DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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14 May 2013

Children and parents eating the same meals

Now that we're looking after Jamie occasionally, it's brought back a lot of memories about how things were when my own sons were babies. They both started eating porridge - the same one we enjoyed, then grew up with all of us sitting at the kitchen table for meals; there were no special foods. Our sons had completely different eating preferences. One would eat anything and everything, first time. The other was a fussy eater. He wanted to know what everything was, what was in it and if he hadn't seen it before, well, we had a struggle getting him to eat.

Our beautiful grandsons, Jamie (left) and Alex.

I come from a long line of very practical mothers and homekeepers. I clearly remember my mother advising me to give my sons chop bones to chew on, to simply puree or mash what we were eating and feed it to my boys and if they weren't going to eat, allow them to leave the table. I gave them the occasional chop bone to chew on, and they loved them. I think many of today's mothers might be shocked at the chop bones, but at that time, it was a fairly common practise. The boys happily sat there chewing away, tasting the flavour and getting a very small amount of nutrition. The purpose of the exercise was to get them used to seeing us eat and for them to eat the same food. It also helped them develop their taste buds and to be ready for meat when we introduced it later along with pureed vegetables.

One of my boys was allowed to leave the table when it became clear he wouldn't eat a particular meal. Once he left the table though, there was no coming back. Not even for dessert. Soon he learnt that lesson and then slowly developed his palate for a wider range of food. I sometimes remember the difficult days of refusing to eat and crying but they only lasted a short time. When new habits were established, that lasted forever. 

I read this very interesting article in The Guardian last week about children eating the same food as their parents. It reminded me that in Australia, almost all restaurants you go to will have a children's menu. That children's menu is usually made up of pizza, fish and chips, chicken nuggets and chips or burgers and chips. I have never understood why children couldn't just have smaller versions of the main items on the menu. Why don't they eat what their parents eat?

I've been really pleased to see Jamie eat a wide variety of foods ever since he started eating solids.  When he started snacking, Sunny and Kerry put different foods on a plate: fruits, vegetables, bread, crackers, cheese, chicken or meat, and let him choose what he wanted. Usually it was the entire plate. Now that he's eating with us, and sharing our morning tea and lunch, he eats what we eat. Last week that was pea and ham soup with toast fingers, the week before it was roast pork, red cabbage and roast vegetables. He also eats all the delicious Asian food Sunny cooks. During the day he will snack on fruit - we have organic oranges growing in the backyard at the moment, so he's eating those. He eats a small piece of whole orange cake or a homemade biscuit for morning tea. He drinks either water, milk or juice. I might ask Sunny if I can try him on warm milky tea when the days are a bit colder.

I think getting children to eat well is a problem in many homes. It can be really difficult at the start and if you're stressed after a day's work, sometimes you just want everyone fed so you have time to relax.  And there are so many different ways to get the same result. What happens in your home? Is, or was, it a battle every day or was it easy for you? When did you start solids and when did you stop giving milk as frequently?

80 comments:

  1. Great topic Rhonda, we have the same issue in the UK with kid's menus always resembling a fast-food takeaway menu, yuck! I always pureed or mashed up the same food we were having, being mindful of the salt content, etc. We always ate together at the table, without TV and enjoyed sharing our day with one another. The kids were used to proper home-cooked meals from day one and we had pizza or fish and chips as a treat.

    I overheard a mother in the supermarket the other day with her very young toddler, asking him what he wanted for dinner that evening! I think sometimes we give young children too many options, and if the main meal is just served up and eaten by everyone, there are less issues later on.

    However, we all have our individual food likes and dislikes, and I never served up something I knew my children hated. For example, my son has always really hated cheese so I'd make sure there were choices on the table without cheese, and later on when my daughter became vegetarian, meat-free alternatives. She is lactose intolerant and I am wheat-intolerant, but it is still possible to cook family meals suitable for all, especially when you cook from scratch.

    I'll be interested to read everyone's views on this topic.

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    1. I agree with you Tina. There are certain foods we all dislike and they can be excluded. I remember I hated sultanas when I was younger, now I love them.

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    2. Oh yes I don't force a truly hated food. That's not nice for me or our kids.

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  2. We rarely have food battles in our home. Our children eat what we eat and if they don't eat, that's all until the next meal. I don't believe in having a fight about it, so I'm very no-nonsense: here's your chance to eat, you don't have to eat it if you don't want to, but there won't be other food. I don't want unpleasant mealtimes and they understand that. They have a very diverse palate, which makes me proud. I breastfed them so they were already tasting everything I typically eat before they could try solid foods and when they did, I usually fed them right from my own plate.

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  3. In my home, it's "eat what you are given, or go without". If you don't eat dinner, there is no dessert or other food. You also may NOT leave the table until everyone else has finished (which is incredibly boring).
    My mum was the same, and we ate (and eat) a wide range of foods and none of us were fussy.
    Carly

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  4. Your comment about children's menus in resturaunts made us laughter. On the odd occasions we took our children out to eat if we had offered the children's menu would have had a riot on our hands. They wanted the cottage pie, curry or stir fries and love to try anything new and unfamiliar. Chicken nuggets were defiantly OFF the menu.

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  5. The warm fireplaceMay 14, 2013 5:46 am

    It was a nightmare in my house to get the children to eat, i gave in to there fads, which made the problem worse, and now they are 28,25,21 they are still fussy eaters if i had my time again i would be more firmer but thats with the benefit of hindsight.
    Sue

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  6. i did 'baby lead weaning' a new-fangled iteration of what you used to do by the sounds of it, where you go straight for real food rather than using purees at 6 months plus, with my daughter who is now three and a half-her first food was a whole pear, he second was a piece of steak. it went great, we could sit and eat the same food together from very early on, and my goodness it made life so. much. easier. i found with my daughter having never forced food on her physically or with cajoling that she has natural periods of 'feast and famine' and interestingly her growth spurts are always preceded by a loss of appetite of some weeks-the opposite of what we are always told! i always breastfed her before a meal unil she was about 1 1/2 as she was always more enthusiastic about food and meal times is she wasn't starving hungry and irritable beforehand.

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  7. We have 3 kids under 4, we all eat the same meal. We ask that our kids try everything on their plates. They do eat most of the food I cook. When we go out, we usually order them an entree meal from the 'adult' menu - the items in the kids menu are usually frozen items deep fried, with not a veggie in sight! We ask our kids to stay at the table - at least until all the kids have finished their meals! Hubby & I talk to our kids (no phones at the table!) and if one child finishes before the other, they are allowed to bring a small toy to the table until the others have finished. Usually it is coloring in that is the 'toy' - which is great because it leads To discussions about colors, their pictures etc.

