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Feeding the ungratefuls


luuknam
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Backstory: my (bipolar) wife was a picky eater. When she met me, my cooking style was quite different from her mom's, and she learned to eat some more different foods, and she even likes some of them. However, if I cook something she doesn't like, she'll simply make something else for herself (or microwave something, or go to some fast food place alone, or w/e). There's no "sucking it up and just eating it because it's what is for dinner". So, if I make anything with cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, eggplant, etc in it, she will not eat it. For breakfast or lunch, she'll sometimes throw a tantrum (she gets hangry) if we don't have one of her preferred foods in the house, and refuse to eat one of the foods we do have, even when we have bread, more than one kind of cereal, yogurt, bananas, etc.

 

So, given the above, I can't really blame my kids for being obnoxious about food. However, it's wearing me down. They turn their noses up at almost everything I cook, even the many things my wife likes and eats, and that other people have said is tasty - it's not that I'm a bad cook. They complain when I'm cooking, they often will not touch their dinner or maybe eat only 1-2 bites and complain, and many times will rather go to bed without eating dinner, even whining they're hungry, than just eat it.

 

Now, if they only did this about one or two or even a handful of foods they don't like, I'd get it, and be okay with it (everybody gets to hate *some* foods... I'm not a big fan of e.g. liver myself). But it's not 1-2 foods. It's pretty much everything I make unless I make pasta with pasta sauce from a jar. They like a few more things my wife cooks, and to be honest, it's feeling personal.

 

I don't cook as often as I otherwise would because of this. They (well, we all) end up eating more microwave food because of this, because why cook if they won't even touch it anyway? Sometimes just the thought of having to feed my kids paralyzes me.

 

Help?

 

PS having them help with the preparation of the food doesn't help. They're happy to help e.g. peel potatoes or cut carrots, and then not eat them.

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Could there be sensory issues going on? Reactions to foods?

 

I've got one who can't handle certain textures. I have a cousin who was a preposterously picky eater growing up, found out as and adult they have celiac. Maybe that was driving the picky eating, although as a child they were unable to articulate the issue.

 

Definitely hard when one parent is being picky, especially if that parent is vocal about rejecting foods (don't know if this is the case).

 

One of mine basically lived off of peanut butter sandwiches for over a year...

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Let them eat microwave food. It sucks, but it is what it is. Let your wife and the kids do their own grocery shopping. You go ahead and feed yourself yummy and healthy food.

 

I go through periods of this where DH and kids get to feed themselves. Or, DH gets to take the ingrates shopping for food I can't bring myself to buy and they feed themselves while I cook for DH and I (because he never complains).

 

I long ago lost the idealistic dream of family dinners. We do eat together, but not always food "lovingly" prepared by me.

Edited by fraidycat
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Let them eat microwave food. It sucks, but it is what it is.

I long ago lost the idealistic dream of family dinners. We do eat together, but not always food "lovingly" prepared by me.

 

It's not the "lovingly prepared" part that bothers me. It's that frankly, the food they will eat is mostly crap. Microwave spaghetti and meatballs, microwave mac&cheese, pasta with pasta sauce out of a jar, and seasoned rice with sausage, fast food, and pizza are just not nutritionally balanced in the long term (they're fine on occasion, imo). But then, if I make healthier food (not "health food") and they don't touch it, it doesn't really matter either. They're just so young that I feel that giving up on them nutritionally would be neglectful.

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Ack! I was trying to click on the thread and it somehow made me vote on it. Sorry!

 

Can you make a rule that separates the unkindness from them liking or not liking the food? Like it or not, eat it or not, complaining is off the table? Maybe make a big batch of pasta and sauce in the beginning of the week and they can reheat that instead for breakfast, lunch or dinner? If they complain or speak unkindly about what you have cooked they can apologize and redo the correct way to respond.

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I try and cook things that everybody likes, but of course, not everybody likes everything.  When that happens, they have an option of a PB&J or cheese sandwich, bowl of cereal or soup, or scrambled eggs.  These are things that the kids can make themselves. (Well, the older kids regarding eggs and soup.)

 

I used to love the work of Ellyn Satter, and she used to basically say that you cook a meal...but be sure that the sides or bread and butter are available for people who don't like what the main dish is.  They can cobble together a meal that way.  If they're hungry enough, they'll eat what's available. 

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Could there be sensory issues going on? Reactions to foods?

