A couple weeks ago, my sweet, darling daughter kept telling me how hungry she was. She also would not, for the LIFE of her, tell me what she wanted. At age 4, she knows exactly what food we keep in the house, but just in case, I proceeded to list off every meal option available to her. Still she wouldn’t decide what to eat. Finally, I’d had enough. I told her (ok, I yelled at her) that I was not going to do this anymore.
And I meant it.
See, the trouble is…my kids don’t eat anything. Food that most kids love, like mac n cheese or pizza, my kids don’t touch. They like about one fruit each, and neither one will let a veggie come within 10 feet. So it’s easy for them to get burned out on their food choices. I mean, it’s PB&J or chicken nuggets. That’s pretty much it. For fruit: Grapes and applesauce. Maybe an apple if the mood strikes.
But I’m DONE fighting.
You want to play the “I don’t know” game? Fine. I’ve told that sassy 4 year old of mine she can just let me know when she decides between a sandwich and nuggets.
You want to eat peanut butter and honey for both lunch and dinner every day? Sounds perfect. I’ll grab the Jif.
Here’s what I’ve decided about food in this family:
1) They’ll eat when they get hungry enough
I don’t need to force feed. If they eat 2 bites at lunch, so be it. They can eat more at dinner. I’m offering 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks. What they choose do with it is up to them.
2) They’ll eat nutritious food when they’re older
I applaud those moms who can get their kids to eat kale and quinoa and all the fruits. Since that is not my reality, I’ll just rest easy knowing that my husband, who ate nothing but bologna his early years, now eats a variety of foods.
3) Ask and you shall receive
Within reason, of course. We tried the whole “you’ll eat what we eat” thing for years. It just got everyone frustrated and the kids stayed hungry. Now, when dinner time comes and it’s something we know they hate (so…every day), we just ask what they want. Even my 18 month old has an opinion on what he’s having for dinner.
4) Snacks and treats are okay
I wanted to be strong. But Pirate’s Booty and Goldfish truly are delicious. Who am I to deny my kids these pleasures? Ditto for M&Ms. Some parents might be anti-snacks/treats…but this mom? I’m like, pass that baggie over here, please!!!
Last week was our son’s 18 month check up. The pediatrician asked us how he’s eating, and we we’re like, “well, you know. We try to offer different foods. He doesn’t eat them. But we do set them in front of him.” Then the doc asked about big sister’s eating these days. I responded that she’s on the PB&J diet. He chuckled and said that’s normal. At the point you confessed to a pediatrician that your kids eat approximately zero nutritious meals per week and he didn’t scold you for it, you’ve won.
We may have lost the battle, mamas, but we won the war.
If you need me, I’ll be shoving Pirate’s Booty in my mouth alongside my kids.