“Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?” How often have I heard that over all these years? It is amazing how much food three guys can put away once they hit their teens. I remember hearing “Gee, there’s nothing to eat around here” on a regular basis as well. That’s because when our boys were playing sports especially, they came home ravenous and would devour three PB&Js and down a quart of milk in one sitting. Another favorite foodie marathon at our house was cereal consumption. We kept boxes of cereal because cereal was an easy, go-to snack that didn’t take a great deal of effort, and didn’t require cooking. As long as we had fresh milk, they were good to go!
I quite honestly don’t understand why I fretted when they were younger. At certain ages, each one of them went through phases where they were picky about what I had to offer at mealtimes. So as a concerned mom, I worried whether they were going turn out to be healthy eaters as they got older. As I wrote in my book about my experiences with motherhood, entitled MOMMY MEMOIRS, we always required “no thank you helpings” of the foods that they regularly turned their noses up at, which more often than not, were vegetables. However, by the time they hit high school, each of them would pretty much consume anything that didn’t move or fight back!
One of the things I never got in the habit of doing was offering to make them something different if they didn’t care for what was being offered for dinner. That can get you into all kinds of trouble as a mom! I have heard of mothers that kowtow to their kids’ personal preferences. I never saw myself as a restaurant chef, responsible for serving up whatever anyone wanted according to their tastes. That seems like an awful lot of pressure and senseless work to me!
Nevertheless, we did offer two choices every night: take it or leave it. Our sons got to the point where they knew that if they refused what the rest of the family was having for supper, they would go to bed hungry that night. So rather than suffer the consequences of turning down what was on the menu, they would put up with eating things that maybe weren’t their favorite. Even the “no-thank-you!” helpings were eaten because the threat of finding them cold and withering at the breakfast table the next morning was more than they could bear.
Yeah, we were tough~ but as a result, our boys eat a great variety of foods and enjoy them. They do a decent job of cooking and helping out in the kitchen too. It really comes down to habits and what our families gets accustomed to…if we give them the option of “ordering” something else, then we will end up paying the consequences of making dinner more complicated than it needs to be and raising picky eaters.