Thursday, November 5, 2009

Would you like fries with that?

Sabrina has a new favorite sandwich: peanut butter on whole wheat bread with lettuce and a sprinkling of M&M's. I say, whatever!

I have a very open mind about my kids and food: I think they should be exposed to—and enjoy—all kinds. Growing up, my father was into health food (way before it became fashionable), and he was fond of saying charming things like, "Sugar is poison!" Which of course meant that the second he dropped my sister and me off at a Sunday weekend activity program, we'd make a mad dash for the vending machine and buy candy bar after candy bar.

So, no food is off limits for my kids.

Max's favorite eats:
• Avocado
• Chicken and rice
• Chocolate ice-cream
• Sweet and sour soup
• Meatloaf
• Hamburgers
• Chocolate ice-cream
• Sweet potatoes
• Pancakes
• Berry fruit shakes
• Chocolate ice-cream

Sabrina's favorite foods:
• Pickles
• Breakfast cereal (most any kind)
• Chicken nuggets
• French fries
• Grape tomatoes
• Hard boiled eggs
• M&M's
• Pink ice-cream (whatever flavor, as long as it's pink)
• Chicken salad that we tell her is tunafish (we don't want her downing too much tuna)

On weekends, we sometimes hit McDonald's for lunch. Dave and I get salads; I like the Southwest kind with grilled chicken (I've looked up the nutrition info, it's a respectable 320 calories and 9 grams of fat). Typically, I try to grub a McNugget off Sabrina and typically, she says "No!"

When I went to BlogHer's conference in Chicago this summer, I met a really nice woman, Maggie, who works for McDonald's. She recently invited me to a local McDonald's for a tour. I actually got to go behind the counter; haven't you always wanted to do that?! I was impressed by how clean everything was and surprised to see they made salad orders from scratch. I also got to help make a batch of fries (I know, I am getting to be so wild and crazy lately). And I found out you can customize orders—so if, say, you want a Big Mac without the bun and with balsamic vinaigrette, no problem. Or you can get an Egg McMuffin with no butter. Someday, maybe McDonald's will figure out a way to make four-year-olds share their McNuggets with their moms.

What's your general philosophy on your kids and the foods they eat?

iphoto/Aleksandr Stennikov


  1. When we were growing up we did not get much junk food at all, and very rarely got take out, but that was just considered normal in our house and so neither my sister or I minded (although we probably ate a few too many lollies when they were available it didn't matter so much cause it was a rare treat) even now that I could buy more junk food if I wanted, because I was brought up not eating much I still don't, and that is the way I plan on raising my kids!

    However, I should point out that I don't really think that there is any right or wrong way to bring up kids when it comes to food, so that is mainly because it is what I know!

  2. Hm, that's a hard question.

    My kids can experiment, and actually they are quite active in the kitchen (they are 10, 6, 6). When they cook I use that time to teach them about kashrut, so generally we cook kosher at home. Except when I make seafood.

    Normally there is something sweet every day: a PB&J sandwich, or ice cream or double portion of fruit.

    We also eat some junk, we frequent both the kosher and the regular McD or other junk place about once a week. My kids tend to choose relatively better food, and they much prefer a fine dining restaurant to McD.

  3. Interesting. I don't use labels and refer to things as "healthy" food or "junk" food, because I think that sets up kids to have predetermined likes and dislikes. My father used to divide up foods into those categories, and it set me up to crave so-called junk food. I want my kids to have an open mind about food. Also, I want them to understand the idea of eating a variety. At McD's (which I don't consider "junk food" since there are healthy options), they eat the apples slices that come with the Happy Meals and down the low-fat milk. It's all about balance!

  4. We do the "sometimes" food thing. Cookies and candy are sometimes foods, while other foods are everyday foods. It works pretty well, I think, although the definition of what food is actually healthy is tricky. Organic yogurt still has a lot of sugar, but it's a healthy food, I suppose, so my kids want 2 containers at a time (which they don't get-unless Grandpa is "helping.")


