Saturday, October 25, 2008

Which Is Worse?

I'm working hard on the issues I had a few weeks ago. Getting some exercise is really helping me to sleep better, and I'm making a conscious effort to go to bed earlier so that I get more sleep in general. We've also added a web cam to our arsenal of communication tools for chatting with Scott over in Iraq. I've actually seen his face while talking to him via the computer this week and that has had a tremendous impact on my outlook. All of the above are helping, and I'm feeling a little more empowered. I'm ready to make some positive changes where the girls are concerned.

Starting with their eating habits.

I'm sitting here tonight trying to decide which is worse.... feeding the girls junk and watching them gobble it up, or feeding them a nutritious meal and watching them fidget in their seats for 15 minutes, nibbling only 2 or 3 bites of buttered bread each before asking to be excused?

I read a great book, How to Get Your Kid to Eat... But Not Too Much, by Ellyn Satter and decided it was time for me to start cooking again. We eat out a ton, and I don't think that will change over the winter months because sometimes going to Burger King's playground is the only outing that I can come up with on a dreary winter day. I would be okay with the amount of dining out that we do if the girls were being introduced to and learning to like a healthy variety of foods when we are eating dinner at home. Per instructions in the book: we don't really discuss the foods on their plates, I aim to have at least one thing they each like available, and I don't push, force, or even encourage them to eat what is prepared. I also don't make anything else until the next meal or snack time. So the hope is that they will eventually be hungry enough to try something new, and at the very least, if I'm only offering basically healthy choices I don't have to worry what they are choosing to eat and not.

I'm just not sure how many nights in a row I'll be able to prepare a meal and then toss out 3/4 of it because they opted not to eat?!? This is definitely something that goes into the "would be easier to do if my husband were here" category because then at least 2 adults would be benefiting from my efforts at making a home cooked meal. Has anyone else out there tried to start healthy eating habits with 3 and 2 year olds? How long will these girls hold out for their junk food? Why, oh why, did I wait so long to get started?!?

When I say junk I don't mean twinkies and donuts (at least not usually), but they sure do love carbs. They would eat waffles, pancakes, or cereal for every meal if I let them. Fruit is also fairly easy to get into Maggie, Kate, and Sarah, but Ella's adamantly opposed to trying anything she knows to be a fruit. None of them like many veggies or meats. Help!

I was looking back over the blog a few days ago and found a post from January that I wrote to my future self. The post Sanity Must Be Realtive still applies to my life today. If you had told me back then that when the girls were "2 and 3 and tearing the house apart" that Scott would be in Iraq, I would most certainly have told you that I couldn't handle that! And yet, again, through God's grace and His strength, I am making it just fine! So even as frustrating as feeding them can be, at least they are not eating off the floor all the time like they were last year! I wonder what 3 and 4 will bring?
Dear Lord, I thank you for yesterday and for the hope of tomorrow, but please help me to live and love well today.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the changes. I hear ya on the let them eat what they want or battle to eat healthy. I try to hide the good stuff in things. Like veges in a quiche or on a pizza. My 5 year old would eat cereal for every meal if I let her too.
I just downloaded skype this weekend and plan to go out and get a webcam today. I can't wait to see Felix via the cam. So glad you are able to see him!
Have a great Sunday.

Cadi, Lance and our 4 miracles. said...

I don't think there are many toddlers out there that don't have eating issues. I always put it on their plate and I usually try to get them to take one bite of everything, at least. I've seen Ashlyn say something is "yucky" and once she tries it, gobble it up. But I usually don't force the issue. I do let them have junk once in a while too because I want them to have some fun while their kids. Plus, hey, its easier and we could all use a break sometimes.

Lara said...

