I’ll admit it. I’m a Nutritionist with three kids and they don’t eat stuff I make.
Sometimes they say they don’t like the meal before they even try it. It’s cool, that doesn’t infuriate me at all. No, I love when they say “Yuck” before they even know what dinner is. Love that.
Makes me really happy.
Recently my oldest son (he’s seven) has pretty much decided he doesn’t like meat. Of course, bacon and ham and sausages and pepperoni on pizza don’t count…but y’know…other MEAT like chicken and fish. THOSE meats. Not going to eat those ones.
Wait, sorry, no. He’ll EAT them but he’ll chew each bite for about 6 hours. I can’t stand it.
So what’s a parent to do?
First, we have to stay calm. CALM. Deep breaths.
This won’t last forever.
Kids go through so many phases with food as they grow, it’s nuts. We just have to remember to always offer new and familiar foods to them, and allow them to make the decisions as to what they’re going to eat. It’s difficult. Trust me, I know. And then we have to wait it out. I’m not kidding. It will feel like forever and then one day you’ll wake up and everyone is eating the roast chicken with vegetables without complaining and you’re insides are bursting but you can’t actually let them know how happy you are because it’ll ruin the moment but GOSH it’s just the best thing…right? Right.
I’m human. I’m a human Mom. I am. And I know that giving in to your kids is easy and sometimes necessary. I’ve done it. I’ve been there.
But it’s important that we take the time to offer our kids nutritious and delicious foods that don’t come out of a box because otherwise they’ll move out of our homes and not know what the hell real food is. And that is truly scary.
I want my kids to leave home knowing how to cook a few regular old meals, some breakfasts, lunches and dinners for themselves, some that will impress and maybe even a show stopping dinner so when he’s trying to impress his girlfriend’s parents for the first time, he’s sweating from nerves and not a kitchen fire.
These are my dreams.
My kids are 7, 6 and 4.
Oh come on, you think this stuff too.
You know what I did tonight? After watching my son eat his steak for what felt like an eternity, I opened a cookbook and went through all the different proteins available to him. This included beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh, and seafood among the regulars at the dinner table.
Now, I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I can’t exactly force him to, can I? But I do have to explain to him the reasons I don’t eat meat and make sure he’s not just following in my footsteps for some weird reason. I want to honour his decision but I also want him to know that I’m going to continue to offer him meats and expect him to try them from time to time. If he still doesn’t like it, then so be it.
Just to be clear, he is not making an ethical choice or not eating meat for health reasons. He just doesn’t like the taste/texture (like every other food a child decides they don’t like at some point).
So we’ve decided to get some shrimp and tuna steaks for next week and we’ll be trying that out. And maybe having homemade burgers (which I will stuff with healthy goodness).
He has no idea how lucky he is to have a Mom that is willing to plan an entire week’s menu around his likes and dislikes.
But you know what? I kind of love it. I get to try new recipes and I can tell you, you’ll be able to hear me ROAR from the rooftops the moment all three of my kids actually like and eat a dish that isn’t pizza!
I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, and parents…good luck. I just want you to know I understand. The struggle is real. And if you ever want to vent while eating the leftovers over the sink, I’m here for you.