.

Fussiness can sometimes simply be a habit and not one they'll necessarily grow out of either, considering how many fussy teenage friends my DC have.

When mine started to get fussy, I cut out all snacks between meals and that really helped.

SnugglySnerd Thu 06-Oct-16 11:14:31

My DD is younger but similar, has always eaten everything but has got a bit more fussy lately. I'm also quite relaxed and hoping it's just a phase.
I'm giving her what we have but always make sure there is something she likes on the plate even if just peas and carrots. She will often try things off our plates too so we allow that as it encourages her to try more things.

NoCapes Thu 06-Oct-16 11:14:55

If there's never any other food on her plate how is she going to 'naturally start eating more foods'?
But yeah don't make it a battle by insisting she eat things - that'll make it worse

Tryingtostayyoung Thu 06-Oct-16 11:15:20

Your all sort of echoing how I feel finding a middle ground as I don't actually think either approaches are working for us clearly.
What winds me up about DH's approach is he does things like this, she will not eat anything that is saucy but she loves dry pasta, I would like to give her pasta dry but then put bolognaise on the side of the plate and encourage her to also eat that. DH wants to mix it altogether and I don't think that's the right approach.

WatchingFromTheWings Thu 06-Oct-16 11:15:31

Been there!! My 14yo has lived on nuggets for 10 years!! I've done the shouting, the ordering, the bargaining, the coaxing and the reasoning.

I'd put nuggets on the plate along with a selection of whatever else the family are eating and let her get on with it. She'll dig her heels in and you'll get wound up if you try to fight it.

My daughter is now at the stage where she's sick to the back teeth of nuggets! The last 2 years she has started eating bacon, gammon and sausage rolls.

Tryingtostayyoung Thu 06-Oct-16 11:17:36

WorraLiberty This is definitely it, she doesn't see our food as hers. This is probably my fault because I think I've let this happen by hoping it was a phase in the beginning but it has gotten a lot worse

Hopelass Thu 06-Oct-16 11:18:14

It's a difficult one! With 3 yo DS I do a combination of both. At times when I can't be arsed arguing and know he needs to eat something I will make what I know he will eat however if I'm making a family meal that I know he will at least eat some of I will give him that and encourage him to try bits he wouldn't normally have. Maybe give him an extra yogurt or some fruit to make up for any dinner he's not eaten. Probably not the greatest thing but I know it's a phase and I think getting stressed and frustrated only makes it worse.

BewtySkoolDropowt Thu 06-Oct-16 11:20:44

Trying, I would maybe put pasta, the sauce, and some already mixed as well. I personally wouldn't eat bolognaise sauce on its own so I wouldn't expect a child to.

mishmash1979 Thu 06-Oct-16 11:22:24

I am mother to a nearly 14 yr old who started off like this; she still only eats plain, really bland good and if I make somethings g adventurous (something in sauce!!!!) she says "what am I having" as the assumption is that she will b served something g different. Thus wouldn't b so bad if her 2 younger siblings hadn't gone along and grown up seeing this as acceptable!! Her little brother barely eats anything as he is soooooooooooo fussy; he actually throws up at the taste of smyths g strong and bread is served with every meal as that will always b acceptable. Wish I had nipped it I the bud earlier with my daughter!!!

mishmash1979 Thu 06-Oct-16 11:23:02

So many typos ; sorry!!!

WowOoo Thu 06-Oct-16 11:28:39

As a compromise could you choose on alternate days? So she'll get something she'll definitely eat one day but then has to try something new the next.

I am too lazy to make two meals! I've always told mine that sometimes I get to choose and other days I'll cook their favourite thing. It has been worth it as people have said they're amazed at the stuff my kids will eat or at least try.

We still have the odd day where one of my sons tries something and hates it. I try not to make a fuss - I don't like everything either.
He tends to have a 'supper' on those days and I'll pretend I didn't see him sneaking another apple from the bowl...

HolgerDanske Thu 06-Oct-16 11:33:01

The best advice I have seen for this came from two different sources - firstly a dietician on telly and secondly a mum of three whose general approach I particularly liked.

Pick one option that the child can always have if they do not fancy what is for dinner. They are allowed to choose this option as long as they have tried the main meal first. The second option needs to be something easy but relatively healthy, it should not make more work for the person cooking and definitely should not be a whole other meal.

The dietician suggested cheese sandwiches along with whatever raw veg the child likes, so carrot sticks, tomatoes, whatever. My friend's option for her children was beans on toast.

