Wednesday, January 02, 2008

eating resolutions

It’s that time of year again for resolutions. The last few years, it has always been the same, to eat a bit healthier. That has actually been an ongoing thing for many years. Slowly but surely, a healthier eating style has replaced the awful, junky, way of eating that dominated my 20’s.

Items that no longer occupy my cabinets are chips, sugary cereals, candy or Little Debbie snacks. The chips were easy to get rid of. I seriously can’t stop eating them if I have a bag, so I just make sure I don’t have them in the house. I replaced chips with other crunchy things like toasted pitas and hummus, or corn chips and guacamole, nuts, and crackers with cheese. Pretty easy, though possibly more expensive. Cereals have been replaced with waffles. We have whole-grain waffles for breakfast almost every morning. My son doesn’t even want a drop of syrup, just some smart-balance spread. I try to get him to eat a yogurt with it, but usually just manage a glass of milk. Lila likes eggs, but not Paul.

Now my eating dilemmas have to do with my son Paul. Four years old and never met a vegetable he liked. I just bought Jessica Seinfield’s Deceptively Delicious, but after trying a few recipes, don’t see this as a long-term solution. Though we discovered he will eat the mashed sweet potatoes I prepared and froze according to DD. I know many many people have trouble getting their preschoolers to eat healthy choices. The boy would eat pasta and cheese the rest of his life without complaint. Or fish sticks with ketchup.

It’s very disappointing after I have prepared a healthy, delicious meal and have him refuse it and ask for noodles. Yesterday I made a wonderful chicken pot pie with carrots and potatoes, but he would only take his “one bite” as is the rule in the house, he has to try everything, but we won’t force him to finish it. I asked him how it was as he is gulping his juice after his taste, and he tearfully tells me, “not good”. Meanwhile, the rest of the family is devouring it, in fact we finished off the whole thing by the end of the night. Paul had peanut-butter and jelly.

My husband and I love good food. I get excited about food, and eating, and even cooking when I’m not too stressed. In fact I have two new cookbooks on the way from amazon. I can’t eat fish sticks and macaroni and cheese for dinner every night. But I hate preparing one meal for us and another meal for Paul.

How have others survived this?


TJ said...

My husband's sister went through something similar. She had to prepare two meals, one for their son and one for the rest of the family but she finally got fed up. She established a family rule that you eat what is served or don't eat at all. It took a few missed meals ... a few times letting the kid have an apple or otherwise healthy alternative until he finally caved and started to eat what everyone else was having.

It's a tough thing to go through and a hard line to draw but when it comes to healthier eating maybe the hard line is best.

When it comes to vegetables and such I usually offer a choice, corn or green beans..... broccoli or tomatoes.. that way they feel they have some control.

sarah said...

TJ - Thanks for the ideas. These are things I know, but it's good to be reminded. It's very hard for me to let him miss a meal. The books I've read on the subject that make the most sense to me are the ones that say, "serve what the whole family is eating, but also make sure there are some choices you know the child will eat." So he may not eat the main course, but some of the other choices.

Sounds like a good idea, but very hard to put into practice. When things get hectic around here I love to prepare one dish meals.

I'm just whining now :) We will get through it, and overall his nutrition is pretty good. I mean if he does "skip" his dinner, he will end up getting an apple, or orange and crackers and cheese. Which isn't the worst thing in the world.

TJ said...

I'm with ya :-) It's a tough nugget all the way around, it could also be something he just needs to grow out of with some patience and care.

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter that is exactly the same! We have tried like you to make healthier choices every day. We replaced our white bread with whole grain and while both my kids whined at first, they eventually came around and started to eat it because there was no other option available.
Does your son eat soups? I make a really good chicken soup that includes vegetables such as squash, onion, garlic, celery & carrot. The trick for mine is to get rid of the vegetable "evidence" by using the hand mixer til the soup is nice and smooth. If he doesn't like the bits of chicken (like a niece of mine too) than you can mash that with the mixer too. Than add his favorite noodle!
Another favorite with my kids is lasagna. I first make a mix of tomato sauce that includes whole tomatos, onion, garlic & italian spices. Than I make a seperate mix that includes Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic, basil & paprika.
After they are cooked they get mixed to the point that they are a sauce. Than layer them, noodles, tomato sauce, green sauce, cheese and noodle etc.
Top layer cheese and they don't know that they have just eaten lots of vegetables.
You can experiment with other veggies too.
Has he ever tried raw veggies? My daughter hates them cooked but for some odd reason she will eat raw broccoli and cauliflower ... go figure!
good luck!