I recently posted what I intended to be a lighthearted, silly article on being unable to resist my kids’ leftover food items, but it turns out there are quite a few people utterly horrified by the idea of children eating things like macaroni and cheese or Goldfish crackers.

Perhaps my favorite comment from the lot was from the disapproving finger-wag who said “WAFFLES ARE NOT A SNACK,” which I find especially entertaining because O RLY?


The topic of food has surely become a charged topic in recent years, hasn’t it? My post was hyperbolic and not meant to be an actual detailed menu of what my children eat every day, but it seems clear there there are certain things you simply shouldn’t confess to unless you want to be accused of “contributing to the obesity epidemic.”

(Lord. I don’t even know where to get started with that, but perhaps we could begin with my boys’ protruding ribs and visible spinal columns?)

Both of my kids were relatively omnivorous eaters until they hit the toddler stage, and then . . . not so much. They currently live on fish sticks, chicken nuggets, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, waffles (!), cereal, cheese crackers, and noodles. Riley will eat fruit, Dylan won’t. I give them vitamins and hope for the best.

We used to actively fight against this picky behavior. We have had some epic, tear-soaked, absolutely horrible battles about food, and I won’t do it any more. I will not ruin everyone’s evening by getting into a pissing match with a stubborn kid over something he refuses to try, nor am I willing to forgo their meal altogether in the name of my own nutrition goals. I fix what I am pretty sure they’ll eat, I try to continually offer other stuff, and if someone eats two entire bites of dinner then announces that they’re done, I don’t feel bad about giving them a bowl of Cheerios later in the evening.

I sure wish they were more adventurous eaters but if this is the worst problem we’ve got to deal with, goddamn, I’ll take it. I have every faith they’ll eventually grow into ravenous teenagers who empty the fridge on a regular basis. In the meantime, I want to feed them. I want them to eat. I want them to grow and thrive and fill in their forever-baggy waistlines.

So, yeah, in our house waffles are a snack. I would feed them waffles all day long if that’s what it took to fill their bellies. Why would anyone assume this is because I’m lazy, or haven’t tried other things?

It reminds me of how secretly, crappily judge-y I was about kids sleeping through the night when Riley was a baby. Since he had no sleep problems, I thought it was actually because of something we did. Why, all these people bitching about their non-sleeping kids should just, like, stop doing it wrong. Then we had Dylan, and whoah, you know what makes a delicious, nutritious meal? HUMBLE PIE.


193 Responses to “Gastronomy”

  1. Michelle on March 8th, 2011 10:35 pm

    I’m so thankful when a parent shares that their kids are picky eaters. Makes me feel less alone. Seriously. I recently confessed to another mom that neither of mine will eat ANY vegetable and the look on her face made it seem like I had just confessed to a tri-state killing spree.

  2. Lauren (carterbiosea) on March 8th, 2011 10:44 pm

    WORD. I was sitting with my almost 3 year old(who would happily live on hot dogs and ice cream) in Husky Deli the other day, close to the (naive! idealistic!) parents of a 4 month old and a 7 month old, and it was all I could do not to squash them. The parents of the 4mo were all worried about adding strawberry jam to her oatmeal too early and trying fruits before veggies, while the parents of the 7mo were slightly braggy about how THEIR baby ate EVERYTHING. Then my kidlet asked for an ice cream cone, and I responded with an “absolutely, anything to get dairy into you,” then savored the burgeoning looks of horror on their faces.
    I too cling to the hope of a ravenous teenager, while pushing the gummy vitamins.

  3. Michael on March 8th, 2011 10:47 pm

    Fry up some butter and call it a night.

    Kids love what they love. My son loves mac & cheese, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, all those kid staples. And waffles. But he also loves broccoli, eggs and chicken, and pretty much tries whatever we ask him to. Works for me.

  4. KarinP on March 8th, 2011 10:50 pm

    YES! Before kids, I had high hopes and expectations on my children and eating habits. And then I had two daughters, and have been schooled that they too, have an opinion on what they eat and what they like. Who would have guessed? I thought my older daughter was “picky” and then had a second daughter who brought new meaning to the word picky! My rules about food went from worrying over sugar and organics, etc…to if its food, and she’ll put it in her mouth, than she can have it. And hopefully one day, maybe by the time they get to college, they’ll eat more a 5-item list of foods.

  5. Trish on March 8th, 2011 10:53 pm

    I’m with you on the not fighting. My almost two year old has lived on yogurt and cheese for the last 10 months. She’s gaining weight and is happy. Us too.

  6. Melissa H on March 8th, 2011 10:56 pm

    So right about the humble pie. Ever since my kid arrived I’ve been a heck of a lot more careful with my mental judging. My kid eats fine but sleep, um, no. And like you said, if pickyness and bad sleeping are the worst we get we should be so lucky–in the grand scheme of things they’re FINE!

  7. Gnometree on March 8th, 2011 11:03 pm

    Go Linda!!!
    Pick your battles and who gives a toss what the others think. They aren’t living your life, so what should you care what they think.
    High Fives all round.
    (not that you should care what I think either…)

  8. Janette on March 8th, 2011 11:20 pm

    I think you kind of have to expect picky-ness during the toddler years, especially when it comes to little boys. My kid lives on pb&j, raisins, and ketchup, and that is fine by me.
    BTW, that picture totally made me crave waffles.

  9. Erin on March 8th, 2011 11:21 pm

    Waffles are totally a snack.
    I had a run in with judge-yness this week too. I had a doctor apppointment and it came up that my 10 month old still wakes in the night (like LOTS of babies) and the newly-married, no-kids-yet doctor says to me “you’ve heard the saying you can’t spoil a baby under six months? she’s 10 months, she can put herself back to sleep!”
    Way to not really get it, Doctor or crazy moms who think waffles for 5 year olds who never stop moving are the problem with America.

  10. Jen on March 8th, 2011 11:23 pm

    Oh man I am so with you. I was so Judgey McJudgerson when Kale was a little blob of cute and gurgle and now I RUE the day I opened my cakehole and denounced a friend for not “gently encouraging” their child to eat whatever I deemed more nutritious. I too, refuse to have a nightly pissing match with Kalepants (3 in July) because really? WHATEVER. In our house we adhere to “try one bite and move on” eventually he will love all the foods we tend to eat and eventually I can stop quietly panicking and stuffing vitamins down his throat because apparently all he is interested in is sausages, cheese, fishy crackers, noodles, and fruit. I seriously some days think he is going to OD on nitrates with the amount of pepperoni and garlic coil we consume but then I remember OH YEAH I’M NOT BEING DRIVEN INSANE so it’s win.

  11. Melissa on March 8th, 2011 11:34 pm

    I just have to laugh at other mothers who act like that. They clearly have a “different sort of child” then I do. Waffles are a snack in this house too.

  12. Keeley on March 8th, 2011 11:36 pm

    I’m surprised my kids haven’t turned orange for the amount of Kraft mac & cheese they consume. Thank you for your refreshing honesty. We all know the pressures of parenthood and daily life and those folks that turn their noses up at Goldfish crackers and waffles don’t know what they’re missing. Pick your battles, I say. Some days kids eat veggies/fruits, some days they don’t. That’s why Gummies were invented. (Right?!)

  13. Amy on March 9th, 2011 12:03 am


    I am so glad you are saying this out loud. Calling us all out on our hyper-sensitivities in the 21st century to feeding children *anything* that is not grass-fed, line-caught, free-range organic! I am the first to sing the praises of this sort of diet for anyone and everyone and try to feed my kids the healthiest foods I can whenever possible. But for christ’s sake people! Sometimes you have to run through the drive-through on ballet night or shove a baggie full of fish crackers in your purse to fend off the raving 2-year-old. Who are we to judge? We are all trying to do what’s best for our kids. We are all trying to keep their belly’s full and also keep a happy family around the dinner table with as few meltdowns as possible.

    My husband and I have always fed our kids exactly what we eat for dinner, priding ourselves on what great eaters they are because we never pandered to their short order requests. And you know what? My daughter, who used to eat everything — hummus, salmon, couscous, you name it — now refuses to eat almost every fruit under the sun. I have learned to shut the hell up and count my lucky starts when things are going my way, parenting-wise. Because, man, the tide’s they do change. And quickly. And humble pie, while I’m sure nutritious, is far from my favorite after-dinner treat.

  14. Laura on March 9th, 2011 12:26 am

    This, Linda, THIS is why you are one of my favorite bloggers.

  15. Lori on March 9th, 2011 12:28 am

    My kids eat a lot of different foods, but they only eat it when it’s cooked how they like it. Eat a vegetable with sauce on it? No way. Eat a piece of meat, chicken or fish flavored with anything but salt and pepper…I don’t think so. And, heaven forbid they be served yogurt with chunks in it. Of course, I’m not above taking them to McD’s, letting them have Sprite when we’re eating out, or passing out Oreos filled with hydrogenated oil centers either. Any and all tricks, threats, starvation techniques (hehe!) I’ve ever used to get them to eat have never worked. Loved your post at The Stir, it cracked me up.

    I’ve definitely had to suck down a number of helpings of humble pie over the years. What I wonder, is why my humble pie experiences helped make me less judgemental as a parent while it hasn’t had that same effect on other moms. I know we’ve all be there — maybe not over food, but there’s something. Oh, well.

  16. Mama Ritchie on March 9th, 2011 12:38 am

    You’re lucky you can get your kids to eat vitamins. I have to sneak a liquid one into my kid’s full-of-sugar-and-additives yogurt drink.

  17. Jenny on March 9th, 2011 3:37 am

    My kids have continuously been on the long and lean side of things since birth and they eat whatever the hell I can manage to get in their mouth. If dinner consists of oatmeal, some cocoa puffs, and peanut butter smeared on crackers then I’m fairly happy. They will not eat greens, they simply will not, unless I hold them down and force it down their jaws, and the same goes for most vegetables. Fruit is easier, but I’m not stressing about the food situation now. What contributes to childhood obesity is lack of exercise, excessive sodas, and a plethora of junk food, NOT waffles for a snack.

    Lordy, I wish the world would just pop a xanax before getting all preachy at someone on the internet.

  18. Katy on March 9th, 2011 4:22 am

    I could not agree more. I am lucky that my three will eat a varied diet now. But my oldest spent a good 18 months eating cheese, ham and yogurt. Nothing else! She had tin ribs by the end of that. Now she will eat lots of varied things but veggies are still a struggle. She likes brocolli so guess what she gets with every meal? My boys (4 and 1) defy the laws of physics and will literally eat anything. Fish, seafood, any vegetables, spicy things, fruit. But I am not smug oh no no I know it could end at any moment!

    Also mmmmmmmmm waffles.

  19. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on March 9th, 2011 4:32 am

    PREACH it, sista.

    I remember horrendous battles with my parents over the dinner table. Epic wars that lasted hours while we ALL gagged and pouted and moaned. Over what? A spoonful of peas? A stalk of broccoli?

    After my brother took one bite of asparagus and promptly yacked all over the dining room table, the madness ended.

    So we don’t battle either in our house. We model healthy eating, we offer a wide range of foods, but we always offer something we know they will eat (The list is ever dwindling; we’re down to bread and butter for some dinners.)

