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To be OVER fussy eaters

(97 Posts)
vwlphb Thu 08-Feb-18 04:50:36

Both my kids (3yo and 5yo) are fussy eaters. So is my OH. The kids weren’t always bad, they used to eat anything. Through toddler years they became more and more fussy and now dinner is one long constant parade of “I don’t like that” “I’m not hungry” EVEN when I cook things they have actually requested. I can barely get a vegetable into every either of them.

I have tried everything from nonchalance to “just try a bite and if you don’t like it, leave it” to saying nothing, to making dessert contingent on making a decent effort at dinner. Nothing works. Half the time they take two or three mouthfuls, claim not to be hungry and leave the rest.

They are not overfed and my girl in particular is a rake (admittedly similar body to me as a kid). I’m at the point where I feel like not bothering to spend half an hour every day preparing healthy, home-made dinners that might possibly appeal to them.

As a separate issue, my OH and I eat separately (involving cooking a second meal) partly because of his work and kids bedtime timetables and partly because of the minimal crossover between what they will eat and what he will eat. His fusiness excludes all seafood, several meats, several vegetables, anything he deems to be “too fatty”, anything that’s insufficiently filling (eg not enough carbs or protein for his liking), and he won’t eat simple children-friendly meals as that is apparently too boring for him.

Because of aforementioned timetables, I cook most nights a week, and do all the meal planning and I’m starting to feel fucking fed up. I used to love cooking and eating and now I feel I do most of my cooking to cater to other people’s tastes and miss out on loads of things that I would like to eat.

AIBU to want to tell everyone to eat what I feel like eating or fend for themselves for the next month?

LemonShark Thu 08-Feb-18 04:59:03

"His fusiness excludes all seafood, several meats, several vegetables, anything he deems to be “too fatty”, anything that’s insufficiently filling (eg not enough carbs or protein for his liking), and he won’t eat simple children-friendly meals as that is apparently too boring for him."

Well we know where the kids get it from hmm

YANBU. Cook what you like, normal meals that you want to eat. Give some to the kids if they'll only eat tiny portions and leave the rest. Give them small portions and they can ask for more. Whatever you don't eat, freeze it. Then you can avoid wasting food and only have to cook every few days instead. I made a massive veggie shepherds pie a couple nights ago, wound up with two big dishes of it so froze one. Once it's defrosted it'll last us a couple of days and takes zero effort!

And then let your OH sort his own meals out if he's that picky. You must nip this in the bud right now before they get older! The correct response if someone has cooked a meal for you is 'thank you very much' and an attempt to eat it. Where are your children's and your OH's manners?

KimmySchmidt1 Thu 08-Feb-18 05:19:50

You are bring shst on by your DH for starters - men didn’t even behave like that in the 50s, Mum cooked what she liked and they were grateful!

Suggest you tell husband to fuck right off and make his own dinners, and then stop worrying about kids. Make what they ask for or you know they like and they will eat it if they are hungry.

Make mealtimes as quick as poss so you can get on with your life.

vwlphb Thu 08-Feb-18 05:54:44

Where are your children's and your OH's manners?

I’ve explained endlessly to the children that it’s rude to complain about food but they still forget moan and pick. They are otherwise reasonably well-mannered for their age.

As for OH, I agree. At one point I said I would like to try having one meal a week that included ingredients that I enjoy but he might not. The response I got indicated that he found this proposal similar to me saying I planned to put a poo on his plate once a week and suggested he try it. hmm

OhWotIsItThisTime Thu 08-Feb-18 06:33:01

This would drive me nuts! With the kids, carry on with ‘try it, you might like it’. Pud can be fruit.

With your dh, tell him how fed up you are and that it’s not fair. Tell him you will cook food he likes and food you like. And you want him to do the same.

If I were you, I’d just give the kids a quick tea or cook one meal. Far too much hassle otherwise.

ZebraOwl Thu 08-Feb-18 06:34:44

Agree with PPs that it's absolutely time your OH started cooking for himself - it sounds as if he's rude with his fussiness, which is not behaviour you want modelled for your DC at any meals you may share.