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  8. We have never had trouble getting our kids to eat...we did pretty much what you did. There were no special foods for them, all the food is set out on a table in dishes and our kids from a very young age took great pleasure in serving themselves and choosing the amounts they had. When we went to restaurants we struggled with the idea of kids menus which were largely chicken nuggets and started asking for a smaller version of an adults meal - most restaurants were really happy to comply and the waitress/waiter was often astounded to see a 3 year old happily chomping on a brussel sprout !

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  9. I can really identify with this as I have 2 toddlers - one who is a very fussy eater and the other who will happily eat anything that is put in front of her.

    Having a fussy eater is stressful & I used to make different meals for him. After a 2 week episode of him refusing everything but jam sandwiches, apples, raisins and yoghurt I decided enough was enough. He now gets what everyone else gets. He still refuses a lot of foods, but he is showing signs of wanting to try them (a definite step forward) and now that he's 3, he can help in the kitchen which seems to give him more confidence with food too.

    It's difficult not to cave in at times though, with tears and tantrums and just wanting your little boy to eat something.

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    1. It's very difficult at time but you're doing the right thing for your son. Keep up the good work, dear. xx

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  10. Our children are served what we are eating. There is no fuss and they don't have to eat it, but that is what's for lunch/dinner, and if they don't eat it then they will be hungry. Apparently what I do is BLW (baby led weaning), but what it really is, is practicality and laziness lol. I am not a café, and have no plans to be cooking several dishes each night!!
    We always have fresh fruit available for eating at any stage.
    I breastfeed my children until at least 2 or 3 years of age and so far, both of them have an excellent range of tastes and both generally eat anything. I'm pregnant again and planning to be as practical with this baby lol.

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    1. That's a good point to make, Karen. Having fresh fruit available for them during the day - that is important/

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  11. Hi Rhonda, we do exactly the same in our house. Last night I made a lovely chicken and vegetable soup at my 5-year-old's request. My 3-year-old proclaimed she didn't like it without having a taste, but we encourage the kids to sit at the table for at least five minutes and in this time they ALWAYS get curious and have a taste of what's in front of them.

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  12. Our rule at the dinner table if they didn't want to finish their meal was: "If you're too 'full' to finish your dinner, you're too full for anything else later on". I didn't have many food issues with the kids and they both have widely varied palates now as adults.

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

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  13. I fed my children baby food bought in a jar - but I've been proud to see my son and daughter-in-law make baby food for my granddaughter from what they are eating themselves, sometimes freezing it in very small portions for later. As my children got older, and if they didn't like what I cooked for a family meal, I would allow them to make their own PBJ (peanut butter and jelly) sandwich. Not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I figured everyone has their likes and dislikes, as do I. Thank you for this post, Rhonda.

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  14. My kids eat what we eat - though I do acknowledge that they don't like some foods so won't fight them on it (they hate broccoli as does their dad - I love it) so I just add mine later & every now and then they will ask to try it. Though we do have one rule in our house which is you can't say you don't like it till you've tried it and there is always heaps of praise for trying (even if they don't actually like it), it means they keep coming back to try new stuff. With 4 kids there is no way that I am making second meals. I also inovlve them in cooking - they love it - their favourite is making chicken schnitzel from scatch, yeah its messy but not one of them refuse to eat it :)

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  15. Kelly, I think getting them to help with the cooking is one of the keys. We need to find food that doesn't involve a battle and cooking food seems to play that role. I did that too. We're very similar in our approach.

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  16. I always just fed my kids what we were eating - in various forms of mashed-ness or cut up bits. Both of them go through phases of eating a lot of one thing and then the next week claiming to despise it. With my first I started to get worried when she went through the first stage of being picky to the point of not eating much so I asked my CWA ladies who all said - do NOT allow her to dictate what you feed her, she will not starve herself, just offer the food and she can choose if she eats it. Lo and behold she got back to eating when she realised she was not going to starve her way into a junk food menu or anything. With my second I copped a lot of flack from other mothers about giving my kids the food we ate (the "baby" food industry really does make mums think they can't) and the CHN told me it was vital to the development of the mouth muscles - so talking - that my children were given challenging foods in ever increasing sizes and textures - not slop in a jar - and I often get comments on what good talkers both are so I think it was pretty much on the mark.

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  17. My children hated the kids menu at restaurants, they always ate what we were eating and we very rarely ate fried food or Macdonalds. People used to say they had very adult or gourmet tastes. All they were eating was steak/chicken/fish and vegetables

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  18. My daughter's first solid food was a chicken foot at yum cha. She then went on to naw on a chinese broccoli stalk. Definitely baby-led weaning but we didn't put too much thought into it. I would mash up whatever we were having for dinner and she would have that too. I thought it was funny at dinner last night she didn't seem too interested in what was in front of her- left over chicken, red cabbage with mint, yoghurt, and homemade flatbread- my husband and I were having the same but rolled up in the flatbread. I saw her looking at me and realised she wanted hers rolled up like Mum & Dad's. 30 seconds later she was merrily chomping away. This was extra amusing as she has never like the cabbage but I just keep offering it.

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    1. You make a good point with the presentation. Often children will eat something they wouldn't eat before if it's presented in a different way or in combination with other foods. :- )

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  19. With 5 children and not much money I never gave them lemonade or any fizzy drink or any chips or similiar unless it was Christmas or Birthdays. This made that time very exciting and weeks spent on what colour fizzy or chips they would get while they read over and over the birthday cake books, to choose a cake lol.

    Chris from Coffs Harbour

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  20. I am a big believer in having children eat what the parents do and not to make separate meals like some families do. My eldest (I think he was 12 at the time) whinged one night about the fish we were having for tea one too many times so I simply served up the rest of the meal in the same portions that the rest of us was having and left the fish off his plate. He never whinged about what we were eating again!

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  21. My youngest daughter is 8.5 months old and had been having solids from 6 months old. She has taken to them like a duck to water, but I must confess I've only given her what we're eating a few times. With my first daughter (now 4.5 years old) I gave her a lot more finger foods and she fed herself a lot, where Madeline has been spoon fed more.

    Her routine is generally a bottle when she wakes (anywhere between 5am and 7:30), then breakfast of either porridge, rice cereal with fruit puree/mash, weetbix, a mashed banana, or yougurt (with or without fruit added). She then has another bottle around 11am-midday, and lunch os between midday-2pm, which can be pretty much anything (fruit, toast, vegies, meat, pasta or yogurt); another bottle around 4-5pm, dinner usually by 6pm (mixed vegies, usually some chicken - I havent yet given her red meat or fish but am going to add red meat this week, sometimes pasta - I need to try rice as well!), and her last bottle around 8-9pm.