SemiNormal Thu 06-Oct-16 11:49:30

My son is like this. I cook him food that I know he likes and will eat but will always put something else on his plate and let him decide if he wants to eat it or not (he usually doesn't). My main reason is because I was like him as a child and I remember being forced to eat food, one time my nan made me beans on toast, I hate beans and always have, told her I didn't like them and she said I must eat them, I did - and then I threw up all over her new sofa (sorry nan)! Then there was this awful dinner lady who would force me to eat everything or I couldn't go out and play, I would sit all lunchtime picking away at my food crying - it was cruel. My also remember my aunt and my grandad (seperately) making me eat things I didn't like. All this left me with major hang ups over food, I couldn't eat anything that looked weird, that smelt weird (I'd smell EVERYTHING before eating it) and textures also bothered me. To some extent I've got over it, I now eat far more variety than I used to but there are somethings I can't eat and have never even tried, like salmon (the smell), beetroot (don't like the colour), houmus (texture looks 'wrong'). I strongly believe that my food issues stem from my childhood and so, rightly or wrongly, I believe in allowing my son choice with his food and being a bit more in control of what he eats.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 06-Oct-16 11:50:17

My solution would be to put it all in the middle of the table and let her serve herself (with some help from you at that age), you all sitting down together and its a "family" meal. One lot of food for everyone but perhaps prepare things you know she will like (that you all eat) as well as the things you'd cook for you and your husband.

She can then perhaps have more of the potatoes or vegetables, or whatever she wants and less of the meat etc.

But I wouldn't be preparing a separate meal (ever) and I wouldn't be offering an alternative either. I'd perhaps offer fruit and yoghurt afterwards provided she's had a few mouthfuls.

HarryPottersMagicWand Thu 06-Oct-16 11:53:04

I had exactly the same with DS. He ate everything and never complained, would actively lean out of his highchair to pinch my peas and runner beans.

Then he started dropping the odd thing, I didn't think much of it until I realised he only ate 5 meals, chicken curry, spa bol, chilli, and pasta (dry or with sauce) and stuff like burgers or sausages.

Slowly he has got better (he is 8 now) and now eats any meat, tuna, salmon, a few different veg, roast without the potatoes and is finally trying stuff whereas he would refuse point blank to before. There are still certain issues like he will, only eat white cabbage with gravy and only eat baby corn not normal sweetcorn but I'm not bothered. I try and do something that everyone has then modify the one thing, like if we have potatoes, I will do him some dry pasta.

I have found forcing the issue makes it worse and he is coming around in his own time. He tried a wrap the other day with chicken, carrots, broccoli and rice hmm in. All things he normally eats but I didn't think he would mix it all together and eat it in a wrap. He loved it and is finally understanding that if he tries things, he will find more food he likes. He even tried raw onion when I was chopping it the other day, as he likes chunks of onion in food. He didn't like that though grin.

HarryPottersMagicWand Thu 06-Oct-16 11:57:09

Oh and I often put a bit of something on his plate too, normal sweetcorn, runner bean etc. Usually he won't try it but there are times when he will. I just put it there and don't force the issue. I agree with semi and that forcing children is wrong. I also think that when a parent has the 'I am cooking one thing and one thing only, they will eat it or go hungry' has never had to deal with a fussy child, or a strong willed one. I refuse to let my children go hungry because their tastes are different to mine. I was starved as a young child so I also have food issues.

GnomeDePlume Thu 06-Oct-16 12:15:10

Something which helped me to understand this stage was something which I read.

Essentially when we are babies and just weaning we are willing to try anything as it comes from our parents therefore is 'safe'. Once we become independently mobile we can no longer trust things which may or may not be food. The range of food we will eat narrows down.

In our past as we toddled about in the woods we would have seen berries, plants etc which could be poisonous so we quickly stop eating just anything and restrict ourselves to only those things which we know are safe. Our diet narrows.

Over time we learn to trust a wider range of foods based on our own judgement. Eventually we come to our adult diet.

So I would say the approach is to introduce new foods slowly and possibly individually so not a plate full of new things all at once. include familiar 'safe' foods and something new to try.

strawberrypenguin Thu 06-Oct-16 12:24:32

I've always given DS the same meal as us more or less. I refuse to cook seperate meals for everyone but will do gongs like put his pasta and mince in seperate piles on the plate, not put gravy on his plate, check if her wants his chicken with or without curry on (he now mostly chooses the curry, if he chose without I would give him a tiny amount with as well in case he felt like trying it) as these are simple changes.

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