    And I use this chocolate vegetable powder and call it chocolate milk. I swear I’m not trying to sell you anything but I LOVE this stuff and so do they. http://www.amazinggrass.com/about-chocolate-green-superfood.html

  20. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on March 9th, 2011 4:37 am

    Also: your kids will eat FISH STICKS?!?!? You deserve a medal!

  21. jenna mccarthy on March 9th, 2011 5:12 am

    Maybe you should move to the South. My sister lives there and swears they put Coke and sweet tea in their BABY’S BOTTLES. Course then you’d be outcast as the hippie health freak because your kids don’t like their peanut butter sandwiches fried. Never mind. Carry on. (But agreed, holier-than-thou moms suck.

  22. Nik-Nik on March 9th, 2011 5:26 am

    Yup, this is exactly why I like to keep my mouth shut on all items regarding parenting. I’m forever terrified ill say something judgy and preachy and then ha e to turn around and eat my words.

    Oh, and my 16 month old lives on hot dogs, yogurt, string cheese, and animal crackers. What can ya do?

  23. Eric's Mommy on March 9th, 2011 5:29 am

    My Son is almost 9 and he hates veggies and pretty much anything healthy. I do make him eat small amounts of corn or green beans when I can. I also give him his vitamins everyday and hope for the best. He is pretty heavy, about 100 pounds, but he is really tall too. We actually sometimes make him a separate dinner because he won’t eat what we are having.
    According to SOME parents pretty much anything you feed your kid isn’t good unless it is pooped out by unicorns. GIVE ME A BREAK.

  24. Jenn on March 9th, 2011 5:37 am

    My 5-year-old son is (thankfully) a pretty good eater most of the time but when he is presented with something he doesn’t like he dutifully informs me he is allergic to such food item.

    “Mommy, I’m allergic to chicken. You can’t feed people food they are allergic to.”

    Where he got such nonsense I’ll never know.

    I refuse to battle over food. And I know I’m just LUCKY that my kid is a decent eater MOST of the time.

  25. Christine on March 9th, 2011 5:51 am

    You know, are waffles the “healthiest” food? No. BUT they aren’t effing nuclear waste. As for adding to the “obesity epidemic” it frankly does not exist. Most people have a set point and will be around that weight give or take 10% of their weight. See here: http://fiercefatties.com/2011/03/07/savage-intent/ The fear of food, and of obesity, certainly never helped any one get healthier habits. YES we should eat healthier and exercise but we should do it because it feels good. Because it helps us feel our best. NOT because some fear of the icky fat. Thinking like that just leads to disordered eating and yo yo dieting. Both of which probably add to more health issues than the size of my waist.

    Off soap box now! Sorry!

  26. Kathryn on March 9th, 2011 5:59 am


  27. April on March 9th, 2011 6:08 am

    Obviously you are not alone. My son ate everything for the first 18 months of his life, and now we’re down to all breakfast foods, meat, cheese and bread. And some pasta and rice, but not always. I let him stuff himself in the morning, and by dinner if he won’t eat, so be it. I won’t make a separate meal for him, but if we’re eating piecemeal anyhow I’ll make him chicken nuggets and be done with it. I don’t push what we’re eating though – I just put it on his plate and hope for the best.

    Btw, he ate carrots at disney yesterday and I almost had a cow – carrots! Amazing!

  28. Bethany on March 9th, 2011 6:15 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. As someone mentioned above, I relish when parents are honest about things like this because it makes me feel less alone. Let’s put it this way – we are relieved when we can get our 3yo son to finish a milkshake for the calories! Horrors! I will rest easy now. Thanks.

  29. MichelleRenee on March 9th, 2011 6:15 am

    Exactly. Humble Pie.

    Spent lots of time patting myself on the back for my JOB WELL DONE in the sleep dept.

    Then my son was born. HAHAHAHAH!

  30. Megan Anderson on March 9th, 2011 6:23 am

    We have a non-picky eater, but I’m certain it is nothing we did. And baby #2 will probably be a nightmare at the kitchen table. Hah!

    Love the last few paragraphs so much!

  31. Kaire on March 9th, 2011 6:49 am

    As someone who has been obese from 2nd grade through this very moment, I can tell you that waffles didn’t get me here.

    Fighting about food helped. I can remember an epic battle over spaghetti and I lost after many hours of staring at the plate.

    Having a lunch lady who would say “well, I know you’d all like to go out to recess, but Kaire hasn’t joined the clean plate club!” helped me learn to shovel it in. Nothing like fear of classmates killing you to get you over being picky!

    Having a mother who didn’t have an interest in me and gave me “treats” to go away helped.

    Having a father who showed love with treats helped.

    Being taught when I was little that food comforts, food is your friend, and food is always there for you got me fat.

    It wasn’t *a* food, it was many foods that took the place of a mom who would rather clean than play with me and a dad that worked his ass off to provide.

    Want happy healthy kids? Teach them to have self esteem. Teach them that they can dream big and work hard to reach those dreams. Teach them that life is not about your next meal. Believe in them and show them that you believe. That way no matter what size or shape, you have a confident child who can weather any storm.

  32. Jo on March 9th, 2011 6:52 am

    Haha, Kathryn’s comment made me laugh.

    I don’t comment much (but I love your blog, I just always sound like a dork in comments. Ok, I am a dork), but I think all the positive voices should speak out and drown out the clued out, judgy one. This person who made that comment maybe doesn’t read your blog? At all? Because your family looks like the most glowing, beautifully healthy family I’ve ever seen! I have serious respect for how good you are at exercising and doing outdoorsy things and obviously your boys are active. You? Contributing to the so-called obesity epidemic? That’s kind of hilarious.

    My barely 28 pound (with clothes!) 2.5 year old is the same. I am just happy if she eats a chicken nugget. As mothers we just need our children to eat and thrive. Children also don’t need the same amount of fiber and fruit/veggies that we need. They need calories and energy! Waffles, hell yes! Pre-children I thought I’d always shop at Whole Foods and make buckwheat linseed pancakes every morning and grow my own yogurt.


  33. Becky on March 9th, 2011 6:53 am

    LOVE you Linda. Amen etc.

    Our staples:
    French Toast sticks dipped in yogurt
    Cheese and

    Hell I am just happy he is eating SOMETHING.

  34. Rachel on March 9th, 2011 7:09 am

    There are 49 comments over there and the majority are completely supportive. The ridiculous ones were maybe 2 – 3. Rational human FTW.

  35. bessie.viola on March 9th, 2011 7:12 am

    AMEN. I was a smug, smug bitch when my now-3-year-old daughter was 1. She ate EVERYTHING – fish! chicken! pesto! salsa! broccoli! She REQUESTED broccoli, for pete’s sake.

    Now she’s 3 and eats noodles, crackers, fish sticks, chicken nuggets… that’s about it. OH! Marinara. She’ll eat marinara.

    She won’t even eat her gummy vitamins. Yet somehow she survives.

  36. Rayne of Terror on March 9th, 2011 7:18 am

    Those comments at the stir were a hoot. Waffles are a snack if you serve them at snack TIME. Duh.

  37. Jean on March 9th, 2011 7:23 am

    Amen, sister!

  38. Olivia on March 9th, 2011 7:26 am

    You can’t make a kid eat, sleep or poop. If your child does any of these (or all 3) well, bite your tounge and be grateful. If you struggle with any of these with your child, we can get together to commiserate.

    We offer our 2 yr old whatever we are eating at every meal. Sometimes she eats a lot, sometimes she eats two bites and is done, often she refuses it and goes for yogurt or crackers. *shrug*

  39. Nichole on March 9th, 2011 7:26 am

    Waffles most certainly are a snack. Anything’s a snack if you time it right.

    My daughter won’t eat any vegetables in any form, including that time I put a tablespoon of pureed cauliflower in the macaroni and cheese. She didn’t see it go in, but she wouldn’t it the macaroni. Because she detected that the roughly .0001 teaspoon’s worth of vegetable in her bowl and determined that Something Was Wrong. She won’t eat fruit, either, but she’ll eat applesauce. I call that a win.

  40. Cheryl S. on March 9th, 2011 7:34 am

    I LOVE YOU. I hate all these people who say that unhealthy stuff never passes their children’s lips. If it true, good for them, but I don’t buy it!

    Jess sounds like Riley and Dylan. Her diet consists mainly of cereal, raisin toast (I count this as a fruit!), noodles, chicken nuggets, and Juicy Juice. She will eat eggs occasionally and pancakes on weekends. And steak. (No clue how that passed the test, but it did) Add in some junk food and there you go.

    She’s neither fat nor malnourished. And the santimommies can BITE ME.

  41. Amanda on March 9th, 2011 7:43 am

    Preach it!

    My oldest is almost 9 and she went through a big picky phase from ages 2-4. Her younger sister is now following that same path. I learned the first time around to pick my battles. I won’t feed them chocolate and sugar, but I don’t make food time = war time. Not worth the tears, stress and tantrums from either of us!

    I give them both vitamins and extra liquid vitamin C in the winter and hope for the best. They eventually grow out of it and ask for decent food. In the meantime you do what you have to. I’ve had plenty of “advice” over the years. Most of the time I say “ok, if it is that easy, come live with me for a week.” No one has ever taken me up on that.

  42. Jen on March 9th, 2011 7:45 am

    Great post. I have two boys who will eat mostly anything, but believe me we have plenty of other issues. Namely a 9 year old who still can’t sleep without me! But I have an 85 pound 6 year old so people just ASSUME AND COMMENT that I must feed him junk, waffles (!), all day long and make him sit in front of the tv while his brain turns to mush. When in reality his favorite snacks are fruit and veggies and he’s 10 times more active then his “30th percentile” older brother. Its alway something with the Judgy McJudgersons!

  43. Jen B on March 9th, 2011 7:57 am

    This is a great post. It’s so annoying how others feel the need to comment on what your kids eat. It reminds me of the “Happy Meal Ban” in SF (I think it was San Fran)–my child eats fairly well all week and if I want to buy him a damn happy meal on Saturday, why can’t I do it w/out judgment (or a law preventing)??

    Kids are so picky when they’re young anyway. There are points where I really don’t care what he eats as long as HE EATS knowing full well that the pickiness will most likely subside shortly.

  44. Jen B on March 9th, 2011 8:00 am

    Jo–My 2.5 year old boy is 25 pounds w/clothes on. I have you beat :)

  45. Christine on March 9th, 2011 8:01 am

    Waffles are a meal in my house. At least, they can be.

    There’s no way I’m going to win against an almost-five-year-old with an eternal capacity for holding out and absolutely no interest in new foods. (And practically everything counts as “new” becuase he has NEVER eaten meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, eggs, pasta… – and not for want of me trying, either.)

    So I do what I can and I try not to make it horrible for all of us. He’s still alive and remarkably healthy, so something must be working, even if I didn’t think peanut-butter sandwiches and breakfast cereal constitued a balanced diet.

  46. seadragon on March 9th, 2011 8:08 am

    I have to laugh because in this picture it looks like not only are they sitting there eating the dreaded waffles, but they are also eating in front of the tv!

    I’m one of the lucky ones whose 3-year still eats everything, e.g., I sent him to preschool today with salmon and rice with a side of Swiss chard. BUT. He was a terrible sleeper until age 2 and we tried everything – co-sleeping, lying down with him, getting up every time he cried because it was so much better to just deal with the first whimper than to start all over if we really let him cry.

