Food Wars

(58 Posts)
VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:04:08

I have a fantastic childminder (+ assistants) who do an amazing job of looking after my DS. I’m always impressed by all the activities and learning they do and know that he is in safe hands, but there is one thing that has become a bit of an issue… food.

I’m vegetarian (he’s 90% veggie as my husband isn’t) and to me making sure he eats a healthy diet is just as important as anything else. So I have been making him breakfast, lunch and dinner which he takes along with him.

I know that they would prefer if he ate the same as the other children, but at the risk of sounding like a food snob (honestly I’m not!) I don’t think that they give them particularly healthy options. When I pick him up I see the other kids eating a lot of red meat, star shaped potato things, chocolate, you get the picture….

I'm not saying that they never prepare healthy meals but I also see a lot of processed 'kiddie' food. The other thing I have noticed is that if the kids don’t want to eat vegetables or salad with their meal then they aren’t made to. I’m lucky that at the moment he absolutely loves vegetables, has a great appetite and eats whatever I give him, but I would be concerned if he follows their eating habits that he would then become fussy too.

I’ve had lots of awkward conversations with them about food before but one of the assistants keeps dropping in comments about him not eating his food properly as he is looking at what the other children are eating and wanting the same. The last thing that I want is for him to grow up feeling different but even more so I don’t want him growing up eating what they do!

I don’t feel like I am draconian, I don’t mind when he is older (he's only 10 months) if he has sweets/cakes/crisps at birthday parties or the odd Maccy D’s as a treat I just don’t want these foods being a regular part of his diet.

I feel like I have made my position on it clear and I’m finding it frustrating that they are still bringing up the topic. I would never offend them by telling them I don’t think the food they give the other children is healthy but being tactful obviously isn’t working either.

In all other ways they are fabulous and I am really lucky to have got a space with them so I don’t want to upset anyone.

Am I being unreasonable expecting them to give him something different? As I am providing the food myself I don’t think so, but would welcome your thoughts….

And how do I approach the situation without offending anyone???

Help!!!

PandaFeet Tue 18-Mar-14 09:10:49

The other thing I have noticed is that if the kids don’t want to eat vegetables or salad with their meal then they aren’t made to.

So they are being offered vegetables, the food mustnt be very unhealthy then. Processed food isn't great, I agree, but there's nothing unhealthy about red meat. If you choose not to eat it that's fine, and if you don't want your son to eat it, that's also fine. But unprocessed red meat is not unhealthy food.

Your issue is that they are not forced to eat things they don't like. Well, forcing a child to eat is making a drama out of mealtime and is only going to make them eat less, not more.

I am afraid YABU.

imonlydancing Tue 18-Mar-14 09:28:59

I think YANBU in principle, but you do have to understand that as he gets older he will want what the other children are having and cannot be 'made' to eat anything. If you keep up the good work at home then he will eventually make those choices himself. My DS will happily choose vegetables over anything else but he is still allowed the odd unhealthy treat!

MissV1 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:33:36

You are paying for a service so think you have every right to ask that your son is fed what you want him to eat. Especially if he is happy with the meal choices you are making for him I don't see a problem!

Sirzy Tue 18-Mar-14 09:36:05

Am I being unreasonable expecting them to give him something different? Yes

You have already said that they are offering vegatables and salad. I am not sure what your issue with them offering red meat is. The occasional potato shape or other processed thing won't cause any issues really as part of a balanced diet.

Also worth remembering that your sons tastes will change many times over the years anyway so although he may eat well now it most likely won't last. Infact when DS was that age he quite liked the odd fish finger or chicken nugget - he is 4 now and would rather starve than eat either!

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:37:15

Sorry, I disagree I don't think gammon or sausages (processed red meat) with potato stars or waffles with no salad or vegetables is a healthy balanced meal. So yes, I think that's unhealthy and I would make them eat some kind of fruit/veg/salad with it!

I understand your sentiment that you can't make mealtimes a battle ground but if you don't teach/encourage your children to make healthy food choices then they never will...

What's the point of cooking healthy food if they don't have to eat it?

Sirzy Tue 18-Mar-14 09:38:38

What's the point of cooking healthy food if they don't have to eat it?

You can't force a child to eat something they don't want/like - not unless you want to create much bigger food issues.

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:42:26

You can't force a child to eat something they don't want/like - not unless you want to create much bigger food issues.

So would you just allow your child to continue eating just meat and potatoes? Surely you would encourage them to try other fruit/veg/salad until you found something they liked?

Sirzy Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:32

You keep offering things. You don't force them to eat them.

Sirzy Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:59

And it's not the childminders place to create food battles by forcing them to eat

Catswiththumbs Tue 18-Mar-14 09:46:18

Sausage and gammon isn't red meat?

Catswiththumbs Tue 18-Mar-14 09:50:08

As an aside it's an overall balanced diet that is important, each individual meal doesn't need to be "perfect ". It is better that he has protein and fat in his diet, his nutritional needs as a child are different to that of an adult.

ilovesooty Tue 18-Mar-14 09:50:17

If you've already decided you're not BU why did you bother asking?

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:50:42

I haven't suggested physically forcing food on a child but would I expect them to try a bit before they decide they don't want it...? Absolutely!

