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Yes, I’m One Of Those Moms Who Makes Multiple Dinners…

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“What did you throw away from your lunch today,” I ask my kids as a daily ritual when they get home from school.

“I don’t like crackers anymore,” declares my daughter.

“I only threw away the carrots and banana,” my son says, like it’s no big deal.

This is a daily battle for us. Yes, I’m one of those moms who makes multiple dinners…and I would do anything to break this cycle.

Yes, I’m One Of Those Moms Who Makes Multiple Dinners…

There isn’t much more my daughter will eat. She has sworn off all sandwiches, refrigerated yogurt, and cheese. She swears ranch dressing and hummus are made of poison.

She won’t even eat granola bars with a yogurt bottom, because “yogurt is supposed to be frozen.”

My son will not eat vegetables of any kind, unless we sit with him and make him take bites. He is picky with his fruit, sometimes eating it, sometimes not. I am lucky if I get him to eat string cheese and peanut butter crackers.

I take a deep breath before I answer them.

“Mommy paid a lot of money for the food that goes in your lunch.”

Blank stares.

“There are kids that would love to get the things you have in your lunches.”

Blank stares.

“Can I have chocolate tomorrow,” my daughter inquires, ignoring my statements.

“I like popcorn. Can you make us popcorn,” my son interjects, like I haven’t said a thing.

Before you jump to conclusions, I’m not a bad mom. No, I don’t fill their lunches full of candy and treats, much to their chagrin.

I try to give them good, healthy food. It’s getting them to eat it that’s the problem. They’d just as soon be hungry all day at school then let a food they don’t like pass their lips.

I spend good money on fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks, just to have them thrown away daily by the little tyrants who think they get to decide what should be in a lunch.

Dinner isn’t much better. There are ALWAYS tears, literal gagging, and threats of starving themselves when we make them take even ONE bite of the “gross” food on which I have spent my time and money.

I know, I know. I am going to get a barrage of comments saying I should just give them the food. If they eat, they eat. If they don’t, they don’t.

This is great parenting in theory.

I can’t, however, get past the money. If I spend my money and time on it, it better get eaten.

I can’t stomach counting up the dollars that would be thrown into the garbage or tossed down the drain.

Not to mention, two of the most stubborn beings on the planet are my children. If they decide they don’t want something, no amount of yelling, bribing, or throwing food away is going to deter them.

It is a constant game of wills, and mommy loses on the regular. I’m too tired after a long day to wait them out.

I stress every day about what is going to go in their lunch boxes. I end up making two or three separate dinners every day, so everything stays peaceful and quiet.

They are winning.

This, however, has got to stop. Mommy isn’t a short-order cook, nor is she a gas station snack rack. I don’t have the answers as to how to break this cycle, but I need some.

I just want to pop a can of soup for dinner, have everyone eat it, and call it a day. Is this wishful thinking?

Help a Momma out.

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  1. Idk about the dinner thing but for lunch you could have them make it themselves .. They can pick the snacks they want in There themselves
    Personally when my kids don’t want to eat I tell them their dad made it and then its all of a sudden delishious ? but I know that will only last so long and its not the best solution ether the money thing definitely gets to me too I didn’t grow up with money I had to make my own lunch since I was 7 so I crige when my kids take a note and throw it on the trash

  2. You def need to take the feedinglittles feeding course! Life changer ?? find them on insta

  3. I would just start making one dinner for all the family. Sit you all down to eat together at the dinner table (if viable). And make them aware if they don’t eat it there is nothing else, no alternative or pudding if they still don’t eat and want to leave the table let them but leave dinner there (covered if you have pets) then when they come back to you asking for food because they are hungry sit them back down with their dinner. A cold dinner is better then none. We no longer get that far with our 4yo and I don’t hide bits in her dinner either and say if she don’t want it just push it to one side of plate, she try’s more new food that way without us forcing her to

  4. Blending veggies into sauces is helpful. Just so you know they are getting something.
    A family friend use to serve the uneaten dinner the next morning for breakfast.

