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Aibu to have told dh that he needs to stop feeding our children

(69 Posts)
Notsurewhatsgoingon Thu 06-Aug-20 09:07:19

Hi all,

Dh is feeling upset and I feel guilty.
So he does all the shopping and most of the cooking (apart from when he's at work, he cooks most evening meals, I do daytime) . He is good at it. This is what he wants to do. I have asked a few times that I take over the shopping and most of the cooking and he swaps to 'my' chores which is pretty much everything else. Partly because I feel the devision of chores is unfair but mostly because his choice of food is rubbish.

Don't get me wrong he does cook tasty meals from scratch but everything is cooked with oil, butter etc and lots of it. The ingredients are often high salt and high sugar. Instead of veg making up the bulk of the meal it's things like pie with piles of mash and a tiny spoonful of veg.
I have let it slide because quite frankly I'm exhausted and it's one less job for me. However, it's got worse and worse and I'm not prepared to sit by and watch now. By worse I mean that he is feeding the children so much sugar. When I was in charge of meals and before I met dh the children ate a very low sugar diet and lots of veg and they were not fussy at all.
My eldest has become a very fussy eater (which may be part of her asd) so for an easy life dh just let's her eat what she likes. He refuses to give her sweets as he says its not good for her yet he will feed her endless sugary food. She complains she is hungry all day despite having eaten which annoys dh so I sat him down this morning and explained that yes she is hungry because she is eating food that is high in sugar and not much else and it's not filling. As an example she had yesterday, coco pops for breakfast, a jam sandwich and crisps for lunch, sausages, chips and beans for tea, as well as some treat snacks. So while he is not sat there feeding them piles of sweets and ice-cream it is all high sugar stuff. This is where he falls down, he thinks it's proper food so it's OK. I am concerned about my childrens health.
When I did the food shopping and cooking, sugary cereals, jam, chips etc were occasional and reserved for holidays for example. But they are becoming an everyday thing.
I never use oil to cook with and I told dh this.
I am struggling to lose weight. When I'm in charge of my food (such as through the day at work) I eat lots of veg and some fruit and it's all healthy low cal stuff but then I go home to a heavy, high cal dinner. I often feel I can't then refuse to eat it, so I eat a small amount but then I'm left hungry and will snack. I'm have stated eating less during the day to compensate for my dinner.
Its the same with the children I explained to dh that when they are with me and he's at work they do not have crisps or lots of sugar. They even drink water but dh does not believe they will.

I think this stems from how he was fed because his parents will make what looks like a hearty good meal but actually broken apart it's full of sugar, high in carbs and fried in oil. They do tend to cook pizza and nuggets for our children 'because that's what kids like'. Dh and his parents call it kid food and that's what kids eat. But it's not how I was brought up and it's not my experience.

Dh is now hurt because I basically told him I'm taking back over the food and I know this is something he likes to do for our family.
So aibu and perhaps I should have let it go? How do I teach dh what is actually healthy and make him see that children will eat these foods.

OP’s posts: |
LittleBearPad Thu 06-Aug-20 09:10:05

If you split the evening cooking - day by day - maybe it would demonstrate that they will eat more than ‘kid food’

SonEtLumiere Thu 06-Aug-20 09:17:01

This would drive me nuts.... and the “kids food” bollox would too.

He does know better, and there is no reason why children can’t eat the same food as adults (Olives/chili etc. not withstanding).

I would also start telling the children too. Tell them they will feel less hungry if they eat proper food, even Weetabix or Müesli and yoghurt for breakfast will make a big difference.

The meals you describe for yesterday are frankly a disgusting neglectful diet for a child.

roundandsideways Thu 06-Aug-20 09:17:24

I would take charge of the shopping at least.

Notsurewhatsgoingon Thu 06-Aug-20 09:19:54

@SonEtLumiere exactly! I have laid awake last night feeling rubbish for allowing my children to eat that. I am not excusing myself as I should have stepped in but I have been unwell recently and so have let lots more slide than I normally would.

