Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just a add a Little of This and a Little of That.

So, my two oldest sons are terrible eaters. It is my fault, I know. With my oldest, I was a nervous wreck about the whole eating thing. We had to start him on prune juice when he was very young, I'll let you figure out why. I hadn't even started him on rice cereal at that point. I had read all the literature: Vegetables BEFORE fruit. So, I started feeding him solid food way too early. He was a nice fat little guy fed only on breast milk and was doing fine, but I was neurotic.

Fast forward ten years. He eats peanut butter bagels, yogurt, lots of milk, a few juices and crackers and gold fish. They only meat he eats willingly is bacon and chicken nuggets.

I have tried a variety of strategies. The Nazi food program was when they ate it for dinner or got it for breakfast the next day. He threw up on a regular basis trying to swallow the three grains of rice or bite of carrot he was given. My goals was that he fill up on whatever I serve or starve. He was a trooper and was willing to try a few small bites, usually gagging. The tears and regurgitated food were never going to equate to a full stomach of whatever I had made. This was soon abandoned.

Son two was not really my fault. He started out a pretty good eater. But then it turned out he had many food allergies. Getting sick from some food turned him off on most. He was not a trooper and dinner time became a nightmare. With number one puking and number two throwing huge fits, it just wasn't worth it.

I did not make the same mistake with the girls who followed them. I waited until they reached up on the table to grab food before I began feeding them. I didn't do baby food and just gave them whatever we were eating. They are great eaters. Number five's eating issues will have to wait for another post.

I was never worried about the boys' health. It was more about hospitality for me. I hate the idea of picky eaters. I think it rude. The oldest is a sturdy build and does not even like to eat sweets. He is the kind who has Halloween candy at Easter. He also doesn't feel hunger. If I said no food if you don't eat dinner. He wouldn't eat. If I said no peanut butter and bagels for a week, he would drink milk and orange juice for a month. Son two is small. But he has never lacked energy and looks healthy. He will eat sweets on the sly if I don't watch him.

Lately, I had begun to worry about the oldest. I talked to a nurse about his sluggishness. She said it was very normal for boys his age who are growing like crazy. I started giving him a protein shake for breakfast. It helped calm my fears a bit. But then he started showing signs from being hungry. You know the signs: like a two year old that needs a nap. I just knew he needed more nutrition, but I had tried everything I could think of or that had been suggested save sending him to a food psychologist.

Then to make a long story even longer, my sister decided to sell her house. Needing to down size she asked if I wanted anything. "Actually, I will take that juicer you never even opened that I gave you for Christmas two years ago when your husband started his healthy kick." She dropped it off this weekend.

And ALLELUIA! I have made a new deal with my boys. They do not have to EAT dinner if they will drink what I give them instead. They agreed.

To give an example, last night they had between the two of them: ten large carrots, an apple, three cups of lettuce, five strawberries and a lime. The lime makes the whole concoction taste like a limeade even if it has a very odd color. Do you know how many weeks it would have taken me to get them to eat what they drank in about thirty seconds? Why do I ask, they haven't eaten that much good food in eleven and nine years.

If you are in a similar boat and want to try my solution, I use the Breville Juice Fountain. It is a snap. You throw the food in whole.: no cutting or peeling or anything. All parts can be washed in the top of the dishwasher. But if you line the place where the pulp goes with a plastic grocery bag (a new use for those awful things), you don't even have to wash it. The other parts are easily washed by hand if you don't want to take up space in the dishwasher.

That is right. I just added a little bit of this and a little bit of that and ended up with peace of mind.

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