Parenting: Follow the bouncing tastebuds

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Just some of the items Monica needs to get all the kids fed for a meal.

Just some of the items Monica needs to get all the kids fed for a meal.

It's not that my 2-year-old twins are picky eaters - they are quite willing to taste new foods and they certainly have their hands-down favorites. However wouldn't it be nice if both toddlers liked the same things? Then again that's too easy.

They like totally different lunch and dinner items. The only foods they seem to agree on are breakfast and snacks - but very few of those overlap with what my 12-year-old likes to eat.

So every day, I become something of a short-order cook, making three entirely different options so that each child gets nutritious veggies, meats, breads and pastas.

As if that weren't hard enough, my sons grow tired of the same foods even at their young age. I thought I mastered buttered toast, sliced strawberries, bananas and pancakes. However, now the tween is bored with toast and bananas, one toddler won't eat bananas, the other is over pancakes (I never thought anyone related to me would grow tired of sweets for breakfast!)

Now I've switched to bacon or ham, cinnamon toast, grapes, sliced apples and oatmeal. The 12-year-old, Jake, has variously informed me that he's sick of bacon, he's sick of ham; a month later he asks why we haven't had bacon lately?

Hunter loves ham and could eat every bit of it in the house. Zeke just wants to eat cereal, scrambled eggs or blueberries.

All bets are off with lunch and dinner. Hot dogs are out with the twins. Jake won't touch hamburgers. He's still willing to make do with my meatball subs, chicken stew, honeyed salmon and baked pork chops. Zeke doesn't like meat or fish and won't eat any of those. Hunter just wants more chicken noodle soup.

To keep from going crazy, I make three entrees a day and give the guys a choice. I make three veggies and slice three fruits. I have two bread options and a dessert available.

My "rule of 3's" is that each child can eat something individualized if they want to feel special. Or they can all duplicate each other if they want to have what the other is having.

I'm just happy with any of the leftovers. Usually I'm too mentally food fatigued to care what I eat - just give me some toast and let's call it a day!

Hang in there with your kids when it comes to the kitchen gymnastics parents have to perform. Hopefully they'll grow up healthy, happy and with an idea of a balanced meal!


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