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Dinner qualms - how strict are you?

I know everyone differs on this, but I'm looking for advice: my 3-yr-old really hates meat. As a rule, I don't make her eat it, because she gets a lot of iron and protein from other sources. But when it comes to dinner, if I make something like pot roast, for example, she will dutifully eat a few bites of meat/veggies and then ask for bread. She eats whole wheat bread, so I guess I shouldn't complain, but that's all she wants at dinnertime...after the few bites of the "dinner"...she wants bread and bread and bread.

If I push the issue of eating different things, or try to cut her off after 2 pieces, it turns ugly.

Should I pick my battles and give this one up, do you think? I suppose she could be eating worse things than whole wheat bread...? I'm just tired of it being an issue.

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Asked by aliceryannesmom at 10:09 PM on Jul. 2, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 20 (8,465 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Have you tried making things like Banana bread, apple bread, zucchini bread....something that is just more than bread from the store? Some kids just go through phases. My nephew at her age wanted french toast daily. Then it was something else. But as long as she is taking a few bites of other things First, I wouldn't make a huge ordeal of it. Will she eat peanut butter on it or other things to get protein and such?

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 10:12 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • I myself am not much of a meat eater. I never have been, even as a baby. I will eat a couple bites of whatever meat is there but that is usually my limit. I do eat veggies and pasta. Is there something else you can offer as a filler instead of meat or bread?

    Answer by vickwu at 10:13 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • Put the portions on her plate. Tell her if she wants more bread she has to eat "x" number of bites of whatever to get a half a piece or she can be done. I'd say pick your battles but picky eaters turn out to be adult picky eaters and we all know if we sat down and ate only bread, weight issues are going to come up. Hopefully this is a stage, fight with it as long as you think is necessary.

    Answer by Lifes-A-Dance at 10:19 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • I do pick my battles and this one is one to pick. She will develope bad eating habits that lead to obesity if you can't change it. I never pushed the meat thing..but at our house you have to have a fair portion(which is usually 3 bites) . After that they can have fruit, applesauce or yogurt. They don't get to fill up on bread or 'sweet' stuff. It didn't take long for mine to figue it out. My granddaughter was the worst. She will devour bread like it's going out of style and poke around about everything else. Her rule is no bread until the END of her meal. If she doesn't bread. I try hard not to use food as punishment or treats..but it's hard.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 10:22 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • I dont think kids need a lot of meat. I used to have meat at every meal as a kid and was never very regular and always felt a big "ugh". I was very thin and in shape but never felt great. Once I moved out on my own I started eating less meat and more veggies and beans and when I do have meat it is turkey or chicken. I feel so much better and more healthy. DH is almost 4 and just like me. He hates meat but will occassionally eat chicken or something. If I feel he isnt getting enough protein I cut up a few pieces and put it on his plate and tell him if he eats so many he can have more veggies or a special snack. I wouldnt push the issue too much, with the obesiety rate in the country I think a kid that loves veggies is a dream!

    Answer by Cass052005 at 10:24 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • Thank you for the advice ladies! I think I will try making zucchini bread, etc to change it up a little bit. That's a great idea. She does like peanut butter which is good...I guess (even though I like bread) I just can't figure out why bread is SO amazing to her! Haha. I suppose I am doing okay by getting her to eat some of her meat/veggies. It certainly could be worse. We do make it clear that unless she eats her share of the "real" dinner first, she doesn't get the bread.

    Comment by aliceryannesmom (original poster) at 10:25 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • Oh, I missed the part where you said she just wanted bread. I thought you said she just wanted veggies. I agree with the poster that said to bake things into the bread like banana bread, or to spead something on it. Wheat bread is still pretty healthy though, so I wouldnt be super concerned.

    Answer by Cass052005 at 10:26 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • And I guess I also can't complain about the fact that she'd rather eat fruit/veggies than meat most of the time! Last week at a barbecue, both my kids beelined for the buffet table and came back with handfuls of raspberries and carrots - much to my surprise! They have both always been picky eaters, but they could certainly pick worse foods to be obsessed with.

    Comment by aliceryannesmom (original poster) at 10:28 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • I don't force my girls to eat anything. I was watching a show once where a morbidly obese woman said as a child she was always made to clean her plate and as an adult, even if she felt full beforehand, she would still clean her plate because that's how she was brought up. I don't let them eat junk food for dinner but I never make them eat something they don't like. I make them try it and if they don't like it, they can eat whatever else we are having. I wouldn't want to be forced to eat something I don't like.

    Answer by dmdblleb at 10:31 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

  • We use the 3 bite rule. You must try 3 bites of what is on your plate; if you don't like it, you get peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast with a kiwi or apple.

    Answer by rkoloms at 10:42 PM on Jul. 2, 2010

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