    I'ver been much more conscious this time around of giving Maddy what we eat, and preparing it myself as much as possible. I think she has only had store-bought baby food twice in the 2.5 months of having solids, where Baylee often had the little tins of custard and 'baby yogurt' (Maddy has just had plain greek yogurt and we add our own fruit). I was unprepared yesterday and ended up buying her a sqweezy sachet thing of apple, blueberries and yogurt, and she was happy to have it, but I am glad now I've got the time (being home full-time now) and inclination to prepare our own foods for her.

    PS - I remember someone telling me to give Baylee a chop bone to munch on :)

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  22. I remember my dad giving me a bone to gnaw on with I was little :) I haven't thought of that in forever.

    My Kylie is a picky eater. She will not eat cooked vegetables, potatoes (unless they're baked, but not mashed, fried, or boiled), nor will she eat melted cheese (except for pizza). I confess, I do make her a different meal than my husband and I every night. Usually the meat we're having with carrot sticks and a second kind of fresh veggie, along with some fruit.

    The ONE exception is that she LOVES soup. I try to keep a good sized bowl of vegetable beef or chicken rice/noodle soup in the fridge. She takes that in her thermos to school a lot for her school lunches.

    Have a lovely day Rhonda,
    Kristin

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  23. We raised five children, and we entertained quite a lot - sometimes as many as 40 people to one meal. Every family supplied a 'carry-in' - salad or dessert, appetizer or bread and we furnished the main course. Our children were exposed to a lot of different foods and ways of preparing them. At normal meals they grew up with the one bite rule - anything new you must try one bite. And everyone stayed at the table until we were all done. We had one very slow eater, which led the rest into long conversations, and usually involved bringing out the encyclopedias - to get the facts:D
    They still remember a time when they were all complaining about what was for supper, so I turned off the stove, sat down with a book, and refused to cook. Bless my husband he backed me up, and it was soda crackers and water for supper! Only time it ever happened.....

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  24. Oh, I wish! Your post and all the comments have given me the strength to try again with my kids. My eldest child is very fussy and I have catered to his wants mostly because without food he becomes seriously emotional and it was easier to get food into him. Interestingly, this was when I was in Ireland and it was what you did, kids ate what they wanted, whenever they wanted (in my husbands family and the friends we have). But as a result, I cooked twice and my 2nd child doesn't eat as well as he would. I also have a major issue with food wastage and can't stand throwing entire meals out.

    Anyway, I've been slowly reintroducing foods and just ask that they try them. And he has and he's been surprised at some of the things that he likes. I need my eldest to eat more and better at dinner as he's hungry again an hour later which drives me insane. We only get to eat as a family on the weekends but I will try and dish up the same thing maybe with some slight variation only.

    Thank you, cause I feel inspired to go even further now and just put my foot down. The crazy thing is up until he was 18 months old he ate everything I put in front of him and then just decided that wasn't going to be the case.

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  25. I find this one very tricky - I completely agree that the the kids should eat what the parents eat: for the same reasons you do, ie expanding their palate, fitting in with the family and for mum's sanity not having to make 2 dinners every day. However, I have always struggled with timing. The kids need to eat at 5.30 so I can bath them and put them to bed by seven. Husband is never home till 7 at the earliest, usually its 7.30, so I have to do the dinner/bath/bed routine on my own (I am in AWE of single parents who do this day in day out). I have tried eating at 5.30 with them but I don't like it, plus, I am always getting up and down fetching this and that so I am scoffing my meal super fast.

    My husband and I like to eat curries. stir fries etc which the kids don't like. There is only so much spag bol, sausages, or lamb chops I can face! I end up making dinner at lunchtime (5 pm is not a good time to try and be in the kitchen with a toddler) so we have to have something which can be reheated later. So we are eating a lot of soups/casseroles at the moment. I still haven't cracked it, I look forward to reading everyone's comments here for some suggestions!

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  26. "I have never understood why children couldn't just have smaller versions of the main items on the menu." Exactly. I also wonder, especially with our ageing population, why smaller versions of the main items on the menu aren't available for the elderly. To be told "Just have what you want and we'll doggy bag the rest" does not serve the elderly customer well -- what's appetising about looking at a huge plateful of food you know you can't eat?

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  27. I think i started with farex cereal when each of my children were 4 months old & stopped with milk in a bottle by 12 months as they could hold a sippy cup by then. They were drinking water by then as well. I do remember when my first child was old enough to try different foods that we ate as my husband is of Italian/Sicilian heritage he shocked the nurse at his check up by saying my son had had olives, salami ect. Well it was part of what we ate & i didn't want fussy eaters as they all grew up. I'm happy to say all 5 ate well & didn't fuss over food as small children. Yes i also used to give my children chop bones. Glad you reminded me of them as my daughter is expecting her first child & can tell her to try out the chop bones when the time comes.

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  28. Hi Rhonda,

    I love reading your blog and your advice. We've got a 7 week old baby (out first) and he watches everything we eat. I'm pretty sure he'll be a good eater. We plan on giving him the same foods as us, and letting him have a selection of foods to eat as he pleases. I've not read a single book on how to bring up children, we're just doing what seems normal and natural to us. We definitely won't be feeding him 'baby food' from the supermarket. I figure that as long as I know he's getting enough nutrition from my breast milk, then there's no pressure with solid foods. He will eat them as he's ready. I like your tip about leaving the table though, that's something we might work with ourselves.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Jacqui

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  29. Great post again Rhonda - Thanks.

    I've never had children so can't really comment specifically but I was reading an article in Australia's Organic Gardening mag yesterday about the 'explosion' in the number of children suffering from food allergies in the last ten years or so. Apart from so many houses being too clean and advocating that children should be allowed to get down and dirty in the garden it was encouraging parents to give their children as wide a range of unprocessed and natural foods as possible to help build their immune systems, and to do this from as early an age as possible.

    What better reason for growing your own!

    Hooliganhound, Shoalhaven NSW

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  30. The comments from other moms around me that really make me cringe is:" She only eats vanilla custard" or "he only eats fish fingers". Try have them over for dinner!!!
    If kids don't want to eat what is on their plate, they're just not hungry, put the plate in the fridge, when they ask for food later on they will eat it.

    For babies, I'm a big fan of the stick blender when it comes to dinnertime. Baby food in a whiz and no separate cooking. Snack plates with a big variety of foods are great for other meals, let them try things. They might not like a food first try, but soon get used to it.
    In restaurants we order an extra dish for the bigger kids to share or when they were smaller just let them eat from our plate.