Good luck. My kids are the same way. It is hard to get them to want to eat healthy things, but we try. I will admit that I often give up fighting the battle, though! I like the idea of trying to hide the good stuff, and that occasionally works, especially while they're young. Keep at it, and they'll start trying it out, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Hello! A lurker here and first time commenter...but I felt compelled to comment on this post. I enjoy checking your blog and reading about your sweet girls! Have you heard of the cookbook called Deceptively Delicious? Its a way to get the benefits of fruits and veggies in your meals without actually eating the fruits and veggies per se. The recipes call for veggie or fruit purees, which sounds weird but I've tried a few of the recipes and they are actually good and you would never know!! It does involve some prep time with the pureeing and all, but the book suggests doing the purees in one day and freezing them so they are on hand. I know that is not exactly introducing the girls to new foods but at least it gets those nutrients in! Hope this was helpful!!
Melissa in Memphis

MaryBeth said...

Hi Melissa,
I got that cook book last year for Christmas, and only tried a couple of things from it before basically putting it on the "retired" list. We did not like the pink pancakes or the brownies, best I recall. Could you recommend a couple of things for me to try now that I'm on a cooking binge again? Otherwise, I'll be giving that cookbook away soon.
Oh, and thanks for reading and coming out of lurking to make the suggestion!!

Carolina Mama said...

I'm one of four silly sisters who had an older brother too. .... So I loved your title. :) They are adorable. And I am also a multiples mom, we have twin sons. ;)

Also, Thank you to you and your husband for sacrificing for our country and freedoms.

Brandi said...

We're in the same boat on this one. Raegan will go through phases where she really likes something for about a week and then refuses to eat it after that. And it doesn't matter how much I offer/try to hide/make fun shapes out of/etc. she will not try vegetables at all and refuses to eat anything else on her plate until every last morsel of vegetable is removed from it. So I can't really help with advice, I've just been doing the best I can with offering different things and making the best of her little eating phases, I know it's probably going to get even harder with the holidays coming up and getting off schedule even more. I know that this too shall pass and one day she will actually start to eat somewhat least that's my hope anyway.

Amanda said...

At that age, preparing small portions of little bites worked best for our kids. Also, dipping sauces seemed to be incentive for trying new things: baby carrots, celery, or cucumbers with ranch. Ketchup with virtually every kind of meat.

Remember, a little one's stomach is the size of their fist, so you could easily feed them all on one chicken breast (and a half, maybe), so even if they don't eat much, there won't be much waste. Good luck!

Amanda L said...

I was so lucky in that respect with Chase. In fact he told the doc. at his 4yr. check-up that his favorite food was brussel sprouts. It has gotten a lot harder lately though. I have had some luck with "dips". He will eat almost anything if there is a sauce to dip it in. Also, and this may be pure testosterone, he will eat anything on a skewer. Dangerous for you I know, but food on sticks has great appeal at my house for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Beth! Thanks for replying to my comment! I agree with the girls that some of the recipes were kinda strange...especially the sweets with a vegetable mixed in always seemed a little weird to me! =) My favorite thing from that cookbook was the grilled cheese with squash puree in the cheese. I've never had the mac and cheese with squash (or cauliflower) but I think it would kinda be the same thing. It also said you could mix a puree in with store bought favorites, like a box mix of mac and cheese. Also, maybe starting out by adding about half of the amount of puree the recipes call for might not really change the texture or taste too much at first. Other favorite recipes were the chicken nuggets and chicken quesadillas. (the things with squash were best-maybe because it doesn't really change the color of the food all that much.) =) Happy eating!

Anna said...

Hey MB,
Rylee Ann has always loved veggie and actually used to prefer them to sweets! Thanks to grandparents that has not lasted. I am very stubborn and refuse to make something extra just because she wont eat what we are having. She loves chicken soup so if it is really bad and she hasn't eaten a bite I make some chicken soup or just broth and let her sip it out of her little Starbucks mug. I figure a couple days a week that is good enough for her.

Penelope said...

I'm lucky, my 2 year old fell for the line 'it'll make you big and strong' and then discovered she actually likes steamed carrots and broccoli! I also discovered she will only eat chicken thighs/drumsticks, as the meat is more juicy.
I also tried a book called 'deceptively delicious'.