OP’s posts: |
corythatwas Thu 06-Aug-20 09:23:53

You need to remember that what is a good diet for you, an adult trying to lose weight, is not necessarily a good diet for a child.

So yes, very sugary or salty food isn't good for anyone, but carbs in their own right might not be bad at all, and fat in moderation isn't bad either. Children need a certain amount of fat in their diet. Food cooked in oil isn't going to do them any harm. A very low calorie diet designed for an adult might well. The suggestion that one should never cook in oil for a child doesn't seem at all reassuring to me: it reads as if you are trying to impose your needs on them.

So I would work on a compromise. Try to get the actual junk- the sweet drinks, the jam sandwiches, the crisps- phased out, but accept that if you are trying to lose weight and don't have the willpower not to snack after you've eaten a small amount of cooked food, then you may simply need a different diet to them.

Yes, it would be good for them to explore a wider diet. There is so much good food out there, and it's a shame if they miss out. Now is a good time to lay healthy expectations. But that needs to be done positively, by gradually trying more and more things. Rather than "sausages are bad for you", I would aim at "let's have fried food 3 times a week (or whatever) and try something else on the other days".
Mash instead of chips on one night might be a good way to go. Potatoes, as long as they're not saturated in salt and too much oil, are actually a super-healthy food, so you need to get away from the whole all-carbs-are-bad thing.

june2007 Thu 06-Aug-20 09:25:20

Rather then taking over, why not split it, so you do every other day?. Make a meal plan for evening meals. This is what I do, then you can see how balenced the diet is.

Sailingblue Thu 06-Aug-20 09:25:33

Could you perhaps tackle one meal at a time? The dinner isn’t a disaster but in combination with the lunch and breakfast it starts to become a bit rubbish. Even just replacing the cocopops with weetabix and a banana would be a start.

MyOwnSummer Thu 06-Aug-20 09:27:25

Two separate issues here - (1) the division of labour (2) healthy eating.

(1) Why does one partner get to pick the chores they like doing to the exclusion of the other partner? Why not split the "fun" chores and the "not fun" chores evenly?

(2) He has been brought up without really understanding what a healthy diet looks like. Unfortunately, it might feel to him like a criticism of his parents when you point out how very wrong they all are, and I can see why this would be upsetting for him on a fundamental level.

Given both the above, the solution is to split cooking and show him that he's wrong, using point (1) above as justification rather than focusing on the health side which has the emotional baggage attached to it.

Michaelbaubles Thu 06-Aug-20 09:28:26

Weetabix and a banana would have more sugar in than a bowl of Coco Pops...

StatementKnickers Thu 06-Aug-20 09:31:34

YANBU. If he likes cooking for the family so much why is he giving them processed crap? A jam sandwich or sausages oven chips and a tin of baked beans isn't "cooking". If he wants to do family cooking he needs to use fresh healthy ingredients, find some meal plans/recipes he can follow and actually cook!

NataliaOsipova Thu 06-Aug-20 09:32:03

I think there’s a middle ground. Jam sandwiches and crisps aren’t an ideal lunch - of course - but it’s hardly “neglect”. And, as @corythatwas rightly says, what’s appropriate for an adult trying to lose weight isn’t necessarily what a child needs to eat. A conversation along the lines of “please can you cook some more vegetables with dinner so that I can eat more of that and the children can get used to a wider range of healthy food” might be a better approach in the first instance.

Sailingblue Thu 06-Aug-20 09:32:42

Michaelbaubles Per 100g cocopops has 17g of sugar and weetabix 4.2. Yes the banana also has natural sugars but given the diet listed had no fruit or veg, I don’t really see that adding in a banana would be a bad thing.

IamMaz Thu 06-Aug-20 09:42:44

I feel for you OP.

My DH has taken to doing ALL the shopping and cooking in the last year or so. I LOVE cooking and baking and am well known for my bread, quiches, cakes, casseroles etc etc... I did it for more that 30 bloody years FFS!

