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?

wafflesAREasnack

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.

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Michelle
11 years ago

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.

Lauren (carterbiosea)
Lauren (carterbiosea)
11 years ago

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.

Michael
11 years ago

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.

KarinP
KarinP
11 years ago

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.

Trish
11 years ago

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.

Melissa H
11 years ago

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!

Gnometree
11 years ago

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…)

Janette
11 years ago

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.

Erin
11 years ago

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.

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

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.

Melissa
Melissa
11 years ago

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.

Keeley
Keeley
11 years ago

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?!)

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

A-effing-men!

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.

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

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

Lori
Lori
11 years ago

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.

Mama Ritchie
Mama Ritchie
11 years ago

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.

Jenny
11 years ago

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.

Katy
Katy
11 years ago

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.

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

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

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

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

jenna mccarthy
11 years ago

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.

Nik-Nik
Nik-Nik
11 years ago

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?

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
11 years ago

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.

Jenn
Jenn
11 years ago

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.

Christine
Christine
11 years ago

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!

Kathryn
Kathryn
11 years ago

JUST SO LONG AS YOU ARE NOT EATING THAT HUMBLE PIE AS A SNACK, BECAUSE HUMBLE PIE IS NOT A SNACK!!!

April
April
11 years ago

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!

Bethany
11 years ago

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.

MichelleRenee
11 years ago

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!

Megan Anderson
11 years ago

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!

Kaire
Kaire
11 years ago

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.

Jo
Jo
11 years ago

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.

hahahahaaaa

Becky
Becky
11 years ago

LOVE you Linda. Amen etc.

Our staples:
French Toast sticks dipped in yogurt
Ketchup
Ranch
Cheese and
Hotdogs.

Hell I am just happy he is eating SOMETHING.

Rachel
Rachel
11 years ago

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

bessie.viola
11 years ago

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.

Rayne of Terror
11 years ago

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

Jean
Jean
11 years ago

Amen, sister!

Olivia
Olivia
11 years ago

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*

Nichole
11 years ago

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.

Cheryl S.
Cheryl S.
11 years ago

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.

Amanda
Amanda
11 years ago

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.

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

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!

Jen B
Jen B
11 years ago

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.

Jen B
Jen B
11 years ago

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

Christine
11 years ago

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.

seadragon
11 years ago

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.

Shelly
Shelly
11 years ago

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.

MP
MP
11 years ago

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.

Larisa
Larisa
11 years ago

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.

Sande
Sande
11 years ago

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.

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