right now

right now

Nov 10, 2009

Anatomy of a Dinner...

My kids won't eat vegetables, and when I say that I really mean it! I think Finnegan has tried corn on the cob and peas, but that's like 3 times in the last year. Lochlann has never willingly tried anything. He's almost 7! I have tried bribing, taking things away from him & loss of privileges, I have tried the "one for each year of age" thing, I have tried letting him go hungry, and the times I got so frustrated I crammed them in his mouth, he threw up! But still, I haven't given up! Tonight I am going to take you on a tour of a typical dinner in our house, and you can join in my frustration and maybe give me some tips for anything that worked for you???

1. Go harvest something from the garden: for last night's dinner we harvested plenty of greens, some small still-kickin' bell peppers, and green beans (although most of the beans were forgotten and too large to eat!)

2. Cook a yummy dinner! We had some beef from our local farm supplier and green beans tossed in a pan with butter and garlic, and a salad. Take a close look, what's NOT to like? Well, if you were to ask my kids, everything on their plate is "yucky" except the steak. Yucky? This stuff was harvested an hour ago! I really don't believe I was quite this bad when I was their age. I even dressed up their tiny salads with a flower, lol! Look at mom & dad's plates heaped with salad... I was only asking them to eat a tiny bit!

Another lovely shot of the kids' yucky dinners. Go ahead and enlarge the photo to get the full yucky experience!

3. Place said dinners in front of hungry children with skeptical looks on their faces.

4. Revel in disbelief. Yes, there are still the 3 green beans we started with, and the yucky salad. Steak, Milk, and child are long gone. Finn's plate looks the same, minus the parsley. Minus the parsley??? He will eat plain parsley but not green beans in butter and garlic. Oh, I forgot to mention that I even bought them the "spray-on" salad dressing and called it a "salad gun" - they didn't fall for it.

So there you have it: my daily dinner frustration! Why do I have to have such picky kids? I think the parents who drive thru McDonald's every night should have the picky eaters by default, not the moms who grow food, lol!

And just look at all the "salad" below... it appears I will be Frustrated Mom for a good while longer!

Tonight I am admitting defeat. This is what I laid before them, and now I am walking out the door to go do some unnecessary shopping, by myself! Hmmmph, take that, kiddos! (Unfortunately they are overjoyed by their macaroni and cheese.) Whatever...


  1. this is something I too fight with everyday - Logan is 16 now and if he won't eat what I cook he can cook what he wants to eat and it is most often processed foods. There is just no fight in me anymore, tears, anger and worry make no difference. I do have a few tips of things I did that helped. A hand held blender will be your greatest ally.

    1. tell them they won't like it
    2. mash beans into a dip for chips
    3. veg soup with potato blend smooth
    4. tomato sauce for pizza and spagetti use lots of vegs and blend
    5. garlic toast is always a hit
    6. pesto sauce
    7. nachos with pepper rings, salsa and beans
    8. homemade hotsauce
    9. pickles
    10. remember what they don't like tonight they could like tomorrow night, lol ;)

    My heart goes out to you. I still resent cooking my meal to please him, cutting into tiny pieces, cutting off all the fat, leaving out the onions only to have him not want to eat it. Then after growing, processing and preparing the food, I have to scrap the plate uneaten into the chicken's bucket and wash the plate. In addition the pots and plate necessary for him to cook and eat something else, not to mention I have to go to town and buy the processed food I don't like, then I have to deal with the packaging I'm against, all the while concerned for the health of my son - well you can see this is a sore spot, thanks for letting me vent - Good luck, peace for all

  2. I fix what I fix for dinner. I do try to fix at least one thing that the kiddos will eat regardless...sometimes that fails too. If they don't try everything on their plate, then no desert. Period. If they don't eat anything at all, it all goes in the microwave and if they come yelling they are hungry they get to sit at the table and eat their dinner or they don't eat. They don't starve and I don't run myself ragged fixing multiple meals. :) hth

  3. Well, if it's any consolation-I would gladly be your kid,( even though I'm older than you) and eat all those totally yummy looking salads and veggies.
    My son never ate the good stuff either, and now at 25, he BEGS for my cooking, vegetables and all!
    I've said it before, when they're older , they'll eat it. They'll survive....
    And hey, it's more good stuff for you!

