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Generational eating habits
And their impact on you


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#1 chewchew

Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:29 AM

Short back story - my 3 year old daughter has a limited diet. I'm satisfied that over the course of the day she gets something from every food group but she WILL NOT try any new food or even foods in different combinations to how she likes. This is the kid who when she first started solids would eat the most incredibly nutritious and adventurous combinations of foods until she was 15 months old. Since then food has been a constant battle.My 20 month old daughter eats anything, happily.

It's got me thinking about the way I was brought up and my family's approach to meal times.A. Dinner was served at 5.30pm and you ate it whether you liked it or not. No substitutionsB. My siblings and I now eat pretty much everythingC. At what age does it become a discipline 'thing'?
I'm interested in others experiences - how did your family do dinners? And how has it impacted how you do meal times in your own family?

#2 Lyra

Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:39 AM

As children both my husband and myself were forced to eat everything on our plates. As a consequence my husband is overweight as he feels compelled to eat everything. I am skinny partly due to genetics and partly to do with the fact that I serve myself very little as I get anxious if I chuck food out. I was also forced to try new things and then eat the whole thing even if I didn't like it. As an example: I had never eaten rockmelon before and cut myself a sliver to taste, my dad took it from me stating 'that's not enough' cut me a massive chunk and then stood over me while I ate it. It was horrible, I hated it. As a result I am very reluctant to try new things. My MIL bought us quinoa and my husband was keen to try it out and I refused for a long time until he told me that I wouldn't have to eat the whole lot if I didn't like it. It wasn't until he said that that I realised what my issue with it was

As a parent I do have a 'this is what we are eating' rule and I am not making anything else. But, I do make sure that there is at least one thing on the plate that my child will eat. I also let her eat as much as she wants and she doesn't have to finish off everything in order to get dessert. Everything on the plate is subjected to a 'no thank you' bite even if you tried it before and didn't like it then. I refuse to make meals a battleground and my child will never ever sit in front of a cold plate of food for most of a day. Nor will she has dinner served up to her at breakfast time

#3 fancie

Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:42 AM



We tend to eat reasonably late because DH is not usually home before 7.30-ish.

I don't do substitutions - the rule wih DD was she had to have a little of everything that was on her plate, whether she liked a food or not.  She was and still is the least fussy eater of the kids I know who are around her age (now 13).

If when she was very young (before school age) and refused to eat anything, she was allowed a glass of water only.  The few times this happened I had a very hungry girl at breakfast time.

Growing up, it was the same, although I can't remember ever refusing to eat my dinner.  Dinner was always around 6-6.30pm





#4 MintyBiscuit

Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

I have limited experience so far as DS is only 13 months, but I think it comes from a mix of meal habits and personality. My parents were very much the sit at the table until you're finished type - I recall spending hours with two mouthfuls of cold vegies. I was a very fussy eater when I was young, but now eat a pretty wide range of foods and will try most things. My three sisters vary from very broad ranges of food, to very fussy.

DH was also brought up with an eat what you're given style, but not as strict as mine. He eats a similar range of foods to me now.

As far as how it's impacted things, I refuse to let mealtimes be a battleground for us. I avoided vegies for years because my only experience was cold, poorly cooked ones. I literally did not eat green vegies until about 5 years ago. DS goes through phases where he'll eat everything, and then switches to eating about five different things. I try not to let it be an issue because I figure he'll get there eventually.

As he gets older and understands a bit more, I'm sure we'll probably get a bit stricter. But personally I'd rather mealtimes are relaxed and set him up for a good relationship with food than worrying about him eating that last mouthful

#5 Jenferal

Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

we had to taste everything but nothing was forced on us. Which is how I'm TRYING to bring up my 2yr old. But some things she won't even try(such as salmon).
Mum was brought up in a MUCH different way of being forced to eat everything on her plate, till she vomited sometimes.
That's why she brought us up to try it but not forced us. I don't believe in making kids eat everything, I don't like some foods so why should a child eat everything they are given.
I do offer yoghurt or something after dinner as well, to keep her going at night. She doesn't' eat as much at dinner time.