Given your DC aren't eating what they've asked for I don't think cooking what you want - to have with them/keep back a portion of to eat with your OH - would be unreasonable.

Do you still have a HV for your younger DC? If so, could you access some support through them to help you manage your DCs' fussiness. Do they take a multivitamin if you're concerned about their nutrition?

Have you tried involving your DC in food prep/cooking at all? I know at their ages (esp the 3yo) there's not a huge amount they can do, but it's something that can produce v positive results with fussy eaters.

Good luck OP flowers

Slanetylor Thu 08-Feb-18 06:36:14

There is NO way I'd be cooking for your husband. And it doesn't matter if you are at home and he works 20 hours a day. Fine you've to feed your children and that's a struggle for me too. But he can f€{k right off and dirt himself if he's that picky.

Slanetylor Thu 08-Feb-18 06:36:35

Dirt!? Should be sort. Sorry.

FaithEverPresent Thu 08-Feb-18 06:42:46

I agree, I would stop cooking for your DH. If he’s that fussy, he can sort his own food out!

Our DD started to restrict her diet at 3. She wanted beans on toast every night! We did a reward chart in the end, a sticker each time she ate fruit or veg and a prize (token gift!) when she had 20 stickers. It really motivated her and she started trying new foods just to get a sticker smile Now she eats a broader variety of foods.

gamerwidow Thu 08-Feb-18 06:43:24

I feel your pain my DH is fussy too and won’t eat any vegetables other then peas. I just cook what I want though and bung a bit of meat on the side of its vegetarian. He moans about it sometimes but has been told the alternative is to cook himself. Make yourself what you like at least once a week 1 in 7 dinners isn’t too much to ask.

LemonShark Thu 08-Feb-18 06:46:17

"At one point I said I would like to try having one meal a week that included ingredients that I enjoy but he might not. The response I got indicated that he found this proposal similar to me saying I planned to put a poo on his plate once a week and suggested he try it. hmm"

And? You don't need his permission to do this OP! Let him have a strop if that's what he wants to do. By deciding not to try this because of his response you're teaching him that being moody or childish about something gets him what he wants.

Whatshallidonowpeople Thu 08-Feb-18 06:55:40

Cook what you want everyone to eat and they all eat it or they go hungry

IheartNiles Thu 08-Feb-18 06:56:04

It’s behaviour that they’re learning from him.

floriad Thu 08-Feb-18 07:06:59

As a separate issue, my OH and I eat separately (involving cooking a second meal) partly because of his work and kids bedtime timetables and partly because of the minimal crossover between what they will eat and what he will eat. His fusiness excludes all seafood, several meats, several vegetables, anything he deems to be “too fatty”, anything that’s insufficiently filling (eg not enough carbs or protein for his liking), and he won’t eat simple children-friendly meals as that is apparently too boring for him.

And you're the one that's cooking this second meal?

No way. I feel like this is setting a really bad example.

Are they also this picky if they're at a friends / grandparents / kindergarten etc?

Tiredtomybones Thu 08-Feb-18 07:12:11

My DD went through a fussy stage at about age 4. If she said she didn't like something that she would previously eat, I would just say "oh well" and serve it regardless. She usually ate it. It's difficult though, when we are programmed to want to fill their tummies.

Agerbilatemycardigan Thu 08-Feb-18 07:17:43

Sounds bloody exhausting and time consuming OP!

I think you've enabled them by giving in to them. When I was growing up, we ate what was put in front of us or we didn't eat at all. Oddly enough we're all still alive and kicking.

You husband sounds like an overgrown child IMO, and it sounds as if the kids are mimicking his behaviour.

vwlphb Thu 08-Feb-18 07:17:56

Thank you all for the support!

I am actually not sure that the fussiness is learned from him (as much as that’s the obvious conclusion... maybe it’s inherited?) because we eat after they’ve gone to bed and because I simply don’t cook things OH doesn’t like, he never makes a fuss in front of them, if that makes sense.

OH does cook a couple of times a week but obviously never something he doesn’t like.

@LemonShark I do think you’re right and that
I’m allowing him to dictate my meals by acting like (another) petulant child if I don’t cater to him. Maybe he is playing on the fact that I don’t feel like I have the energy for another battle.