  5. My kids are all grown up now, but ate what ever they wanted.My daughter was picky,so really,what ever she wanted was ok by me. My son,ate EVERY thing(still does)
    I am now helping to raise my granddaughter(6yrs old)she has CP also. She loves to eat fruits & veggies. She will munch on lettuce as a snack. She choose an apple over birthday cake the other day. These are her choices.She has just always prefered the "healthier" stuff,though we never refer to food as junk or healthy. She has access to cookies,chips,candy,etc & sometimes she will choose that type of food,but mostly fruits & veggies. She also loves steak,chicken,pork & fish.I sometimes wonder if she likes the healthy foods because the sweets are to sweet(a sensory issue???)

  6. Ahhhhh! if Faith would eat it I would feed her anything. Her recent interest has been lolipops, so she gets them in therapy, at the dinner table, in the bathtub, in her carseat. Wherever she wants them! We keep a special batch next to the sink for bath time, she just gets those when I am bribing her to take a bath! LOL

  7. I give the kids fast food just every now and then, when time requires it, and I generally pick McDonalds because it is the taste of my childhood. That said, I didn't eat fast food for a year after reading Fast Food Nation. We do love our fries.

    Mostly our dinners are a steamed veggie, noodles or rice, and a grilled meat, with a casserole or Annie's quick meal once a week or so. My kids both eat more when the key foods are separate which my evolutionary biologist sister says is a choice a good carnivore makes. And, we eat a lot of cheese, because it is the food of the Gods.

  8. My doctor has always said, "A kid knows what to eat next. Their bodies just tell them."
    So let them eat it! My 18 year old was the pickiest eater in the world and she is a healthy, well rounded eating woman now. It all works out in the end.
    Got to admit it is scary cause my body wants cake and bread ALL the time. :)

  9. I prefer organic, no-sugar added food for Charlie. That's my preference--that doesn't mean that I don't offer him anything else. Like a lot of other CP moms, I
    m grateful my kid can eat and try not to make a big deal out of WHAT he's eating. For the most part, he doesn't like too much sweetness and he HATES fast food. I'm all about a McNugget, but not Charlie. He also patently rejects tortilla chips. I think I've got a teeny, tiny food snob in the making.

  10. Why no Tuna? Oily fish like Tuna are packed with Imega oils which are really good for development.
    And the whole mercury thing is a load of crap.
    Eat sushi and sashimi- very good foods!

  11. Whoops, that should say Omega. I obviously didn't get enough Tuna as a kid. xx

  12. I can't really say right now since Margo's diet consists basically of breast milk and formula, which she seems to be enjoying.

    I remember how much Max enjoyed the berry shake that my husband made for him when he visited us in September. We have a wonderful picture of him drinking it on our terrace.

    As for Sabrina and her love of pickles, all I can say is "like mother like daughter".

  13. I actually wish Alex could eat more junk food. He's allergic to all dairy, soy, oats, nuts and eggs so we have to be really on top of everything he eats (i.e., we make almost everything at home with super basic and healthy ingredients). No last minute pizza runs or fries from the Mickey Ds drive thru (they're made in soybean oil, as is almost everything else in the world). The kid has to eat rice cheese! It doesn't even melt! I actually let him have skittles for breakfast on Halloween because I was feeling so bad about all the yummy stuff he misses out on. But he's only 2 so he should outgrow some of the allergies. And of course he has no idea what he's missing!!!

  14. I wouldn't count on McD helping with that dilemma. If they could just sell the mom her own nuggets it would be a win for them.

    It took me 4 kids, but I've finally learned to lighten up over meals. Our youngest's favorite? Onions. With ice cream. Or cinnamon rolls. Or anything.

  15. My mother cooks a lot, and she cooks good, "traditional" meals like chicken and rice, meatloaf, fish, the occasional thing Grampa shot (venison, mostly) and stuffed peppers, so my kids (and sometimes I, lucky me) eat like the Ward, June, Wally and Beaver Cleaver on many days because we're "frequent diners" at the homestead. At home or at Grammy's, no one makes a big deal about what they eat, or don't eat.

    They like oatmeal, eggs any style, bacon, sausage, cereal, mac n cheese, and hotdogs and hamburgers (I do get turkey burgers a lot because I am a bit paranoid about e-coli) and peanut butter and jelly or jam, and grilled cheese (sometimes with tomato). If they want a dessert (often jello, pudding, ice cream) they can have one. We usually have lots of apples and oranges around, and sometimes bananas, so if they want a snack they can grab one whenever they feel like it--only rule is, you grab it, you eat it. They often share! We have a popcorn popper for DVD movies, but we go VERY easy on the butter.