    You do what you have to as a responsible parent dealing with the particulars of your own child.

  47. Shelly on March 9th, 2011 8:08 am

    I love this post just as I love most everything you write and I agree with most of the comments. Mommies everywhere need to just chill out!
    The picky eating series here: http://www.raisehealthyeaters.com/category/picky-eating-series/
    helped me feel much better about all those crazy toddler eating habits.

    Kaire, thank you for your honest and thought provoking words.

  48. MP on March 9th, 2011 8:11 am

    Erin’s comment WAY above reminds me of something my best friend, a pediatrician, said right after her daughter was born. The VERY first thing she said to me was, “I sort of feel like an asshole for all of the preachy, judgy, unhelpful comments I’ve given to so many parents when I obviously didn’t know ONE thing about being a parent.” Humble pie folks, it comes in many different flavors.

  49. Larisa on March 9th, 2011 8:13 am

    Two thumbs waaayy up. I’m right there with ya. Our kids’ menu looks like yours, only in addition one of mine is a meat eater, and one wishes he could only eat fruit. It’s a struggle to be sure one gets enough fiber and the other doesn’t get too much (eek!) But aside from that, I figure that as long as they’re getting all the food groups, I’ll give them a vitamin with iron and we’ll be ok.

  50. Sande on March 9th, 2011 8:15 am

    Sing is sista! Before we had kids, my hubby and I both said we were never going to force our kids to finish their plate at dinner time or force them to eat something they didn’t like. It isn’t worth it. We were both forced to eat shit we hated and we had to finish our plates. It is something we talk about all the time…because obviously we are emotionally scarred by it. I am not saying our kid is going to dictate what she eats, but if she has tried it and doesn’t like it, then hey…we tried. Maybe she will like it later in life. There are tons of things I wouldn’t touch as a kid or teen, but eat now.

  51. Mary O on March 9th, 2011 8:17 am

    Yes, yes, yes. My boys are similar ages to yours and are very picky eaters right now too. Their diet sounds similar to your kids’. I don’t fight with them about it either. It’s just not worth it. I do not know of any kid who would eat a handful of almonds as a snack.

  52. Nikki on March 9th, 2011 8:19 am

    Too bad I was all “Fuck, your kids eat waffles? I wish my daughter would eat a waffle.” Her diet consists of cereal, crackers and yogurt. She refuses to eat a vegetable. Or fruit. I still give her toddler formula. She just turned two because at least I know it’s some form of nutrition. And no, she won’t drink milk either. I refuse to fight the food battle. Not worth it.

  53. ste on March 9th, 2011 8:26 am

    Waffles? They freakin’ rock. And my daughter eats a hotdog almost every single day because it is so damn hard to get any protein in her! After much encouragement from my sister, I too have given up fighting about food and there are no more tears at dinnertime – and my kid doesn’t cry either!

  54. Trina on March 9th, 2011 8:30 am

    Oh how we missed you!

    Your boys are healthy and growing. The parents who think waffles are not a snack are the catty ones at Gym class.

    My boys like almond butter on their waffles, and it packs a bit more protien. On really exciting days, we make them into a PB&J sandwich!

  55. Angella on March 9th, 2011 8:32 am

    I wish I could find the link you dent me for the “haters are gonna hate” gif…


    Seriously, though. We gave up on meal time battles a long time ago – dinner is our one time of day that we’re all together and get caught up. I’m not going to spend it fighting.

    When Graham started Kindergarten, his teacher introduced something we do now at dinner – the kids have to take one (teeny tiny) bite of a new food I make and tell me if it’s “yummy or yucky.” We’ve found a few winners.

    Oh! And Graham is now 8 and in the past year or two keeps adding foods that he likes that he would never touch before (i.e. scrambled eggs). There’s hope for us all. :)

  56. Melinda on March 9th, 2011 8:34 am

    Waffles are awesome.
    Also, have you heard about this?
    Saw an announcement about it and thought of you. Not in a creepy stalker way but in a “wonder if Linda has heard about this?” sort of way.
    Hey, I can bring this around full circle. After the triathlon you and the boys can try a waffle at “Off the Waffle” in Eugene!

  57. melanie on March 9th, 2011 8:35 am

    I love the humble pie comment, like you with my first born everything was relatively easy and calm, I was thinking to myself “whats all the fuss, this motherhood thing isn’t all that bad” and whoa was I knocked on the ass by my second child, between horrible acid reflux that landed her in the ER 4 times her first 6 mths of life, feeding her every 1 1/2 hrs because she could only have 2oz or LESS at a time due to horrible reflux and the worry over the hemangioma on her face (it was not a big deal looking back, but i was hormonal and worried about what people would say and think) …. I am a WHOLE lot less judgmental these days. Oh and she is now 2 1/2 and if it isn’t pepperoni, salami or chicken nuggets she WILL NOT EAT MEAT! GAH

  58. Tee on March 9th, 2011 8:39 am

    We’ve had similar experiences and luck with our boys and you know what? They are both very thin and active and honestly, I don’t want to make food an issue for them because I think THAT’S what makes people, well, have food issues when they are older and suddenly, food is love or some shit. No thank you.

    Also? Snacks are awesome.

  59. Deanna on March 9th, 2011 8:42 am

    amen, sister!
    I make a HUGE batch of waffles and stash them in the freezer in zip baggies. My 13 yr old can “cook” a snack for the smaller kids with the help of the toaster oven. Awesome!
    I try to convince them to put peanut butter and jelly on them for a schmear of protein but whatever.

  60. Christy on March 9th, 2011 8:52 am

    When my oldest was little, I got called out on feeding her cheerios as a snack, because of the added sugar. Seriously.

    My kids looove waffles. I don’t want my kids to grow up with issues about food. We eat lots of different things, good and bad. We are also active.

  61. Christina on March 9th, 2011 8:55 am

    Agreed all over again!

  62. Brian on March 9th, 2011 8:59 am

    My kids are strange, I have one who would live on those cheese and peanut butter crackers (you know, the orange ones? all natural, right?) but then he’ll turn around and eat not one but several stalks of celery. He’s also skinny as a rail and a wicked fast and strong soccer player, so nutritionally I’m not too worried.

    If my daughter were to turn sideways she would disappear. Her diet is basically ramen noodles and spaghettios with meatballs.

    My oldest can and will eat an entire pizza by himeself (Papa John’s, large) and he’s only 13. The other day he ate a half gallon of ice cream.

    I can’t worry about it anymore, if anyone wants to worry for me, they are welcome to it.

  63. AndreAnna on March 9th, 2011 9:00 am

    Food is the new morality.

    People lose their damn minds.

    As always, thanks for being real. Takes a lot of balls and yours are big and juicy. :)

  64. KKF on March 9th, 2011 9:06 am

    Totally unrelated: Saw “Monsters” last night per your suggestion. Loved it – not a drooling, panting, forever-n’-ever kind of lurve, but absolutely glad to have seen it and will encourage all within earshot to do the same.
    Thanks for the tip!

  65. Jessie on March 9th, 2011 9:14 am

    I read your piece over there and I swear, the comments made me roll my eyes so hard it hurt. I can see someone potentially getting all worked up and judgey if your article had every meal as some sort of fast food you were feeding them or something, but even then! People find it soooo easy to judge, it drives me crazy.
    We are pretty lucky with our 2 1/2 year old, if dinner has something he doesn’t like, the rule is just one bite and you can leave it. I also don’t mind letting him eat later before bed if he is hungry. Kids listen to their bodies and know when they are hungry, I don’t think two year olds stress eat like adults do! Far be it from me to mess him up when he is listening what his body is telling him.

    And waffles are totally a snack! Ours have to be gluten free, but you bet your butt that’s been an afternoon snack on many occasions, and sometimes, we put almond butter and chocolate chips on it, GASP!

    *Side note, one thing that helps us some is I have pictures of foods cut out that I group together in “meals” for the week, so that Micah has a visual of what I am planning and he can insert any opinions on what he may like. It’s pretty fun for kids to figure out how to make a complete nutritional meal with all the food groups, Riley I think is old enought to really GET it and have some fun thinking up meal ideas/plans. Could also check that off as some schooling/class time for him :)

  66. MRW on March 9th, 2011 9:17 am

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but I wanted to note that I am just so sick and tired of all of the ways people have to come down on parents that are specious at best. As if being a parent isn’t hard enough, now we also have to be careful about mentioning “hot button” topics such as waffles. Am just tired of all the bullshit. Bah.

  67. Naomi on March 9th, 2011 9:19 am

    People need to get off their high horses. Every toddler goes through a picky stage. My daughter is almost sixteen and when she small it was horrible at times. She lived on vienna sausages and cheese. Not the most nutritious diet AT ALL. But she refused to go near anything else. At four, she only wanted salads. Then at five she would rather eat sushi than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which didn’t even taste until she was nearly seven.

    Your children are eating. They know their appetites and considering that when they hit their teenage years you probably won’t be able to keep enough food in the house to satisfy their appetites….I think you’re doing a damn fine job.

    Forget the criticizing twats!

  68. Tracy on March 9th, 2011 9:22 am

    Eh, do what you have to do, right? What’s the big whoop?

    Ironically, I ate a waffle last night as a snack (with nutella and strawberries no less!). It was my “last meal,” as I’m trying to do something vaguely primal during Lent. Also found it ironic that I read this post while choking down my first breakfast. I ate greek yogurt (yeah I know, dairy!…but there’s got to be something that’s not meat I can eat on this plan) with banana and walnuts WITHOUT the honey I usually add. I now know why this eating plan works.

  69. June on March 9th, 2011 9:32 am

    Your boys are eating waffles! ZOMG!!! We’re ALL GOING TO DIE!!!

    One of my twins hated solid food. I even put freaking semi-melted vanilla ice cream in her mouth to see if she would eat it, and she cried with her tongue sticking out as far as she could.

  70. Anne on March 9th, 2011 9:36 am

    Yeah–second children are definitely an object lesson for holier-than-thou parents (and I include myself in that assessment!)

    The other day, I made scrambled eggs and mixed veggies for dinner. When I looked over a few minutes later, my 4 year old had cleared her plate of eggs and had yet to touch a vegetable. My 2 year old? Nary a vegetable to be seen, but a full mound of eggs still rested on her plate.

    Kids are weird.

  71. Sharon on March 9th, 2011 9:37 am

    Those aren’t exactly horrible foods. It’s not like you drive to McDonalds for every meal because that’s all they will eat.

  72. Jen on March 9th, 2011 9:46 am

    Here here! We tried the “you will eat what we eat” and my daughter didn’t touch a crumb of food for 3 days. Regardless of my pediatrician insistance we could break her, it broke me. My kid will eat fruits and veggies all day long if I let her. It’s the protein sources we struggle with. OK – I give her dinosaur nuggets, sometimes eggs, often yogurt or cheese…guess we aren’t doing so bad. This is a large improvement from the 5-yr-old only milk, egg, veg/fruit days.

    When she turned 7 we told her she would eat what we eat (when the adults eat at a reasonable hour, sometime you have to feed the kid at 5 or there are other consequences) We “deconstruct” the meal so she doesn’t have to worry about spicy sauces or meat she doesn’t like. And of course food cannot be mixed together on the plate. But she’s eating it.