 

I've got one who can't handle certain textures. I have a cousin who was a preposterously picky eater growing up, found out as and adult they have celiac. Maybe that was driving the picky eating, although as a child they were unable to articulate the issue.

 

Well, the oldest has high-functioning autism, so sensory issues are definitely possible. Both kids are pretty much anti-cooked-vegetables (in any way, whether it's barely cooked, cooked right, or overcooked). Luckily, they will eat celery and lettuce (the oldest), broccoli (cooked, actually - the youngest, the problem being that my wife will not touch food that has broccoli in it - it's on her beyond hate list, so she won't even fish it out of the food the way she'd just fish most of the zucchini out of a dish), and carrots (both kids will eat those raw). The youngest used to eat celery raw as well, but stopped doing that at some point.

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Didn't realize how young they were. I change what I would do. I would keep trying. Urge them to eat fresh fruits and veggies and when you find something they'll eat, provide a bunch. Even if they require ranch dressing or something to dip carrots in or whatever. Urge them to keep trying things.

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If I were you, I'd serve a side green salad and celery and carrot sticks with (dairy, peanut butter, something with protein) dip as a side to every meal. These things are super easy to prepare and the celery and carrots sticks stay good for days. I would then pick an additional side as a "try" food and a main dish of your choosing. 

 

I talk a lot about how as we mature, so do our taste buds, and that maybe now you've become big enough to like it. I highly praise trying new foods, even if they don't like it. I talk about how we can train our taste buds to like good foods. 

 

Truly, though, I think this is a marital issue. I don't think I could insist on a healthy diet for my kids with a partner who openly snubbed it.

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Read Ellyn Satter's stuff:)

 

We went through many, many years of a picky eater (sensory stuff).

 

I tried to always have at least one thing on the table he would eat.

 

Forcing bites, encouraging, withholding other options,etc did not work- just made him angry.

 

Offer fruits & veggies you know they enjoy on the side & try for only those as snacks.

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I am probably not much help, because I do "blame" DW for modeling ungrateful pickiness. I do believe that this is one thing that has helped my kids to be pretty good/very good, healthful eaters - DH and I are similar in eating standards. Even when I make something that doesn't knock his socks off, he still eats it. We eat almost zero microwave foods.

 

They will probably not become very good eaters while DW models pickiness, and if she has no standard against eating poor-quality food, they will accept it and develop a taste for it.

 

I have a notion that something like this is why my own mother gave up making "real" meals and defaulted to mostly canned food and pick-what-you-want self-serve stuff. I think my Dad was picky, and he also could not be moved from watching his precious television for thirty minutes of dinner, and after several attempted compromises where he could still see the tv from the table, I think my mom just said, "forget it. Eat whatever the hell you want." ( except my mom would never say '...the hell...') ;)

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I agree with the OP that they ARE too young to give up on and that it probably is personal. Processed food is taste tested and made to be addictive and once a person gets a taste for it there is a very hard time to get them to eat healthier food later. If the OP's wife was on board they could ban the junk for a while and get the kids eating better, but the wife probably has sensory issues and feels that she needs to eat this stuff. The whole, they will come around thinking is not realistic. It took me YEARS to get my oldest to eat real food because she had such a taste for processed food from her early childhood. They would probably need to give up the junk for several months to understand how gross it is. My oldest only wanted to eat peanut butter with bad fat. It took years before she preferred natural peanut butter. My younger two prefer natural peanut butter, but they never had the gross unhealthy kind until they were old enough to spend the night with other people. Even then I don't know that we had friends who ate it. They were pretty old before they had any.

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Is there no way to get your wife on board with at least encouraging the kids to eat right? You are partners, it's really rather selfish for her to abandon you on this front. Or does she count your concerns as completely valueless?

 

If my kids were young, I wouldn't throw in the towel. I'd try to come up with the least objectionable 14 days of meal plans (with the rest of the family's input considered but not overruling to the point of consistently eating crap). Post that literature on the fridge and stick to it like glue. Even if your wife runs out for fast food, ask her to not eat it in front of the kids and not bring any back for them. If you are their only source of food, they may start eating it. You can start with items they will protest the least, then as they get used to the fact that you're not going to cave or supplement, it'll become the norm to eat home-prepared food. At that point you can start shifting to an increasingly healthier menu. The key is making sure they don't have a secret pipeline for crap.

