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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Mary O
Mary O
11 years ago

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.

Nikki
11 years ago

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.

ste
ste
11 years ago

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!

Trina
Trina
11 years ago

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!

Angella
11 years ago

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. :)

Melinda
Melinda
11 years ago

Waffles are awesome.
Also, have you heard about this?
http://www.triathloneugene.com/
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!

melanie
melanie
11 years ago

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

Tee
Tee
11 years ago

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.

Deanna
Deanna
11 years ago

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.

Christy
Christy
11 years ago

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.

Christina
11 years ago

Agreed all over again!

Brian
Brian
11 years ago

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.

AndreAnna
11 years ago

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. :)

KKF
KKF
11 years ago

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!

Jessie
Jessie
11 years ago

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 :)

MRW
MRW
11 years ago

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.

Naomi
11 years ago

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!

Tracy
11 years ago

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.

June
11 years ago

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.

Anne
Anne
11 years ago

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.

Sharon
Sharon
11 years ago

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

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

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.

MRW
MRW
11 years ago

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.

Lindsay
11 years ago

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

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

This is why I love you.

Judy
Judy
11 years ago

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.

Betsy
Betsy
11 years ago

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.)

Sandy W
Sandy W
11 years ago

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?

Lana
Lana
11 years ago

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

simon
11 years ago

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.

Molly
Molly
11 years ago

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?

Erin
11 years ago

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.

Amelia
11 years ago

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.

Robin
Robin
11 years ago

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

sheilah
11 years ago

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.

Jenni
Jenni
11 years ago

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.

sooboo
11 years ago

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.

Theresa
11 years ago

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.

wealhtheow
wealhtheow
11 years ago

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.

Anais
Anais
11 years ago

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.

wealhtheow
wealhtheow
11 years ago

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

Phoebe
Phoebe
11 years ago

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).

Erica
11 years ago

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.

Ashleas
Ashleas
11 years ago

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?

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

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…

Emily
11 years ago

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

Michelle
Michelle
11 years ago

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. :)

Three
Three
11 years ago

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…..