Monday, February 15

Food Block

I have forgotten everything I've ever learned how to cook. There wasn't that much to begin with.
But I find it kind of disturbing that I know how long a plate of any number of chicken nuggets (CN) needs to be zapped, I can whip out four peanut butter (PB) sandwiches faster than it took me to write this paragraph, but when dinner time comes- my brain is full of CN and PB.

I am very uninspired to cook a full-on dinner. Zach may or may not be home to eat it, Mia is just as iffy, and the only variable about the twins is how loud they howl when I set something in front of them that isn't CN or PB.

I can't complain, though. They will eat from each of the four food groups. Anya is just basically down to non-syrupy fruit, mac and cheese, PB&J, plain rice, pureed mixed vegetables (pureed?!!! what is she, nuts?) some cereals, and pancakes. And I realize what a miracle it is that I was able to drive in a blizzard today and pick up fresh strawberries per request of the four-year-old. This isn't about desperation. It's about inspiration- or uh- the lack of it. ;D

I'm just realizing that this is the not-fun-to-cook phase in our family. What did you do when you were going through it? What are you doing if you're in it, too? Is it possible to be inspired to cook a healthy meal for yourself? Or is everyone just having CN and PB for dinner tonight?


Duncan said...

I gave up on cooking for a long time. We had green fries: lightly steamed green beans, green sour cream: mashed avocado, green chips: spinach leaves dipped in ranch dressing, etc...

Anything with dip is a winner. I know you mentioned the kids like to dip in V8 juice (I never would have thought of that)! I like Ranch dressing, but that is fatty. Others use spaghetti sauce.

Finger foods are great too. Beans (in moderation, trust me!) fit the bill as do firm avocado squares. Chicken soaked in Italian dressing, cooked, and cut into small squares works well too.

Funny containers are good. We used old egg cartons and put a different food or dip into each cup.

Kids like color so put lots of colorful fruit and veggies on a plate (tomatoes, green peppers, fresh peas, blue berries...). Then sit down with the plate and really enjoy it- make a big (but sincere) fuss about how beautiful and tasty it is. Don't offer any to the kids! Do it again the next day but still DON'T offer them any. Keep at it until they ask for some. They might not like it the first time they taste something new, but if you keep going they will want it eventually. Little Guy begs for green peppers in his lunch!

Growing food makes them want to try it too. If they had to work for it, they want to like how it tastes.

Our rule that we say over and over again: "You don't have to eat it and you don't have to like it, but you DO have to try it and you can't say yuck (be rude)! "Girly still doesn't like spicy food, Little Guy doesn't like regular potatoes no matter how they are cooked, and Oldest has a hard time with big chunks of meat, but they all love to try new things.

My favorite book about kids and eating is How to Get Your Kid to Eat: But Not Too Much by Ellen Satter. You should absolutely read it!

Food and play are the two aspects of parenting that I actually feel confident in. Don't ask me about emotions or dealing with obnoxious behavior! Good luck!

Breezi said...

Don't forget the hot dogs.

You could also do chili. It comes together really quick.

Amandean said...

I sometimes feel the same way-I've been cooking dinner for how many years now, and how is it that I can never think of anything to make? But I can't really offer much advice-mine eat just about anything. And if they don't like what I made, they get PB&J.

Lisa said...

In our home I make whatever is on the menu (or whatever I decide at 4 o'clock) and they can either choose to eat it or go hungry until breakfast. It only takes a few nights of going hungry before they start eating what I give them. I have a friend who actually serves their un-eaten dinner at all the consecutive meals until it is eaten by that child; and it has worked like a charm. I think you will see an improvement in more options when they are more willing to try.

Hollie said...

I like Lisa's ideas. I'm kind of the same way. I'll make whatever for breakfast and lunch, but dinner is on the menu, they can eat it or go without until morning. I'll leave Drew's plate sitting out until he goes to bed and usually when he finally tries it, he really likes it.

Summer said...

Wow- these two are way more stubborn, I guess. Anya has gone to bed hungry the last three nights already- ha! And guess who gets to woken up in the middle of the night three or four times because she doesn't sleep on an empty stomach? Me... and usually Zach... and sometimes the other two...

I've tried the serve it over and over thing, too- but that tactic is more for kids doing a power struggle- and as far as I can tell, that's not their problem. They usually just try one bite and never touch it again. It's like they really don't like the taste or texture or something. I have done that if they don't try something I'm sure they'd like, but I've been a wimp and let them have breakfast. I'll have to try something really yummy and re-microwaveable next time with no breakfast.

I've done the color, dips, and having everyone else eat it without giving Anya and Bree any. They just eat the dip plain(they'll eat butter plain!!!), and wish us bon appetit on everything else.

I like the container idea- I've got to try that!

What weirds me out is how they won't eat kid stuff like blueberries, carrot sticks... Anya won't even do hot dogs unless I do pigs-in-a-blanket, and even then it's just a couple of bites and she really doesn't want it. My biggest worry is that Anya sometimes turns down her old favorites.

You guys reminded me of some things they used to eat that I haven't tried in a while- thanks!!

Erika said...

I don't do create food tactics. To me they are a waste of time because they work once or twice and then you have to come up with new ones.

Breakfasts and lunches I keep simple with foods I know they'll eat. Breakfast: cereal, yogurt, pancakes/waffles, eggs. Lunch: Sandwiches, quesadillas, chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, english muffin pizza.

Dinners I just make what I want to eat and if they want to eat it they can. If not they can go to bed or they don't get dessert if we have dessert. Sometimes the dessert motivates them. My 3 year old OFTEN goes to bed with only a bite or two in her tummy. It is a MIRACLE that my 5 year old finally likes the foods I make! She actually has favorites. There are still nights that she turns her nose up but she will try things (with coaxing) and sometimes she'll ask "how many more bites do I have to eat?"

Our new problem is that when we are at other people's houses she'll say, "This is not my favorite like Mom makes." It kind of makes me feel good that she likes the food I make, but it's also embarrassing that she's not grateful.

Erika said...

(that was supposed to be *creative food tactics*)

Tulsi said...

My girls have texture issues. Still and they are old. They may like the flavor some things give the dish, but not like the particular food. Mikele loves mushrooms and Brie and I won't eat them because they feel funny. I have texture issues, too. The girls like the way onions taste, but hate the way they feel. I have to puree them when I put them in anything that needs the flavor.

Kelly D. said...

I'm right there with you. Except my husband is just as picky as the girls. The other night I knocked myself out making spice rubbed pork chops, roasted squash, and fresh rolls. People gagged and retched the whole meal. Afterward, my four-year-old proclaimed, "Mommy, that dinner was HORRIBLE." Thanks a lot!

I'm clinging to the pearls of wisdom I got in my FSN class at BYU right now. The only things I can control is when and what I feed them. They control how much they eat. Nothing I do can change that balance of power. I've tried the punishments, gimmicks, re-heating meals, etc. Nothing works. I just hope that someday they will try the veggies and fruits on their plates the way the instructor promised they would!!!

But believe me, you aren't the only one serving up a lot of chicken nuggets right now :)

Kelly D. said...

P.S. My kids eat plain butter, too! They won't taste delightful roasted squash but they'll dig into butter?!? I just don't get it.

The Garber Family said...

I am with you on the "no fun to cook" phase. Usually it's Matt and I that eat and kids complain. Miles will sometimes eat.
I don't have any solutions.
I'm not the one with food advice, that's for sure. Not even after a team of professionals from Primary Children's chatted with my most picky eater.