    I look forward to the day she starts to love exploring all the good stuff we eat regularly. In the meantime, she eats, she thrives, sometimes even a “no thank you lick” so I’m not too concerned about it.

  73. MRW on March 9th, 2011 9:49 am

    OK have read all comments now and just want to second the comment way above that you can’t make a kid sleep or eat. With my first I learned you can’t make a kid sleep. With my second I learned you can’t make a kid eat. I’ve eaten so much humble pie I should be constantly full all day every day.

  74. Lindsay on March 9th, 2011 9:52 am

    I’m 37 weeks pregnant and just had a waffle for a snack (aka, “second breakfast”). Anything can be a snack – c’mon!

  75. Linda on March 9th, 2011 9:55 am

    Jessie: stealing that idea NOW. Very cool.

  76. Jen on March 9th, 2011 10:01 am

    This is why I love you.

  77. Judy on March 9th, 2011 10:04 am

    Growing up, I never got to go out on the playground after lunch because I had to sit there with a plate of solidifying food in front of me, not eating, until the bell rang to go back to class.

    When I was 9 my grandmother said I would never live to grow up because I wouldn’t eat anything but Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and melted cheese.

    I’m 68 and over 200 lb. I eat broccoli and liver but I still won’t touch a cooked carrot or a fried egg.

    Anyway, I decided not to make a big deal of it. The kids had to try a bite of anything new, but if they didn’t want to eat it, there were hot dogs in the fridge, and fruit. Luckily they all liked fruit.

    They all grew up normal sized, with varying degrees of sophisticated palates. The oldest will eat anything. The youngest still thinks the only vegetables in the world are corn and green beans, but he still likes fruit. Everyone’s reasonably healthy.

    I approve of your “don’t sweat it” attitude.

  78. Betsy on March 9th, 2011 10:04 am

    Anything I eat when it’s not meal time is a snack to me! (I can’t even say “any food substance” because sometimes I eat Twizzlers, and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing edible in those.)

  79. Sandy W on March 9th, 2011 10:07 am

    My almost 5 year old is also very picky. He has always been and when I told his doctor that he wouldn’t eat any vegetables but loves fruit the doctor responded by telling me that vegetables and fruit are the same nutritionally and not to worry about it. He also told me that all his own 4 year old will eat is mac & cheese. My son is very thin and eats just like you describe your kids diet. I am just happy he eats. Who cares what other people say. Hopefully their next child will refuse to eat the stuff they are buying. Wouldn’t that be karma?

  80. hayden on March 9th, 2011 10:10 am
  81. Lana on March 9th, 2011 10:16 am

    So yea, my daughter just finished eating a delicious waffle snack….on the couch….. while watching T.V. the horror.

  82. simon on March 9th, 2011 10:24 am

    Getting a toddler to eat is easy! Simply reason with them. Tell them that if they try it, they might like it!

    That always works.

  83. Molly on March 9th, 2011 10:41 am

    Wow – some of those comments were certainly gag inducing. Reminds me of a post I saw on one of those “birth club” forums wherein “super crunchy” mom just wished soooo hard that she could NOT CARE about buying only the BEST for her children. How she wished that buying something as sinful as J&J baby shampoo instead of Burt’s Bees didn’t keep her up at night (barf).

    Were people like this when our parents were babies or do you think they were damn glad to have food to eat period?

  84. Erin on March 9th, 2011 10:47 am

    Seriously, I feel the same way right now about getting my newborn to sleep. Despite people who will come right out and warn me about how she’s GOING TO BE WHEN SHE’S FIVE if I have her sleeping on me for a stretch NOW, I don’t care anymore. If it gets her to sleep, and peace reigns supreme in our house right now, a house that has only known a newborn for a week, I will take it. Plus? Scheduling a newborn is not something we’re interested in since, you know, IMPOSSIBLE.

    I love you. And I love waffles.

  85. Amelia on March 9th, 2011 10:52 am

    Our doctor admits to having a picky 7-year-old who eats white rice, noodles, and bread. He gives her a daily multivitamin and says she has marvelous test scores, is not underdeveloped, and is doing just fine. I wonder how many people who comment with judge-y remarks are actual *doctors* or *nutritionists*? Or even how many of them have actual children (instead of robot children who will eat anything)? God, even my dog is a picky eater, and won’t even sniff a dropped vegetable or fruit.

  86. Robin on March 9th, 2011 10:57 am

    I have a 15 year old boy who is perfectly fine and has never eaten anything green in his life!

  87. sheilah on March 9th, 2011 11:03 am

    This is one of the biggest arguments I have with my husband. When I cook I always cook something that I know my son will eat (rice, pasta, brocolli…yes the boy loves brocolli) and if he eats the rest of the meal, eh… My husband wants him to clean his plate…eat meat. My son is healthy, fit and skinny. He eats when he is hungry and stops when he is full. If that means 2 hours later a snack of a piece of cheese or a handfull of goldfish or a waffle, then so be it. I don’t want to make food an issue…that is where you get fat kids.

  88. Jenni on March 9th, 2011 11:13 am

    My son is 5, about two weeks older than Riley, and hovers around 30 lbs. He has always been small, since the day he was born. He lives on crackers and cheese. Mac and cheese. Bread. Pancakes. Waffles. He lives on carbs… no fruits or vegetables. Except bananas and potatoes (as long as they aren’t fries.) He likes fruit juices, but not the fruits. He likes applesauce and apple juice, but not apples. Go figure! We expect him to eat one bite of a vegetable. Literally one green bean or small piece of carrot and etc — which he hates. We have talked to the doctor about it since he was about a 1-1/2. He said this past year that we should consider going to a feeding clinic to discuss his “food aversion.” We went to the feeding clinic. They told us that we should just keep doing what we were doing. I just don’t worry about his eating habits anymore. We give him his vitamins every day and hope for the best. His reading and math skills are above average for his age, despite being one of the youngest in his class. So it doesn’t seem to have affected his cognitive abilities, thus far. And he is active. He always wants to be outside doing something. People who don’t have picky eaters don’t necessarily understand the struggles of those that do. It’s easy to be judgmental when you don’t have that problem. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t worry about it.

  89. sooboo on March 9th, 2011 11:18 am

    I read that other column too and I thought, “uh oh, I hope she at least gets paid for extra comments”.

    I was a seriously picky eater as a kid. My mom did her best but she and I would have screaming, crying matches over food which made mealtime unbearable for everyone and I was still very underweight. I grew out of it. Now I’m a healthy weight, I eat tons of vegetables etc.. People that don’t have to deal with picky kids can’t get what that’s like. AND a waffle is not a cookie or a candy bar.

  90. Theresa on March 9th, 2011 11:24 am

    Go Linda! Our 3 year old is right into the whole food battle now. It’s SO HELPFUL to hear that it’s totally normal!

    And I love your approach. It is healthy to freak out about food when we’re trying to teach our kids about it? I don’t think so. We have the try-one-bite-before-you-reject-it rule, but that’s it. Lots of applesauce, yogurt, cheese and cucumbers. No complaints.

    You rock.

  91. wealhtheow on March 9th, 2011 11:42 am

    It is YOUR JOB to offer healthy, nutritious, balanced meals, and to continue to offer them fruits and vegetables.

    It is THEIR JOB to eat it.

    And as I continually remind myself, if my son grows up to be one of the millions of Americans who has to make a concerted effort to eat enough fruits and vegetables, I am NOT a failure as a mother.

  92. Anais on March 9th, 2011 11:49 am

    Clueless But Hopeful Mama’s comment made me laugh. My brother and I went through the same thing as kids with our parents (especially our mom). If we didn’t want something, they would force us to stay at the table and eat it (which never happened anyway- we’d just sit there for hours, looking as if we were at a funeral).

    One night, my mother made liver and onions. It was so disgusting and my poor brother and I sat there staring down at our cold hard liver steaks in horror for 3 hours, trying to nibble bit by bit, but gagging with every bite we took. My brother finally puked all over the table and that was that.

    My mother never again made us eat anything we didn’t want to eat. Eventually, my brother and I got over our pickyness. Today, my brother is a bottomless pit and I am slightly overweight and now 8 weeks pregnant. I will eat pretty much anything…except liver.

    I don’t intend to battle with my future kid about food. Those are battles with no victories.

  93. wealhtheow on March 9th, 2011 11:49 am

    And seriously, waffles? WTF is wrong with a waffle?

  94. Phoebe on March 9th, 2011 11:54 am

    I always click over to you articles at The Stir because your writing is awesome and I need entertainment during my oh so boring work day. I am glad The Stir has lots of people, with differing points of view writing for them… but good god the judgement that some of the articles and comments have! I hope you aren’t taking any of it too seriously :)

    I second the recommendation of that piece from NPR (hayden posted a link). It makes sense that evolution would not have left kids without a means to manage their own nutrition (but I guess that argument might open a whole new can of worms :P).

  95. Erica on March 9th, 2011 11:54 am

    Bravo! Seriously, what the hell. I too, thought that I would only serve my daughter healthy organic veggies and blah blah blah. Now we rely a lot on fishy crackers, cheerios, pretzels, etc. whatever. I WISH she would have eaten the frozen TJ’s waffles I bought. I thought that was a really good idea! Don’t worry about it. For real.

  96. Ashleas on March 9th, 2011 12:00 pm

    Whenever I hear about food battles and the whole argument over what to allow your child to eat and what they do eat, I always wonder “What did people do back way back when during the beginning of the agriculture age, and during the hunter-gathering periods of time?” We don’t know how much variety they had in their diet and surely a lot of their vegetables and fruits were served raw and I’m sure some of the meat too. Were kids just as picky back then as they are now?

  97. Jen on March 9th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Yes. To the toddler/preschooler food battle futility. And also the humble pie with a non-sleeping 2nd baby. I still can’t get the taste of that out of my mouth…

  98. Emily on March 9th, 2011 12:14 pm

    This is EXACTLY my approach, so obviously you’re doing it perfectly.

  99. Michelle on March 9th, 2011 12:14 pm

    I think Kaire’s post is my favourite. Battles are going to be far more damaging than anything else. I have four boys and they all range in pickiness (so far; one of them is only a year old, but he’s my most varied eater at this point!) My approach has been to offer a range of good stuff, not make a big hoopla OR a big fight over the crap stuff, and non-obsessively teach them about why choices lead to good or bad health. And, it’s not like they never see ME make a less-than-healthy choice, heh. :)

  100. Three on March 9th, 2011 12:18 pm

    Wow. I thought I was in a pissy mood before I read those comments lol.

    Fuuuuuuuck. How do you not reply to those people.

    I think you’re an excellent mom. Your kids adore you and by looking at the pictures you share you do a lot as a family and enjoy doing it. I think some parents think feeding your child a certain diet makes them good parents. ehhhhh, not so much…..

  101. Amy W. on March 9th, 2011 12:18 pm

    My husband’s sister was a picky eater and one of his most vivid memories from childhood is the daily battle his parents had with her–screaming, tears,gagging until she threw up. She developed a near-phobia regarding food that she is still struggling with at thirty. So we want to avoid that if at all possible with our picky son who is interested in even fewer foods than your boys.

    My husband and I generally eat healthy food and are very adventurous eaters (though we still like our junk food). We hope it eventually rubs off on him, but knowing my son, if we push him, he’ll push right back, so we try to stay mellow about it.