 

If you have already tried all the above, I dunno what to tell you. If the kids were driving teens I'd say just give them their own share of the grocery budget and let them go see how long they can make it last. But since they are still young, I'd think it worth the effort to get them back on a healthier trajectory. But seriously, if your partner isn't going to help, the least she could do is at least respect your wishes on the matter and do her best to honor you by trying to be helpful about it. JMO

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One of my kids is a great eater and two are less than great. I finally instituted a rule that there was no complaining about food I make because it was beginning to feel personal. It has helped a ton.

 

I used to dish up everyone's plate for them leaving just a bite of the foods they don't care for. Two of mine will eat that bite, one would rather die than eat a tomato. I have started dishing up the main part of the meal and then offering mulitple vegetables that they serve themselves. Mostly it's roasted vegetables they all like but I'll put baby carrots, fresh broccoli, or olives on on the table for variety. Then I require everyone eat a decent serving of vegetables. Giving the kids control over which vegetables and how much has helped a ton. With one child it was becoming a health issue and I needed that child to eat more fiber.

 

My husband is not a picky eater but he hates celery and milk. I can accommodate not cooking with celery. As far as milk, he drinks a small amount at supper time to set a good example and doesn't complain about either food in front of the kids. The milk thing is pretty difficult for him but not something I pushed for, I did request he not make a big deal about it in front of the kids.

 

It sounds like your wife has much more severe food adversions but I think you guys need to work out a way for her to privately eat the different food than you prepared. I would agree to prepare the objectional types of meals a certain number of times each week and a healthier option the rest of the time. Or prepare one food you know they will eat with healthier options and require a small serving of the healthy option. I wouldn't make a battle about it and I would accept input from the rest of your family.

 

Good luck!

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I have quite a few ideas, but I think they will all be expensive.

 

I'm the picky one in my family. My rule is that the pickiest person has to cook the meals and even shop for the groceries as much as possible. I've helped many a picky kid how to cook and their mothers were very happy to now have someone else preparing all of the meals.

 

We do not buy microwaveable food. We do not own a microwave. I never force people to eat what they don't want, even a polite bite. If you don't like what I made, you are free to cook something else.....using the ingredients we have on hand which does not include any junk food.

 

I hear people say that they will not indulge their picky eaters because they don't want to be short order cooks. We often have several options for each meal. It doesn't bother me.

 

We have fruit available at all times. My kids eat plenty of vegetables every day, so my focus is on making sure they have protein at each meal. I might make eggs and one kid might decide to make beans and another might choose to eat some tuna. So long as they clean up their own mess, it works for me.

 

I cook enough meat to always have leftovers available. I also try not to make dishes where everything is mixed together.

 

Tonight for dinner, one kid had sausage and oranges. One cooked homemade GF pizza and one are leftover crawfish and roasted cauliflower.

 

What I care about is that they are eating a variety of food. What I don't want is power stuggles over meals.

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I have quite a few ideas, but I think they will all be expensive.

 

I'm the picky one in my family. My rule is that the pickiest person has to cook the meals and even shop for the groceries as much as possible. I've helped many a picky kid how to cook and their mothers were very happy to now have someone else preparing all of the meals.

 

We do not buy microwaveable food. We do not own a microwave. I never force people to eat what they don't want, even a polite bite. If you don't like what I made, you are free to cook something else.....using the ingredients we have on hand which does not include any junk food.

 

I hear people say that they will not indulge their picky eaters because they don't want to be short order cooks. We often have several options for each meal. It doesn't bother me.

 

We have fruit available at all times. My kids eat plenty of vegetables every day, so my focus is on making sure they have protein at each meal. I might make eggs and one kid might decide to make beans and another might choose to eat some tuna. So long as they clean up their own mess, it works for me.

 

I cook enough meat to always have leftovers available. I also try not to make dishes where everything is mixed together.

 

Tonight for dinner, one kid had sausage and oranges. One cooked homemade GF pizza and one are leftover crawfish and roasted cauliflower.

 

What I care about is that they are eating a variety of food. What I don't want is power stuggles over meals.

See, while this is a different (more gracious!) strategy than the one I suggested upstream, the common point is that the kids are limited to the food items supplied by the parent.

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See, while this is a different (more gracious!) strategy than the one I suggested upstream, the common point is that the kids are limited to the food items supplied by the parent.