  4. I've had this fight too. My daughter is pretty much game to try anything but the boys... ugh. We've tried the 3 bite rule. You have to take at least 3 bite (real ones, not invisible bites!) before you can say you don't like something. My kiddos really do pretty well at eating their vegs though. There are a few exceptions that I don't make them try. My youngest won't eat potatoes (never has and doesn't even like french fries!) and suddenly announced this summer that he doesn't like green beans- even though he has devoured them in the past. My older son doesn't like fresh tomatoes (but will eat sauce).
    One thing to try that I did to get them to try broccoli is to make an Enchanted Broccoli Forest. There is an official recipe (and cookbook) of that name but it is essentially an egg/rice/cheese casserole that you plant broccoli 'trees' into. They get to eat the trees.
    Good luck. I don't envy you the battle. Here, if they don't like what's for dinner, they can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  5. Oh, and another thing that maybe you've already tried:
    have them plant their own vegetable plant and take care of it. My youngest loves cucumbers after growing 'his' cucumbers.

  6. The boy was on a white diet for a long, long time. If it was white (rice, chicken, crackers, pretzles pears etc) he would eat it. Now he does better. The girl is now in the white diet phase. They'll always get a meat, a veggie, a fruit and a starch of one kind or another. That way I know the boy will eat the meat, veggie (if it's carrots, broccoli or beans) and they'll both eat the starch and fruit.

    Kids survive on much less.

    Then there are days on which I tell myself that if The Waffle House or IHOP can cook breakfast for dinner, so can I.

  7. Those plates looked so yummy!

    I guess I lucked out with my kids, they will eat most vegetables.

    When I was a kid and I wouldn't eat veges my Mom would serve them with a cheese sauce. She would just mix a can of cheddar cheese soup with some milk and shredded cheddar and melt it on the stove. I drowned my broccili and cauliflower with it, but at least I ate them! Kinda like macaroni and cheese only take out the macaroni and add veges. Good luck!

  8. Erin, you really do have to be sneaky...pretty just doesn't work with little munchkins. Finely chop or puree those veggies and put them in everything. Make meatloaf with carrots, parsley, onions and potatoes chopped so tiny they can't see them. Make chili with chopped zucchini, carrots and onions. The veggies have the look and texture of ground beef when simmered for a while. Puree some veggies and add them to beef or chicken broth, then toss in some alphabet pasta and dare them to find and eat their names. I wouldn't be above pureed green beans or broccoli in the spaghetti sauce. I'm quite sure you could get away with adding chopped up carrots.

  9. I tried everything with my 1st one, and some things worked, some didn't... In the end (2.5-3yo), I just let him know that he had to take two bites of everything on his plate, and I tried to make sure there is 1 thing he liked at each meal. He's almost 8 now, and is a slooow eater, and fusses, but knows the rules... My 22mo ended the "eat everything" phase a month ago. Once he could eat regular food, he's had what we eat (unless it's spicey or crunchy). I refuse to cater to him, but he's too young for "making" him taste, so if he doesn't eat what's on his plate, he's done with dinner.

    It takes time for their tastes to develop, and they won't starve (just eat bigger breakfasts HA!) so keep trying! I think no matter what you do, you need to put the rules out for you kids and be consistent. They'll definitely fuss, but if you don't back down or change things up, they'll get the picture.

  10. Oh! Since I'm trying to do more weekly meal planning, Wednesday's are now my 8yo's night to choose what I cook. I give him 2-3 choices out of what will be in the fridge. It helps give him some control over food, but I'm still making items from my "menu." IMO, feeling "in control" is *very* important to youngsters, and they'll be more willing to eat if they feel in control...

  11. When my boys were little, the no-vegetables thing worried me, too. One thing we did was to put "dip" (store-bought ranch dressing) in one eggcup, then put thinly sliced and short carrot sticks in another eggcup or similar small bowl (I have quite a collection of tiny bowls, now) or even right in with the dip (after they got used to the idea), and serve those to the boys instead of whatever veggies the grownups were eating.

    As long as there was dip, they ate the small serving of carrot sticks.

    After a (long) while, we were able to mix in a couple of thin strips of celery, and then a floret or two of raw broccoli.

    This took years, but now they eat everything except sweet potatoes, that I still grate to sneak into foods like chili that cook so long the grated bits become indistinguishable from the rest of the food. Sweet potatoes grow really well in my yard, so it is important that everyone eats them.

    Good luck!