  102. Jessica on March 9th, 2011 12:26 pm

    Waffles aren’t a snack in our house but they are breakfast. Daily. Only the Blueberry ones though. I would love my kid to eat healthy but I’m not going to fight him at this point. Last night he had a cheese stick and BBQ pop chips for dinner. And this morning he inhaled a bowl of Wholegrain Cheerios. Win some, lose some. And some kids will eat anything, like my nephew, and his parents are pickier than my toddler so they are just lucky!

  103. Kami on March 9th, 2011 12:28 pm

    Let me just say it cracks me up that people judge what your kids are eating. Hello. My 5 year old gets everything we are having put on her plate for dinner, which is normally meat, potatoes, veggies, and a roll. Ok her newest phase is she picks 1-2 things and makes a meal out of them (asking for seconds) but leaves everything else untouched. I don’t bat an eye at this, hey she ate! One hour later she may say she is hungry, Mkay–so we get her a snack. This is my third child the other two are 20 and 17…TRUST me when I say pick your battles. This is such a minor thing and they grow out of it, my seventeen year old eats like a thrasher. Your boys are fine, the ones judging…well who the hell knows what’s up with that?!

  104. Courtney on March 9th, 2011 12:28 pm

    Man, you are so much better at saying what’s on my mind than I am. Thanks!

  105. Jennifer on March 9th, 2011 12:31 pm

    What IS the deal with people and food these days. It has gotten to be a crazy heated debate. Everybody is spouting off about how healthy they eat, publishing their meal plans, refusing to eat anything that isn’t organic and cage-free and grass-fed and gluten-free. It’s like eating healthy has become some sort of religion that I’m not quite devout enough to join.

  106. akofaolain on March 9th, 2011 12:35 pm

    People never cease to amaze me. I totally agree with you, I’m not going to have a big crying upset at dinner every night trying to force my son to eat something he doesn’t want. I’m happy if my kids are eating SOMETHING at this point (they’re 5 and 2). Yes, they eat goldfish and waffles and, OMFG, sometimes they have a donut!! I must be the worst mother ever!

  107. MichelleH on March 9th, 2011 12:41 pm

    I do like the grass-fed and the organic and the veggies and all that stuff….and it’s asshats like that woman who commented about the waffles that give people like me a bad name!!!!!! And I fully agree with those who say the food choices are getting like a religious affiliation which is why I don’t do much preaching. But I will say I get an equal amount of flack from friends and family for the choices I make–it seems there is just no “winning” (as if that were really the goal). No matter what direction you go, someone will have a problem with it. But those types of commenters just make me CRAZY. This waffle lady has been crouched in a corner waiting for DAYS for the opportunity to strike (talk do a dietician!!! Waffles are not a snack!!! What next?? Bacon grease in a sippy cup?!?)Linda, when I went through comments just now it seemed the vast majority were sane, non-idiots who seemed to be behind you, so take heart in that, at least.

  108. three on March 9th, 2011 12:55 pm

    almost forgot! Obviously the poster said that Triscuts are garbage has not tried the cracked pepper and olive oil flavour. Oh my yum. I can eat those suckers like potato chips!

  109. Stephanie on March 9th, 2011 2:01 pm

    Of course waffles are a snack – so are Danimals (that drinkable yogurt crap that I secretly covet), Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal, cheese sticks and mac and cheese. And for dinner, my kid eats fish sticks and chicken nuggets AND greasy BEEF taquitos in CORN tortillas with RANCH DIPPING SAUCE. So there all you f-ing health freaks. Incidentally, he also drinks water by request, eats filet mignon, turkey tenderloin and chicken breasts, celery, bell peppers and I swear that he’s got the same hummus addiction that I do. You offer it, they try it, and sometimes we win and sometimes we don’t. I say, if they eat something, it’s a victory. You go, Linda. And I always want to eat those leftover bits, too. Especially the taquitos – YUM.

  110. Sunshyn on March 9th, 2011 2:13 pm

    I’ve found my kid will eat stuff at school and daycare that he won’t touch at home. Go figure. At home he’s all about cheese, pickle, and mayo sandwiches on white bread. And yes, he’s already overweight at age 8, over 100 pounds and only 4′4″. He’s on ritalin, and somehow that makes kids fat. But the alternative is a boy who spins right out of the classroom. My little baby omnivore turned into a kid who just can’t be reasoned with. He won’t eat most fruits or veggies at all. I’m hoping that when he learns about nutrition on his own, he will learn to make his own healthy choices. I have to pick my battles carefully. My mom fighting me over food made me into a fat teenager who has had a lifelong weight battle of her own, and I dont’ want to set that sort of thing in motion for him. Fat runs in the family. He’s chunky now, but hopefully he’ll add some height without adding a bunch more weight and grow into his chub. Stupid ADHD and damn, damn DAMN autism.

  111. Sarah on March 9th, 2011 2:22 pm

    My humble pie comes in the form of all the advice I gave to friends/sibs BEFORE I had kids. ;) My son was a crappy sleeper from 4 months on (worse I think than Dylan given what you’ve written), and has never been a huge fan of food. He prefers his calories in milk form (mama milk, cow’s milk). He’s a giant of a 2.5 year old and maybe his speech delay was related to interruppted nights sleep or too little solid food but I’m firmly in the “you can not make another human eat, sleep or go to the bathroom” camp. It’s just not possible.

    For sleeping, we do whatever gets the most members of our house the most sleep. For food, we offer, he is allowed to refuse, end of story. He doesn’t eat a lot, but it isn’t generally for lack of trying on our part. When he’s hungry he’ll eat lots of foods, when he’s not, even his favorites hold little appeal. I try really hard not to sweat it.

    You do what you can and hope for the best.

  112. Jaida on March 9th, 2011 2:36 pm

    Yes, just…yes. I just do not have it in me to make food a battle. Neither do I want to spend my time crafting meals I KNOW my kids will not eat. I choose healthy options within their preferences, and just don’t stress about it. The other problem I have is that I am a very picky eater myself. I eat plenty of different foods and am healthy about it, but in order to enforce any kind of food rules I would have to be a HUGE hypocrite. So, instead I cook different meals, we all eat and are all healthy enough. I hate that people care so much about what we feed our kids, but I suppose it naturally stems from the whole breastfeeding v. formula debate. First world problems for sure.

  113. Maggie on March 9th, 2011 3:10 pm

    LOVE THIS. And it’s pretty much exactly how we do things, so I can’t help but applaud.

  114. Mel on March 9th, 2011 3:33 pm

    I took a fabulous parenting course last year and the instructor’s opinion was that so many issues later in life around food (including obesity) was around the power struggles we have over food and the fact we FORCE kids to what we want and when we want (i.e 3 big meals a day when they aren’t designed for that schedule). We enforce the message that food is MORE than food – KWIM – its emotion, its power etc. It made so much sense to me.

    Her approach was this: YOUR job (as a parent) is to provide healthy food. Then get out of the way. Its NONE of your business. When we eat dinner now we try to serve it “family style” where they get an empty plate and the food is served on bowls in teh middle. They help themselves. Also try to give them a “snack basket” (again full of healthy stuff that they can help select at the store) that is there’s to graze from as they need.

    They will eat when they are hungry. Just make sure when they are ready its not lunchables of some such nonsense.

    Also – my own trick was “give them dip”. They’d eat almost anything if they could dip it in something yummy. (strawberry yogurt? ranch?)

  115. yaya on March 9th, 2011 3:53 pm

    Recently I have become almost Vegan (still eat fish) and have never felt better…my husband on the other hand eats healthy but is so NOT vegan. My kiddo is 3.5 and exists on a diet of triscuits, tillamook sharp chedder, fruit, cream cheese, mac and cheese, plain pasta and a few other white flour products. People would have a field day with how a very healthy mama feeds her kiddo crap & junk but I am with you…the kiddo is so picky and at least he does eat (the things above) and he is full of energy, has perfect teeth and is seemingly in perfect health. When I was preggo I dreamed of making my kiddos own baby food and having him enjoy avocado sushi roles with mom by age 4…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ….BTW, he is almost 4 and does not sleep through the night, another bonus. Love my life and wouldn’t change a thing, no matter how many people weigh in on my kiddo’s eating habits.

    Thx for being you & being open about all the facets of parenting.

  116. Farrell on March 9th, 2011 3:58 pm

    Seriously, my 6 year old daughter is PATHOLOGICALLY PICKY. And it still bugs me but I eat a wide variety of food in front of her and I offer it and she says no and eventually she will get sick of what she’s currently stuck on and move on to something else. Yes, it still bothers me and yes, I wish it was different but she is a smart, beautiful, healthy, growing, energetic, normal 6-year old and so what if she’s never eaten a vegetable??

  117. melissa on March 9th, 2011 3:59 pm

    I just try to remember that we have control of other areas of their behavior. They aren’t hitters or biters and they’re excellent sleepers (now, after some work at it) and they’re generally polite, well the eight year old is..the three year old…meh. But I’m 100% with you on meal times. We make something, they can eat it or not and if not, well cheerios later is ok with me too. I refuse to be tortured by their unwillingness to try things I find delicious because their palatte isn’t ready for it. I assume someday they’ll come home loving sushi and I’ll freak out about what they WILL eat instead of what they won’t.

  118. Andrea on March 9th, 2011 5:05 pm


    Don’t sweat this one. My son wouldn’t eat anything when he was a toddler/little guy. Now, he is 14 and eats anything – even escargot.

  119. Cathy on March 9th, 2011 5:07 pm

    Linda, you are so effing awesome! Read your post and comments yesterday. Good grief; sooooo easy to judge. Love to see your response here. Made me chuckle…hard.

  120. Stephanie on March 9th, 2011 5:14 pm

    Okay, a second comment – sorry. I went back and read, um, about five of those snarky comments and I have to say that “Muffin” can kiss my ass, along with all of the other haters. I couldn’t bear to keep reading because I just get too pissed off. So high and mighty – “Why don’t you just make it yourself at home?” she says. Oh – just fuck you, lady, and your little yogurt-making jars. Linda, your article was fabulous – love the song!! So you just keep on truckin’ and writing those very real articles. Clearly it was meant to be comic relief but some people just cannot resist a chance to judge and criticize and put themselves on a pedestal. You rock.

  121. Christina on March 9th, 2011 5:45 pm

    So so so incredibly frequently when you post something about parenting your boys and I’m over here reading it thinking, “OH HELL YES. Exactly. Tohhhhtally.”

    This post? OH HELL YES. Exactly. Tohhhhtally.

  122. Rachel on March 9th, 2011 5:59 pm

    I was once married to a man who “grew up” on a parent enforced macrobiotic diet. When he hit middle school, he’d climb out of his bedroom window at night and go to McDonald’s and eat like there was no tomorrow. If all you eat is brown rice and miso, who wants to see tomorrow? He grew up to be a fantastic chef who loved locally grown, organic and healthy food and got paid well to make it. As an adult at home he ate the cheapest frozen pizzas cut into tiny bite sized squares and he was, well, a little overweight. We can blame parents, society, advertisers, food manufacturers, restaurants. Be they big or little, a person’s gonna eat what they eat.