But, the part that would be hard, I would guess, is that DW has no issue with eating/feeding the lower quality food. So, it is possible the partner would think this: "who says the kids have to eat the way you like for them to eat? Maybe I am perfectly satisifed for them to fix their cup of EZ Mac and call it dinner. Why does it have to be the kind of food you think is worthy?"

 

I'm not saying she would be right, just that I know some people who would make exactly this argument.

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I don't have any earth shattering helpful advice but the title cracks me up. I felt that way for so long...I could have put 'feeding the ungratefuls' in the 4-6 PM slot on my schedule for many years. 

 

I found a few veggies that everyone liked, and I cooked enough so there were leftovers for the next couple of days to replace any offensive veggie I might cook. I kept things very simple. No casseroles. A meat, a starch, and a veggie or two.  Fruit available for snacks.   Eventually they got more adventurous...when they all started eating bell pepper I celebrated. But it took a long time of introducing things one at a time before I got them on board. 

 

I feel your pain. But I'm kind of mad that your wife won't get on board with at least pretending to support you with the kids. That would really annoy me. 

 

 

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But, the part that would be hard, I would guess, is that DW has no issue with eating/feeding the lower quality food. So, it is possible the partner would think this: "who says the kids have to eat the way you like for them to eat? Maybe I am perfectly satisifed for them to fix their cup of EZ Mac and call it dinner. Why does it have to be the kind of food you think is worthy?"

 

I'm not saying she would be right, just that I know some people who would make exactly this argument.

Yes, I understand that may be the case. Definitely increases the challenge.

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It's not the "lovingly prepared" part that bothers me. It's that frankly, the food they will eat is mostly crap. Microwave spaghetti and meatballs, microwave mac&cheese, pasta with pasta sauce out of a jar, and seasoned rice with sausage, fast food, and pizza are just not nutritionally balanced in the long term (they're fine on occasion, imo). But then, if I make healthier food (not "health food") and they don't touch it, it doesn't really matter either. They're just so young that I feel that giving up on them nutritionally would be neglectful.

 

 

Don't have crap food in the house. If they are normal, it they are hungry enough, they'll eat what there is available. If they don't eat healthy food that is available, would rather actually starve themselves, then they are probably having some issue (physical or psychological) that needs attention from a doctor or a therapist.

 

Pizza can be healthy though, IMO, if it has healthy toppings especially. You can get all the important nutrients (even fresh can be put) on top of a pizza.

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One other thought--what was eaten when they were in gestation process? That is supposed to be related to what children want to eat once they graduate to eating stage. It feels right, supposedly because essence of it was floating in the fluids around them, and because taste buds develop very early.

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My kid with autism is extremely picky. Every meal has things I feel ok about that I know he will eat. It might not be ideal, his vegetable intake is dismal for example and his protein sources are limited to a few options, but it keeps the stress out of the meal for me. He had baked oats, lunch meat, and a smoothie for dinner this evening. Not my idea of yum, but the smoothie had fruit, the lunch meat was protein, and the oats were a whole grain. Fine with me. We rarely have junk type food in the house as in potato chips and cookies. Microwave mac and cheese or pasta isn't in my junk category.

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Coming to the defense of pizza. The kind my kid made tonight had porkchop, broccoli, white cheddar and fresh parm. I don't mind them eating that. On the other hand, I won't buy pasta unless it is someone's birthday request. We all like spaghetti squash, though.

 

Isn't it funny how we have such different definitions of junk?

 

Editing to add that my kids like expensive salami encrusted in black pepper. They eat it with cheese and apple. I know other families where processed meat would not be allowed.

 

We all do what we can.

Edited by amy g.
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I dunno... I'd be pretty hurt if DH constantly snubbed the food I made. And then doubly hurt when the kids followed his example. I make good food, darn it. My kids aren't allowed to say they hate something. They say "it's not my favorite." But I don't tolerate them being rude. I try to have a variety of things available at dinner so I know they'll all eat at least some of it. But I believe that it's good for kids to be exposed to a variety of good foods and they do learn to like them. I've got them all brainwashed into believing that homemade food always tastes better than stuff out of a can or box. 😉

 

If something was a total flop at dinner I probably won't make it again. But I know that some of my favorite foods aren't DH's favorite but he eats them anyway. But we make his favorites sometimes too. For birthdays the kids get to pick the menu for the entire day and they love that. And I love that they love my cooking.

