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Do you cook your DD/DS separate meals?


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#1 Nicole_R

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 01:38 PM

I know, it seems silly doesn't it...

MissA has just turned 9. She loves her green & white trees (broccoli & cauli), corn & carrot, but as far as anything else vegetable wise goes she doesn’t want to know about it. Or meat wise for that matter also, unless it’s chicken.

If we’re having something spicy such as a curry etc which she can’t eat (we like them very ‘hot’) we will cook her something easy – homemade nuggets or cheerios with either pasta or veges. She scoffs this down. But as soon as we cook a meal that involves any other vegetable, or meat, she will easily sit there picking at it and take anywhere upwards of half an hour to finish it.

It’s clearly a dislike towards the food. She has no allergies or any other reason not to eat it other than she ‘doesn’t like the taste’.

We've even tried bribing ( tongue.gif ) her for lack of a better word. i.e if she eats up quicker she'll get something or more television / pool time but nothing works. She's persistent.

Do you cook separate meals for your (picky) child/ren? We’ve spoken about it because it’s got to the stage where dinner isn’t a nice experience for either of us.

Please help!
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#2 seedyem1978

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 01:54 PM

My daughter's only nearly 3, but no seperate meals generally. We eat the same MOST of the time.

Are you asking because you want confirmation it's ok, or because you want ideas to make it stop?

If you want it to stop, Nigel Latt would say the best place to start would be to stop the "short order cooking": hungry kids eat.
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#3 mango

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:04 PM

I was a "picky" child.
My mum was a basic cook anyway so it wasn't too much of a problem in general accept dad (is an arse) and ade a big deal about it. I HATED peas and still do to this day, they set off my gag reflex and I can not swallow them, But dad use to try and get me to eat everything on my plate. Things he tried included grounding me, no icecream and made a big deal about my broter having it, making me sit there for hours till I ate it, no watching TV, ect. nothing worked. Other things I didn't like was things in my mash potato, ie garlic or onion. Dad loved it and often requested it, so to save agruements mum would serve mine up then add the extras and he would go off tap about her "making me special meals" ARGH idiot. Other things mum did was I don't like spag bol (actually I hate tomatoes) so mum would fry the mince s usual take out my serve then add the rest of the crap, then serve me some plain pasta wih my mince, sometimes too frozen veges zapped in the microwave, well dad would always go off tap and insist I eat the same as the family or go without. SO mum started letting me eat earlier my boring food and when dinner time came I would "refuse" to have a served, get in trouble by dad and sent to my room while they ate dinner. It was the better arguement for all sad.gif
Otherwise mum would tell me to make a sandwhich or something else if what they were having was too hard to prepare me something too.
It was great when we got a cat that I worked out would eat the things I didn't like. That saved a lot of arguements for me and mum.
Sorry not a very helpful answer I guess, but it has taught me about how its easy to make little variations to what you know to allow for what others eat, ie. my son being gluten and dairy free, i find it really easy to incorperate his needs into our family cooking most of the time.

#4 Nicole_R

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:05 PM

I'm asking because ideally we don't want to have to cook separate meals, but the frustration that comes out of her sitting there for so long is becoming a real issue!

No offence to Nigel Latt, but I'd like to see that. Easier said than done. We've tried limiting her portions throughout the day (she's not a big eater as it is) in her lunchbox but it's plain & simple - hungry or not if she doesn't like it she won't eat it.
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#5 mango

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:09 PM

I was about to say the same thing.
Hungry kids do not always eat!
I would/could go days without food if what was offered I didn't like. I was very underweight too, so mum had to do what was right for me.

#6 aChocLover

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:14 PM

My DDs are not as old as yours and to date, we've never made them a separate meal. I have no intentions to either, but I'm also fortunate in the fact that they eat everything that is served.

DD1 has recently decided she doesn't want to eat meat and pushes it around the plate for ages, until she begrudgingly eats it. My culinary skills haven't yet extended to vegetarian dishes that would provide the iron etc blush.gif

I also hide a lot of vegetables in other types of meals.

I'm not sure what I'd do in your situation. I think I'd happily serve other vegetables for her to eat (I'd go as far as encouraging her to cook her own!), but I wouldn't be prepared to make an alternative dish.

#7 Thelma

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:22 PM

I was watching Dr Phil one day with a parent in a similar situation (except the child didn't really eat anything healthy) and his answer surprised me. He told the parent to just give the child what they want. Don't make a big deal out of it, and by forcing the issue you're making it a big issue. Eventually they'll come around.

I would just adapt whatever it is you're making that's suitable for her like Jazy has suggested, that way you're not really having to make a whole other meal.

#8 Nicole_R

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:33 PM

QUOTE(Jazy84 @ Dec 14 2010, 02:04 PM) View Post

Sorry not a very helpful answer I guess, but it has taught me about how its easy to make little variations to what you know to allow for what others eat, ie. my son being gluten and dairy free, i find it really easy to incorperate his needs into our family cooking most of the time.



QUOTE(AliRo @ Dec 14 2010, 02:22 PM) View Post

I would just adapt whatever it is you're making that's suitable for her like Jazy has suggested, that way you're not really having to make a whole other meal.

I do like these suggestions. Ideally I'd love her to eat a variety of different meats, but if forcing her is the only way she's going to eat them then I don't want to do that. Like you said AliRo I wonder if us forcing her is only making her 'rebel' more...
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#9 ----

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:46 PM

Does she not eat them because she doesn't like them or is it because she doesn't think she'll like them and refuses to try?

