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Wtf do you feed your DC?!(161 Posts)
My kids, especially DS barely likes anything and I'm getting really fed up of cooking two or three different meals each evening now. And twice a day on weekends. DD is pretty good but not always. This week for example I've made pasta bake, spag bol and tonight DD fancied burgers. DS doesn't like burgers but he noticed there was bacon in the fridge and said he'd tried that before at his grandparents and liked it. So myself and DD had the burgers in rolls with chips and DS had a bacon roll with chips. However he decided he doesn't actually like this bacon so the dog had it and he ate the roll. He didn't like the pasta bake last night and neither did DD so it's pasta bake 4 times over 3 days for me atm. The only thing he likes that I make is spag bol. Otherwise, the only thing he eats is his 'usual' which is waffles, heinz spag bol and cucumber.
He's been better at trying things lately which I'm thrilled and keep giving him positivity on but he just doesn't like anything I give him and I'm so so fed up of making three different meals every single day and it means I can't make anything remotely nutritious or from scratch as I just can't be bothered once I've done everyone else's food (it's just me and the two DC).
So please give me ideas on kid friendly stuff to make. I don't want to hear 'tell them eat it or they won't get anything else' as this doesn't work as they won't eat what they don't like and I can't leave them go to bed hungry.
Pasta, peas and cheese!
Curry made with coconut milk.
I usually made what I wanted and anyone who didn't want it could always have bread and butter. Also I found for fussy times anything made up of bits was good as they could choose which things they wanted.
Itsy bitsy tea: which is bits of everything like ham, cheese, apple, salad, sausage rolls, crackers all on a plate to help yourself.
Meals that work well separated: tocos, rice bowls, noodle bowls, meat/sausages and veg.
It means our fussy 6yo can pick the bits he wants.
We have one family meal and that's it. Those who are hungry enough will eat!
I established the base line of ick. Ie what each individual refused categorically to eat then built meals around that. So day 1 dc preferred food, day 2 dc2 preferred food, day 3 dc preferred food etc. Around this I made sure there was always bread, carrots, cucumber and mini tomatoes to eat and overall nobody went hungry. You can send your dc to bed hungry if you know that on the next day they will eat well.
Mine ate the same as me most of the time (very spicy food obviously not). Favourites were pasta with whatever was in the fridge, milder curry's, fajitas, salmon and couscous
DS is quite fussy. He likes sausages, chilli, bolognese, mild curry, meatballs, roast dinners, pasta, burgers. I do these pretty much on rotation. He won't touch fish or anything remotely exotic, if I'm cooking a dish he doesn't like I just do him sausages instead as it's the quick option. I pay for school dinners, he seems to like them more than my cooking - probably because they're a lot blander - so I don't beat myself up too much about his evening meal.
Pasta and grated cheese
Can you guess DS' favourite food?. Seriously tho, he went from a baby that ate everything to beige stuff with cheese.....for about 3 years so I know the stress/worry. I had the usual 'dont give him a choice, he won't starve himself' advice but yes, yes he would.
I gave in and made him separate meals. I always offered him some of what I was eating but never made a battle out of it. Slowly slowly he started trying things and now he eats most things. It's been a slog though
I've spent 10 long years searching for the holy grail that is one dinner that all of my dcs will eat (or will eat enough of in some combination or other to call a dinner).
Sausages / egg/ beans / chips /bread
Bolognese sauce/ pasta / salad/ garlic bread
Burger / burger bun/ chips / salad
Eggy bread / ham/ salad
Pie/ potatoes of some sort / veg
Wraps with anything sandwich related as a filling
Pizza/ garlic bread / salad
Nuggets / chips / salad
Steak/ chips/ salad
Egg fried rice/ some form of meat
Picky dinner (all the about to go off cooked meat and salad bits in the fridge)
The moment i accepted that it was enough that there was some sort of cross over in what each of the three of them ate was the moment i relaxed. They don't want any combination of the meal? Jam sandwich or cereal. Once they saw i wasn't making several completely different meals was a good day in this house. Another thing i realised was to sometimes not sweat it. Not every day do they get their 5 a day and those days I'm not obsessing about.
Kid friendly food is anything that is adult friendly (minus alcohol and tobacco - which aren't "friendly" but you get my drift). Stop pandering to it. Make a meal and if they don't like it then they can go without. They won't starve, they'll be fine. If there's a particular dish or food that a child doesn't like then by all means avoid that but not liking most foods is not a taste issue, it's a behavioural issue.
A favourite quick meal here in our house is pasta, creme fraiche & ham... broccoli & peas are a good veg addition and can sneak in mushrooms if fussy as you can chop them small enough to blend in! Not a strong flavour so tend to have no objections!
Winners in our house for a picky 8yo and an eat-anything 5yo:-
Quesedilla (ham and cheese)
Pasta (pesto for the 5yo, plain for the 8yo) with meatballs
Spag bol (no bol for the 8yo)
Rice and plain chicken
Then they will have some veg on the side of each meal.
I'd love to be able to just make one big curry or pasta bake or risotto and them just bloody eat it but they don't seem to want to.
"I don't want to hear 'tell them eat it or they won't get anything else' as this doesn't work as they won't eat what they don't like and I can't leave them go to bed hungry."
This quote is your problem, by the way. Your children don't dislike food - they like the control and attention they get from making a fuss. There isn't a food on the earth that you can give them that will resolve this issue. They need to know that they eat the dinner they're given otherwise they'll demand a different one - it doesn't matter what the food actually is.