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That sounds really frustrating and I agree with the others who say if your DW isn't on board, I'm not sure how successful you can be.

 

One thing that did when trying to get my kids to eat more veggies more regularly - I asked them each to tell me which veg was their favorite.  My oldest said he didn't like any, but I insisted he choose one.  I didn't require it to be green or fresh (frozen or even canned was OK).  That was the first step.  I'd make sure I always had those veggies in the house and if they didn't want the veggie I made, they needed to serve themselves their favorite.  We've moved on from there, and they are now much more willing to try (and often like) things that they refused to try previously.

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From a very picky eater (with a few of her own) IMO there is still hope for your children. Maybe not your wife, but she's an adult (although as an adult she should restrain herself from rude comments and model polite and gracious behavior). People always said, "you'll have to eat more once you have children..." but so far I haven't.

Dd1 loves peas and green beans (I won't touch them).

Dd2 loves shrimp and other shellfish (not for me).

Dd3 is picky like me.

Ds will eat most anything, just not fat on meat.

They all love raw carrots and ketchup, not together (couldn't pay me...)

My husband likes those things and kindly encourages them to try things. They kind of joke about mom not having a certain thing, but it doesn't deter them. Maybe the difference is that I don't make negative comments. Well, maybe I do about ketchup - I find the smelling nauseating. Bleh.

But don't lose hope with your children, and ask your wife to be a better in terms of comments and actions for the children's sake.

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I dunno... I'd be pretty hurt if DH constantly snubbed the food I made. And then doubly hurt when the kids followed his example. I make good food, darn it. My kids aren't allowed to say they hate something. They say "it's not my favorite." But I don't tolerate them being rude. I try to have a variety of things available at dinner so I know they'll all eat at least some of it. But I believe that it's good for kids to be exposed to a variety of good foods and they do learn to like them. I've got them all brainwashed into believing that homemade food always tastes better than stuff out of a can or box. 😉

 

If something was a total flop at dinner I probably won't make it again. But I know that some of my favorite foods aren't DH's favorite but he eats them anyway. But we make his favorites sometimes too. For birthdays the kids get to pick the menu for the entire day and they love that. And I love that they love my cooking.

 

I agree.  DH would never criticize my cooking.  Unless it was so bad he'd gag, he will always eat what I prepare for dinner.  I welcome comments about "not my favorite".  That's kind-of code for "please don't make it again".  I'd do the same for him.

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I agree. DH would never criticize my cooking. Unless it was so bad he'd gag, he will always eat what I prepare for dinner. I welcome comments about "not my favorite". That's kind-of code for "please don't make it again". I'd do the same for him.

We use the "not my favorite " phrase as well. I don't expect my kids to like every single thing I make but I do expect them to be polite about it and this allows them to do that without hurting my feelings.

 

My husband grew up with southern cooking so I have learned how to make some of his favorites like biscuits and sausage gravy, it's ok but not something I love. My entire family loves meatloaf but I really dislike it, so I will fix it on occasion for them. I don't eat a huge amount but I do try to recognize that we all have different likes and dislikes.

 

I think there are ways to compromise but it may take some creativity.

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Cooked vegetables are the bane of my most sensory kid, so given that you have a child with autism/known sensory issues, I strongly suspect sensory stuff is at least partly to blame.

 

Which is not the child's fault.

 

My no-cooked-veggies kid will eat quite a lot of stuff raw, especially with dip.

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I also want to say I think it's important to learn to eat a variety of things because there will be times when you are served something by someone besides mom and it would be incredibly rude to turn it down. I've had the opportunity to visit and live in a few other countries and there were many times where I was a guest in someone's home and the host made a meal that was "not my favorite" but it was the best they had to offer me and I was grateful for their generosity and hospitality. I've choked down a lot of things that I thought were gross, but managed it with a smile on my face. And you know, I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. 😉

 

ETA: Even right now we're having a bit of a difficult year and I've got some super sweet ladies from our church bringing meals once a week for us. We never know what they are going to bring, but I am always grateful for a meal I didn't have to prepare myself. And I am doubly grateful my kids are graciously willing to try these foods that sometimes are very different from our usual menu. I do have 1 picky eater, but even he is starting to outgrow it.