#6 snuffles

Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

We had to eat everything if we wanted dessert.  IMO this is a recipe for overeating.  It's teaching child not to respond to their body's 'stop' signal because they really want dessert (well, usually).

Our rule is, I cook dinner, I rotate around what we have so that everyone gets a meal they like a couple of times a week.  The kids can eat as much or as little as they like.  We don't do dessert, except on special occasions and then they do not have to finish their dinner in order to have that piece of birthday cake/slice of Chrissy pud.  IF they finish all their dinner and are still hungry, they can have seconds, or help themselves to fruit.

#7 pumpkin89

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

I never make my kids eat everything on their plate, but I don't offer anything else either. I figure if they're hungry enough they'll eat it, and going without dinner every now and then won't harm them (they eat well with plenty of healthy snacks / breakfast / lunch throughout the day anyway). Any scraps go to DH or the dog, so I'm not too irritated about the waste.  My DH and I chose to take this approach because of my issues with food. My mum used to panic if we didn't eat because we didn't like it, and used to offer lots of junky alternatives. As a result I can clearly list the foods my brother would eat as a child : coco pops, chicken, green grapes, green apples and egg white (but not the yolk). We both eat well now, but I struggle sometimes to keep a healthy diet (having things like chocolate, bicsuits, softdriink etc as a regular part of my diet as a kid kind of has taught me to expect it, and I find it hard sometimes to stick to healthier options)

#8 Diana_Barry

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

I think my DP & I are going to clash with our attitudes to this. We never had battles over food when I was growing up. My mum said that she was such a picky eater herself, that it would have been really hypocritical of her to force us to eat things we didn't like. My dad employed a reverse psychology technique which was that any unusual foods were "daddy's" and we weren't allowed to have any... which had us leaning all over him asking if we could just have a 'bite' of his whole fish with bones, veggies out of the garden etc. If we didn't like what was being served there was always fruit/toast etc, but we were never that picky.

My DP grew up where you had to eat what you were served, with battles involving kids stuck at tables for hours, and no alternatives. He thinks this was the right approach...

So it will be interesting how we end up managing our DS who is going through a very picky toddler stage. I would prefer that it doesn't become a drama.



#9 IVL

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

I grew up with the rule you don't have to like it, you just have to try it. My DH grew up in a similar setting and we are doing the same with our kids. Our journey had been pretty trying at times as our eldest has some ANA allergies as well as other non-life threatening allergies to a long list of foods, but I do think she eats a more varied diet than many of her peers. Our youngest thankfully has no allergies and will eat everything with the exception of chocolate and tomatoe sauce so I would like to think our (or our parents approach) has worked well. None of us are overweight, perhaps me and eldest DD are a little underweight but that has more to do with medical issues than eating patterns.

#10 ChunkyChook

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:25 AM

As a child we had lots of different stuff because mum is a coeliac and has been for 30 years. Back then it was fresh fruit, salad, meat, rice cakes and rice. So we would have spag bol meat on rice instead of pasta etc. Never forced to eat everything on out our plate.

I am really relaxed about meal times. There is only DD and myself and I happily make us 2 meals each night if she doesn't like what I am having. Or I will cook her steak and red meat sometimes too.

She is pretty good though and loves alot of different stuff that most children at her age wont touch. Semi dried tomatoes, danish feta, salami etc etc.

If people are large because they were forced to eat everything on their plates then they were being fed crap and being served way too much! Very touchy subject in my Australian/American family where ALL my American residing siblings are obese/morbidly obese.

ETA: I just hide stuff she wont eat. She will eat peas and corn but not peas, corn and carrot. Little does she know, her mashed potato and pumpkin is actually potato, pumpkin, cauliflower, carrot and sweet potato.


Edited by ChunkyChook, 19 December 2012 - 08:30 AM.


