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Did anyone see Fat Nation with that remarkable family who ate proper food?

26 replies

MeanBean · 30/09/2004 22:26

I was so impressed by that family of two parents and six kids, and the man who cooked all the time. They all ate vegetables and had proper dinners, exactly what I've always aspired to but never managed.

I decided recently that I would prefer my children to eat nothing than eat crap, so I've stopped buying chicken nuggets etc. They can have chips maximum twice a week, I always serve vegetables, and try to serve decent balanced meals. They eat the meat or fish and or the starchy carb, and leave all the veg. Quite often they have 2 spoonfuls and that's it. But I don't want to give in to the pressure to serve them processed rubbish all the time just because they'll eat it.

How do those people manage it, and does anyone else? And if so how?

OP posts:

nutcracker · 30/09/2004 22:29

I have started this too Meanbean.

We used to have chips quite a bit , but i found it was just as quick to do veg and a chicken or something similar.

Now when we go shopping i buy 2 chickens, 2 trays of mince, tray of chops and loads of bags of veg.

I put all the meat in the fridge not the freezer and then i am not tempted to think Oh i'll do chips tonight instead, as i know it has got to be used.

I buy 4 bags of veg and do it with everything. My kids don't eat it all but they eat enough.

Did savoury mince this week which was nice and cheap but tasted great, will def inatly be doing it again.


Moomin · 30/09/2004 22:33

i think you just have to perservere with it, meanbean. We're brainwashed into thinking that nuggets and shit like that are the 'norm' for kids and it's horrible. All we're doing is giving them salty, fatty arse-end type food that dulls their tastebuds and trains their brains into thinking all food has to taste like this. The best thing I think most people can do is to just serve up good, freshly made food right from the word go so that our kids think that's what food should taste like. Like that couple said, their kids now don't even think about eating nuggets when they go to their friends' houses because they prefer the food their dad cooks. It might be hard work to re-train kids' tastes and habits but it's not impossible. Keep at it - it's well worth it.


MeanBean · 30/09/2004 22:33

Embarrassingly enough, one of the things which prompted me to re-think doing oven chips, was the discovery that it costs a fortune to run an electric fan-oven, and that not only was I feeding my kids high fat food regularly, but that I was paying a fortune to cook it! I wish something more worthy than money had prompted me

OP posts:

MeanBean · 30/09/2004 22:39

But Moomin, this is one of the things which gets me. When I started weaning my DS, he ate everything - carrots, onions, artichokes, peppers, cauliflower, olives (which he still eats) - practically any vegetable that was served to him. He gradually restricted his diet, until by the time he was 4, I'd given up trying to feed him good food and succumbed to the junk food pressure. But this happened without any peer pressure - he did it himself. And now it looks like my DD (2) is also going through the process of rejecting everything she used to eat. I bought the myth that if you feed kids well from the start, their taste buds will be adjusted to having good food. But in my children's case, they just seem to have gradually moved to not wanting what I always served them by themselves! I didn't think I'd have to face this until they were at school, but it really began at about 2 in both their cases.

OP posts:

tabitha · 30/09/2004 23:29

I cook 'proper food' most of the time, mainly because I hate crap food and wouldn't eat it myself so why give it to my kids. We never have chips because none of us like the taste of oven chips and I'm too scared to use the deep fat frier
In saying that, things can be pretty difficult because dd2 has just become vegetarian (and quite a sanctimonious one at that) and ds is extremely fussy, so often he ends up just having a cheese omlette or French toast, which isn't ideal either.
Also, every so often, I get sick and tired of all the effort involved in 'proper cooking' and go on strike, in which case we end up getting a takeaway, which might be crap but at least it's not crap that I have to cook.


SueW · 01/10/2004 00:12

LOL tabitha - that's pretty much the position on chips in our house too! Or they come from the chippy or McDs, neither of which are that easy to arrange at short notice.


