Thursday, October 6, 2011

Food Battles

Now, I know that I am a pretty picky eater.  I don't really like trying new things and I can pretty much eat the same things over and over ad infinitum.  I thought that I'd be better able to understand and deal with my children.  I know many children are notoriously picky . . . I was prepared to sympathize and work with them.

But let me tell you, it borders on ridiculous sometimes.  When meals are served, my kids will invariably complain that it's "yucky".  It doesn't really matter what it is.  And it's not just because we are transitioning to paleo eating either.  They did the same thing with bean based dishes.  Just tonight, I served chili and Z1 fell out on the floor as if someone had just sentenced him to eating a bowl of fried beetles.  Z2 complained after every bite.  Luckily, they did eat the yam fries without too much of a problem so at least dinner wasn't a complete wash tonight.

They have their favorite foods like pizza (especially), bread and french fries, which I had been very happy to make for them from scratch at home with the best ingredients I could find.  Trying to substitute paleo-friendly options for these favorite foods has been hit-and-miss.  I've tried different kinds of pizza crusts--some with coconut flour, some with almond--and I haven't found one yet that they really enjoy.  I tried the paleo bread from Elana's Pantry and that was wonderful and well-received.  I felt like I hit the lotto when I fried up some yam and it was accepted as french fries.  

But pretty much every meal is met with complaining and tears and a general lack of gratitude.  And I find it very problematic that before they say "Thank You" they will say things like "Not this again--I hate this!"  I understand that making the transition to paleo is hard but really and honestly, it's not the new way of eating that has prompted the complaining.  It's just different foods to complain about.  

I have come upon some sure-fire foods that will be met with smiles all around: meatloaf (I use Sarah's recipe) and millet (non-paleo but it's cool . . . the kids are pretty much 80/20) and Z1 has really taken a liking to roasted butternut squash and cauliflower rice.

I'll admit that it hurts my feelings.  I really feel so under-appreciated because I do spend so much of my time working hard in the kitchen only for folks to spit on the food and act like it's just torture to eat.  I know I need to re-adjust my attitude and not take it so personally but I am trying so hard and they just could not care less.  Never a simple thank you.  I know they are children and they don't really care much about things or people outside of themselves but tonight, I just felt really overwhelmed by it all.  Wishing I could give up and let them eat whatever garbage they want.  After all, we grew up on white rice and chicken and a whole bunch of other non-ideal foods and we turned out fine.  Well, somewhat fine.

I don't know . .. it seems like an issue all mothers really struggle with, i.e. getting children to eat.  I don't know that my mother had all this agitation around mealtimes.  I feel like it was either you eat or you don't.  And that was that.  I guess I could offer them alternatives if they don't want to eat what is served but in reality, any alternative means more work for me because all the simple go to foods that I would usually serve are not paleo.  So I guess I need to figure out a way to make peace with the stage they are in right now.  And really not take it personally.  


liberationtheory said...

I can feel you on so many levels-- kids not eating and feeling under-appreciated. Honestly, we just decided to pick our battles. Amaya doesn't like to eat dinner. Or better yet, she can't wait to eat dinner. She'd rather graze all evening instead of sitting down for a meal. So we just roll with it and provide a variety of foods that we know she'll eat (fruit, yogurt, milk, string cheese, rinse, repeat). She goes in her drawer and feels in control (another issue/personality quirk) and gets stuff out to eat. Then she'll have whatever we had for dinner as her lunch. We control it by buying high quality/organic types of these foods, which matters more to us than the actual meal.

I don't have any particular suggestion, but know that you are understood!!

navelgazingbajan said...

Oh, the picky eater. My son was picky about starting solids, period. Now that he's much more into eating solids, he tends to refuse veggies and fruit. He's also now asserting his preferences much more strongly and hasn't quite learned that throwing food isn't the acceptable solution to declining food. Of course, he's only 2 so I shouldn't hold it against him. I gotta admit that I do feel a kinda way when he asks for something, I give it to him and then he ends up taking a nibble and tossing the rest on the floor. I just gotta remember that this too shall pass.

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