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In Praise of Simple Foods


Hopleaf
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Rachel's and others comments about bending to picky eaters hit home. My sister and I were sugar and junk deprived as well growing up...parents on a macrobiotic kick.

Anyway--I know 2 sets of kids very well (babysitting/living with family) who are picky eaters... both have been diagnosed as anorexic by their doctors. One was 9; the boy was 11. She will only eat Mac and Cheese. He will only eat Tortelinni and pizza. I used to pack his lunches and all the good Whole Foods stuff came back uneaten.

Mothers--please be careful about talking about how "fat" you are in the company of your children. Neither of the mothers were extreme in any way, but constant comments do seep in.

I also feel strongly about this... so, forgive my ranting.

Edited by nerissa (log)
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The elder toddler in my house subsists largely on goldfish crackers and good luck. I tried starving him out for what I thought would be 2-3 meals at most, and wound up dragging out the lil' orange bastards after a day and a half. I would love any suggestions. As for me, my fave simple food is sliced homegrown tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Edited by jess mebane (log)
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If the kid goes hungry for a meal or two, they will eventually learn to eat what is on their plate.

By the same token, I would caution against doing what my parents did - you must finish everything on your plate whether you're hungry or not. To this day I have a hard time determining when I'm full, and if food is put in front of me I will eat whether I'm hungry or not. I struggle with my weight all the time.

My 3 1/2 year old is still a little suspicious of sauces, so we appreciate the joys of simple food almost every day. Steamed fresh veggies, fish broiled with salt and pepper, salad (she loves to toss them :smile: ), sauteed chicken, fruit, veggies from the farmer's market. Fortunately she loves almost everything we give her, so we have time to work on the more sophisticated stuff.

I have no longing for my mom's cooking. It was OK, but she never salted anything. We never had sodas, chips or convenience food, so I have no fuzzy memories of pop tarts or Kraft Mac & Cheese.

Jess, how old is he? Can he be bribed?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I have to put in my two cents on catering to whining larval humans. I remember way back into my childhood. My mother was an enthusiastic cook and an avid gardener. My grandmother and her sister (who would come to vist, AND COOK!) were too. We didn't talk about it much. We just sat down to dinner. There was no discussion about what you were or weren't going to eat. It just NEVER CAME UP. No kiddy dinners either. I was allowed a very few intense dislikes, raw tomatoes... it is a texture thing, turnips.

Food and dinner were always appreciated... "No one makes ham like you Ruthie." "Aunt Minnie, Are you going to make some of your lemon meringue pie this trip?" "Ola... These chicken and dumplin's aren't goin' to be worth a damn. The butcher didn't have any chicken feet." But it wasn't an obsession. We would have thought obsessing about bacon fat, or any other foodstuff for that matter, really odd.

I just followed the same "common sense" while raising my kids. They were always allowed in the kitchen and loved to cook at grandma's house. The garden was a magic playground where the Easter Bunny's carrots grew. And if you were real quiet about it, you could sneak one out of the ground, wash it at the hose and gobble it down before grandma caught you. One year I grew snow peas and that became a real contest. Could I get enough picked for a stir fry before the little locusts stripped the vines and ate them raw? I always "lost". McDonalds was a rare "treat" that, except for the fries, wasn't really liked that much. (I never did understand my daughter's choice of fish sandwiches at McD's. It was all she would order.)

They are now early 30's, great eaters and appreciaters of food, good nutritional common sense, and getting into cooking.

When I run across these ditzes that let the dinner table (if they ever actually sit down at it) become a battleground of wills with their larvae, I just can't stand it. I have been around long enough to see the products of that environment grow up... and not very well at that. I know one woman (lovely little airhead) that was feeding her kids (one year old twins) Crystal Light and skimmed milk because she was afraid they would get fat!!! I told her I was going to report her to child protective services if she didn't get smart real quick.

What we have now are kids that were raised on fast food and a bowl of Lucky Charms to shut them up. And these kids are having kids. I don't know how you teach that food is a part of life. How can they come to know that the preparation and consumption of food in good company is a basic expression of love? I don't think you can teach it. It has to be experienced. The sad part is... Most of them will never read stuff like this.

OK... soap box is going back into the closet.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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hj, he's 2.75, thanks for asking (and parked on my lap just now). Bribes don't currently make a dent, but I'm open to anything at this point. Doc says he's healthy and proportional, height and weight-wise, but I grew up living timidly and eating adventurously, so this has been a real struggle for all of us. Dear spouse and I are at the the tail-end of the "clean-platers" generation, and this is foreign territory.

But then, just to throw us a curve, he'll eat a handful of black olives and whole croissant. It's maddening. I have dim hopes that the spirit of competition will kick in once his sib is unleashed on table food--now, that cat came to EAT.

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[ If mom is always on a diet and barely picking at her food, then how do they expect a toddler to learn to eat?

Well, my kids ain't gonna have THAT problem.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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firefighter:

cream cheese & jelly?  you didn't say what kind--we always usedpepper jelly, either red or green, homemade.  

Cream cheese and pineapple jelly with a little horseradish. On a cracker. Is that simple (and awful-sounding) or what? But it's good. :wink:

Noise is music. All else is food.

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hj, he's 2.75, thanks for asking (and parked on my lap just now). Bribes don't currently make a dent, but I'm open to anything at this point. Doc says he's healthy and proportional, height and weight-wise, but I grew up living timidly and eating adventurously, so this has been a real struggle for all of us.  Dear spouse and I are at the the tail-end of the "clean-platers" generation, and this is foreign territory. 

But then, just to throw us a curve, he'll eat a handful of black olives and whole croissant.  It's maddening. I have dim hopes that the spirit of competition will kick in once his sib is unleashed on table food--now, that cat came to EAT.

Sounds like he knows how to get your goat. Amazing how early they pick that skill up... :hmmm:

I have used a book called Feeding Your Child For Lifelong Health for nutritional information and strategy. It has very common-sense advice on how to avoid making an issue out of mealtime. One thing in it that surprised me was toddler portion sizes - much smaller than I was thinking. Check to see if your library has it.

Their recommendation is to have one "plain" food, like bread and butter, available at every meal. Serve the little sweetheart his dinner and eat yours with no comment. If all they want is bread and butter, fine. Eventually, they will move on to other things. Don't know if this will work for you.

My 3 1/3 year-old was also born to eat. Her biggest food issue is not wanting to eat the same thing day after day. :biggrin: We'll see if the 10 month old does as well. So far he doesn't miss a meal so we may be in luck.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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My 16 year old will eat anything now and feels he's on his way to becoming the World's Greatest Curry Expert, but for years and years, he ate only white food. Plain rice, plain pasta, oatmeal, bread, bananas and chicken.

After a while, I stopped struggling, fixed him what he wanted while we ate real dinner, and surprse! He started trying more and more things and the rest is history.

His little sister ate everyting since she started on solids.

There's no positive point in getting emotionally invested in what a kid chooses to eat.

And I love hot pepper jelly with peanut butter. Indian lime pickle is good with cottage cheese, too.

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