Thursday, February 9, 2017

Meal Time Struggles


Meal time at our house right now looks like a scene taken directly out of Looney Toons. Food is flying everywhere, it’s loud and little people are complaining. In fact, I cringe every afternoon when the bigs ask “what’s for dinner?” 

My answer is almost always I haven’t decided yet. Not because I actually haven’t decided but because I don’t want to tell them only to then listen to complaining until dinner time. 

There are three kids and a traveling husband, so often it’s just us four for dinner. Only one adult generally equals kid food being made, am I right? I could make peanut butter and jelly for dinner every night (last night we did have sandwiches), maybe alternate it with a little cereal here and there. Iff you follow me on Insta though, you know that I love to cook, and that is where I have a problem. 

My oldest will eat all fruits and most veggies. He likes his chicken and beef plain but does not like bread, pastas or cheese (not my child).

My middle child (sweet girl), eats just about anything - at least I should say she tries everything. She is my people pleaser but at least I know that when she says she doesn’t like something, she means it. I have to push to get her to eat her nutritious stuff because she will lean toward bread, pasta and cheese but will eat the good stuff eventually (my child).

My third child - God, love him - is by far the pickiest eater in the entire world. There are three things he will eat. Macaroni and Cheese (blue box only), Crunchy Carbs (cereal, veggie straws, etc.) and Squeezie Applesauce. That. is. it. Kill me now, y’all. 

If you haven’t noticed, there is not much that I can make that fits in all three of their categories - let alone is still something that I would enjoy eating. So we have laid down some extremely hard-core, off the wall rules when it comes to meal time. 

Eat your food. 

Boom. It’s life changing, isn’t it? That’s our rule. Eat it. Or don’t. But you better not be asking for anything else (until daddy comes hime with ice cream sundaes - his love language).

Y’all, it’s so bad with our littlest one that we cheered and high - fived him when he put a meatball in his mouth!!! (He spit it right back out, but trying it is progress!!!!)

Do you struggle at all with meal-time? (If you don’t, please don’t respond, because it is official - I do not want to be your friend.) If you have kids of any kind, I know you have to be here some days. There have been several instances where I’ve tried to put my best foot forward, tried to make a meal that should definitely make everyone happy. Only to end the meal in tears and frustration (on my part) and a mess left in the kitchen to clean up. 

In an effort to encourage myself, and perhaps you, I wanted to write down a few things that  seem to be helping as we push through this food fighting season in our family. 

1. Meal Planning. I mean, this is key. I created a pinterest board of Kid-Friendly recipes that look to be somewhat healthy, but also delicious and might please more than one of my children. This is not an easy game, but someone’s got to play.

2. Grocery Shopping according to the meal plan. My new favorite trick is Walmart online grocery shopping! (Kroger offers it in limited locations too!) I can avoid picking up anything I don’t actually need, I can check my pantry as I make my list and I know exactly how much I’m spending. The BEST thing is that I avoid having to fight my youngest in the cart for an hour! Busy Women - this will be life changing. 

3. Always offering all the food. I generally make three choices to be on the plate. Mostly, I portion everything out pretty small because I want them to eat everything before they get more of what I know they like. I also like to make at least one thing that I know they will eat, with the exception of my youngest. He just gets what he gets. He’s not always going to have a crunchy carb or mac and cheese on his plate. It’s just not going to happen. There are many nights that he goes to bed without actually eating anything. My doctor’s okay with that, and so am I. 

My big kids are required to take three bites of everything - and mostly they don’t fight that anymore. Consistency is key. And I do bribe. I'm not above that. 

I am concerned about everyone’s nutrition though, including my own. Recently, I have been introduced to the Honest Company’s DHA Supplement for babies and their Prenatal Daily Vitamins. I absolutely love the Honest Company - and everything they make! I wish they had the DHA Supplement when my kids were babies. Their one-a-day prenatal is one that doesn't make my tummy hurt, so they get a GOLD STAR in my book! These are such good ways to get nutrition in our diet even when our mealtimes are completely off!

4. Chill out. This one is the hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around, y’all. I am totally okay with my kids not eating - they have delicious food in front of them and if they choose not to eat enough then so be it. However, I do tend to get worked up (you could call it frustrated) when there is complaining at the table. What I hope to get into my thick skull one day is that it’s okay. Even in teaching moments like these, they are just kids and I can’t make them not be picky eaters. That is not in my control, y’all. I have a funny feeling that if I would just loosen up, maybe they would too. 

Do you have any mealtime tips with kiddos (or a picky hubby)? I would LOVE to hear them!! Next week I’ll share a few reader tips that we get!

The Honest Co. inspired me to write a post about eating healthy as a family! Thank you, Honest Co., for allowing me to partner with you!

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