  123. Very Bloggy Beth on March 9th, 2011 5:59 pm

    Amen, sister. Just AMEN. My son gobbled up everything under the sun until about 2 years old. Now he gets by on a diet not unlike your sons’. I’m always afraid to admit to people that, “yeah, he had PB&J for all of his meals today”. Some people will look at you as if you have said, “I feed him junk food because I’m too lazy to care what he eats.” Food battles with children lead to an unhealthy relationship with food for adults. I’ll spare my kid. By the way, we just watched this great documentary (a little hokey but some good info in there): http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Fat-Head/70115017?trkid=438403#height1794

  124. Karl on March 9th, 2011 6:36 pm

    The humble pie, yes indeed. I was extremely fortunate that all four of ours were totally, completely different, so we never really fell into the trap of thinking it was something we did.

    As for being picky, it’s usually best to mostly ignore it. Unless the kid is stuck on nothing but Froot Loops for a month (in which case, oops, we seem to be out of Froot Loops, sorry kid), who really cares. In a couple weeks it will probably change anyway. Once they get a little older, you can move on to “this is our dinner, you don’t like it, fine, make your own.” You still control the shopping…

  125. KP on March 9th, 2011 6:43 pm

    Love, love, LOVE Kaire’s comment. As someone who’s suffered with weight issues since I hit puberty, I live my mother’s food insanity to this day, and the woman died going on 16 years ago.

    My mom suffered from weight issues herself, and food was comfort, a drug, a battle, and a weapon. I still remember her telling me that by the time I was 30, I’d have a colostomy bag because I wouldn’t eat veggies. And this is the woman who’d literally eat 10 bags of Twizzlers in a week because the bag said “fat free”.

    You rock so hard, Linda. I already look up to you as a writer, but you are a goddamn rock of common sense in this bat-shit crazy parenting world. Keep on keepin’ on.

  126. Miche on March 9th, 2011 6:44 pm

    The best way to get our son to eat something, is to put it on our plate.

  127. Mico on March 9th, 2011 6:59 pm

    My 10-month old will eat almost anything I put in front of her, which delights me. But I have heard that many kids, who previously ate all sorts of healthy, ethnic foods, go through a picky stage. So when my husband criticised some friends of ours for feeding their 3-yo chicken fingers for every meal, I had to warn him that this might someday also be our fate.

    The comments on this post, BTW, have been invaluable and I will mentally tuck them away for when our family may be going through this. Knowing myself, I can definitely see some of those epic battles in the mealtimes of our future. Remembering some of the advice in these comments will help me chill out and just let it go sometimes.

  128. Miche on March 9th, 2011 7:16 pm

    Also, chances of getting my little man to eat something are greatly improved if I actually feed it to him. He’s too lazy to feed himself half the time. He’ll be 3 in May. Does anyone else help a child that age eat?

  129. Liz on March 9th, 2011 7:41 pm

    I laughed when I read the comment about bread and butter…my aunt used that exact tactic and apparently it worked for her, but I was thinking, man, I could eat bread and butter and nothing else and be pretty darn happy. Especially if it was yummy crusty french bread…mmm….

    I was and still am fairly omnivorous.
    My two younger brothers were another story. One ate everything slathered in Italian salad dressing for at least a few years. The other ate everything slathered in ketchup for at least a few years. Dips may be the way to go for some kids.

  130. Jennifer on March 9th, 2011 8:00 pm


  131. mosted on March 9th, 2011 8:39 pm

    Have 2 teenagers and had similiar issues when they were younger. Decided to pick my battles and food was not going to be one of them….now I spend way more on food in a month than we do on gas for 3 vehicles and that’s saying something in this day and age!!!

  132. Heather on March 9th, 2011 10:00 pm

    I read your original post the other day and laughed along w/ it b/c I TOTALLY relate. Then I saw the comments and couldn’t believe the people going off about it. My kids are 6 and 4 and are pretty much on the same eating plan as Riley and Dylan. It is what it is. I can’t control it. I go back and forth w/ feeding them what I know they will eat versus giving them what we’re having w/ some fruit I know they’ll eat. I’m so tired of worrying about it or having people giving me advice on what I should do. Trust me, I’ve tried it and we’re doing what we can to raise happy, healthy, kids. Thanks for making me feel not alone w/ the eating issue!

  133. Anonymous on March 10th, 2011 6:31 am

    Excellent post!

    We keep a fruit bowl out on the table all the time. It is an assortment of fruit: a plum, an apple or two, a banana or two, grapes – whatever. Our “rule” is that you NEVER have to ask permission to eat a piece of fruit – you can have ANY fruit ANY time you want it. It works for us…

  134. Anonymous on March 10th, 2011 6:41 am

    I should add that playmates to our house are incredulous about this “rule”.

  135. cagey on March 10th, 2011 7:18 am

    I saw those comments on that post and thought they were ridiculous. Yes, I am careful about Goldfish crackers and mac n’ cheese because of the artificial colors, but that still doesn’t give me the right to be an asshole. Good grief.

  136. cagey on March 10th, 2011 7:33 am

    Yikes, I meant to add that despite my concern with Yellow #5, we do have waffles on frequent rotation here. And not the fancy pseudo-good-for-you kind. The GOOD kind — Eggo. With REAL butter (the cow kind) and REAL maple syrup (the Canadian kind).

    I will serve them for breakfast this morning. In your honor, Linda. :-)

  137. Amy on March 10th, 2011 7:40 am

    I was, hands down, a card carrying judey pre-kid asshole. ASS. HOLE. I gave disapproving looks. I rolled my eyes. I actually compared raising kids to training a dog. As in, why haven’t you clicker trained that thing yet? I talked about food and plastic toys and junk and crap everywhere and boy oh boy I never once hesitated to tell everyone -EVERYONE- how I was never going to do THAT, SHEESH. I was going to not only be a back to the land organic farmer raising all my food, making all of my clothes, hand washing my cloth diapers and building furniture but my kids were going to sit down when they were told, say please and thank you and after that? Halos and rainbows were going to sprout from their asses. And OF COURSE we were going to co-sleep.

    Enter my daughter: Infant Dick Cheney. That kid ruined my world with her absolute refusal to sleep or ever stop screaming. Three weeks into it I was buying Pampers by the metric ton, I had purchased TWO plastic made in china swings to motherofgodgetthiskidtofuckingSLEEP….and you know what, in the end, was the worst thing about it? The everloving goddamn Attachment Parenting Coven of Guilt I bought into. Honest to god sometimes I want to punch Dr. Sears in the face.

    Now when some squirming whiney kid is refusing his food next to us out in public I’m like PSSST….I’ve got an extra bag of Cheezits, want some?

  138. Mary on March 10th, 2011 7:43 am

    Yes! Totally agree! You can only offer nutritious food to your kids and hope for the best. My picky kid only eats carbs. Somehow they survive on 2 bites of dinner and still grow up heathy!

  139. Redbecca on March 10th, 2011 8:16 am

    We also have a picky eater. We were saved early by Trader Joe’s Freeze-Dried fruit. Bananas, mangos, strawberries, blueberries. he lived on that stuff and milk for quite a while. And it packs well so less mess.
    Amazingly, it was a song by that artist Eric Herman that got our kiddo to eat vegetables. Dunno why, but there it is. It took just a little bit of coaxing and singing the song a lot and suddenly he was a veggie eating fiend. He will now eat carrots, peas, green beans and occasionally broccoli!
    The only meat this kid eats is (angus) hot dogs. We can’t get any other kind of meat/poultry/fish into him. He cries if he even sees fish sticks or chicken nuggets. Thank God for cheese sticks and macaroni and cheese.

  140. Redbecca on March 10th, 2011 8:21 am

    Also meant to add, I got some great advice from…someone, once. There are three things you can’t make a child do until they are good and ready: potty train, sleep, and eat.
    And I guess that includes eating more than 5 things.
    One of the pediatricians in our group practice told us to cut back on the milk and make him eat what we wanted him to – just starve him out and bend him to our will. “He could skip a few meals and survive. After all, who is in charge here?” she said, or something along those lines. We haven’t had an appointment with her since then.

  141. Nichole on March 10th, 2011 9:57 am

    I just saw an ad for these. It made me laugh. http://www.snacknwaffles.com/

  142. Doris on March 10th, 2011 10:28 am

    We are blessed with the best pediatrician on this planet. His words when our now-10-year-old was going through the picky eating toddler years: “she’ll eat if she’s hungry, don’t worry about it” … words to live by now that our younger son (5 years old now) is an even pickier eater than she has ever been. I cook a fairly healthy dinner each (well, most) nights and do our best to gently encourage them to at least try something new. If they don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world and certainly not worth ruining everyone’s meal. If that means cheerios at 8:00 p.m., so be it.

  143. Rachel on March 10th, 2011 11:09 am

    Thanks to emergency car and vet bills, I’ve been super broke this month. As a result, I’ve basically been eating the same diet that you say your boys are on for the last two weeks. By this morning I was feeling so ragged, I scraped together cash I probably should be spending on gas to buy 3 meals worth of fruit and veg.

    After two weeks of mostly white carbs, pb&j, hot dogs, fish sticks, mac and cheese, tortillas, beans and multi-vitamins I went from being able to swim 60 laps an hour to being able to swim 40. That was pretty alarming.

    It made me think, if there is any chance that maybe your kids (any picky kids, really) aren’t getting all the nutrients they need, try two weeks eating only what they eat. If you can totally function on their diet (doing Cross-fit and everything), then you know they are fine. If not then you need to implement a system where they at least have a couple bites of whatever is lacking from their diet, whether they like it or not, whether it is rough on you all or not.

    Otherwise your kids won’t be able to play and learn like they should.

  144. Sonia on March 10th, 2011 11:09 am

    I grew up with the Joan Crawford of stepfathers. When I was a kid, my mom worked graveyard shift, and so it was my stepfather and I at home in the evenings. He was an excellent cook, and almost every night would make himself something fabulous. He’s set the table, sit down to eat his dinner, and would plop a microwaved turkey pot pie in front of me. Every. Single. Night. I HATED THEM! To my little kid palate, it tasted like vegetables swimming in SNOT GRAVY! I would gag and wretch, and beg and plead for a plateful of whatever he was eating. By the end of the meal, he’d clean up dinner, put my potpie in the fridge, and slide my chair into the corner of the kitchen, where I sat in ‘time out’ until bedtime. The potpie was waiting for me cold in the morning, for breakfast.

    To this day, I can’t even look at a frozen potpie in the freezer section of the grocery store without gagging.
    Fast forward to today…..I have a kiddo with special needs, one of which is texture sensory. Food is a PROBLEM. He has a very small repertoire of stuff he’ll eat, and I stopped making it into a battle a couple of years ago. He’s 10, and if he’s hungry, he will ask to eat. At this point, if he’ll eat it, I’ll feed it to him. Now and then he’ll surprise us by eating something we thought he wouldn’t, but it’s not frequent. I’m trying *very* hard to keep food from being a bigger battle than it already is for him. God knows I have my own food issues, and I’m terrified to pass any of that on to him.

    And count me in as one of those pre-parenthood assholes. I knew EVERYTHING about parenting, until I became a parent. I know less 10 years in, than I ever have. I have actually apologized to my best friend repeatedly over the years for being a know-it-all asshole. We’re all doing the best we can.

  145. Anjali on March 10th, 2011 11:17 am

    My three kids used to eat EVERYTHING! Fruits, veggies, ethnic food, spicy food. Now my oldest is 9 and wants nothing but noodles every night. We don’t let her get away with it– she’s served what we’re all served. But still, if she could, she would just subsist on noodles.