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  31. My children as infants ate pureed our food. If we had roast lamb and veg then thats what they ate. It continues today with 15 and 11 year old. They eat what we eat. What I used to do if we went out to dinner is order a bowl of vegetables for my kids instead of chips nuggets etc. Most places are happy to comply but we always used to get a funny look from waitresses. My kids even now try anything. Green smoothies are a hit at the moment. Not sure how many other kids are drinking them but my daughter loves them after school. Di

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  32. I would have loved to feed my girls what we ate for dinner but it didn't work that way. One was very colicky and the other was premmie and both had sensitive tummies as infants so when it came time for solids, it was bland food for ages. Rice porridge with pear and banana for dinner is what they had until well over 1. Another was chicken in homemade stock with potato and carrot all mashed up. The couple of time i served them what we were having (shepherd's pie, spaghetti bolognaise) it resulted in a very upset baby all night and bad nappy rash. So they ate separate meals until they were a bit more able to handle what we ate, which was around 2. Now they both eat whatever is served :)

    The main reason i commented is because at the shops one day an older lady actually had the nerve to say to me that by giving my children different meals i was setting them up for bad habits later on and it does them no good to fuss over them. It made me feel terrible and now i try hard not to judge other mums when i see how they feed their kids.


    We also have the rule that if you don't eat your dinner, that's fine, but nothing to eat until breakfast :)

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    1. Lauren, it sounds to me like you're doing really well by your girls. Only you know how they react to different foods. This older lady, was she selling something? Did you know her? Either way, don't let her opinion get to you. You know you're doing the right thing and that is all that matters, love.

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    2. Thanks so much Rhonda. No, she wasn't selling anything, just sitting next to me on a bench at the shops. I am confident in most of my decisions nowadays, but it was my first bub and i was still a bit unsure of myself. Thanks again for your amazing blog, I made your best chicken casserole with the dumplings on sunday night and it was licked clean plates all around xo :)

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  33. Great post Rhonda - this is such an important topic. Teaching children how to eat well is a fundamental role of being a mother - if mum doesn't show them what eating properly is, then who will? If I want my kids to grow up to be healthy adults, then I need to teach them and show them sound eating habits and nutrition now, and not leave the decision making up to them.

    Today more than ever it's such a vital lesson to learn because food choices are so vastly different to what they were 30, 40 ,50 years ago. If I can send my kids into adulthood understanding the difference between real food, and 'food-like products', then they'll be set for a far healthier life.

    My kids have always eaten what we eat - one family, one meal. They are asked to try everything, but they don't have to eat it if they don't like it. All their snacks have some nutritional value and are homemade, not a packet convenience; we don't do dessert (maybe on the weekend, and then it's usually plain yoghurt with fruit and nuts); and junk food is something that's seen only at birthday parties, or occasions like Easter, Christmas and perhaps on the school holidays sometime.
    Oh, and we never order off a kids' menu!

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  34. My kids eat what we eat, and have since they were babies. All three go through phases of eating everything in sight and then appearing to live on air for months at a time.
    My big struggle now with my eldest daughter is lunch boxes. I remember hating my packed lunches but I am a bit stumped about what to do that is appetizing, healthy and doesn't deteriorate too much before lunchtime.

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  35. i think i'm probably tough on my kids with food- if they don't eat it they go hungry! they are always offered super healthy food and there are always veges on the plate at dinner... my littlest (she's not yet 2) sometimes fusses about it, but i'm confident she will come around to eating almost everything just like my little boy did... he eats just about everything now and really loves his veges... it really only took a couple of times of going to bed without much dinner for him to realise that mummy meant it when she said there was going to be nothing else to eat! when he was younger i pandered to him a bit and would make him separate meals and then decided (when it was making him FUSSIER not happier with his food) that I had no time food cooking loads of separate meals!

    The only times i make an exception is when they are sick! Also when they are babies and first learning to eat food, I really do try and make sure they are getting enough iron(as my sister is a paediatrician and i have it drilled into me about how important that is!) and to not introduce to many foods at once- as allergies run in our family as well...

    amy :)

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  36. My daughter's only a year old, but I feel like I've taken an unconventional route to feeding her, at least by American standards. I've never purchased baby food - we gave her odds and ends of our food mashed up when it was convenient, starting around 6 months. When she hit about 8 months I started giving her regular meals, but she pretty much has always had finger food. I'll spoon-feed her applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal - stuff she can't really pick up effectively. But I'm lazy, honestly. I don't have the patience for spoon-feeding her purees, and she has no problem stuffing her face by herself! Plus then I don't have to worry about pressuring her to eat too much - I fill her tray, and when she stops eating (and starts playing), she's done. Easy. Not necessarily the exact things we're eating, because we eat after she's in bed, and she loves things I wouldn't normally cook much (mushrooms, avocado, stewed prunes, cottage cheese). But that IS my goal as she gets older.

    That being said, I don't know how it is in Australia or the UK, but here in the USA there are still lots of lists of things you (supposedly) can and can't feed to babies floating around. It's enough to make a person absolutely crazy, and even if you are like me and (with your pediatrician's support) decide to actively ignore it and give your baby whatever, it STILL makes you worry and second-guess yourself, and ayyyyyy! Heck, we moved and switched pediatricians, and the new one started telling us to hold off on eggs, fish, nuts, etc until 1-year-old... so I just smiled and nodded innocently, knowing that my daughter had had already enjoyed all of those.

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    1. Hi sewerrat, here in Australia the recommendations have recently changed as a result of a massive study into the development of allergies etc, which my oldest was lucky enough to be a part of. Now they're recommending starting a number of the typical 'avoid' foods between 4-6 months, including eggs and nuts. Introducing these foods after 6 months actually increases the risk of allergies developing, which is the opposite to generally accepted wisdom on the issue. Apparently it's the first systematic study into allergies that's been done on such a large scale, so it's good to know the recommendations are now research based rather than what was effectively just a hunch! The study is called Healthnuts if you're interested in checking out their findings so far. Anna

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  37. oh, this is a favourite topic of mine for so many reasons!!
    1 - I worked as a waitress in Switzerland for many years - every item on the menu with very rare exception was available in half-portions, which was always ordered by elderly people. Sometimes we even got requests for quarter portions and the chef did what he could, though obviously not for certain dishes. Never realised until i read through the comments that of course I have never seen this outside of there. Let's bring that everywhere!!
    2 - we have friends who always made meals for their children and then a meal for themselves. The meals for their kids 9 times out of 10 was fries and chicken nuggets, all frozen and crap, right from very young. Yet they loved good curries or steaks or whatever - and I never understood why no matter how often we chatted about it. They say because their kids didn't like it or it was easier or whatever. Now their boys are into their teens, they are all very very overweight and I guess aren't eating anything different (I haven't seen them in years due to distance, but see the photos on fb). We both vowed from that experience not to do that with our son
    3 - our son, like one of the comments above, was a fantastic eater - nasi goreng, thai curries (obviously only the meat and rice with much less sauce than we used on our portions, until about 18 months. Then it was hell, a battle each night it felt like. I refused to give in and so it was a struggle. Looking back, we were possibly eating too late for him, so he was tired and I was tired and it often ended in tears (me, him, or both) though my husband was much calmer and dealt with it better. But we persevered and then one day at 3 it just switched and at 5 now he's a pretty great eater.
    Thanks for a great post.