He works slightly longer hours than I do, plus he has a commute (which I don’t), but I do a lot more household management and childcare, so there’s probably another resentment issue there too.

I do try to involve the kids in cooking and also in growing their own vegetables, which has had extremely limited success. But your encouragement will keep me trying! I just get sick of being the only one to manage this!!

vwlphb Thu 08-Feb-18 07:22:02

I would love to hear from someone who has had success in dealing with this kind of issue. As much as “cook what you want and they can learn to deal” sounds delightful, does it really work or does it just result in a houseful of people picking morosely at their meals while giving you the dead-eye because you’ve served them something they dislike? It just doesn’t sound like the pleasant family mealtime that I would ultimately like to achieve.

AjasLipstick Thu 08-Feb-18 07:23:03

Having experienced extreme poverty, my best advice is to get rid of ALL food in the house apart from meal ingredients and apples and carrots.

Once there's nothing but what they're given, they will eat it.

Do they have snacks at the moment?

DeliveredByKiki Thu 08-Feb-18 07:28:33

“Getting the little blighters to eat” massively helped us with fussy DD (as with everything, consistency is key)

Get DH to sort himself out

IAmNotAWitch Thu 08-Feb-18 07:29:16

I do the shopping and the cooking which means I do the choosing.

I ask sometimes what they feel like but not always.

I provide 4 people with 3 healthy meals a day (in various ways). One dinner cooked each evening.

They can take or they can leave it. Have always had this approach since kids were babies. Sometimes they left it.

Everyone is alive and well.

Notso Thu 08-Feb-18 07:32:10

I'd either stop cooking for your DH or cook what you want and then if he doesn't want to eat it he cooks something for himself.

I think you need to be stricter with the children about moaning about food. I have zero tolerance to this, my kids don't have to eat anything they don't want to, they serve themselves.
However they do have to sit at the table and behave nicely which includes not announcing any food they don't like, unless they are trying something for the first time.

GuntyMcGee Thu 08-Feb-18 07:35:38

But OP, you're already having unpleasant mealtimes! Standing your ground for a week or two will teach them a modicum or respect and gratitude towards your effort in cooking and also teach them to stop being so picky.

I grew up in a house where you get one easily cooked alternative to a meal if you didn't like what's on offer, so mum would cook pork chops for most but those who didn't like pork got sausages or chicken.
Or if someone was picky about rice, they'd get boiled potatoes instead, but there was never an entire alternative meal - you ate or you didn't, simple as that.

I have a relative who when he was younger, was frightened of trying anything that wasn't bread, Yorkshire pudding or chips. It was all performance and attention seeking - fake retching at anything else. When he stayed with us, we'd compromise on a meal plan, then he'd help prepare and cook it and be invited to try bits he hadn't tried before and leave what he didn't like. But there weren't any alternatives. Each meal had something he liked and other things to try. It did help to the extent that when he comes to us he will eat what we cook but at home he's still fussy but now it's all a game for him because he knows he can have a Yorkshire pud and gravy for dinner and then stuff himself with crisps and cakes.

As for your husband saying you cooking something you'd like is akin to putting a turd on his plate - does he not recognise how childish and selfish he is? Does he care?
I'm sure he'd be much more accommodating if he had to prepare his own meals. And that's where I'd be starting.

With the kids I'd give them two options for dinner, and get them to help prepare it so they appreciate the waste involved if they don't eat it. With the husband I'd either allocate a night a week for him to meal plan and cook or I'd be cooking things I liked and if he didn't want to eat it, he cooks his own. You're not their chef and your needs and wants are as important. They all need to learn some manners and some appreciation for the time and effort spent cooking for them.

Cheekyandfreaky Thu 08-Feb-18 07:36:38

Could you cook for you and the kids to have the same meal and DH sort himself out everyday? Maybe eating with you might help the kids, you eat what you like and your ungrateful man child eats what he wants.

runningoutofjuice Thu 08-Feb-18 07:38:28

I was just about to post the same as cheeky.
You plan for you, with enough for the dc if they want it. OH sorts himself out when he gets in.

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