#11 Xiola

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:25 AM

Nutrition was pretty low in the agenda for my family growing up and it wasn't until I was in my 20's and started getting into fitness that I discovered how wonderful whole foods and clean eating was.  My mother admits to overfeeding me as a child and I've carried on her nasty habit of emotional comfort eating which I'm finally starting to control.

DH's family were similar with their lack of proper nutrition (they think it's hilarious that his first food was a burger ring!).

As a result we're of my upbringing, I'm big on healthy unprocessed foods for the kids (they get the occasional treat of course).  I don't make them eat everything on their plate nor do I do substitutions but I'm careful to only make foods I know suit everyones tastes or can be altered easily eg. DS1 hates rissoles and I make lovely healthy ones filled with veggies and oats etc.  He loves wraps so it's easy to heat him up a couple of tortilla wraps for him to eat his with salad in that form which he enjoys.

We don't keep chocolates or lollies etc in the house and the kids are happy to snack on fruit and veggies through the day.  Both my boys have very different eating styles (one loves a big breakfast, the other a big dinner) and we're happy to go along with their natural eating patterns rather than try and make them both the same as over the course of the day they get what they need and eat well.

#12 akkiandmalli

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:37 AM

in our house dinner is a relaxed affair with many dishes. Sometimes DH joins us sometimes not ( he often still at work at 6pm)
we have usually 3 dishes set on the table. ( so last night was pasta, salad and garlic bread.) children serve them selves and take only the amount they want to eat. they must try a bit of everything. i don't pressure them but remind them that whats on their plate needs to be eaten as they have served themselves. sometimes we have dessert
( ice cream when its hot or yoghurt).
this method works well because the children eat to when they are full and not what is served to them like i had when i was a kid. my dad hated wastage and we had to eat everything.

Edited by akkiandmalli, 19 December 2012 - 08:39 AM.


#13 FeralBob!

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:38 AM

Both DH and I were told to eat everything on our plates as a children - we're both overweight and in my case certainly, it's because I was well into my late 20s/early 30s before I lost the feeling of guilt about not eating everything on my plate.Even now, I struggle with portion control and I have to make myself not comfort eat or eat out of boredom.  I won't do this to DD, if she doesn't want to eat something, I won't force her, and if she doesn't like something I won't make her eat it. I will tell her to "sniff it, lick it, give it a little nibble" and if she doesn't like it, no probs. She eats enough of all major food groups that I'm not worried about an unbalanced diet, and we don't keep crisps, sweets or fizzy drink in the house.

#14 WithSprinkles

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:41 AM

We had to eat what was made - no alternatives. We were encouraged to try new things, however, we weren't forced to eat everything on the plate if we didn't want to. I grew up eating pretty much everything. I'm not a fussy eater at all and have no weight issues.

One thing though, we did have dessert every night. Even now, I like to have something sweet after dinner.. I crave it badly if I don't have it. That's something I might do differently with my children when they are older.. maybe have dessert some nights but not necessarily EVERY night or have fruit the majority of the time instead (though i will probably sneak in something sweet once they've gone to bed!).

#15 katpaws

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:41 AM

My mother's cooking was pretty awful (stodgy etc) and we did not have a  range of food to eat. We also did not have a lot of money and there would be days when we would go without proper food. When I was very young we often just had a can of braised steak as dinner as that was all that could be afforded. I am so happy that my DD has such a wide range of food to eat. Salad when i was growing up was iceberg lettuce and the dressing was either vinegar or salt. Meat was often burnt and dry. I guess the only good thing about being poor was that i was 16 before i ever had McDonalds and pizza (and other takeaway foods). I think that I was probably malnourished as a child and this has affected my health and physique.

I was a very fussy eater but i was never really given a range of food as a young child which i think created the fussiness. I was often force fed and made to sit at the table until i ate. That does not assist with getting a fussy child to eat something! I have spent time at group homes where children were forced to eat all the food given to them, dinner and dessert. You would have to sit there until you ate everything and often kids would be vomiting up food because they could not eat it all - well they would eat it all and not be able to keep it down. I developed food phobias because of being forced to eat some food items.