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  38. Our children have always eaten what we're eating, except when infants.

    They don't always enjoy everything but they do not get a separate meal. We eat together as a family.

    We want the children to learn to be grateful for what they have been given, and that goes for us too!

    Deanna

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  39. We have been very blessed that neither of ours are fussy eaters. My theory is that I was so strict making it to the 6 month mark of exclusive breastfeeding (I loved breastfeeding, challenges and all) that by the time they were allowed "real food" they'd take what they could get!

    With my first I dutifully puréed and mashed, as was the advice at the time. To this day (nearly 5) he loves mashes. With my second we were recommended to use baby led weaning, so she started on our meals but chopped up smaller so she could manage. We don't like a lot of processed food and I make almost everything from scratch. They say "yum!" when they see a plate with broccoli, sweet potato, kale chips and steamed fish for dinner and it always make me a bit smug with pride. I know we've been very lucky!

    Sara

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  40. I agree with you Rhonda. My daughter is just 4 years old and started eating solids at 5 months, earlier than recommended but she was hungry. She ate three solid meals and snacks by 10 months so weaned herself off the breast. She did have formula about once a day until she was 18 months but only because she refused to drink cows milk. She was on 75centline until about that age. She is a good eater but is still fussy with new foods. I always offer her my food if I happen to be eating something different to her say at a cafe. At home she eats what we eat. I may occasionally add an extra component to her meal if she really doesn't like something but I make her have one mouthful of everything I serve. For instance I make a new casserole I'll let her have some chicken say from the night before and the casserole. She eats sushi and lots of pastas, some asian, and many austrian style dishes like goulash, spaetzle, dumplings, cabbage rolls, she eats very well. I only give her fairy bread once a year, at her birthday and eliminated one day care centre when choosing one as they had that on their menu once a week! Can you imagine. She also hates lollies but loves fruit. My husband encourages her to eat lollies(thinking she missing out) but I think it's good she doesn't like them. I give her some chocolate and I've moved to home-made cakes and cookies so she's getting plenty of sweets. I also feed her steak, she doesn't eat much and it's preferable to sausages. I once had someone at a BBQ comment on "how posh it was to give my child steak" and not sausage because of course children should eat inferior meat to their adult parents. She eats sausage if we do and steak of we do. Simple.

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  41. Our children are 6, 4 and 1. The girls 6 and 1 eat pretty much everything they can get their hands on and our son 4 is very much like your fussy son (he had pretty bad reflux and I wonder if that had an impact?). I always felt that it was my job to serve the meal and their job to eat what was served. I have coaxed our son to try different things and will always put things that he is yet to say "yum" to on his plate. All three of the children were raised the same way...weaned to solids at 4 months and by 6 months they were having what we were having. Thankfully I am very fortunate to be a stay at home Mum, so all of our food is cooked with minimal packets or jars. One of the great things I love to see is our kids enjoying pretty much whatever is served to them, with the exception of the fussier boy, he's a work in progress.

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  42. We had the grand kids visiting this weekend and my two year old grand daughter looked at her plate, pushed it away and said "I don't want this". We all just ignored her and pretty soon she was eating it all and saying "I like this chicken.... I like this potato...!" They were both a bit surprised to find out that there was no dessert as a prize for finishing. I really don't think that mealtimes need to be as complicated as some young mothers make it out to be. both your grandsons are super cute!

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  43. Thanks Rhonda for raising an eternally topical subject.
    All my adult life I have felt sad and angry when I see the awful menus on offer for children. It´s just the same here in Sweden. How hard can it be to offer half portions?
    From a very early age our children ate what we ate - just chopped up or mashed. We never bought baby food in jars. If they didn´t like it, there was always bread or something else on the table to eat. I´d have gone bonkers paying attention to various likes and dislikes with three opinions to listen to.
    I am happy to note that as adults they are really interested in food and good cooks too.
    To my joy, our two small grandchildren are heading in the same direction. I remember Miss N, when we were all in London, being so fussed over by the Asian staff as she happily munched her way through a Vietnamese menu. Now aged 7 and 9 their favourite food since years back is sushi.

    Greetings from Sweden
    Ramona

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  44. Great post! I have similar views to Jennifer and Max. I am still breastfeeding my 14 month old. He has a great palate and I think it's because I did a more child led approach to feeding him. One of his favorite foods is Thai food, which is funny since I craved it the entire pregnancy. He was never interested in puréed or mashed foods and I didn't force it. He would have green smoothies and green juices with me and would suck on fruit, but didn't really get interested in food until he was around 9 months. I really just went with my instincts. He didn't get teeth until around that time, so it made sense to me that he wouldn't be eating. When he did start asking for food, he got what I was eating. From the beginning, he's had a whole food, mostly vegetarian (we have fish), gluten and dairy free (except for eggs) diet and he is incredibly healthy! Now, he gets exactly what I'm eating, whether we are home or out at a restaurant. I'm sure at some point he will change his tastes and have likes and dislikes, but right now he loves everything. The best part is that he is thriving! I plan to breastfeeding long term too, so he'll be receiving those health benefits.

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  45. Hi Rhonda, our girls eat what we eat, and have done since quite early on. I made purees for when they were first starting on solids, but otherwise they've eaten what we eat. We have modified our own diet slightly - not as much chilli and more sausages than we'd choose to eat if it was just us! BUT, they're exposed to a large range of tastes, and mostly eat what we serve. I know that some of the mums who come along to our play group have 4 different meals in the freezer in kid-sized individual portions that they rotate through, feeding their children well before the adults in the house eat. I understand the logistical issues around feeding kids and husbands working long hours, but I do think they're missing out on opportunities to let the kids try new things, and to set examples of eating different things themselves.