Moomin · 01/10/2004 10:40

but meanbean - and please don't think i'm having a go or judging or anything - who bought him the chips and nuggets, etc as an alternative? who offered it to him when he wouldn't eat what you gave him at first? if we don't buy the crap, they don't have the choice and we are forced to think about how to offer food that takes a bit more time and imagination but is heaps and heaps better for them.

dd has just turned 3 and has started trying to use meatimes as a negotiating tool for getting her own way. If she turns her nose up at what i give her, she goes hungry. or rather she doesn't, because she's a greedy little tike and can't bear being hungry and eventually she eats it. No small child has ever starved to death in a country like ours through turning their nose up at food. if they're hungry enough, they'll eat what's on offer. and yes, it might be hassle, and it might be easier to bung a load of frozen iceland stuff in the oven for 20 mins but that's just where the root of all our kids' eating problems come from, imho.

we spent the first year of their life either breastfeeding or carefully choosing the best formula, then giving them (organic) fresh food, and worrying about every report we read about what's good and bad for babies, then as soon as they hit 2, we feed them the most processed food in the food chain! madness!

sorry, i REALLY don't mean to get anyone's back up, it's just a very emotive subject for me.


frogs · 01/10/2004 11:01

Second Moomin. I also take the line that whatever I put on the table is perfectly edible, and if they don't fancy it, they can go without.

I've found hunger is a great incentive, and my children will eat more or less anything that crosses their field of vision. Dd1 dislikes courgettes and aubergines, and will only eat a very little bit of dishes containing that, but that is her choice. i don't offer alternatives, nor do I give pudding unless they've eaten most of their main course. No healthy child is going to starve in the four or five hours till the next meal time.

In purely practical terms, it helps to plan menus a week in advance. We get an organic box delivery once a week, and I plan the cooking round that. That way I cook once, usually for dh and me, and the children have their portion the next day.

I usually incorporate the vegetables into the food, eg. lasagne, shepherds' pie, Spanish omelette etc. Sometimes I cook early and make a big pot of pasta sauce in time for the kids' tea. Then all I have to do for adult supper is boil up another batch of pasta.
Doubling recipes and freezing also works well.


wilbur · 01/10/2004 11:03

I saw that bit of the programme meanbean - I thought they were excellent, with the kids helping and the mum saying she didn't want them to be unable to look after themselves when they left home. I want to be like them! I know what you mean about food - my ds has always been a great eater but over the last 3 months he has got fussier and fussier (he'll be 4 in Jan) and harder to please. I am being tough though, (mostly, apart from the days that I can't face it and give him peanut butter sandwiches ) - like it or lump it. I do really, really hate putting something I have prepared on the table and he instantly says "I don't like that" - my heart sinks, so I know where you are coming from. I'm so far refusing to give in and only do fishfingers and beans - I have never bought chicken nuggets or smiley faces and I am NOT going to start now. (mumsnetters please remind me of this promise when I start a thread titled "ds is addicted to smiley faces" )


Twinkie · 01/10/2004 11:15

They were on ready steady cookt he other day - were very nice couple too!!

If I am at home DD gets the same as us, she always has - that way she sees us eat it and realises we are not trying to feed her something awful!! If she does not eat what we are eating she goes without and will be hungry and will not get treats the next day - thats it end of story no arguing and she knows it - they will eat what you give them if they know there is no choice and their fuss is ignored.

The only thing that DD really doesn' like are olives, mushrooms and courgettes - I don;'like about 3 things so make a point never trying to get her to eat these as I think it is reasonable for her not to like everything.

We do not have a fat fryer and I have a bag of oven chips in the freezer that have been in there for well over a year, I have some nuggets that get used when other kids come and their parents are not of the same mind as me about not giving into their kids but other than that I am not spending time and energy letting a 4 year old control me when I know what is best for her in terms of a healthy balanced diet!!


