Thursday, September 28, 2006


Fighting over food...

Just goes to show you can never sit back and pat yourself on the back for a job well done with this parenting lark. Even if we do say so ourselves, Marc and I always thought we'd done a pretty good job with bringing up our kids to eat well. In many aspects they still do us credit, but it's the eldest, now a teenager, who is causing us great angst - over eating!

As babies, and toddlers, all three were brilliant.. and would put visiting children to shame, with their ability to eat most normal things. I didn't carry on too long with the separate meals thing - they were pretty quickly indoctrinated into the mushed up, then chopped up version of the family meal. No way was I going to cook two meals in one night, thank you. God, compared to what some parents were going through, we were cruising - and put it down to a combination of good luck, and just a little bit of good management. Our 'no dessert unless you've eaten your main', and 'mealtime drink=water' rules were even frowned upon by my parents as being overtly strict, and deliberately flaunted by them while our backs were turned. How bizarre to feel criticised by the grandparents for being on the strict side, but that's how it was, and still is.

Apart from that sort of thing, though, we never got too carried away with being healthy eating nazis. Everything in moderation. Plus, being a bit slacko myself, I've always been more partial to nice fresh white bread than the grainy bread. I used to swear by whole milk as well- for the taste - until I weaned myself off it and now just about gag if I have to have whole milk in my coffee or cereal. and I force myself to eat vegetables because I know they are good for me. (I could never be a vegetarian!)

My kids have grown up slim and healthy, but a combination of general publicity about healthy eating (the fight against obesity), and my own struggle to lose a mere 10kg to bring me back to an appropriate weight for my height, has led me to be trying to guide the family's eating habits in the right direction. There is a lot you can get away with when you are young and active, but it's not a bad idea to enter adulthood with good nutrition habits.


I did read in a magazine recently (where they were talking about children over 2 not needing whole milk anymore) that you should introduce changes when they are young, because it's very hard to change established eating habits when they are older.

My wordy me, yes. Especially when you have a feisty, bloody minded, 13 year old.

It's already bad enough that she has changed from the super-eater she was as a toddler, to a pain in the neck who has an increasing menu of vegetables that she won't eat, and will do anything she can to avoid eating them.

Her younger sisters suggest eating the ones she doesn't like first to get them out of the way. And we suggest mixing them on a fork with the stuff she does like. Nup. No way. Not on your life. Leaves them till the end, pushing them to the side of the plate, and getting her to eat them can be an excruciating battle. If you let her get away with it, she just increases her list of 'I don't like's, and basically, I'm not going to cook her special meals... but nor is she going to get away with not eating any vegetables. Not in my house.

She won't eat fish now either. Loathes it. Won't touch anything remotely fishy. Which kind of impacts on the family menu, because I have to choose between fish for the rest of us, and her either not eating a balanced meal, or scouring the fridge for leftovers (of which her siblings who don't mind fish are inclined to be jealous of.)

The vegies and fish issues are an ongoing battle... The most recent flare-ups, though, are over milk, and grainy bread.

Flatly refuses to eat anything but white bread. I have been buying the hyfibe white bread as a compromise, but am gradually trying to introduce more wholegrain bread for all of us.

HRH Princess 13 would starve rather than eat wholemeal or multigrain.

And the milk!

I've been buying no fat milk for me. Lo-fat for Marc, and whole milk for the kids. The younger two have admitted to hardly being able to taste the difference between the lo fat and the whole milk, so have been happy to oblige. They have been having glasses of milk at afternoon tea (used to be with milo, now I've been trying to find a lower carb alternative, but that's another story), so I said they were drinking far too much milk to be having all whole milk. As a compromise the other day I bought the local dairy co. equivalent of that 'smart white'.. the one in the ad where the guy goes into the shop for milk, and the shopkeeper reels off a list of all the types. "I just want milk that tastes like milk" he says, so she gives him a bottle of the Smart White. "Tastes like real milk... (then her eyes flicker down to his stomach)... and only 2% fat."

Worth a try, I think. Sick of Madam ruling the kitchen.

Younger two are fine with it. But not HRH. Flatly refuses to taste it, and the performance at breakfast time yesterday was priceless. She made herself toasted turkish bread and stomped off to school. Terrific. No calcium AND no fibre.

This morning she went off again having only eaten toast because - having missed the tiny bit of whole milk left in the fridge yesterday - she was enraged to find that Zoe had absentmindedly used that on her own cereal. (Zoe knows I get cranky when they don't finish off bottles before opening new ones!!)

I don't know if this battle is worth it.. but I'm determined to prove to her that she is just being bloody minded about it. Say goodbye to white bread, except for special, freshly baked treats. And the milk... well, lets just see if she can pass the taste test.

It's my duty as a Good Mother. :)

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My sister had many of the same problems with her youngest daughter. Eventually she said that she would no longer cook for her, she could get her own meals....and pay for the groceries herself.
Shortly thereafter there was a compromise. She could pick the vegetables etc. that she would eat but she had to prepare them herself so mum didn't have to cook 2 meals.
Daughter became a rather good cook but was awful with cleanup. LOL

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