Fussy Eaters? Just Let Them Eat Cake
OPINION: Since when did nutrition, and specifically children’s nutrition, become such a huge thing in this country? I’m not saying that it is necessarily a bad thing, but at times it just feels like another heap of guilt on the already stressed out heads of mothers doing their best.
I was convinced I was allergic to most vegetables and would spit them into tissues to hide at a later time. I would also push all the dinner to the sides of my plate so it appeared I’d eaten some.
your mammy at dinner time” “try a little bit of mash for
I had a crappy relationship with food as a kid, in that I liked what I liked and refused to eat anything else... not so unusual, but my tastes were narrow and not that healthy. I loved packet soup (only minestrone), sandwiches (marmalade or tomato and onion only) and chips.
My poor mother struggled to get me to eat any veg and even my primary school teacher would try to shame me into it by saying in front of the class
This history may explain why I am lax with my kid’s diets. I’m not saying they eat McDonalds daily, nor am I saying they have never had it. I will not, however, put pressure on my children to eat what they don’t like and I will never force them to sit at a table to finish a meal they do not want.
Each child is an individual and as much as I often feel like a short order cook and my husband disagrees, I will tailor dinner to suit each of them.
Conall, 8 loves pizza, pasta, and hot dogs. He has ASD and strong smells would have him run for another room as would wet food, so I give him a lot of fruit during the day along with carrots and cucumber (the only veg he will eat) and that’s his lot.
Koray, 5 is the dream child to feed. He will try anything and normally rub his tummy saying mmm. He eats with me, shepherd’s pie, lasagne, stew... you name it! My only problem is that he wangles dinners in friend’s houses and then comes home innocently asking for another… I don’t know where we got him from.
Rian, 3 seems to be following in his mam’s fussy footsteps. He is a lover of white food; bread and butter, plain pasta and chips. He will eat a raw carrot and some fruit if chopped and surprisingly is the tallest (and stockiest) for his age out of the 3 of them.
I appreciate that some people can feed their children quinoa (which I was calling qwin-oah until a few days ago), kale and oily fish but I may as well dump my shopping straight in the brown bin than serve that to my kids. I refuse to feel guilty as I’m perfectly healthy and would eat anything put in front of me now (just not lamb ugh) as I know the boys will when they mature.
I will not make mealtimes stressful and fraught in a bid to get them to eat something green. I gave them the best start with breast milk and blended stewed fruit and veg only to later bin it for the preferred jar (*gasp* yes I said jar) at the weaning stage. If kids were allowed to choose what they wanted for dinner, they would pick junk food, maybe even sweets washed down with a gallon of Coke; it's often about meeting some sort of compromise (or at least making them feel that it is).
Pizza with salad. No fizzy drinks. I allow them sweets on a Friday after school but that is not to say they don't find it elsewhere during the week and I have limited the ice cream man to once a week, although I have been known to put on loud music and instigate a who can scream the loudest competition when I hear Popeye the Sailor Man approaching. I feel like this is yet another media orchestrated tool for mothers to beat themselves up over. There are children going hungry all over the world as we argue the benefits of yet another superfood. Answer me this: Is your child fed? Happy? Loved?
Yes? Then you are doing an amazing bloody job.
Dinner times were awful events where I was forced to sit at the table until I’d eaten most of my meal and my younger sister would skip off early to play as I sat there theatrically gagging, crying and cajoling over “just one more carrot”. I was so skinny that in a family holiday snap at 12, all you can see are kneecaps and elbows. I was taken to a doctor who told my Mam to let me eat what I wanted and I wouldn’t starve... he actually said “if she wants a McDonald's hamburger, get her one”. This was the equivalent of getting a Wonka golden ticket and was cashed in often. I became vegetarian twice in my teenage years, although soon realised I’d possibly starve rather than eat a vegetable.
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