    If they want a little junk food, no problem--we don't make a big hoop-di-doo about it, don't do it very often, and don't emphasize or even mention, really, that Burger King or pizza or chinese food is "junk"--it's just a "treat" because they're not stupid, they know how much the order costs when the server gives us the total-- we don't have the income level to be eating out all the time and they know that ten or twenty bucks for food means less money for a movie rental. If you're forking over more than ten dollars for prepared food, to them, that's not junk, it's "fine dining." We get a discount where I work, and that's pretty much just homestyle cooking--every so often they have an "exotic" special, like burritos or a curry dish or something, and the kids love those.

    They've tried "far out" foods like tofu and sushi, and with the exception of the stuff that actually tastes good (and some of it does), they don't go for it.

    They don't particularly like soy milk and rice milk, they like cow's milk. They like meat, fruit and vegetables. They'll devour a baked potato, a scalloped potato, a french fried or oven fried potato, and a mountain of mashed potato!

    They're not fussy, though, at all. I could probably feed them all that expensive frou-frou food if I had the budget for it, and they'd adapt to it with no problem.

  16. Over the years, my kids have developed fairly varied tastes, which astonishes me. Especially after many years of purees, stuffing, no chewing, oral-motor work, and big rigidity about preferred foods. We used every trick in the book, and some combination must have worked.

    So it is amazing to me that they'll go into a Vietnamese restaurant and actually try new stuff. (Bubble tea is a favorite.) But the unfortunately side effect is that they have developed EXPENSIVE taste. They beg for sushi. I made spaghetti with clam sauce from a can, and my SN daughter wrinkled her nose and said "I thought you were going to use the cockles?"

    Dev ped doesn't want me giving them tuna. By their age it was just about my favorite food in the world, and I feel sad that they've never had it. I guess after they're 18.

    Sometimes kids with autism get a little too wrapped up in the rules, especially when they learn at school about "sweet foods" and "healthy foods." At the Chocolate Show last week, there were tears, lamentations, and requests to go home because "I don't like eating so much that's unhealthy." I thought, you are not MY daughter!

    The one thing I am a stickler about is juice. They get milk at breakfast and dinner, water at lunch and all other times, and juice at parties or when they're sick. That way they can pack more chocolate in.

  17. I get concerned with where my food comes from so chose to buy locally (to support local farmers) and also organic (okay this label can be so overused and isnt' everything from a farm "organic" but thats a differnet topic). Basically I try to make sure fruits and veggies have the least amount of pesticides possible, meat 2 times a week, seafood 3 times a week and vegetarian (spaghetti,salad, stir fry, curry etc. ) two times a week seems to work for us. Gabi gets a lot of her Nonnas (grandmas) hand made bread and cookies and she is a carb lover..she could live off bread and cheese. Long story short, I try to maintain balance as well. Sweets are good in moderation, just like everything else :) That's my take on food.. although I could live off of cookies myself hahaha

  18. as long as LilB eats, I'm happy!

    His favorites are sweet potatoes, pudding, applesauce, and chicken with a can of soup (pureed)

    and of course, pediasure, boy loves his pediasure

  19. Since Graham has only been eating for a year, if he wants a cheese and mustard sandwich for breakfast, he gets it!

    Dottie cannot be my child, she dislikes chocolate and peanut butter and pretty much lives on fruit.

  20. Your post brought back memories.. When I was growing up my mom used to hide the cookies and my brother and I would locate and eat them all in a giant binge. She'd get mad because then she'd have to go out and buy more for school lunches. I have no idea why she didn't just let us go without but that was UNTHINKABLE. My husband's mom bought cookies once a week. When they were gone, that was it! I think we're going to go with option 2.

    Mind you, it turns out that Elizabeth does not like eating that much yet so it's possible that we'll cave if cookies are on a very short list of things she'll eat.

  21. I try to keep an open mind and offer up the healthy stuff but heck I tricked my kid into eating cake because I wanted him to enjoy birthday cake. It worked!
    Seriously, I try to make plenty of healthy choices available and try to get him to try all sorts of flavors. He is not wild about different textures so I whir lots of things up in the food processor that don't look great that way. He likes the flavors not the texture. Maybe one day he'll the food in its original texture but not today.


Thanks for sharing!

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