Edited by DesertBlossom
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I also want to say I think it's important to learn to eat a variety of things because there will be times when you are served something by someone besides mom and it would be incredibly rude to turn it down. I've had the opportunity to visit and live in a few other countries and there were many times where I was a guest in someone's home and the host made a meal that was "not my favorite" but it was the best they had to offer me and I was grateful for their generosity and hospitality. I've choked down a lot of things that I thought were gross, but managed it with a smile on my face. And you know, I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. 😉

I agree that this is an important skill to have as an adult, but I know plenty of people who were picky eaters as children but overcame their pickiness just fine as adults who needed to exhibit polite social behavior wherever they were.

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I agree that this is an important skill to have as an adult, but I know plenty of people who were picky eaters as children but overcame their pickiness just fine as adults who needed to exhibit polite social behavior wherever they were.

And I agree. I wonder if the OP's DW is able to do that in other social settings or if she snubs them too. I know that picky kids can grow up to be polite adults. But it sounds like these kids are being taught (by example) that it's okay to snub food.

Edited by DesertBlossom
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My family are bunch of ingrates when it comes to appreciating that someone prepared a meal for them. The kids took their lead from dh. The result, I am not a short order cook. If you don't like what has been prepared or you are not in the mood for it you are welcome to make yourself a sandwich, a bowl of cereal, a yogurt. If you cook yourself something you best return my kitchen to the way you found it.

I cook what I feel like having and everyone else is welcome to partake with me or fend for themselves.

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I second the reading of Ellen Satter's books.  The Facebook group Mealtime Hostage has been pretty awesome in giving me real time ideas about how and what to feed my Selective Eaters which include my son and my husband.  It is now considered an eating disorder.  Look up ARFID and there will be a bunch of web pages.  This is beyond just picky eating and there are many adults that have it, its just masked because adults generally get to chose what they want.  It can be a genetic trait as well, and is seen in every country, not just in Western culture where we have easy access to junk food and fast food.  

 

The premise of the book is that you put the food on the table, they are responsible for eating.  Bribing, forcing, controlling, etc make food issues worse, especially if there are sensory and anxiety issues involved.  Many Selective Eaters eat from a very short list of safe foods, so we always have one or two safe foods on the table, my husband and son are free to eat whatever, but they can also take the safe food and add something else to it and microwave it if needed.  

 

One other premise is that all food is good food, no pressure, no talk of calories, no talk of some foods being healthier than others.  Eating is good.  I want my child to eat.  I need him to eat. IE,  if the only way they will drink milk is with chocolate syrup, then the milk is still getting into him.  

 

It was a real challenge for me to change my mindset of clean your plate, eat your veggies before dessert, punishing, etc, but its really freed me from the expectations that I had and all the grief it was causing me.  Our dinner table is now a happy place, no one is accusing me of starving them, because its their choice to eat it, and believe it or not, without all the pressure, my son and husband have started trying, eating and liking new foods.    

 

Edited to add:  No one is allowed to yuck my yum.  They need to be polite, and say no thank you or I don't care for it.  I find that the grownups are more vocal about this at my house than the kids are.

Edited by knoxinsox
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I am probably not much help, because I do "blame" DW for modeling ungrateful pickiness. I do believe that this is one thing that has helped my kids to be pretty good/very good, healthful eaters - DH and I are similar in eating standards. Even when I make something that doesn't knock his socks off, he still eats it. We eat almost zero microwave foods.

 

 

I GUARANTEE you it is just luck of the draw. DH and I are the very least picky eaters ever. We eat pretty much everything. Bland, spicy, land, sea, raw, cooked, across all "ethnic" cuisines. Everything. Our kids have never witnessed us not eating something we were served. Ever. They've also been served home cooked meals from the start. A fairly wide variety. That did not stop DS from projectile vomiting instantly if he tried a food he didn't like. You soon learn to accept the "picky" and get on with the rest of your life. Food battles are not worth it.

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I want my child and spouse to eat healthy. I do not buy junk food, and there is no convenience food in my house (except bread, peanut butter, fruits, nuts, hummus). I add all kinds of veggies that my DH and DS will not eat (like mushrooms, eggplants etc), but, I cook them first, blend them into puree and add them to dishes and they are probably not sensitive enough or smart enough to figure out what i have been doing. So, we have eggplant in pasta sauce, spinach in chili, pumpkin in casseroles etc. I even make  savory muffins with shredded broccoli. Give it a try and see if it works in your family.