    If your kids are healthy, fighting over food isn’t worth it. Particularly since when they get older, they may flip you the bird and only eat 2 foods anyway.

  146. Anonymous on March 10th, 2011 11:53 am

    “I will not ruin everyone’s evening by getting into a pissing match with a stubborn kid over something he refuses to try, nor am I willing to forgo their meal altogether in the name of my own nutrition goals.”

    “Why would anyone assume this is because I’m lazy, or haven’t tried other things?”

    These two comments really resonate with me. I have three kids – almost 6, 3 1/2, and 18 months. The 6 year old won’t try anything, and never has, and it was with her that we have had EPIC dinner battles. My younger two are not nearly as picky, thank goodness, but it is still hard to get them to try new things. We have a pantry full of goldfish, cereal bars, granola bars, peanut butter, mac and cheese, and assorted snack-y type foods and I am not ashamed to admit that these are the foods my kids eat more often than not. I try to ensure they’re eating a couple of servings of fruit and vegetables everyday, but there are a lot of days when that doesn’t happen. But like another commenter said, since they are constantly on the move, I’m not too worried about them becoming obese!

  147. Angie on March 10th, 2011 12:02 pm

    I would like to respond to Rachel – do you have any children? Have you spoken to a pediatrician? Do you have personal experience with a child who refuses to let anything she deems “icky” pass her lips? Have you ever held down a child at dinner and force fed her broccoli? Have you ever done that every.single.night. for weeks until you realize that each night is worse than the last?

    Kudos to you if you have won the food battle with your child. But don’t judge the rest of us for choosing a different battle to fight with our children.

  148. Lora Reynolds on March 10th, 2011 1:55 pm

    Of course you want your kids to eat a balance diet, but not every child will. I have one adventurous eater and one picky eater and we have raised them the same way serving the same kind of food. My pediatrician said that kids can survive on bread and vitamins. And those who judge others, I am sure you have other issues with your kids that people would be horrified by. We are not perfect and our kids are not either!

  149. elizabuf on March 10th, 2011 1:59 pm

    you tell it, sister!!!! thanks so much for just laying it out there……

  150. lb on March 10th, 2011 2:05 pm

    Thank u for sharing. I completely agree with u!!!

  151. Lunar on March 10th, 2011 2:05 pm

    I am seriously going through this right now too, same thing. My boys ate very healthy when they were little, but now my youngest is very picky. Yogurt, pancakes, cereal, crackers, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, peanut butter and honey, only on one piece of bread. He is very particular.. and did I mention PICKY!! lol
    Today I tried getting him to drink a fruit smoothie with me. I used raspberries, mangos, peaches and fresh squeezed orange juice.. No way! Wouldn’t touch it! I don’t want to fight him over it cause I think it might cause more rebellion, and my husband says he ate way worse stuff than our boys eat so he isn’t worried. My other son, he only drinks water.. he can’t stand juice.. and only drinks milk if it’s chocolate. He is a good eater though, and he is also very thin. People tend to forget that children are people and they have likes and interests.. just as they have dislikes. As long as they are healthy, well then I’m not going to worry about it. I became vegetarian by choice and ate very healthy when I hit 13.. I chose to do it! I was a big junk food addict as a child.. soda, candy, ice cream, etc. It didn’t kill me and I was nowhere near obese, that’s for sure. My kids aren’t big on candy and sweets luckily.

    Don’t even make me go into my diet of donuts, cakes, cookies, fried foods, and Sobe.. I was lifting 130+ pounds above my head at the age of 17.. and I had that strength for many years til I got lazy and started doing less work. I wasn’t a body builder, I worked with BIG animals, building cages, cleaning cages, feeding animals, it was very hard work and required a lot of muscle and energy. I live a healthier lifestyle now and I’m not nearly as strong as I used to be, and I’m definitely not a size 2 anymore. My husband who will be 42 this June does hand stands, flips, can lift 240 pounds, he is tough and in great shape.. he lives on cheese, meat, and potatoes literally and has his whole life. Maybe it’s the scandinavian/scottish in him.. but he is proof you don’t have to have leafy greens and especially fruits in your diet to be in good shape!

  152. Annabelle on March 10th, 2011 2:12 pm

    Waffles are awesome. Sometimes we make wholegrain ones together, sometimes we eat the frozen ones. Sometimes we have Breakfast Sundaes for dinner and have waffles with peanut butter, jelly, bananas, syrup, yogurt, whatever… on top.

  153. Tina on March 10th, 2011 2:20 pm

    Oh I must chime in! I am a formerly picky eater and I so wish my parents had been like the majority of people who commented on here. I sat (and sat, and sat) at the dinner table on a regular basis, long after everyone else had left and the power struggle with food transformed itself in my teen years into a full on eating disorder. I am not assigning blame, but I do think if food weren’t about power in my home, my relationship with it now wouldn’t be quite so toxic at times. I recently had my first child (at the ripe old age of 39) and have been taking notes when you write about parenting – there is some good stuff on here. Thank you for being open and honest.

  154. Sandy Mama on March 10th, 2011 6:26 pm

    LOVE this! I especially love my preachy and VERY judgemental Dentist who looks at me like I feed my kids arsenic when I admit to GUMMY vitamins. “They are BAD for their teeth!” She frowns like I’m a murderer, hands on hips and all. “They are eating worse than that believe me!” I retort. “Hmmmpphh!” Gotta find a new dentist

  155. catherine on March 10th, 2011 9:04 pm

    my 22 year old baby boy…….was once a picky eater. He said to me this christmas break, on vacation, while we were out to eat, staring at a menu, “I wish I was still a picky eater, now I love everything and can never decide what to eat. I want it all.”

  156. Lesley on March 10th, 2011 11:50 pm

    Looks like the Parent Dish matriarchs have wandered onto The Stir. Run for your life.

    Jillian Michaels lists waffles on her Ripped in 30 plan. There’s nothing wrong with a couple of waffles once a day. Jesus.

    In calories, they amount to the same thing as a couple of slices of their wholier than thou grain bread, which truthfully isn’t any more nourishing.

  157. Nell on March 11th, 2011 7:12 am

    Crow-just so you know- is also NOT a snack!
    You are so funny! Just an awesome writer and it is amazing the jerks that pop out of the woodwork to criticize. I have a girl who has been picky but is finally starting (she will be 9 in a couple of months) to grow into something other than Mac and Cheese.
    You guys are doing a great job – ignore the idiots! In fact, pat yourself on the back! You just helped them vent a bit and maybe they will keep their judgments in the comments and not air them elsewhere! You are doing a public service!

  158. Karen on March 11th, 2011 7:14 am

    THANK YOU. I was blessed with two fairly good eaters (heck, my second gobbles down broccoli without a flicker of an eyelash, “because it’s green and I love green”).

    Then I had #3. We call him our carbivore. He will eat: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese, chips, cereal, toast, grilled cheese, waffles, the occasional chicken nugget, a hot dog if the stars are in proper alignment. His favorite fruit? out of season blueberries. Yeah. Apples are slowly moving off the approved eating list. Like you, we feed him what he likes and give him multivitamins. If he wants a snack in the evenings after refusing dinner, he gets fruit.

    He’s currently in the 50th percentile for weight, 75th for height, and all the Healthy Eating Nazis can bite me.

  159. MyFrogs on March 11th, 2011 9:37 am

    I have a rule with my kids, no veggies equals no dessert. If we eat McDonalds, there’s no dessert that night. If they choose to not eat veggies at dinner when they’re on the plate, no dessert that night. My kids will actually eat celery or some other veggie in the fridge in order to have chips or ice cream, etc. Works for me, it’s their choice, but I usually “win” ’cause they’ve at least had some veggies even if they throw some ice cream down after it.

  160. Tatiana on March 11th, 2011 11:07 am

    I’m reminded of what one of my women’s issue profs once said: that feminism will never get anywhere because women can’t stop being bitches to each other.
    For every woman that you piss off, I’m sure you help and equal number. End of the day? No harm done.
    Keep it up.

  161. Cindy on March 11th, 2011 12:31 pm

    What a perfect post. Submit this to Culinate or Atlantic Food if you’re so inclined. So timely and perfect. I’d love to see it become a larger discussion. Although, judging from all the comments you have here, it already is. Bravo!

  162. Trista on March 11th, 2011 1:17 pm

    Couldn’t agree with your common sense approach more. In my daughter’s 2.5 years she has flip-flopped from being a ravenous eater (on those days we call her “garbage can”) to eating alarmingly little, sometimes in the span of a few days. She’s been exposed to every healthy food I can think of, and I just don’t get worked up about it anymore. I put what I know she will (usually) eat in front of her, and sometimes add something else to see if I can tempt her, but if not, oh well. The best advice I got was from my doctor – if I think her basic nutritional needs are being met over the course of a week, then don’t worry about it.
    And can I just say that I rarely comment, but I read often, and really appreciate your posts about staying at home with your children – I’m on maternity leave for my 12-week old son and have my daughter home too, and we’ve recently made the decision that when mat leave is up I’m only going back to work 3 days a week. I love my job, but it’s what is best for our family and I’ve stopped trying to justify this decision to anyone else (thankfully I have a supportive employer and husband, but of course the money is an issue, as it would be for anyone). Priorities, right?

  163. Megan on March 11th, 2011 2:12 pm

    Shame on those parents who criticized how you feed your kids! I happen to have a kid who’s adventurous eater but it’s nothing I did right (or didn’t do wrong), it’s simply luck of the draw. You’re obviously a caring and dedicated parent, and honest with you blog too! Keep it up and ignore the judgmental fools.

  164. Rachel on March 11th, 2011 5:02 pm

    Angie, my comment was not meant to judge at all. I was proposing an experiment. It just occured to me after these couple of weeks of eating a sub-optimal diet (I think we can agree, eating two hot dogs for lunch every day is sub-optimal) that maybe the best way to know if your child’s diet is really good enough is to try it on yourself. Then you would have a much better idea if they are truly fine or if they just look fine.

    I was my cousin’s “mommy” from around his 1st birthday when his mom went off to be a drug addict. He did go through a period of picky eating, the rule with me was that he had to have three normal bites of each item on his plate, before leaving the table. If he refused, he got a time out for disobeying, then he got to come back to the table for another try. If he still refused he lost a privelege. When he did try everything, he got a star on his activity chart and when he got enough stars he got a special outing for a reward. Sometimes it was an EPIC battle, but we got through it.

    In his case, I think the pickyness was partially him trying to assert his individuality, part defiance stemming from abandonment issues and part fear of trying new things – it was very rarely a genuine dislike of a food item.

    Would the system that worked on him work on your kids, on other people’s kids? Not the tiniest freakin clue.

    I think we’re all trying to do our best and pick the battles that matter the most to us. I advocate for whatever works for your family and I advocate for being as informed as is reasonable.

    Have a great weekend.

  165. babelbabe on March 11th, 2011 5:04 pm

    MyFrogs is onto something. My kids only get *treats* (fruit snacks, candy – empty calories) if they eat something reasonable for dinner. also, I feel ya – my kids never stop moving. they are skin and bones. One of them eats like a longshoreman, one of them eats meat and fruit, and the baby eats NOTHING, I feel like. They are all healthy and all skinnyskinnyskinnny. What can you do? Nothing bu8t what you are doing -t he best you can. Also, i commented on your other post but a handful of almonds is not a fucking snack. I run five miles, i want an apple with pb or a waffle with pb when I get home, not a dozen almonds. Sheesh.