Honestly just cook one dish. Anyone who wants different should make their own - you may find that SN aside laziness may prompt your kids to eat more of what you eat.
Lots of kids dislike certain foods.
Just like lots of adults have food dislikes.
It's not always behavioural.
The Satter Model saved my sanity.
You set meal times and what is on the table, ensuring there is at least one thing they'll eat (even if that means it's a chicken curry with veg and plain rice and all they're guaranteed to eat is the rice).
You put it on the table. Everyone serves themselves. No-one talks about how much or little anyone's eating, or is left on plates.
After a white knuckle first few weeks of first accidentally overcompensating with lots of cups of milk (don't do that) then being convinced my DS would get scurvy, it's been very good. My kids are not perfect eaters but they are less fussy and critically, mealtimes are conflict free and so much healthier all round in an emotional sense, we can chat about the day and share family time instead of counting how many peas have been eaten..
I have a ds 17 who is very fussy still and always had to cook a different meal when he was little , luckily ds 2 eats most things
We tried the eat with rest of us or don't eat etc , ds1 just wouldn't eat, he is extreme though and has a food phobia (diagnosed ), i would love all these eat it or else people to actually have to deal with a child who would genuinely just starve rather than eat
With ds 1 we just let him try at his own pace and often when out see if he wanted to try a small portion of something as well as something he liked , he still only eats a limited amount of things and i have to do different dinner but sometimes can adapt as he eats chicken breasts now so whilst we would have ours with potatoe and veg or salad etc he just has his with a wrap or some waffles / oven chips
If your ds likes spag bol , maybe do it with jacket instead of pasta
Or would he eat shepherds pie or lasagne as all mince based
We have things like chicken fajitas as can just cook plain chicken for ds1
Also jacket pots as he eats these with cheese , the rest of us have chilli etc
We tried him on things like nuggets etc and when he liked them started making homemade so were healthier and now he just happily eats a chicken breast,
Thankfully my kids are now teens and are both not too fussy and also cook their own dinner . When they were kids they ate a lot of pasta as I got fed up of stuff ending up in the bin.
I have a fussy 6yo. Pescatarian but doesn't like veg. And 2 younger who will eat anything. We do compromises. So half the time I cook to his taste, half the time he gets what we eat. If he really can't stomach it I'll make him a sandwich but only if he has tried the meal. Or sometimes he has the same thing but deconstructed. Tonight we had fish thai curry with noodles. He had fish, noodles cooked in coconut milk, and peas.
Veggie sausages, mash and gravy
Gnocchi with mascapone
Pasta, pesto and cheese
Fishfingers, chips and beans
Beans on toast
I also make (but he hates)
Spag bol (he just has some pesto and cheese, no bol)
Lentil bake, roasted veg
Baked potatoes with tuna mayo
Stir fry with egg and rice
Hope that gives you some ideas.
"Eat what you're given or go hungry" creates more problems than it solves.
OP, my DS sees a dietician due to restrictive eating. This is some of the advice they have given us:
- don't get into a battle at mealtimes. Put the food down, eat the meal, clear up
- no begging, pleading, bribing, cajoling, or persuading to eat or to eat just a couple more bites
- serve meals family style where possible with dishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves
- the main meal of the day should have two courses, for example a main and a basic dessert such as fruit or yoghurt, and both courses are offered with no conditions attached. Even if none of the dinner is eaten, the fruit/yoghurt is still offered as it's one entire meal
- never use food as a reward or a punishment, never make food conditional
- every meal should have 2-3 'safe' foods alongside any new foods so that there are never no suitable foods and there is always something there that can be eaten
- if nothing/very little is eaten then try and stretch to the next mealtime but if the next meal is far away (e.g., overnight from dinner until breakfast) or the child seems very hungry then around an hour after the rejected meal offer a basic snack such as toast, cheese and crackers, veggie sticks, etc.
- aim for 1-2 cups of milk a day, either in food or as a drink, and a good multi-vitamin to cover any deficits
This idea if ‘they’ll have to eat it or starve’ doesn’t work with all kids though. My DD is just not interested in food and would happily go without eating and is underweight so sometimes that advice really isn’t helpful at all. OP is clearly asking for meal ideas not parenting advice.
‘Picnic’ teas are useful in our house, several different things on one plate do she doesn’t have to eat too much of any one thing. A favourite combination at the moment is mini Kievs, mini vegetable spring rolls, boiled rice and cherry tomatoes. She also quite likes ‘breakfast for dinner’ so basically a full English but with those little ‘wee Willie winkies’ sausages, egg, toast, beans and cherry tomatoes (her favourite food but have practically zero calories). If all else fails toast or cereal at bedtime so she doesn’t go to bed with her tummy rumbling.
I have a fussy eater. My rule is that I won't make something I know they don't like but other than that I make variations on the same theme and they have to give it a go. If they don't eat it there's no other meal prepared for them although they can have cereal etc if they are hungry.
For example my DS will eat meatballs but no sauce and he won't eat mixed in veg so he has dry meatballs and peas and dry spaghetti while the others have meatballs and spaghetti in a sauce with a nice salad. The same fussy DS will eat pasta but no pesto so we have pasta pesto and he has dry pasta and a chicken breast. If we have a fish fillet he has a very plain fish fillet and new potatoes and carrots and they might have a sauce or some more adventurous veg such as asparagus/spinach. Anything like stir fry he would have the rice/noodles with a chicken breast and some veg he likes.
Something else I was advised that worked well is to take the fussy eater with me to the supermarket and get them to choose some things they will eat, then you can use that as a starting point for meal planning.
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