    In regards to the things they don't like, I read somewhere a while ago that people need to try a new taste u to 15 times before they decide they like it, so I still put things they don't like on their plate so they can keep trying it. My eldest daughter has something against red capsicum, so I put one piece on her plate and ask her to eat it. So far, she's now decided that it's quite nice raw, so I just have to persist with the cooked version!

    For us, dinner time is good family time, so we expect everyone to stay at the table until we've all eaten enough, even if what is served isn't eaten. That's the time that we often catch up on each other's days, and have random and/or silly conversations about whatever is on poeple's minds. I think it's very key time for us in terms of establishing and maintaining our family 'culture'.

    My biggest issue with my kids eating lots of stuff is that I have to share things like olives, fancy cheese and other 'grown up' food! I figure there's worse things I could be dealing with, though, so I suck it up and share MOST of the time :-)

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  46. We always gave our children the same food as the rest of the family when they started eating - and made adjustments both ways. Mashed the vegetables and made some sauce without salt for the youngest. We always had them at the same table, eating at the same time as the rest. With small babies, I could sit and breastfeed one baby at the table, giving the siblings food at the same time - and trying to get something to eat myself as well. Each child has its "food-personality" and differ when it comes to patience and ability to actually sit by the table for the whole meal. But the meal and the table are still the centre of the family at mealtimes, even when one child needs to dance in the middle of a meal.
    Our children are 7, 9 and 11 now. They eat "everything" and enjoy mealtime conversations. Getting together for dinner in the afternoon after a long day of different acitivities, is really a good time for us. And before bedtime, the children have an evening meal by candle-lights, while my husband and I drink tea and we read a book aloud for the whole family. That is happiness!

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  47. My 7, 5, and 3 year old have always eaten what we have eaten. I breastfed until they were 12 months of age and started solids around 6 months. I converted into cows milk after 12 months and my 3 year old still loves having his milk. I honestly couldn't be bothered making a separate meal for my children and never saw the value of doing so! They enjoy a wide range of tastes and that's pleasing. Now that I am expecting my 4th I will have to repeat the cycle again!

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  48. I have had problems with food. I was forced to eat things I was allergic too and probably became too aware with my babies. having said that I fed them pretty much our diet. When they were little I might have mashed or thickened a soup.

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  49. My boys always sat at the table with us and ate practically the same, if they didn't like something, and they had given it a fair try they were allowed to leave it and were not expected to eat it again, but they were always asked if they wanted to try things again and sometimes they did learn to like some foods. They were both really good eaters, although my younger son was fussy with milk and bread, liking most foods and having very few dislikes and that has continued now they are adults.

    The only choices they were given at meal times when they were out of the toddler stage was perhaps a choice of two meals when I was undecided what the evening meal should be. They felt grown up by being allowed to choose and usually the other choice would be on the menu the night after. I do not agree with the parents you see in the supermarkets asking very young children what they fancy for tea, children need and feel safer with structure and meal times is a very good chance to get this in place.

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  50. Judging by the number of comments on this one it's struck a chord with lots of people!
    I HATE hearing people talking about what they're going to cook "for the kids" - I can't imagine for a second my Mum ever having cooked me a special, separate meal when I was small, and this whole assumption now that children can't simply eat a small portion of the same meal as the rest of the family are eating most of the time just baffles me! Sure there might be times when the parents are having something unsuitable - a curry or chilli maybe, which might be too spicy for small people, but it's usually possible to portion off a bit early on in the cooking before the spices are added, surely, and then to do a toned-down version of the same thing?
    Over-fussy Children become unbearably annoying adults - we've all been out for a meal with one of those haven't we - the person who "can't" (or won't, truth be told!) eat all manner of things....get them used to eating a wide range of foods when they're little, and they will never lose that.

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  51. When I was little, my mother was "too kind" to me, and if I didn't want to eat something that she and my dad were eating, she would simply cook up something else for me, macaroni and sausages, hot dogs, and other easy-to-please meals. I did appreciate it at the time, but I also did spend most of my life being a picky eater - uuuntil I moved out!
    When I moved abroad, from Norway to Scotland, I went to a few family dinners, and when they served cooked vegetables and not just the usual pizza, ready meals, stews I cooked up, I saw it as a luxury! A few years back I started cooking...a lot, trying new things was great fun! Now there is hardly anything I wouldn't taste. A lot has changed since I was a toddler, which I really appreciate. I even cooked for my parents when I was over visiting last week, and boy did they enjoy it! I could feel their pride, and see it in their eyes. It is nice taking care of your parents sometimes, and in this case, giving me my way made me dare more when I became older. Reverse psychology?
    I used to really dislike marzipan, coffee, onions, and many other things. Now, I can't get enough of it! I reckon it has to grow on you, but getting introduced to it at an early stage definitely seems like the better thing to do overall :)

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  52. First of all, lovely to see a knife and fork in operation. When I helped out at a local infant school, hardly any of the new ones knew how to hold a knife and fork. Regarding restaurant meals, we had the same problem, even 20 years ago. I wish I had been brave enough to ask for a separate plate to transfer our food onto his but didn't. Sometimes though, I think an awful lot of children eat everyday what is available nowadays on the children's menu - how sad. Our son grew up to eat almost everything so we feel as though we did okay in the end.

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  53. What an interesting topic! As children, my siblings and I were all given the same food as the adults, were made to sit properly at the table and eat with cutlery as soon as possible. We did probably eat more salt etc than is nowadays advised but all grew up to be healthy individuals, so it can't have been too bad. Very interesting reading all the comments by everyone - thank you Rhonda & followers! Kirsten x

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  54. Great topic! Our 5 kids ate what we ate. As to baby food, I did make up apple sauce, sweet potatoes, carrot and turnip, etc. and froze it in ice cube trays so that I had a few things on hand for a newly eating infant, but in large part, we simply mashed up what we were eating and thinned it a bit with either cooking water or milk to serve to the baby. Toddlers ate exactly what we ate, just cut up in tiny pieces that they could manage themselves. Our children were fortunate enough to have small silver cups and small silver flatware given to them as gifts, so they ate with those right from the beginning. Yes, those cups spilled occasionally, but the children generally managed them very well because of their small size. Such pleasure the kids experienced from eating and drinking by themselves! We always endeavoured to have the kids learn to feed themselves as early as possible which eliminated a lot of food battles. Imagine if WE had to eat with someone always spooning food into our mouths? Frustrating to say the least.