As an adult I have managed to stop being so fussy. I eat better and have a wide range of food that i can eat. I learned to cook and make simple healthy meals myself. DD has been exposed to a wide range of food and as long as she is prepared to try something once I am not concerned about the range of food she eats. I have never forced her to eat and never will. We have had problems with DD taking ages to eat but i think that was a "phase" and she is also a morning eater, not a night eater so we had to recognise her eating habits. I think she is so lucky to live in a world full of so many different foods.

Edited by katpaws, 19 December 2012 - 08:43 AM.


#16 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:45 AM

When I was growing up
(i) I had to eat everything on my plate (such a bad habit to break, it becomes automatic)
(ii) once a meal was finished, nothing else to eat until the next scheduled meal/snack time
(iii) vegetables were WAY overcooked
(iv) meals were eaten at the table, snacks were eaten outside on the verandah.  Exception was Friday or Saturday nights when we sometimes (not always) had a lounge room picnic in front of the telly.

When I was a young kid, we were definitely a typical meat-and-3-veg family.  By the time I was about 12/13, Mum was trying stir-fries and the meals were a lot less heavy/stodgy/English-based.  

It's taken a while to find out groove, but DH and I mostly follow
(i) you have to eat something off your plate at each meal, but you don't have to eat all of it
(ii) if you are hungry during the day, you can have a snack (fruit or whatever) - just help yourself or ask for help if you need it.  But no snacks in the 30 minutes before meal times (lunch and dinner mainly).  DH does this, so there was no way we could enforce one rule for the kids but have DH eat whenever he wanted.  Plus, it doesn't make sense to us.
(iii) try a bite, you might like it

We mostly eat at the table as a family, but we do the lounge-room picnic thing on weekends sometimes while watching a kids movie (only way to get the movie to finish by bedtime).  We don't have set meal times as such, but lunch is usually between 12pm-2pm and dinner between 6:00-7:30pm.  It just depends on what we have been up to that day.  Where possible, I chuck the kids outside to eat their snacks - much easier if they dribbled and drop crumbs out there!

#17 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:51 AM

We had to finish everything on our plate. Fortunately, these were sensible portion sizes of healthy foods and there was no junk food or soft drink in our house.

I don't agree with having to finish everything on your plate but otherwise my parents were pretty sensible food-wise.

#18 Justaduck

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

Dad will not eat a lot of veges...he couldn't (in his opinion) force me to eat foods that he wouldn't touch. I eat a very limited diet (eggs and pig product make me physically ill though) and don't enjoy food like a lot of people.

My approach is to expose DD to as much food as I can, whether we eat it or not. I buy a stack of veges each week that neither me for DP will eat.

We always ate dinner as a family at the table and we plan on doing this with DD when she is awake when we eat. We used to have our 'spots' at the table too...everyone would have their own place. We had these same seats up until when DD was born when visiting Mums. I now sit in another spot so I can have her highchair next to me.

Dessert was usually icecream after dinner, but not allowed unless everything was eaten. I had a great idea one week and hid my meat behind the curtain which was behind my chair. Took Mum the whole week to figure it out so bonus icecream without the work. Don't want to do nightly dessert with DD though

#19 GamerMum

Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:06 AM

Growing up I struggled with my allergies (citrus and tomato) so I was too scared to try anything new, and my Mum was too scared that I'd get a reaction, so stuck to what she knew was safe. I lived on polony/fritz, cheese, carrots, peas, plain pasta, bread and chicken nuggets for about 5 years. I ended up in hospital severely malnourished, and Mum had the task of trying to get a stubborn 6 year old to try new foods. I was PETRIFIED of food. I'd had my allergies drummed into me, and food was scary. She generally made me my own separate meal every night (and still does when I visit!) just so I'd eat something.

As as adult I eat a lot better, I will try new things as long as I know every single ingredient. My allergies put a lot of food out of reach for me, but I have learned to cook and learn to adapt. Most tomato dishes I can make so they are safe for me, and people tell me there isn't much difference to the flavour.