  166. HereWeGoAJen on March 11th, 2011 5:37 pm

    Um, I actually consider waffles with peanut butter to be quite healthy and nutritious. Way better than cookies which I swear I sometimes give to my two year old just so she’ll eat SOMETHING and stop being so darn cranky because she’s starving.

  167. HereWeGoAJen on March 11th, 2011 5:43 pm

    Oh, and you can sneak a tiny bite of something that my daughter refuses, like broccoli, into a spoonful of something she likes, like noodles. And she will bite down on the bite, find the minuscule piece of broccoli, gag, and spit it out. If this were a battle of wills, she likely wouldn’t notice the broccoli. But when she spits out something that she didn’t know was there- she really doesn’t like it.

  168. Holly on March 11th, 2011 8:58 pm

    It might be easier not to fight, but parents who have kids with issues like glueten allergies, nut allergies and lactose allergies have no choice but to fight. I fought my stepson when I met him and we battled for about 6 months one eating veggies. It is now a non-issue because he knows he won’t win. I don’t care if they hit the floor, he will eat them or nothing else.

    I’m not tryin’ to be judgy – but why do you think so many women struggle with food at adults? We were never taught proper nutrition and just learned to go with what was easy instead of healthy. If you don’t make healty “normal” at a young age, when does it become “normal” and how do they learn healthy?

    I’m no food nazi by any means – but I do push him when I know I can. We had pizza and soda tonight – our usual friday night fare – but all other evenings there is vegetable consumption. Period. Balance is my target and if I get it 5 nights out of 7, I’m pretty happy.

  169. Erin on March 11th, 2011 11:10 pm

    I have a 2 yr old and I tend to operate on the Malcolm X principle of eating–by whatever means necessary. He’s got days where he’ll inhale anything near him and other days that he exists on 2 goldfish, some juice, and air. I’m not worried about it. He’ll eat if he’s hungry and in that case, he’ll eat whatever is in front of him. We’ve got too much on our plates without judging each other, right?

  170. Elle on March 11th, 2011 11:15 pm

    My cousin would not eat anything as a toddler and my aunt literally cried every time meal time came around. It would take an hour just to feed him half a hot dog because he only liked that or yogurt. He is 18 now, healthy and can and does eat everything and anything. He is normal weight, maybe on the skinner side but he eats a lot just doesn’t gain weight.
    Waffles are a snack so let them enjoy it. In due time when they get older their taste buds will hang too and they will explore wih food..

  171. AnotherErin on March 12th, 2011 9:10 am

    It merits pointing out the many studies that have been done that show that toddlers have some million more taste buds than adults do. It’s like how kids can hear frequencies that adults can’t, no matter how good their hearing. Many toddlers like bland food; for them the flavors of things can be overwhelming. My parents used to make me sit & sit over veggies. they did not believe me that the flavors & textures often made me gag. As we grow, the intensity lessens & we usually start liking a lot more things. So freaking out about what a toddler or young kid will or will not eat is a waste of time & energy (unless pf course there’s a real health issue, like diabetes or allergies). Kids learn about nutrition & body image/love from modeling, not from being force fed broccoli.

  172. Francesca on March 12th, 2011 9:31 am

    I think it’s absolutely shameful how judgmental some mothers are toward other mothers. Women should help each other out, not cut each other down. Anyone with functioning eyeballs can see that these two kids are well-loved and happy. Why are people so insecure about their lives and their choices that they feel so threatened when someone makes a different choice?

  173. Josefina on March 12th, 2011 11:37 am

    Yes! YES! Parenting helps us to embrace humility, if we are brave enough to do it. I think this is a great thing.

    The comments on that post were so unfortunate. I checked it out when you tweeted about it, and really, I just had no words. If it helps, there was similar ridiculousness in response to a joke post on how to spend less time on housework (in order to have more time to knit). This was on a fiber arts forum I frequent.

    Anyway, two more things. One: My older son loves living food, but my younger son refused all fruits & veg for years, though he’s gradually come to accept certain things. Picky eating doesn’t necessarily last forever. He has consistently been required to eat what fruits or veg we put on his plate in order to get dessert. Often he wants his treat enough to eat the three green beans or whatever we gave him. Also, we tried various formats for the food: dried, freeze-dried, frozen, etc. Sometimes that has made a difference. Weirdly, he’ll eat veg soup now (totally unexpected), esp. if he helped make it. These developments have taken years. For some kids, it’s a process and no one is right to judge anyone else for where they are in it. Two: I know a guy who would only eat food that was white. Like, even when he was way too old for that mentality. It was such a worry to everyone around him. He left home, got a job at a really nice restaurant and now he’s a really adventurous eater. So yeah, it took him until he was in his twenties, but it happened.

  174. Jamie on March 12th, 2011 12:13 pm

    This was a highly enlightening read (including all the other comments as well). I didn’t know the topic of food could unleash so many different feelings…especially for someone elses child?

    Psst. Waffles are a snack in my book too ;)

  175. Fee on March 12th, 2011 3:50 pm

    Waffles are TOO a snack–preferably smeared with peanut butter and some good jam. What makes kids fat is parents who don’t make them play outside (yes, child abuse–go play in the back yard!!!).

  176. just a faithful lurker on March 13th, 2011 12:52 pm

    It’s always easiest to be backseat driver — and what works for one person isn’t always going to work for other people.

    Food is an emotionally charged topic for sure.

    And since when are other parents allowed to tell us how to raise our own children?

    If you want to feed your kid tofu 24/7 and he or she will choke it down then by all means do it.

    We do what we can.

  177. .303 Bookworm on March 13th, 2011 5:49 pm

    Go Mama! you’re offering them other options but not forcing anything, sooner or later they’ll branch out and as long as they’re healthy then NO problem. Makeing a battle just makes it hard for everyone and tends to set bad habits/attitudes. Besides, I remember reading that it takes 20 tries to like a new taste – I used that method to get used to eating olives before travelling through Italy. That first half dozen though – icky salty ugh!

  178. Kristen Duke Photography on March 13th, 2011 8:03 pm

    got a good laugh! some people are crazy!!! agreed, happy with anything my daughter wants to eat these days. they do grow out of it. my 10 year old now eats everything…with seconds! I’ve had 4 kids and seen the pattern well enough. Just found your blog!

  179. Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com) on March 14th, 2011 7:20 am

    I first clicked on your link, read your very funny post, read the first page of comments… .and my jaw dropped when I saw the accusation that you were contributing to the obesity epidemic. Then I laughed out loud. I’m not surprised that that’s the comment that riled you most.

    I’m with you. When my son first started eating solid foods, he ate just about everything. My husband and I congratulated ourselves: We figured everyone else was doing a lousy job introducing a variety of foods to their children. We were the greatest parents ever. Our child was a precocious eating genius.

    Then everything changed. And it continues to change. The child who loved broccoli is now sick of broccoli. He ate sliced turkey and now won’t. He loved PB&J, got sick of it, and now likes it again. Etc., etc.

    I, too, don’t want to get into battles at the dinner table. I try wheedling and bargaining and if it doesn’t work, I give up. Because battling over food is only going to backfire on you. All we can do (I believe) is keep introducing healthy foods to them, keep telling them how vegetables make you big and strong like Spiderman, and hope for the best.

    Hang in there. And keep laughing!

  180. Christina77 on March 16th, 2011 8:19 pm

    You’re so awesome! What’s wrong with people anymore? Shit…you can have the best intentions, but kids are people, with their own minds and free will. No matter how hard you try to get them to eat the “good stuff”, sometimes you’ll settle for them to just EAT. SOMETHING. DAMMIT.

  181. Cait on March 17th, 2011 12:40 pm

    I don’t have any kids, but I was the worst kind of terror: never slept through the night, picky eater, stubborn as all get out. I got teddy grahams and apple juice (from *GASP* concentrate), waffles, and the occasional bag of Cheetos, and I am of normal weight and good spirits as an adult.


  182. Anais on March 17th, 2011 2:11 pm

    I found this and had to post it here for everyone who says waffles are not snacks:


  183. cara on March 18th, 2011 8:34 am

    “wholier than thou grain bread”

  184. Scott on March 18th, 2011 3:07 pm

    We just used to tell our kids that vegetables were for adults only. Needless to say, today they love broccoli.

  185. Nila on March 21st, 2011 1:54 am

    Sometimes when the two year old is about to lose his shit because he’s hungry because he’s rejected everything you’ve offered, you just gotta feed him whatever you can. Waffles for dinner? Fine by me. I’ll suffer the judgement if it means that my 2 year old doesn’t lose his shit.

  186. Cassie on March 21st, 2011 7:16 am

    To whoever recommended the chocolate green superfood from amazing grass,
    I think it’s awesome that your kid like, totally loves this stuff and sucks it down like the sugary yumminess that is real chocolate milk. I thought, what an amazing idea – vegetables disguised as chocolate milk. Let me run out and spend $25 for a pint sized jar of this amazing stuff and trick my three-year old in to scarfing it down with delight. But oh, not so fast, super mom. Can I just say that this green sludge made my daughter only scream and cry in disgust but only after a minute and a half of gagging, tongue scraping and spitting. So, if, like me, other readers are thinking about trying this neat trick on their children, you may want to think twice before spending the money cause now I have 29 servings of this shit sitting in my fridge and after my daughter’s reaction, I wouldn’t even think about eating it myself!

  187. Weekly Meal Plan: Tuesday March 22nd on March 22nd, 2011 6:47 am

    [...]  I posted about a blog I came across (thanks to someone linking to my picky-eating series) about a mom admitting she feeds her kids “kid food” because that is all they will eat — waffles, mac and cheese, noodles etc. [...]

  188. Lizzi on April 6th, 2011 12:31 pm

    You GO girl!! I did the same thing with 2 kids. One liked carbs, one liked veggies. I gave them what they wanted. Also they were both in sports so we ate ALOT of Taco Bell. My daughters first real recogonition of something was the Taco Bell logo. F all those people who want us to fight the small battles. I was saving steam for the big one. LOL

  189. Web morsels | Fix Me A Snack on April 22nd, 2011 7:23 pm

    [...] Gastronomy from All & Sundry via Raise Healthy Eaters. [...]

  190. Becca on April 26th, 2011 8:14 pm

    I don’t really have a comment, just a couple of questions…
    1. Was there such a thing as a picky eater in early American history (in the average household, not the Rockefellers)?
    2. Are there picky eaters in impoverished nations?
    3. Are we discouraging, instead of encouraging, an attitude of thankfulness in our children (i.e. thankful to have good food to eat) if we “allow” (I use that term loosely) them to be picky?
    I don’t have issues with picky eaters – all 3 of my kids will eat nearly anything they are given, but we have Other Issues to deal with, so I am really not trying to be Judgy McJudgerson. Just thought I’d throw a different perspective out here. (I only read about halfway down the comments, so I don’t know if my questions have been addressed elsewhere.)

  191. Becca on April 26th, 2011 8:17 pm

    BTW: IMHO waffles with peanut butter qualify as their own food group, and are therefore nutritionally necessary:-)

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