    Our children nearly all went through a fussy stage of not liking vegetables (generally from age 2ish -5), but we didn't make a big deal out of it. I cooked veggies into a lot of foods to ensure they received adequate nutrition, but in time they all overcame that fussiness and now eat pretty much any vegetable served. A helpful trick that got us over that hump was to serve a veggie platter as a late afternoon snack when the kids were well and truly hungry. I didn't care that they were eating so soon before supper because they were getting their veggie quota in while I was cooking the meal. It was an easy fix because a very hungry child WILL eat those veggies if supper is an hour away and nothing else is made available!

    To this day, the rule in our home is that you should at the very least TRY something that you don't *think* you like. I do not force my kids to eat something that they truly don't care for but they have learned that they now like foods that they didn't used to like. Palettes develop over time and they acknowledge that.

    Something else that I've noticed is that since we have virtually eliminated packaged/processed foods from our diets a few years ago, the kids consume way more vegetables than they did before. Vegetables can taste "yukky" to a child who is used to the salty, fatty and over sweet processed foods on the market. Now that ALL of our palettes have changed for the better, we ALL prefer the natural flavour and taste of home cooked foods.

    Another interesting factor is that homegrown fruit and vegetables taste SO much better than store bought. Children who don't care for vegetables probably haven't had the distinct pleasure of picking their supper vegetables from the garden prior to cooking them! Having children involved in the gardening and cooking process is a wonderful way to increase veggie intake.

    Lovely to see your Grandsons... so handsome they are!






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  55. I think it is interesting that eating together as a family is such a simple thing, but it is so important for childhood development. In every study done on every topic - from intelligence to social skills, to whether you can hold down a job in the future, kids from families who eat their meals together at a table - with no TV on - outperform kids who don't.

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  56. My daughter is now 17 and still has a good varied taste in foods that I attribute to her early beginnings. She was breast fed and introduced to home made solids gradually and by around 12 months was eating what we were eating. My approach was very different to that of many other mothers I met who catered specifically for their children and relied heavily on baby foods from the supermarket. Some of these children turned out to be very fussy eaters who even now have a poor diet and I wonder what health issues they will have to face in the future. The only foods not presented to my daughter at an early age were sweets and this caused tremendous offence when my mother-in-law visited with a block of chocolate when my daughter was just starting on solids at seven months of age. My mother-in-law's view was that a little taste won't hurt the baby but that was not where my head space was. I guess I was just too tired on the day to have been more gracious and avoid offending when I explained that her grand daughter had not been introduced to chocolate but her dad and I will enjoy it nonetheless. I don't know who was right or who was wrong but the important thing is that parents need to make a decision and stick by it.

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  57. Such an interesting topic! My daughter is now 11, and eats most things, some of them surprisingly sophisticated like blue cheese, olives and sushi. When she was a baby I bought a book of baby food recipes and made up a few different meals a week and froze them. I decided that if I wouldn't eat it, then she wouldn't either. One of her favorite foods for lunch was mashed banana with avocado, which was surprisingly tasty! I wouldn't say that it was convenient, as she refused to eat any of the commercial baby foods except the apple puree so when we were out or on holiday I had to bring all of her food from home.

    As soon as she was old enough I allowed her to eat mostly finger food versions of whatever we were eating and she was far happier feeding herself than she was when I tried to spoon feed her, so I let her do it herself (even though it did make for dreadfully messy mealtimes!). I never tried to force her to eat everything if she didn't want to and still won't to this day. I think it is a shame that we train our kids out of stopping when they are full as it sets them up to be overweight later in life. The rule was always that she had to try everything on her plate and if she didn't want to eat it that was her choice. Consequently, we never had those battles at mealtime that I see others dealing with and she has always eaten a fairly wide range of foods and maintained a healthy weight. Until she was about 8 I avoided giving her any sweet foods as much as possible because her behaviour would become unmanageable immediately after - even if she had fruit juice.

    I can't comprehend why anyone would want to train their children into demanding an entire second meal. If the kids know that no more food is forthcoming, they will generally eat what is presented to them if they are hungry.

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  58. When my older son was born, we were given about a dozen jars of baby food in part of a baby gift. Those jars came with us on trips in case we ever randomly needed to feed him and were unprepared, but they weren't opened by the time he was 10-11 months. We had made our own baby food, by mashing or grinding whatever we were eating (and he was breastfed longterm). Well, we finally were caught unprepared on a lunch stop and pulled out a few jars - poor kid hated them! ;) Guess that goes to show that even a very little one knows the difference between good food and not so good....

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  59. Bless you a million-fold for asking the mother before offering untried foods to the child. That simple respect and kindness would have made my own experience in early motherhood so very much calmer and happier.

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  60. Both our kids have eaten what we do and we only really used bottled food when travelling. I credit this to learning the skills from my mum and grandmothers. I am also the youngest of five and so have great memories of seeing my sisters feed their babies.(My eldest sister is 14 years older than me!) We also lived in Japan for a time so we all ate Japanese food - it is cheaper and yummy. Interestingly in Japan all the children seem to eat exactly as their parents do!
    Yang1

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  61. Rhonda, just a week ago I met a lady and our topic of discussion was exactly what your post is about....well, I listened and she discussed - their family's mealtimes: three to four different main meals at one sitting.....all grown-ups with their fussiness....and for her it was normal...(something to boast about?). I just said nothing and felt a twinge of sadness.

    Family meals around a table, good food prepared enthusiastically in an aroma-filled kitchen (even if it's something burning!) influence a child's wanting to eat what's on the table....also mine!

    Your post mirrored our household many years ago. And today it's such a pleasure to watch the littlest grandchild venturing carefully to test taste a spoonful of newness - and then watch his face light up in enjoyment.

    Who wants to eat cardboard cereal if you can have vichyssoise?

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  62. The differences between how each parent was brought up and their attitude to food plays a big part on this. My mother brought me up with processed food and provided extremely healthy meals and I ate anything up until I went to school and got to see what other children ate. Even then treats were for special occasions and once a week I was allowed to order my lunch. My partner was brought up totally differently his parents had a lolly tin, biscuit tin and piles of snacks such as crisps and muesli bars. On Saturday mornings his brother and himself were parked in front of the TV and given the biscuit tin for breakfast. Most dinners were peas, chips and some kind.

    It has taken many years together for him to get into healthy eating really only in the last year has it clicked. Our 2 year old son had pretty much homemade healthy food for the first years and then the treats crept in although we are improving we have a way to go. We have a 7 week old as well and will approach the eating in much the same way although with more emphasis on vegetables rather than fruit and having more herbs and flavours. We did the chop bone thing and our son did love it only to go off red meat at 18 months. We sneak it into food by using mince or very enthusiatically eating some ourselves. Having both parents reading off the same page and demonstrating the behaviour they wish their children to have can be a huge step in the right direction. Although packet food may seem an easy option it is very expensive way of doing things and once the child sees the packet it is memorized and asked for every single time.