If kids turn down food out of habit and don't even have to put it on their plate how will they ever know if their tastes change?

I 100% believe that there needs to be some fruit/veg/salad in a dinner even if it's hidden, blended into a sauce, given as fruit in a pudding... there are ways of doing it without mentally scarring your child.

A diet based on just meat and processed cartoon shaped potatoes isn't doing anyone any favours...

Preciousbane Tue 18-Mar-14 09:51:47

The problem here is that he will want what the others are having and if anything as he becomes more aware then it will become even harder.

You can only offer dc food but you can't make them eat it. My DS eats almost everything and is 13. The only other friend of his who will eat almost anything like him was raised in a similar way to my DS. Serve whatever and make no comment whatsoever on the food. Feed them the same as adults and eat at the same time as the adults. Some dc have serious food issues that are very complex I really feel for their parents.

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:56:46

If you've already decided you're not BU why did you bother asking?

Because I am interested in what other people think, it doesn't mean I have to change my mind!

Also you do get useful advice like the last post from Preciousbane - thank you!

imonlydancing Tue 18-Mar-14 09:59:06

I think they only become fussy eaters if NEVER offered lots of choices. My friends daughter has only ever had the type of unhealthy food you describe and my friends say she will simply not try anything else. I know this to be false as at my house she cracks on with vegetables with no fuss and will ask for more.

Just keep offering good choices at home. Maybe make lunch and a bit of dinner for him yourself but concede on breakfast. They surely aren't giving red meat at breakfast confused

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:00:59

Thank you PreciousBane imonlydancing nice to see some constructive comments on here smile

Marylou62 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:02:16

I posted much earlier but lost it...I said that as XCM, a nanny and a Mother, I didn't think YABU. You have every right to feed your child the food you want him to eat. He looks at what the other children eat??!! So what...If in the future he refuses to eat his own, then maybe you will have a rethink. The assistants comments would p* me off and I would have a talk with the CM. I think too much is being made of this. But at the same time, I have had a fussy eater who wouldn't touch veg or fruit...she literally gagged....and my last charge was the worst eater ever...so you can encourage as much as you like...I did...but if they won't eat it, they won't eat it. Just consider yourself lucky that your LO is such a good eater.

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:10:24

Thanks guys, I'm not adverse to hearing opinions that are different to mine, I just thought the whole point of these forums is to help other mums and was hoping for some advice!

So... I have decided that whilst eating fruit and veg is non-negotiable for me I will chill out a bit. I am still going to pack him healthy foods each day but if he wants to have the occasional potato star alongside his dinner that's fine.

Marylou62 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:12:10

Veggie... My own DD (who was fed the same as her brother) NEVER EVER tried any of the fruit/veg that was offered. Just refused!! Mouth clamped shut. I did hide some in gravy, pasta sauces etc but I didn't worry..At 20, her favourite meal is veg soup. My last charge refused anything from a spoon and BLW was terrible...not even put to mouth, straight to floor...so whilst I'm with you on most things..not all children will even try. And Imonly.... both these children were like this from first weaning I can assure you.

Marylou62 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:20:16

I know Veggie....I am relatively new to MN and cant believe how nasty some of these conversations can get...But as I have been in childcare for over 30 years, I think that if you have a good eater (both my boys were) it is hard when you don't...my DD! I think some mums can be a bit smug...not anyone here!!...and not realize that some fussy eaters are born like that, not made...I can assure you all that I offered fruit/veg at all meals. She just refused!

Nocomet Tue 18-Mar-14 10:21:03

Sorry, either you are a SAHM or you accept your DC won't necessarily have his food intake controlled at CM, nursery or later at school exactly as you might wish. That's life.

My infuriating DD2 ate all sorts of things at nursery that the fussy madam wouldn't eat at home, so it works both ways.

kentishgirl Tue 18-Mar-14 10:30:32

YABU only in that it's going to get increasingly difficult for the childminder to keep giving your son different food to all the other children. You are setting her - and your son - up for there to be friction at every meal time. Your son's diet is not a matter of health or religion where she has to try to fit in around it. I do understand what you mean though, you want him to eat a different type of food, freshly prepared rather than processed, more veggies/fruit etc as a normal expected part of the diet. That's great for him. But putting the childminder in a rather impossible position.
I think you either have to accept your childminder's catering, or a find a new childminder who caters in the way you like.

VeggieMum8 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:34:33

Marylou - I am new to Mumsnet and this is my first post. Think I might of been better posting in a forum about food than on here - my mistake! Thanks for your advice smile

Nocomet - Totally agree with you. Unfortunately I don't have the option of not working and admit I have found it hard not having things exactly how I would want them. I guess you have to pick your battles, but him eating a healthy diet isn't something I want to compromise on sad

So... moving the discussion on. We've established I'm a control freak veggie food snob smile and whilst I have partially seen the light and will be relaxing the rules I still need to have the discussion about him eating the food that I prepare rather than the same meals as the other kids (however, I will let him snack on bits of the same stuff if it makes him/them happy).

So how do I approach the conversation without offending anyone?

P.S Thanks for the education of red meat guys - as a veggie to me anything other than chicken and fish I would of automatically classed as red meat!

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