Edited by mathnerd
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Do you think you could watch some nutrition videos or information with DW and/or the kids? (Ex: my kids have been positively influenced by movies like Forks Over Knives, Supersize Me, Plant Pure Nation, Cowspiracy ... but your kids are younger, so YMMV. Maybe great for you and your wife, to start. Maybe there are some good and entertaining info videos out there for younger kids?)

 

I like Mathnerd's ideas about getting those veggies in! Gonna have to steal some of those.

 

 

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My family are bunch of ingrates when it comes to appreciating that someone prepared a meal for them. The kids took their lead from dh. The result, I am not a short order cook. If you don't like what has been prepared or you are not in the mood for it you are welcome to make yourself a sandwich, a bowl of cereal, a yogurt. If you cook yourself something you best return my kitchen to the way you found it.

I cook what I feel like having and everyone else is welcome to partake with me or fend for themselves.

 

I agree with you about letting people get their own food if they don't like what is being served.  Since my kids were old enough to get themselves something, that's what we've done.

 

But, your last sentence puzzles me.  Do you not take anyone else's tastes into consideration?    Maybe I'm overthinking your comment. 

 

Sorry, OP, I don't have any advice for you.  I'd be pretty upset with a spouse who undermined my efforts to feed the kids healthful food.  I am not sure but I think if my husband did that, I'd start telling the kids "well, Daddy can eat what he wants because he's an adult, but you need to eat nutritious food that will help you grow and be healthy."   And I'd find educational materials as a form of outside backup.   But, easy to say, not so easy to do.

 

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I come from a situation of having the opposite of you in terms of spousal response-my dh has never once complained about food I've made, and 2 of my three children eat anything that is not nailed down, and always have. 

 

My aspie child is now 19 but it's only been through almost 2 decades of extreme pickiness, and the constant pressure of home cooked foods almost daily, my various attempts through his childhood to encourage him to expand his repertoire of acceptable foods, that he has achieved some level of acceptance of a few fruits and veggies.  Still his chosen diet is probably 85% processed foods that he now purchases with his own money.  I honestly think that having an aspie-ish undermining spouse is going to be the easiest problem for you to solve.  

 

So to that end, the best approach, IMO, would be to have a few extended conversations with said spouse about her behavior, especially her behavior in front of your kids.  Any chance that would be well-received?

 

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Op, you have my sympathy! My spouse isn't picky but he is a foodie so my meals are always just "okay". Throw in some picky kids and it is like eating dinner with Dementors--I lose a bit of my soul each day!!

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Op, you have my sympathy! My spouse isn't picky but he is a foodie so my meals are always just "okay". Throw in some picky kids and it is like eating dinner with Dementors--I lose a bit of my soul each day!!

 

Now that would make me mad.

 

My husband likes really good food and he seems to have "good" tastebuds so he picks up subtle flavors.  Like, he can identify a seasoning most of the time, when I and others are saying "hmm... what is that?"

 

That said... I do all the cooking around here, and very early on I shut him down on offering unsolicited critiques on the food.  Every time I make something new, I ask for comments. Then it's a free for all - anyone can offer praise, criticism, or, more likely, suggestions to make it better.  My husband and son almost always say "more spice."     Oh, criticism cannot include "that was disgusting" or similar.   People can ask that it not be repeated.  That's rare, but then I know what they like.  :-)

 

 

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We started introducing different spicy foods to kids when they were babies.

 

 

But now that they are older... the trick is to make something strange put it in a small dish ...sit on couch and covet the food sample... and initially turn them down... but eventually let them try a bite.

It exposes them . And somehow dad's food normally taste better.( maybe not in your situation. Sorry) my kids always seem to want to eat our food.

 

Or if you want to try a simple new dish cook a single serving 30 -1hr before the kid's lunch and sit down to eat it. Make sure you announce loudly to kids " it's daddy's lunch , not your lunch yet, yours is in an hour."

Then watch them flock around, hungry all of a sudden, willing to take any scrap your willing to share.

(Hubby eats lunch at different time than us. )(I'll add he doesn't purposely use these methods to get kids to try food, he's just trying to eat and they come around )

 

So in these two ways I've seen my kids learn to like salad , feta cheese,olives,.... stuff I won't even eat. Bread dipped in olive oil aND vinegar...yuck....beans, cucumbers, raw peppers.....