  5. Hey from Germany. I was always a picky eater. Like vegetablesoup, i did not like the texture of alot of it. In afterschoolcare they put it in the blender and i ate it. Its like that with my kids too. I also grind carrots and other roots in Tomatemeatsauce and they eat it or we cook the sauce first with vegetables and blend it and make the meat seperate and then mix it together. They eat it and do not pick out the veggies :). As for lunch, i let him tell me what he wants to have or he makes it himself (he is turning 8). Usually thats german ryebread with something on and maybe some cucumber or pepper. They are not aloud to have sweets, joghurt or so in school. Greetings Anna

  6. My daughter is 5years old. I give her options when packing her lunch so I know she will eat it. Like do u want this fruit or this one? And I make her eat a snack after school.she can’t use the phone or tablet untill she does eat. And then she either eats what’s for dinner or she makes something herself.

  7. Snack bins in the fridge and cupboard kept stocked. They can choose whatever they want from the bins. For lunches they can choose 1 from each bin for example. Do they help make dinner? Even the youngest children can add ingredients and stir. Older children can help chop certain items, plate food and make their own sandwiches. If they help prepare it then they may be more excited to eat it.

    Also, how do you and your husband model eating around them? Are either of you picky? Children pick up on that. Do they get any input on meal planning? Let them choose a meal each (within reason).

    1. Great points… my Kids n hubby n folks Like things I’m not great with, but i make them or eat them ne way…i also try new things wherever we r… we also all cook together or take turns different days… and make sure everyone gets a meal of their liking a couple times a week ?

  8. I do the same. Thank goodness my kids will eat pretty much the same lunch everyday. Pb&j. Gogo applesauce, caprisun, Annies bunnies or goldfish pretzels and Greek yogurt tubes which sometimes my son eats sometime he does not and I too hate wasting the money. So I will typically give him a break from it and a few days later try again. They also love simply balanced cereal bars. I dont always love their choices but I try to give the best version of them. Dinner is a wash with my 3 yo half the time but I try to remember this won’t last forever and give them daily multi vitamins. The struggle is real. In time this too shall pass.

  9. I’m 20 y/o girl so I have no experience in parenting but I was and still am a picky eater, so I do understand a little. And I don’t mean to imply you’re a bad parent here, I’m just trying to help.
    You don’t mention how old your kids are but you say they go to school so they must be old enough to have a conversation with so perhaps try sitting them down and talking to them about why they specifically don’t like certain foods, and why at school things change? For example, with me, I liked cheese and will eat cheese fresh from the fridge but when it was packed for school, it got warm and sometimes ‘sweaty’ and I refused to eat it at school. Or yogurt tubes, when they weren’t frozen, got mealy, and I also stopped eating them at school. Once my parents understood that, even if it sounded silly to them, they could adjust the foods they send me. For me, a reason why I avoid and dislike some foods is because of the texture, and if your kids can express that or whatever problem it is they have, you could perhaps understand what foods they’re willing to eat.
    As for the money thing, I totally get it, and the only idea I have is to show them what it’s like to lose money. I don’t know if they get an allowance or money for their birthday but perhaps try ‘taking it’ when they throw out food so they understand that wasting food = wasting money.
    Again, I don’t have kids and I have no idea what it’s like to be a parent and I’m sure you’re doing everything you can, but those are my thoughts, and hopefully they help!

  10. If they like mac and cheese, try adding squash or carrots to it. Make cauliflower crusted pizza, or caulifower rice, make food fun and turn their sandwhiches into things they love like puzzle pieces, hearts, dinosaurs! (The dollar store has sandwhich cutters! I once added sprinkles to a PB&J to get a child I was watching to eat it. It may seem counter productive but add ranch as a dipper to the raw veggies and slowly start putting less in there and eventually they won’t need it. Add a head of steamed/puréed broccoli to the spaghetti sauce. Use spaghetti squash as noodles! There are lots of ways to sneak it on with them not being aware. Do they like to put stuff together themselves? Make lunches have pitas, pizza, or tacos they can make themselves. getting them to eat the “gross” thing is usually the problem and it’s been proven that with most stuff it takes about ten times trying it to develop a liking to it. So sneaking it in there will help. We used fruitible juice boxes which is 1/3 less juice (watered down) and it’s veggie and fruit juice and my son loves them. He’s six and a good eater but it took a lot of fancy footing. And lunch is an issues cause we aren’t there to monitor it, of course he eats dessert first. Just keep trying and don’t give up!