He sold his business and is now retired. So he's taken over - not by agreement. But he cooks LOADS of stuff just for the two of us - the vast amount of roast potatoes, pasta and rice make me feel ill. He uses loads of oil, creamy sauces and serves such huge portions. I keep saying I want a tiny bit and I like my meal to look dainty - but he doesn't get it. So I feel resentful that I have to appreciate what he's cooked that I would rather he wouldn't have! I crave lovely fresh salads and much more vegetable based meals. I am a very fussy eater and I just wish he wouldn't bother.

I think he wants bigger portions so obviously gets them when he's 'in charge' - but even with his vast servings he still has cheese and biscuits later in the evening, or a bowl of cereal...

And I now know he buys pork pies and pasties when he gets the shopping that he eats in the car before he comes home. Nothing 'extra' for me [I would like strawberries, cherries or grapes]. I needed to check a transaction on a receipt which is how I found this out.

We are currently not talking!
Many more issues too...
Hey ho...

Notfeelinggreattoday Thu 06-Aug-20 09:42:47

Wow just realised im a bad mum as i feed my kids like this most days as thats what they eat ,

Jellybeansincognito Thu 06-Aug-20 09:44:25

Vegetables shouldn’t make up the bulk of a meal though op.

Protein should- lean.
Followed by veg, and then carbs.

Why don’t you use oil? If using oil in your food is making you gain weight you need to look at what you’re eating.

Savingshoes Thu 06-Aug-20 09:44:40

If your dh is struggling to understand what a balanced diet looks like, perhaps his "chore" could be arranging appointments to the dentist, sitting and watching his children be subjected to fillings etc.
You could remind him that during covid, unless you were requiring an extraction most dentists were telling their patients to manage toothache with a bit of paracetamol as they weren't seeing patients.
So if your children do develop tooth decay he could be the one that looks after them and seeks the medical attention.
Meal preparation could involve the whole family so your children learn what a balanced diet is from you.

Quartz2208 Thu 06-Aug-20 09:45:21

But do you know what is actually healthy as well - I get the sense of you equating low fat/low sugar to being healthy which isn't always true

What is the problem with using oil for cooking? Carbs are good and healthy for children

I think you both need to look at what a healthy diet is for children

knittingaddict Thu 06-Aug-20 09:46:40

What's wrong with oil in cooking? I'm assuming from your description that it's not continual deep fat frying. Children need fat in their diet, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

To be honest their diet doesn't sound terrible. It may need some tweaking to make it more healthy, but it doesn't need a complete overhaul and you taking over. Can't you compromise and divide the household jobs more evenly? You share some of the cooking and other chores?

I had one child who was an incredibly "fussy" eater. I put it in quotes because the issues were sensory, rather than just being a difficult child. I don't think they ate a single vegetable form age 1 to 15. They were very healthy and bright as a child and now a slim, very healthy adult who eats almost anything.

justanotherneighinparadise Thu 06-Aug-20 09:47:35

High fat is not going to hurt your children. High sugar will.

balzamico Thu 06-Aug-20 09:52:36

Can't you meal plan together and agree who's cooking what, when?
If you choose alternate days you could end up with a situation where the kids look forward to dad days (of crap food) and moan about yours, you need an agreed approach with a better balance.

knittingaddict Thu 06-Aug-20 09:53:49

Also from you post, it sounds like your husband is in charge of every meal - breakfast, lunch and dinner? That's a fairly extreme division of labour. Aren't you around for any of those meals? You say your husband is in charge of shopping. Can't you add food you would like to the shopping list? I'm in charge of shopping in our house and always ask if my husband would like anything in particular that week.

UCAStweet Thu 06-Aug-20 09:54:03

Are they his kids?

PalTheGent Thu 06-Aug-20 09:56:45

I agree with others that agreeing a target of less 'unnatural' sugar and more veg (without cutting back on fats and carbs) is the way I would handle this.

Lurchermom Thu 06-Aug-20 09:57:30

Why don't you sit down and come up with a meal plan together? He can still go shopping and can still do the cooking in the evening if that's how he (and you) want things to continue. But both of you will be happy with the meals, or at least have reached an agreed compromise.

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