Just eat it!

Luckily, tonight was one of those rare nights with limited dinner time battles. We’d found a deal at the store and bought a couple of tv dinners on sale. Since I never feed my kids a tv dinner, this was a real treat. Well, not so much since the corn dogs disintegrated in the microwave, but still… the excitement of a tv dinner was there. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Anyway, the topic of dinner time debates has come up in a few conversations with my mom friends as of late, and no I don’t mean an intellectual discussion over the state of world affairs. I mean heated arguments over what’s for dinner.

You can prepare the meal your children always beg for- the one they always fall back on when you serve something they don’t like. “Mom, can’t we just have (insert name of favorite fall back food here)?!” Lets say it’s mac ‘n cheese, a kid classic. So, you slave away making the mac ‘n cheese. (Yeah, yeah, it’s eight minutes in a boiling pot, but you get the gist.) You serve up the little yellow-orange noodles on that Sponge Bob plate, expecting to see a smile of delight in the eyes of your precious child. Instead, that ungrateful little tyrant says “Mom, I don’t want mac ‘n cheese!” Shocking, isn’t it?

A similar ordeal arises when you go out of your way to make an adult-type meal. No mac ‘c cheese, or if it is, there’s gouda involved. I’m talking steak or seafood or risotto. Something yummy to the adult palate. Enter the pint-sized tyrant. “Mom, I’m not eating this!” The statement is usually accompanied by a look of disdain and disgust that you would put such a thing before them.

The question is – now what? If your child refuses to eat the meal you’ve prepared, what do you do?

When I was a child, if you didn’t eat what was served for dinner you went to bed hungry. And when you woke up in the morning, that same plate had been reheated and set out for breakfast. There’s starving kids somewhere, right? I guess that explains my hatred of prawns that has followed me to this day…

A few moms have told me they will offer a back up meal to their child if the kid just won’t eat their supper. A pb&j or a grilled cheese sandwich were some of the alternatives I heard about.

So, moms and dads- what do you do when they just won’t eat it? Is it bedtime with a growling tummy? Or do you offer an option? Weigh in!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 08:04:09

    We are “meanie” parents that wrap the dinner plate up and re-offer it at another time if they dont make an effort to try it. Though, we also have multiple bowls of fruits or vegetables around downstairs, and the kids know those are “free” foods that they can munch anytime they are hungry, so at least there is always a choice available if they aren’t a fan of the current meal!


  2. Kara
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 06:38:07

    My kids usually aren’t picky eaters, but lately we’ve been having a similar issue of just not wanting to eat in general – doesn’t matter what’s served. The advice of our nutritionist when we went through this with Lucas after his chemo treatments works really well, both then and now – set a time limit for meals, whatever isn’t eaten by the time limit is gone and nothing else is offered until the next scheduled meal time. When they get hungry enough they eat again, and limiting the time at the table helps cut down on frustration a LOT – there’s not enough time for serious food fighting or playing with food enough to get to the point of insanity on my part. She recommends 30 minutes, no more than 45.


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