DF was bought up to eat everything on his plate, even if he hated it. He eats pretty much everything now, and is getting better at telling people what he doesn't like, instead of sucking it up (he HATES cauliflower, but if someone gives it to him, he'll eat it).

DD will be starting on solids in the next few months, and I am determined that she will not pick up my habits. She may or may not end up with my allergies (my dad has a tomato allergy too) so she'll be given a little bit of everything to try. I won't be forcing her to eat everything, but she will be made to try a little of everything. I love food now, and I want her to love it too.

#20 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

I barely ate anything as a kid.  I've always had a touchy stomach, particularly to heavy meals like creamy pasta dishes and the like, and things with tomato.  My mum was just picky and didn't eat much, and my dad was diagnosed with diabetes fairly early in my childhood, so his options were somewhat limited as well back then.  

I was never really forced to eat anything.  My dad was a shift worker, so we never really had dinner as a family.  I ate some meat, plain pasta, apples, potato and most dairy, and that's about it.  

As a teenager I had trouble putting on any weight, and even a couple of drs told my parents to just let me eat whatever I wanted, provided I was getting something - I had a fair bit of fast food in those years.

My 4 year old ate really well until she was about 2.5, and now dinner most nights is a battle - she changes her mind about what she does and doesn't like practically weekly, overall she eats fairly healthy - she gets fussy over things like if she can 'see green bits' in food (despite eating a number of green foods if they were served to her whole, and not as part of another dish).  

I try and cook something everyone likes a couple of nights a week, but sometimes we'll cook something someone doesn't like, and they can just have  a platter of whatever bits we can find in the fridge or cupboard.

ETA:  I'm not as picky any more, I still can't eat heavy dishes, or big portions of anything, but while I was never introduced to anything spicy as my parents assumed I wouldn't like it - that's what my preference is now - stir fries, curries, thai, indian style dishes.

Edited by SlinkyMalinki, 19 December 2012 - 09:18 AM.


#21 *LucyE*

Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:49 AM

Growing up, Mum was a great cook so we had tasty meals. We were expected to finish a certain portion of carbs but we could pick and choose the accompaniments. There was always fruit offered after meals and as we got older, ice creams and 'treat' foods available too.

I try to offer a variety at each meal so there is something that everyone will eat. I do insist that the kids try new stuff but don't force them to eat it all.

I am happy to serve food in a way that they find approachable eg. For while my DS refused foods that were mixed or had a sauce on them so fried rice for him was a plate of the components in separate piles with soy on the side.

I try not to give them overly large servings but do insist on them finishing a reasonable amount. Actually, now that I think about it, I tend to serve smaller portions and have them ask for seconds while DH tends to give larger portion but be ok if they don't finish it all.

Our rule with dessert is that can't be hungry enough for dessert if they weren't hungry enough to eat a reasonable portion of dinner. We don't always have dessert, but always have fruit available. If they take too long to eat, they run out of time for fruit.

I sometimes get frustrated with meal times but when I stand back, we're not too bad.

#22 pencil

Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:57 AM

We ate what we wanted of our plates, and were allowed alternatives. I often feel grateful to my mum that we always had small portions.

I now also make small portions for my kids. None of us have problems with weight.

Four of my kids eat pretty much anything, one is a little fussy, and one barely eats anything.

I was fussy as a kid until I was about 8 or 9. From then, there wasn't much I wouldn't eat.

#23 pencil

Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:59 AM

I meant to say, ABC's Life at 3 was about food the other night (I'm pretty sure you can watch it online) It was really interesting, especially the evolutionary stuff, and the generational effect.

