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Do you make you child eat all their dinner before allowing a pudding?

(43 Posts)
Florencejane7 Tue 03-Jun-14 09:50:41

So this question has come to me after numerous comments from my parents and the in laws. If you don't eat all you dinner then you don't get a pudding. Well that's all very well if you have presented your child with something that you know they like and have eaten before but what if you have tried something new and they really don't like it but eat everything else on the plate or what if you gave them too big a portion? I remember as a child having to eat all my dinner and it was nearly always meat. I hate meat now and maybe that is why?! I ate it to get a nice pudding. This was in the 70's when vegetarianism was practically unheard if. If my children dislike a dinner I will never make another meal (although they will ask for one). Instead I make them eat all of what I know they like before having a pudding and if they don't do very well with their main meal then I still give them a piece of fruit because surely that's better than sending them to bed starving hungry. What does anyone else do?

ouryve Tue 03-Jun-14 11:16:51

And our experience was the same as titscrossed - when he'd had something extremely appetising, it often stimulated his appetite and he went back and ate some of his main course.

I have vivid memories of being made to sit and eat food I hated. My brother could keep the same piece of food in his mouth all evening and not bring himself to chew and swallow. It didn't work. Turning all those ingrained "rules" on their head did work for us and made mealtimes much calmer.

lynniep Tue 03-Jun-14 11:30:17

My two love sweet stuff, they love puddings, and I do say they have to eat their main meal before they have a pudding.

Puddings vary - can be a yoghurt, jelly, an ice lolly, fruit (my littlest loves fruit but my eldest not so much) or sometimes a 'special' pudding (like trifle or a crumble) or even cakes/biscuits if we've been baking them.

I don't mean they have to eat everything on the plate. I mean they have to make a reasonable attempt at eating their dinner. This means trying everything on the plate. If they don't like it, I won't make them eat it. It also means eating enough to fill them up which I can usually gauge by what they've already eaten that day, and how much running around they've been doing. I vary what I put on the plate based on that too.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 03-Jun-14 11:33:56

No I don't. For me, it comes from my own childhood where we were forced to eat every scrap on our plates (not physically forced, but not allowed to leave the dining room until the plate was empty - how ever long that may take). I totally understand why they did it - money was tight & they couldn't bear to see money being wasted.

Whilst I don't blame my parents at all for my obesity as an adult, I do definitely think that the idea of "everything must be eaten" has become so ingrained in me from childhood that it has clearly become a contributing factor throughout life.

I also feel that taking the "your plate must be cleared to have a pudding" stance, places emphasis on the sweet pudding being the 'treat' element of the meal. The prize for enduring a mammoth plateful of fish pie & cabbage. As an adult, I have always used sweet foods as treats - even though, bizarrely, I prefer the taste of savoury food - which has meant that every time I think I deserve a 'treat' (bad day, good day, boring day, upset etc. etc.) I turn to cake, chocolate, ice cream etc. I put this down to having been taught that these things were ultimate treats as a child.

We don't have pudding as such in our house (unless we are eating out & then the DCs will choose whether or not they want one). We will have dinner & then people will ask for something else later if they are still hungry. This is just as likely to be a bowl of cereal as a bowl of ice-cream though.

MillionPramMiles Tue 03-Jun-14 12:07:08

We don't offer puddings generally. If dd (aged 2) has her dinner relatively early then I'll offer her fruit/yoghurt later on. I offer her fairly big portions of her main meal and let her eat as much or as little as she wants.

Puddings are occasional treats (like ice cream in the park or afternoon cake at GPs), not part of regular meals. They're not about satisfying nutrition or hunger.

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 03-Jun-14 20:20:57

I was always relaxed about DS who ate a good variety, doesn't overeat and generally treats food sensibly, so I often let him eat pudding half way through his main course, frequently he then finished the main course after the pudding. But once DD was weaned, I've had to toughen up, or she'll not eat main course and eat lots of pudding. I give her a small main course and provided she's finished most of it, particularly the veggies, she gets a pud. To be fair, I now do the same for DS too. If either of them dislike something, or if I spoil a meal (I get distracted and burn things) then they do not have to eat it. DD nags incessantly for treats, though I only serve them once or twice a week, tbh it's a real issue.

The puddings are often fruit and yogurt, though I do rice pudding and stewed fruit and custard quite often, and usually a treat cake, pie or biscuit at the weekend, but eating purely fruit and no carbs gives dd a bad stomach and sometimes diahorrea.

Florencejane7 Tue 03-Jun-14 23:27:55

Well thanks for that. Given me food for thought so as to speak!