Anchovy · 01/10/2004 11:25

I'm really serious about what my children eat, partly because my husband and I pretty much always eat fresh home prepared food and I want the children to feel that this is the norm. But I don't feel that that has to be brown rice and broccoli all the time (although I like both of these) and there is a compromise of tasty good and easy to prepare food. For example - chips. I love them! What I do is take real potatoes (more often than not organic). Peel them or not - up to you. Cut them into chip shapes (I prefer real chip shapes to wedges). Rinse them and - this is the key bit - dry them really really well (I tend to blot them in a clean tea towel and then pat each of them individually with a bit of kitchen towel. Bit of a fag but really doesn't take very long. Put in a bowl and toss in oil - you don't need much: obviously depends on amount but 1 tbsp is plenty for say enough for 4 people. Put on a tray in the oven - you have to separate them out - and cook in a hot oven for say 30 - 40 mins. How easy is that? Everyone would agree that a jacket potato is healthy and this probaby has less fat than a jacket potato with a big knob of butter. We might have this with chicken drumsticks (I tend to get free range ones becsue my local supermarket does them in packs) that have been marinated in yoghurt honey soy and garlic and then cooked in the oven with the chips. I might whizz up some fresk tomatoes and put it in a pot as a dipping sauce for the chips. We all love this meal and DD (1 yesterday) will also eat a few chips dipped in the tomato salsa. Then I would make sure they had some additional fruit for pudding.


Empress · 01/10/2004 16:38

BUT BUT BUT..that great family who ate nice food -correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that dad who does all that cooking at home all day, a househusband? I'd LOVE my kids to have fresh veg, roast dinners etc every night but we get home at 6pm and where is the time???? And I agree with MeanBean, there was this nutritionist on saying that if kids learn to eat veg etc in early life, well, yes, mine did, but by the time they hit 3/4 they've experienced a lot more than that & it's the crap they want. Like lots of parents, we try our utmost to feed veg & fruit etc to our kids but if they won't eat it they won't eat it.


Empress · 01/10/2004 16:41

Empress again, just to add: only reason i'm on here now is that kids aren't here for tea (we are having chicken, lentils, green beans & sweet potatoes) but are at friends house - having pizza and ice cream!


Empress · 01/10/2004 16:42

..and thats organic chicken, btw


crunchie · 01/10/2004 17:20

Empress Can I just ask, is it quicker to cook nuggetts and chips than grilled chicken, ric, veg??

I ask this beacuse I reckon it takes 20 - 25 mins to cook nuggett etc (plus preheating oven) and I often do rice (15 mins) with grilled/griddled chicken or fish (10 - 15 mins) and veg (5 - 10 mins) SO I have never used the time thing.

My kids fave fast food is pasta with 'eggy sauce'
Boil pasta (10 mins or whatever), 3 - 4 mons from end throw in chopped veg (broccoli/sweetcorn). Drain.
Put a knob of butter in the hot pan, add pasta, a splash of milk and stir. Crack in an egg, and stir quickly with soem grated cheese.

Done. 15 mins inc boiling kettle for hot water.

BTW this was my fav as a kid too


crunchie · 01/10/2004 17:22

Also my kids love fish - both 'pink fish' (salmon) and white fish (cod/haddock). Cook in microwave for a few mins (about 4 - 5). Make mashed potato (cut pots up very small and it does in less than 10 mins) or I sometimes cheat with smash(!) Veggies 3 - 4 mins in boiking water or microwave.

Meal done inside 15 mins.


Clayhead · 01/10/2004 18:03

crunchie, mine love salmon too! I steam it sometimes though, especially if having potatoes too, dead easy.


Empress · 01/10/2004 18:08

I've never cooked chicken nuggets or chips in my life, and never would, nor pizza come to that. kids love, & have, pasta, sausages, tuna, so perhaps its not that bad. but they wont eat veg, except with roast, and i guess thats what i meant, that we dont have time to do. sorry, wasnt v coherent. and now i've lost my punctuation.