#24 ~shannon~

Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:36 AM

QUOTE (Lyra @ 19/12/2012, 07:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As children both my husband and myself were forced to eat everything on our plates. As a consequence my husband is overweight as he feels compelled to eat everything. I am skinny partly due to genetics and partly to do with the fact that I serve myself very little as I get anxious if I chuck food out. I was also forced to try new things and then eat the whole thing even if I didn't like it. As an example: I had never eaten rockmelon before and cut myself a sliver to taste, my dad took it from me stating 'that's not enough' cut me a massive chunk and then stood over me while I ate it. It was horrible, I hated it. As a result I am very reluctant to try new things. My MIL bought us quinoa and my husband was keen to try it out and I refused for a long time until he told me that I wouldn't have to eat the whole lot if I didn't like it. It wasn't until he said that that I realised what my issue with it was


I can really relate to this. I was also forced to eat everything on my plate and wasn't allowed to leave the table until it was all gone. This meant I often fell asleep at the table, or I'd be eating a really cold and yucky dinner. My father used to put the wooden spoon on the table as a threat that if I didn't eat it all I would get a smack with the spoon. This wasn't all the time, mind you, but it is a strong memory I have of being afraid of getting smacked.
As a consequence, I also ate far too much as I grew up thinking I must finish the entire plate. My fast metabolism and active lifestyle saved me from getting overweight but it wasn't until I was in my 20s that I recognised what I was doing. On the plus side, I'm not afraid of trying new food at all. I have definite foods that I dislike (due to the way my Mum cooked it!) such as boiled cabbage (YUCK!) but if something is put in front of me at a restaurant or dinner party, I will always try to finish it.
I also find myself saying things to my kids like "finish everything on your plate or you won't get ice cream" and then I realise what a terrible message this is sending. I'm now much more relaxed at dinner time and let them tell me when they are full. I try not to put food in front of them that I know they dislike, but I am very lucky in that my kids love their vegies, so if they don't want to eat the fish/chicken/beef, etc, that is on the plate, I know they will eat their broccolli, carrots, potato, pumpkin, etc. And they never refuse foods like rice and pasta.


#25 Holidayromp

Posted 19 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

My parent's rule was if you are hungry you will eat it.  Fussy eaters would starve in our household.  Mum used to gloat how as kids we were never fussy.  The real reason was is that we were not fed enough.  I was a very active child and more often than not I would leave the table hungry.
What was in my lunchbox was never enough so I would scrounge off other kids.
Treats were just that and takeaways we were lucky if we got them once a month.  I was 25 before I tried maccas and 10 before I tried KFC but that was a rarity.  Snacks between meals never happened.
I remember my childhood as being very hungry.
As a result as a kid I gorged whenever food was freely available and I would always have dessert and treats - as many as I could eat without throwing up because I didn't know the next time I would have them.
To date I have trouble with my appetite and determining whether I am full or not or had enough to eat.  But I need to feel very full to be satisfied.  Treats are open season due to the lack of them as a child.  Don't really have alot of takeaways as we are saving money.




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It's nice to celebrate a child making the shift from nappies to 'big kid' undies, but do we really need a semi-realistic used toilet cake to do it? Here are some of the best and worst cakes parents have used at 'potty parties' around the world.

7 tips for a financially festive Christmas

Plan ahead - and do it now - to ensure festive season expenses don't break the bank.

'Go the F*** to Sleep' author's new book for frustrated parents

A sequel is coming soon to the 2011 hit book 'Go the F*** to Sleep' - and this time, it's about mealtimes.

Great birthday party buys from Etsy

Handmade crafts to decorate and personalise your child's next birthday - from banners to cake decorations, we've got gorgeous party finds from Etsy.

Creative storage ideas for the kids' rooms

Creative and practical storage ideas for the kids' toys and books can also add some stylish decor to your home. Visit babyology.com.au for more stylish modern finds for hip kids & parents.

Awkward grandparents

When Grandma and Grandpa pose for a snap with the kids, things can get very weird, very quickly.

To the mum in the doctor's waiting room

Maybe the mum I saw in that waiting room, seemingly disconnected from her baby, doesn’t have the support she needs.

10 space-saving nursery ideas

Starting a family doesn't always mean moving into a bigger house - not yet, anyway.

 

What's in a name?

Baby Names

Looking for a classic name, or an unusual name? Our Baby Name Finder is for you, search or browse to refine your shortlist.

 
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