JSL has always been a fussy eater.  While NHL would eat a broccoli and mushroom pizza or try some new vegetable (so long as assurances were made that it wasn’t spicy), JSL won’t touch anything.  If you ask him, he’ll ask “Have I tried it before?”  His criteria for trying a food seems to be that he must have previously eaten it and liked it.  Of course, you can imagine how this has expanded his culinary horizons.  And by “expanded”, I really mean “narrowed.”  Recently, however, “narrowed” has turned into “contracted.”

At my birthday dinner, he fought with us over what he was going to eat.  The kids’ menu was packed with good choices like grilled chicken and mini burgers.  He doesn’t eat these, though.  Luckily, there was grilled cheese.  He always likes grilled cheese and he was fine with eating that.  What he wasn’t fine with, however, was the sides it came with.  Cheesy mashed potatoes got his thumbs down even after we explained that he loves pierogies and that’s exactly what is inside of them.  He didn’t care.  It was something different and therefore not allowed anywhere near his plate (much less his mouth).  Fine, though, because you can switch sides.  We didn’t even try to press the vegetables, that battle isn’t for a restaurant where others are trying to enjoy their meals.  But fruit should have been good enough.  He likes apples and grapes… except that he decided that he didn’t like or want them.

Finally, we settled on getting him macaroni and cheese instead of the grilled cheese.  This didn’t come with any sides.  Problem solved, right?  Wrong!  When the dish came, he declared it “too sticky”, refused to eat, and complained that he wanted something else.  (No, we weren’t about to order *another* meal for him.  That simply wasn’t an option.)  I’ve run into this problem with him before.  Give him boxed macaroni and cheese and he’ll eat two big bowls.  Make him macaroni and cheese from scratch, using real cheese and not powder, and he turns his nose up at it.

I’m getting to the end of my rope.  Planning out meals seems to always end with “and what will JSL eat?”  Our usual house rule is that he can eat what’s being served or he can have a plain peanut butter sandwich, but it gets tiring to know that dinner plans will include a fight over this EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.  Last night, he told me that I had to give him more options (after I gave him the choice of mac and cheese, grilled cheese, or a peanut butter sandwich).  I told him that I’d gladly give him more options if he would try some new foods so I’d have more options to give him.

Sadly, that seems to have gone over his head.  It’s like he magically expects me to make new food appear that he will eat.  I’m running out of ideas (not to mention patience).

Have you ever had a child who was a fussy eater? If so, how did you handle it?

Waste of Food

wasteOn Saturday night, we went out to dinner.  It was pretty much an uneventful dinner and my eggplant parmesan tasted pretty good.  It was a big portion, however, so I decided to save half for another day.  At the time, I figured I was being frugal.  The cost of the one dinner would pay for two meals.

The curve ball came after the kids were in bed.  My stomach began cramping bad and… well, let’s just say other "symptoms" manifested which I won’t go into here to keep this from going TMI.  B told me that obviously we were going to toss out my leftover eggplant.  Even while in the midst of my possible food poisoning, the frugal part of my brain protested.  "It might not be the eggplant," it reasoned.  "It’s a shame to waste the food," it declared.

No, I’m not going to eat it.  Yes, I’m going to toss it.  Yes, I understand that I’m better off tossing the food than risking another bout of whatever-that-was.  That frugal part of my brain is still protesting that I’m contributing an awful crime of food waste by doing so, though.

The next day, for dinner, I made the boys grilled cheese sandwiches.  This is usually a safe bet, especially with picky JSL.  Grilled cheese holds a place of honor on his all-too-short list of foods that he will eat.  I even let him pick the cheese: provolone, or as he calls it "circle cheese."

I made the grilled cheese, put it by his spot (along with a sandwich for his brother), and called the boys over.  NHL ate his and asked for another (which he ate).  JSL protested.  This wasn’t what he wanted!  The cheese doesn’t taste good!  It’s the wrong color!  We spent the next hour with him pleading for "something else" and with us telling him that he couldn’t ask for one thing and then decide, after it was cooked, that he really wanted something else.

He never did eat his grilled cheese and so, as I write this the night before this post goes live, it sits here destined for the garbage.  Even though I’m full and even with my weakened stomach, that frugal part of my brain is trying to convince me to eat his sandwich so it doesn’t go to waste.

Do you feel guilty when you throw out food?

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