 

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

Edited by bookwormsix
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We started introducing different spicy foods to kids when they were babies.

 

 

But now that they are older... the trick is to make something strange put it in a small dish ...sit on couch and covet the food sample... and initially turn them down... but eventually let them try a bite.

It exposes them . And somehow dad's food normally taste better.( maybe not in your situation. Sorry) my kids always seem to want to eat our food.

 

Or if you want to try a simple new dish cook a single serving 30 -1hr before the kid's lunch and sit down to eat it. Make sure you announce loudly to kids " it's daddy's lunch , not your lunch yet, yours is in an hour."

Then watch them flock around, hungry all of a sudden, willing to take any scrap your willing to share.

(Hubby eats lunch at different time than us. )(I'll add he doesn't purposely use these methods to get kids to try food, he's just trying to eat and they come around )

 

So in these two ways I've seen my kids learn to like salad , feta cheese,olives,.... stuff I won't even eat. Bread dipped in olive oil aND vinegar...yuck....beans, cucumbers, raw peppers.....

 

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

But you have to be genuinely hungry, enjoying it, and not wanting to share. Otherwise they might think you are trying to get them to try your cucumbers and see through your trick.

 

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

Edited by bookwormsix
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I GUARANTEE you it is just luck of the draw. DH and I are the very least picky eaters ever. We eat pretty much everything. Bland, spicy, land, sea, raw, cooked, across all "ethnic" cuisines. Everything. Our kids have never witnessed us not eating something we were served. Ever. They've also been served home cooked meals from the start. A fairly wide variety. That did not stop DS from projectile vomiting instantly if he tried a food he didn't like. You soon learn to accept the "picky" and get on with the rest of your life. Food battles are not worth it.

 

I don't believe this. I do believe that there are some people with texture issues or something that makes it so they just can't tolerate certain foods. But I bet for most kids (and adults) it's a matter of being willing to try new foods and acquire a taste for it. The more kids are exposed to new foods, they more likely they are to try them. And I think if we tell/teach kids "you don't have to eat that ever" we are doing them a big disservice. 

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I don't believe this. I do believe that there are some people with texture issues or something that makes it so they just can't tolerate certain foods. But I bet for most kids (and adults) it's a matter of being willing to try new foods and acquire a taste for it. The more kids are exposed to new foods, they more likely they are to try them. And I think if we tell/teach kids "you don't have to eat that ever" we are doing them a big disservice. 

 

My experience matches what fraidy says.  My son too projectile vomits with many foods.  I have tried everything.  EVERYTHING.

 

I don't think you can really know this for sure.  This may not be your experience, but it's a little upsetting to be accused of just not doing it right.

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There actually are some genes that cause food to taste differently to us as we age, I know there is one that runs in my family that makes things (some vegetables) taste bitter to kids but not to adults.

 

Can't think right now what that gene is, but here's an article about one gene that affects the way people taste things: http://m.livescience.com/39578-why-some-hate-broccoli.html

Edited by maize
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I don't believe this. I do believe that there are some people with texture issues or something that makes it so they just can't tolerate certain foods. But I bet for most kids (and adults) it's a matter of being willing to try new foods and acquire a taste for it. The more kids are exposed to new foods, they more likely they are to try them. And I think if we tell/teach kids "you don't have to eat that ever" we are doing them a big disservice. 

 

I don't know.  My husband and I eat almost anything and are very adventurous. We expose our kids to a lot of different foods, and always have.  During their formative years, we have a pretty much unlimited food budget and ate out at ethnic restaurants frequently.  But our kids are not nearly as adventurous as we are, and though not super picky, there are more things they won't eat than things I won't eat.  And they won't even try certain things.   (Though my son is getting a lot better and is trying more.)

 

But, there are some things I simply won't eat and I tend not to cook them.  Liver and lentils comes to mind as two biggies.  I want to much to like lentils (cheap and healthful) but no matter what I do, I can't like them.  My mom told me long ago that I had to taste liver once (she and my dad loved it) but  never had to have it again.  I haven't.  (I admit that it's possible I would love it now, but I have a block.  But it doesn't matter because it's unlikely that liver is ever going to be required of me.)

 

As the main cook in the family, I have an enormous advantage over everyone else.  I try not to abuse that.

 

Which reminds me, I know my husband is missing meat loaf.  Ugh.  :-)

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