  11. My son has… I don’t know what he has anymore. One person diagnosed him ADHD, another anxiety, another ADHD with ODD and anxiety, and another says we are to treat him like he is on the autism spectrum. He is him. Long story short, certain foods, textures, and other stimuli are PAINFUL (yes, painful) to him. Therefore, I too am the mom that makes multiple meals and frankly, I am okay with that.

    1. And you should be ok with it. I have a daughter with ASD and a son with sensory processing disorder. It makes things harder in pretty much every way. We do what we can, as best we can. At the end of the day that’s all we can do. I’m sure you’re doing a wonderful job.

  12. My grandkids love chic fila. We get that quite often.

  13. So, im along the lines with lwt them go hungry, but the difference i think is that i dont make them a big ole plate of whatever. I give them a few bites worth, and if they manage to eat it will give them more. That way whats not eaten goes in the fridge for breakfast (my hubby loves that), or lunch the next day. I also started with my 8 year old that if she had more than a bite or 2 left on the plate she was allowed to put it in the fridge for later. That way i wasn’t forcing the food down when she really isnt hungry, but that saying im full wasnt an excuse to throw it away and end up eating what she wanted later. If they’re hungry enough they’ll eat, but i also dont like waste!

    As far as lunch goes, i have had luck with letting them pack their own lunches (one thing out of each category, main, fruit, veggie). The i made this sandwich myself pride helps my girl. But probably not for everybody. One of the keys to me is making sure there’s no substitution which makes it worth holding out for. Like, oh your starving when i pick you up and we have errands to run so I’ll just get you some chicken nuggets.

  14. I agree with the buy lunch option. My son was super picky but then he had to buy lunch and he learned to like chili, tomato soup with grilled cheese, and tuna noodle. At least then you don’t have to know what they are throwing away.

  15. Have them buy lunch at school. That way, they can pick from the available options and you don’t have to waste your time buying things and putting them in lunch boxes. I have two kids and have never packed a lunch. Ever. My life is serene.

  16. I’m having the same problem with my 2 yr old. I drives me nuts

    1. My pediatrician asked me when my older child was 2 how his eating habits were. I said there were things he would eat and some he was not interested in. Doc said, “Will he drink milk? Will he eat peanut butter? Will he eat pizza?” My answer was yes to all of these. He said that all I needed to add was a daily vitamin and he would be OK for the time being. He said not to push any other foods and he would develop a taste all on his own and in his own time. That child is now 6’1″, 31 years old, very healthy, and cooks for himself at his apartment. He calls occasionally to ask how to cook a specific item he has discovered at the grocery. Take a deep breath and relax! In addition, when both boys were growing up, and eating most foods,(Son#2 is 3 years younger) I would occasionally cook something they probably would not have eaten, and when they asked about it, I told them it was just for Dad and me. After a few times, they would ask if they could have some. I would tell them that I had cooked just enough for Dad and me. That developed their desire for that food. Eventually, I would cook just a little more so there would be enough for them to just take a taste. Son#2 is now 28 and 6’3″. This younger one even ate raw oysters when he was 10! At the age of 8, we were at a fancy seafood place and he ordered “Surf and Turf, baked potato, broccoli, and a salad with blue cheese dressing.” Sure surprised the waiter to get that order from an 8-year-old!

    1. We always had the rule that you had to try what was on your plate. If you refused, it was the food you ate next whether later that evening or the next day. A little harsh for some, but I have two stubborn boys who eat anything and aren’t afraid to try new things.

      Some nights, they get to choose their vegetable. I don’t mind playing short order cook for vegetables. It allows them some choice, but you are not managing different main dishes.