Clayhead · 01/10/2004 18:11

What's wrong with pizza? Sure, there are some frozen ones which are loaded with cheap cheese but you can make your own ones which are a perfectly nutricious meal and fun to make .


misdee · 01/10/2004 18:11

mine wont touch veg, even tho loved carrots,sweetcorn, peas, brocolli, etc when babies. but HV said as long as they are getting a good balence of carbs, protein, fibre etc from other sources then not to push the issue atm. I do make sure they have a glass of juice (topicana where possible, atm concentrate as short this week on cash) each day. they also have fish oils daily.


KateandtheGirls · 01/10/2004 18:18

My youngest ate absolutely ANYTHING when she first started eating real food. I remember being in a Chinese restaraunt with her when she was probably about 10 months old, and she was devouring a stir-fried duck dish.

But she got to about the age of 18-24 months and lost her appetite. It's normal. They just stop growing as fast. I think a lot of parents make the mistake at that point of thinking they don't like the good food and just give them what they want to eat, and 2 year olds will be happy to eat just one food constantly.

I don't agree with this approach, and my now 2.5 year old gets given whatever I'm having for the most part. There are some days when she won't have a single bite of lunch or a single bite of dinner, and the important part is not to stress about it. I just say to her, OK, you're not hungry but you're not having anything else. She would happily drink gallons of milk in a day, so I limit how much milk she can have.

Although she loves french fries and sweets etc., she rarely gets them. It makes it easier not to worry about her eating because what she does like is usually pretty good. She normally eats a pretty good breakfast (yogurt, banana, Cheerios or bran flakes), and she loves fruit.

Her sister was the same way at the same age. Now that she is 5 and has an enormous appetite she is a great eater and will eat almost anything I put in front of her.


KateandtheGirls · 01/10/2004 18:20

Misdee, will they eat the fruit instead of drinking the juice? Drinking juice isn't really that good for them, although better than pop obviously. It's much better to eat an orange or an apple than to drink a glass of the juice, but if you're limiting it to one glass a day that's not a big issue.


misdee · 01/10/2004 18:27

dd1 wont touch any fruit. dd2 has limited herself to bananas atm ,so has a banana a day as well. dd1 will occasionally 'lick' a piece of apple, banana etc to try it, but still says yuk. i;m hoping she'll get more adventurous as she gets older. They love pasta, rice, curries, liver (??!!) but wont try new veg. i have sneaked cauliflower into the mash on shepherds pie tho.


Dingle · 01/10/2004 18:33

I'm not that fused about cooking times, it's the preparation time that I sometime find a hastle though.
One of one favorites is salmon too; I wrap it in foil(no fat but just a bit of seasoning) pop it in the oven,in the steamer I do potato,brocolli, green beans, sometimes corn on the cob.Try to vary the veggies but stick to the most liked for an easier life. Serve with a low fat dip of some sort.
I have found by serving a variety of veg, I can get the kiddies to try new ones. They ate greens for the first time in ages yesterday, I suppose they weren't daunted by a large serving of something new. Ds's initial reaction was I don't like that, I then explained that he only had a small portion & I would like him to try it along with his usual veggies- he did and then ate the lot, he is a very fussy eater too.


zebra · 01/10/2004 18:55

Time to prepare veg -- it's simple. Peel & chop the night before, or first thing in the morning if you have time then.

If we have chips (or pizza) we steam up a load of vegies to go with them.

DS only gets pudding if he eats all his veg, so he eats all his veg (he's allowed to push the courgettes aside). DD is only 2 (3 tomorrow!), and she often doesn't eat at all rather than pick thru a tea she doesn't like... but I don't worry because I think she'll cotton on to the pudding idea sooner or later. And she eats a lot of fruit, anyway.

My shameful secret is... I've never even bought much less served my kids fish nuggets.

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