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  63. Linda in Alberta CanadaMay 17, 2013 2:32 am

    When my girls were young, they ate what we ate. I kept the idea of dinner together at 6:00 as a priority. However, I didn't force them to eat everything on their plate -- making kids eat past the point of fullness seems unwise -- but that applied only if I dished up the meal. The rule was that if THEY served themselves (which they liked to do) they had to eat what they took -- knowing they could have more if they wanted. With a new food they could just take a tiny bit (they did have to try it) and then it wasn't such a fight since they felt in control. At restaurants, when they were little we usually asked for an extra small plate or two and gave them portions of what we were having. Another thing I did when they were older (adolescent)was allow them to each have one thing that they were allowed to dislike and did not have to eat. If I was preparing that for the rest of us, I would make them something else (easy). They enjoyed picking their least favorite food and, again, having that control. In the same way, I let them have one day each school year as a "mental health day". They were allowed one day that they could just say they didn't want to go to school....no questions asked (as long as it wasn't exam time) and they didn't have to pretend to be ill. This cut down a lot on the "I have a tummy ache can I stay home" stuff. I would just say "do you want to use your day?" If they still insisted they didn't feel well, they could stay home, understanding they were in bed; not watching tv or playing. It's amazing how often they decided to go to school!

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  64. I so agree with what you've said about restaurants and children's menus. When we went on a family holiday recently, I found this hard as like you described, most places offered kids menus with variations of chips and something or other or pizza. Instead, we order a side serve of steamed vegetables, a side serve of potato gratin and together with this, gave our girls some of our chicken and vegetarian lasagna. I much prefer them to be eating healthier foods as they would be at home which are pretty much, the same meals we're eating out at restaurants.

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  65. If possible, I sometimes discreetly wave the children's menu away at restaurants. They are, without exception, just as you stated. I want my children to enjoy the wide range of dishes even at restaurants! (not that we go out very often, but still).

    We never bought jarred baby food. My husband and I did not eat canned food - why should the children? I pureed our food, just as you said. Our children are wonderful eaters now.

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  66. French Daughter in law - the granchildren were always expected to eat at least one teaspoon of all food on their plate. They are now older and both good eaters with a wide variety of food. No fuss no arguement just "eat a spoonful". Drink was always water or milk. No morning tea and just fruit and a drink mid afternoon. No snacking made them hungry for their meals.

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  67. Here in the Netherlands there are kids menu's; chips, fishfingers, chickenbreast or for the last years, chickennuggets. As we only ate out once a year, my boys, no2 35 and 33, enjoyed the funny childrens dinner for a few years. then, the big one got 7 and wanted something else, his 2 year younger brother immediately decided to want the same. The order was: tomatoe soup, potatoe mash (I never make that), carrots and some schnitzel ( I think the word made them want it). No more childrns menu's from then on. At home, I found the foodjars too expensive and bland and did what my whole family did, chop or mash what the adults ate, sometimes taking out portions before adding spices they had not been gently introduced too. I have myself a problem with Brussels sprouts (my husband eats them every Sunday, but he dislikes meat), when I swallow the second sprout, the first one is already on its way up and out, I can not state that in a nicer way, so, I refuse to eat them (after trying numerous times) and so my sons got to choose on their birthday one soup, one vegetable and one desseert they did not have to eat for the whole oncoming year, no changes allowed before the next birthday. Can you imagine how difficult it is to choose for a whole year? They always chose the hate-it one, but were allowed to eat it when they wanted that year, no substitute though. I was raised at the eat or go hungry regime and still do not eat certain foods, because of a weak stomach after an operation, but I do not demand something else instead and do not expect it either. My husband, on the other hand, was given applesauce when something was eaten he "did not like". Well, thanks, MIL, I still have to cook him something else everytime we eat what he "does not like", his mum made him think he was entitled to "something else" and he throws in the "do I not work hard enough to have a meal I like" issue, so why bother, my sons eat Dutch, Chinese, Indonesian, American, Thai, Japanese. Indian, you name it, they eat it. In the Netherlands I have not seen menu's in restaurants with "childs portion", but there are sometimes meals with an asterix *, which means they can be served in Senior portions, normal piece of meat, poultry or fish, half portions of the rest. It is so easy to order a Senior portion for your child and for the elderly people much nicer then ordering a "childs portion", children think of Senior as "grown up" and don't mind or want to be "grown up". WE7 Grin, the robot word wants me to distinctly rip ted - I am a bearmaker for fun.

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  68. I am so far behind in my regular blog reading Rhonda, hence the rather late comment :) You have once again hit the nail on the head with this post. I admit that I used to buy my elder two one jar a week for outings, otherwise they pretty much ate what we ate. Even back then we didn't have separate meals. I started off with rice cereal as it was the done thing, not knowing that it was totally unnecessary. Fast forward to five years later and I now know a few things that I didn't know back then. I was never tempted to buy baby jar food or rice cereal and although Violet is a little fussy she has her favourite things - plain cheese, apple, cucumber, soup and yes, the good old chop on a bone. When we go out to restaurants I have often not told the kids there was a kids option - makes them a bit more adventurous!
    Both your grandsons looks so very healthy and it is wonderful to hear of them forming such good eating habits early on.

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  69. I love this. Our granddaughter eats what we eat, and she has an intelligent palate because of it! I love to see her choose healthy steamed vegetables!

    xoxo
    Lynn

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  70. I breast fed my daughter for 19 months. She started to show an interest in food around 5 months, so I started eating dinner with her sitting next to me in a high chair and giving her a taste of whatever I was eating. I started cooking foods that Gigi cook also eat- a lot of steamed veggies that could easily be mashed or 'gummed', stir-frys made with fresh herbs and spices so Gigi could have rice, sauce and veggies. She also ate a lot of fruit. Avocado was her first real food. She'd have some everyday and still loves it. Now as a two year old, Gigi loves fruit- bananas, pears and strawberries are her favourite; she eats all her veggies- carrots especially; she loves all the soft nuts- cashews, macadamias, pecans, walnuts; and legumes- chickpeas and lentil. And of course she loves natural yogurt with a bit of raw honey for dessert. She has no allergies, is rarely sick and is a great eater.

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  71. Also when we eat out, I never order from the kids menu. It's awful! I order a large adults meal and share with my daughter. Or we get an entre and a small meal to share.

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