Florencejane7 Tue 03-Jun-14 23:32:10

I don't know. When mine were really little it was always fruit or yoghurt but the last couple of years have ended up being fruit plus treat related pudding. Now they fuss if only get fruit. They have yoghurt as part of breakfast now instead. I never have pudding myself though.

WorraLiberty Tue 03-Jun-14 23:35:21

We only have puddings on special occasions like Christmas/Easter/Birthdays.

I don't consider a piece of fruit to be a pudding, because it isn't.

And no, I don't make my kids eat all their dinner in order to have a pudding.

They'll mostly leave it half an hour or so before they're ready to have pudding anyway.

CheesyBadger Tue 03-Jun-14 23:39:35

Never. Food is not something to be earned in this household. Pudding is not s treat, it is part of the meal.

I just hate the idea of rewarding with food in any sense. Children need to learn to regulate their appetites and dd is very good, refusing pudding if she is too full. She is relaxed about trying things and being honest about what she likes, doesn't like.

AdoraBell Tue 03-Jun-14 23:40:25

Mine are nearly teens now and I have begun to relax about this. It depends on why they haven't finished the main course. If I think they can't be bothered but want to wolf down something sweet before hurtling towards the TV then it's tough luck. If I've tried some new fangled way of cooking, or it's my favorite but defo not their favorite dish then I'm more lenient.

I've never felt the need for them to clear the plate completely like my PILs. If they have eaten say, 90% of the food I'm happy. I didn't follow DH's suggestion of giving them pudding first while on holiday when they were toddlers. That way madness lies, IMO.

elfycat Tue 03-Jun-14 23:46:31

No. My 3 & 5 have learned to stop when they want to, something neither DH or myself know how to do. We're both overweight.

To be fair DD1 stopped eating halfway through a portion of chocolate ice cream a few weeks back, because she was full. I'm not interfering with that level of control.

I also allow snacks before dinner (much to MIL's horror) but only fruit and veg - so tomatoes with cucumber and carrot slices, or apple and pear. Or all of the above depending on any delay to main meals.

AllDirections Tue 03-Jun-14 23:49:45

No never. I have issues from childhood resulting in me not recognising when I've eaten enough. I only feel I've eaten enough when I'm stuffed so I wanted my DC to regulate their own food intake. I don't encourage them to eat more once they say they've had enough and I let them have pudding if they want it. They all eat quite well.

shoppingbagsundereyes Sat 07-Jun-14 08:27:52

I don't insist on anything being finished. They eat what they eat and that's fine. Pudding is usually a yogurt anyway, sometimes ice cream, sometimes a home made cake. We often have main meal, then fruit, then 'pudding'.
I want my children to see sweet things as ordinary and non-special. I grew up viewing sweet things as treat foods and still 'treat' myself with unhealthy foods. I don't think it's a good way to view food.

lljkk Sat 07-Jun-14 08:48:22

They have to finish their veg to get pudding. I know which veg they'll eat & don't apply the rule to veg they'd never encountered before.

Pudding is usually biscuits (their choice).

TroyMcClure Sat 07-Jun-14 08:50:39

We don't do puddings

OneLittleToddleTerror Sat 07-Jun-14 10:08:33

I would give pudding if my 3yo doesn't finish her food. Sometimes she doesn't even touch them. Just a yuk and go away. However like many here I don't do puddings really. It is a very rare thing. We do have fruit but we have them as snacks at any odd time. And she always have a yoghurt with her sandwich (tea is always sandwich). The yoghurt is given at the same time as the sandwich.

It just seem wrong to me to bribe a child to eat her main with the promise of cake or icecream.

OneLittleToddleTerror Sat 07-Jun-14 10:11:32

When I do bake, biscuits and cakes are eaten at any odd time too. When I feel like a biscuit I will ask DD if she fancies one.

crabwoman Sat 07-Jun-14 14:55:10

No. Sweet food in out house is a yogurt or fruit. But in my opinion that is classed as food, not a treat.
I do dessert on a Sunday, and if we go to family then there's always dessert. But again that's usually a crumble or some stewed fruit/rice pudding.
Anyway.....I don't make a big deal of DD finishing a meal. She has no issues with food and I may have misjudged her appetite/portion size on that day. etc. I'm certainly not going to encourage her eating until she's stuffed, and I neither want to make eating a battle or an endurance for my kids.
My gran was a bugger for it though, and I wonder if it's left over from WW2 and rationing (not being allowed to waste food, however grim).
However they maybe have not taken into consideration that portion sizes are now significantly bigger than they were in 1942?

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