If she genuinely doesn't like them then I would modify your family meals and base it around what she does like or offer alternatives when you are having something she doesn't like.

If, it is because she refuses to even try something new or different, I would refuse to make her separate meals until she has at least tried what you have served up.

#10 seedyem1978

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 03:07 PM

There are a couple of things I've done to encourage my daughter to eat generally what we eat:

- we try to eat together a lot, often from communal plates on a picnic rug on the floor of the lounge
- I often serve veges before "main". I know she'll eat more veges if she's hungry, and will wolf BOWLS of tuna pasta, so I serve a small bowl of veges (2 or 3 bits of carrot, beans, tiny piece of something new) and without being nasty just say "when you finish your veges you can have tuna pasta - let me know when you're finished". I'm lucky that we've not had big arguments about food really so she takes that well.
- serve crazy small meal or amout of something new I want her to try with lots of encouragement

and I always talk about food positively, and try to make a big positive deal about trying somethig new, rather than resort to threats (which make things worse).

and I do think that if you want to change the pattern then you have to persevere. you probably won't go from picky to accepting over night. but if every night (or every x night) you persevere with something new then I think you're likely to get there. imagine her plate as say 95% familiar with 5% unfamiliar, and over time (even if she doesn't try the 5% the first 10 times you try) then you'll make some inroads, I bet!
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#11 Jaydee

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 03:26 PM

While I can't comment on having a child that age, we have an interesting situation here in terms of meals. I don't like "separate meals" (with the exception of Friday night, we give the kids toasties and have something later- usually something they're not allowed tongue.gif ) but...I'm a strict vegetarian, DH eats meat and is currently gluten-free, Bee refuses to eat meat, Levi refuses most green veg cooked most ways, and neither of the kids like salads.

So we do a few things. Sometimes I just plain serve up things I know they don't like, alongside things they do, (eg stir-fried kale and gai larn when we're having Chinese) so they get to see that it's a normal food that their parents enjoy.

And I do little adaptations here and there- so if we have a BBQ for example, DH can have meat, the grown-ups can have salad and the kids can have veggies done on the BBQ. So not cooking separate meals as such and not making crazy work for myself but making sure that there is something everyone can eat.

#12 seedyem1978

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 01:29 PM

QUOTE(Jaydee @ Dec 14 2010, 04:26 PM) View Post

Sometimes I just plain serve up things I know they don't like, alongside things they do, (eg stir-fried kale and gai larn when we're having Chinese) so they get to see that it's a normal food that their parents enjoy.

And I do little adaptations here and there- so if we have a BBQ for example, DH can have meat, the grown-ups can have salad and the kids can have veggies done on the BBQ. So not cooking separate meals as such and not making crazy work for myself but making sure that there is something everyone can eat.


that's a great approach - I think that serving some things with an awareness they may not get eaten is a great way to introduce stuff. frustrating if you see it wasted, but it's a bit like when weaning and you serve things not knowing if they'll be eaten or not!
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#13 Daybreak

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:45 PM

QUOTE(seedyem1978 @ Dec 14 2010, 04:07 PM) View Post

and I do think that if you want to change the pattern then you have to persevere. you probably won't go from picky to accepting over night. but if every night (or every x night) you persevere with something new then I think you're likely to get there. imagine her plate as say 95% familiar with 5% unfamiliar, and over time (even if she doesn't try the 5% the first 10 times you try) then you'll make some inroads, I bet!

I like this idea.
I'm a picky eater myself. Even now, on a bad day (over tired, stressed, people harassing me about it) I can get into a real state about trying something new. I have foods I like, foods I don't like but can eat (I'll generally avoid these unless it's going to be a big deal socially, or it's my only option and I'm hungry) and foods I won't touch. Because I'm a cook, and a traveller, and because I don't want any children I have to end up like me, I am trying to improve. I do much better if no one is pressuring me, and if it's my own choice to try it. I also do better if I have cooked it myself.
I don't know what my parents could have done better (though Dad eating better himself would probably have been a good start) I do know that it would have been very easy for me to have a very limited diet if I had been allowed to. What Mum often did if we didn't eat was to give us a glass of milk before bed. That way, she felt happy that we had a full stomach with some nutrition, but we had no idea it was alternative food.
One of my nephews is bad at trying new foods, so him mum (SIL) has created a rule that he has to try something new each weekend. He gets to choose what it is though. This seems to be working well for them (he's almost 6)
As far as separate meals goes, Mum would often do something like steak for Dad and I, and chicken/sausages for the rest of the family (I will eat sausages, but I LOVE steak) but we'd all have the same veggies. Or serve my taco meat on pasta, or with toast while my brothers had the taco shells. Sort of variations without completely separate meals.
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#14 SamIam

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:53 AM

The short answer is no! I don't have the time (or frankly the inclination!)

My DS1 has never really like meat other than mince in spag bol/lasagne/stirfry and some chicken. I've tried all sorts of things to get him to expand his food groups but now I don't worry.

I generally cook meals that I know he'll eat and make some adjustments but if he doesn't want to eat then he has a bowl of cereal or fruit and yoghurt or something that he can make himself.

If we have roast for instance I don't give him any meat, just loads of vegies. If I make a stirfry, I just don't give him any meat in his serve.

The other kids pretty much eat anything, but they would get bored if i only cooked the meals that Lachie would eat. So I guess it may seem harsh but there's one of him and 5 of us so majority rules!!!
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