Friday, February 27, 2009

One small step for Sam, one giant leap for our family

We've been working with Sam for years on getting him to eat his veggies. He ate them just fine as a baby, but refused as a toddler. I was not good at offering a veggie at every meal because I was lazy, didn't feel like preparing something that he wasn't going to eat, it was difficult to keep fresh fruits in veggies in the house on a super tight budget. I could go on and on, but the point is that once I decided that this was a priority for our family, we've seen slow and steady progress.

It became a rule that he had to eat a veggie at dinner. Then we started including lunch. I ignored the experts who said that it's not good to elevate sweet foods to a higher level and use them as bribes. In our house they are privileges - one you don't earn unless you've eaten your veggie.

We had some pretty big battles about this, but sticking by our guns has paid off. He knows he has to eat a veggie and often tells us which one he wants. We've come a long way from the nights he would sit at the table for up to two hours with five small pieces of chicken and one veggie. I got sick of him not eating dinner and then waking up starving and then filling up on carb loaded breakfasts. We put an end to that and, again, went against the experts and require him to finish all of his dinner before he gets a treat. Before you leave me comments saying that he'll develop food issues as an adult if I make him finish all his food, let me say that he doesn't have to eat THAT much. The kid's dinners are often served in 1 cup Pampered Chef prep bowls. His is never more than half full. I don't think requiring a 4 year old to eat half a cup of food at a meal is too much.

In the last month meal time has become a joyful time for our family.

I still can't believe I can write that. It has been a long road. One we walked one step at a time.
We are laughing and talking instead of listening to Sam whine for hours. He prefers lettuce or green peppers but will eat tomato, carrots, celery, potatoes.

This is where we were a couple weeks ago.

Now I can plop two full slices of pepper on his plate and he eats them right up. Make that TWO steps for our Sammy Sam!


4 Little Men and Girly Twins February 27, 2009 at 9:50 PM  

yeah! That is so awesome! Way to go Sam... and mom! :) My boys tend to go in phases... they'll eat a few veggies they love and then they won't want them and they'll pick something else. Our hardest one has most recently become our best eater and our once good eater ozzie is now being picky. Uggg! Kids! :)


Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom February 27, 2009 at 10:18 PM  

That's good to hear! Ethan is the pickiest eater EVER, and we have started making him take a small bite of everything before he can leave the table. One night he ate a bunch of turkey, which is great for him! I'm glad to know sticking to it gets results, Thanks!

Aspiemom February 28, 2009 at 6:59 AM  

Yep, you have to start them early! My son, when a toddler, would beg for the veggies off of my lunch plate. I have a picture of him using a carrot for a spoon to eat his Cream of Wheat! silly! But he saw me eating the salad and veggies all of the time, so he wanted them and has always eaten them.

No, my son-in-law never was made to eat things as he grew up and I have a list written down of all that he won't eat. No green veggies, no mashed potatoes...

I'm glad Sam isn't giving you a hard time on the veggies anymore. (Has he had red or yellow pepper, yet? They are my favorite, just more expensive!)

Anonymous February 28, 2009 at 8:11 AM  

Good for you guys! I always get excited when I can conquer something like that with my kids!

I don't think making our kids makes them any worse for the wear to sit at the table to eat their dinner. Our parents did the same :)

Secret Mom Thoughts February 28, 2009 at 1:50 PM  

Good for you. We are still battling with food in our house.

Jenney February 28, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

Good for you! I battle the food battle daily with one of my daycare kids. Since he does whatever he darn well pleases at home it is even harder here. However, my son does everything this little guy does, so I am so sticking to my guns. I hate the hours of whining and fake gagging...and then the making himself throw up. Snug tried to pull it off in a restaurant today (they always wait until you are least suspecting it) and he got a spanking in the restroom followed by a direct trip home. I don't think he'll be pulling that one again!

Nightowl Mama February 28, 2009 at 8:24 PM  

WOw you can get him to eat a pepper that is amazing. WTG.
I can get mine to eat broccoli but that's about it.

Anonymous February 28, 2009 at 8:31 PM  

that is AWESOME! Way to go to you and your little guy. I REALLY need to work on this with our kids. They are the same way you are describing pre-veggie eating Sam.

Pam February 28, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

I'm very impressed that he'll eat what veggies you listed!

Do not beat yourelf up over being a bit lax about him eating his veggies. Isn't he eating them now? Why, yes he is!

Most ALL kids go through some sort of anti-something eating phase. Some kids eat all their veggies fine and grow up to eat barely anything vegetable-like.

Don't worry, he'll be just fine. What you're doing seems to work!

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