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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:01 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy
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I LOVE this thread.
I am so glad I joined this place!

I have so much to say and talk about and ask with this subject, my head will explode for a minute and then I will get going. I apologize for the excessive post here!

Storytime: I have 2 toddlers, James is almost 3, Layla is almost 20 months.
James was born with colic, and acid reflux that he is medicated for. He breastfed briefly but it was a disaster, so he got formula.
At 2 he was not gaining any weight and was so picky with food. He had an "omnivore diet" but never touched a piece of meat- usually it landed on the wall. He was diagnosed Failure to thrive and we freaked out and he had all this testing and he ended up having a more serious reflux that needed more medicine. Once we got him on that he started to eat a bit better, gradually. This is around when we went vegetarian. Now we are vegan and he is doing ok. Need a bit of help and advice with him still.
I had my daughter, she was a normal happy breastfeeder, and now eats anything you put in front of her. She eats like a truck driver, just shoveling everything in until she is full. She will be adventurous and eat things like tofu, avocado, broccoli, brown rice, kale, sweet potato, etc even likes spicy and curry things that we make for us. She is not gaining any weight, however. She only gained 1/2 lb in 6 months at her last visit. We are well on our way to her brothers same issue at that exact same age. The difference is, she is eating. He isn't really.

If this blows up and she does get the diagnosis, they have to call a state worker to visit my home and evaluate her. They will find out I am vegan and it will be a dumb interaction with bad results.

I'm thinking she is a tiny kid, just like her brother, just like me, just like dad. We aren't huge people. The kids are active and happy and maybe have a couple of ribs showing. She has a high metabolism.

Any advice in either department? (sorry its all melded together)
1) My son the picky eater eats this stuff:

B:
Blueberry Heart to Heart Cereal with soymilk
Handful of cheerios
a bite of a banana if I am lucky
Bagel with peanut butter
he asks for a cookie he gets or doesn't get depending on the general crankiness he does or does not have.
soymilk

L:
Penne pasta with EB butter
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
grilled rice cheese singles sandwich
boca chick'n nuggets
grapes
apple slices
Green smoothie I make (apples bananas pears and kale or spinach) - he may drink it here and there
Potato letters
triscuits
soy yogurt
soymilk
(not all of this together)

D:
Whatever we are eating in one part of the plate, and left over lunch on the other side. Soymilk. And he touches our food with a fork maybe.

He is so picky. He won't try anything new. His veggies are from the smoothies I make, he has no other source as he just throws them. Disguising them almost makes him laugh at me when he throws it at me. Now he is getting sick of the same old same old. But this is a catch 22. I'm not going to let him eat cookies, and tortilla chips, and ice cream bars all day. He gets clif z bars here and there. It makes me relieved that there is protein.

2) May daughter has an amazing vegan diet I am so proud of. But no weight gain.

B:
1 whole banana
1 dairy free flax waffle with peanut butter
dried dates or raisins
handful of cheerios
soymilk

L:
Same as my sons, but she will eat some steamed broccoli or carrots on the side in addition. She likes a variable of fruit and soy yogurt. Does not really care for greasy junky food. She loves dipping crackers in things, like hummus, avocado, and tofutti cream cheese, drinks soymilk and green smoothie

D:
Whatever we eat
Soy milk

***************

So here it is; How can I get my son to eat better and more, and how can I get my daughter to gain weight? Based on their typical diets now.

I make great dinners, all made from scratch if I can, everything we need in nutrients. I get bummed when my son shoves it aside. I would like one day for them all to eat 1 thing for dinner- what I make. So I am not racing around the kitchen making 3 different meals all the time. Its tiring!

phew. sorry this is long.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:43 am 
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Welcome mrose! Sorry you are having picky eater & weight gain troubles!

I think the general advice for vegan kid weight gain is to up the fats. Like, get them to eat as much avocado as possible, cook things like beans and rice in full fat coconut milk, and add some flax oil or similar to the soymilk. I see you've already got peanut butter and jelly on the list, so that's good - maybe you could branch out into some other nut butters too, like almond, to go on crackers.

I am not sure what you are eating for dinner, but have you tried giving them seitan nuggests or sausages, or chick pea cutlets? All those have lots of protein and are different from your usual soy product. Tempeh is another option for protein, as is adding protein powder (soy, rice, pea or hemp) to smoothies. You can also add nut butters to smoothies, and that will make them more substantial than just fruit and veggies.

I'm sure others who've dealt with this will have more advice.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:31 pm 
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I make these for my kids (I sneak in extra oil and sometimes add ground sunflower seeds or tahini and leftover rice or millet and such):
http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.com/2011/10/gluten-free-vegan-sausages-from-scratch.html
http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.com/2011/06/black-eyed-pea-tarragon-sausages.html
You can really go all over with the recipe, the trick is to have enough flour/rice flour/cornmeal/vital wheat gluten to bind it together and to have it be the right consistency (sticky/thick/pasty) before steaming it. And these days I just make a big hunk and wrap it in a sterilised muslin cloth instead of using aluminium foil. I steam it for about 40 minutes, cut it into chunks, and let the kids feed themselves. (If I screw up the consistency and it doesn't solidify, I use it as a sandwich spread).

My kids also really liked risottos of all sorts. And potato wedges or veggie chips (fries) -- the best veggies for that are swedes (rutabagas), parsnips, and beets. I just cut them into wedges or chip-shapes, toss them in oil, and bake them until they are tender.
Have you tried tahini on pasta? I make pasta and save a little pasta water. In the pan with the water, I add oil or margarine and then I add some tahini (and Marmite, if I'm feeling frisky). Stir everything up and then add the pasta back in.

I second coconut milk and nut butters and avocado -- I spread it on sandwiches for the kids and add nutritional yeast and chopped onions (my kids love raw onions, they are weird); they also like guacamole. Lately they have been begging me to just give them peanut butter on a spoon.
If I really feel like fattening them up, I also put a little margarine on their PBJ (under the jam) or sneak a stir of olive oil into their food. I also add olive oil to their veggies.

My kids are skinny (so are my husband and I -- well, I am not quite so slender these days) and I think our local health centre thinks it's because we're vegan and not because we're just generally slender people. They always talk about how children need fat in their diet and act really surprised when I mention cooking with coconut milk.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:27 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy
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Thank you ladies- these are all wonderful tips! And some great recipes :)

Yeah- I get a lot of slack for my kids and us being skinny. Most blame the vegan diet. My in laws think that we are starving them, and the pediatrician always gives me the "look" when they ask me about their diet and how much cows milk they drink. Then I usually get a lecture about protein and how I am not giving my kids enough.
I used to get upset and defensive about it, but now its totally expected and I can shrug it off. They can tell me all day what they think is a good diet, but I know they know nothing about it, I am far more versed in nutrition than a doctor or my inlaws.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:23 pm 
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Welcome mrose! We had some similar issues with my daughter in that she suddenly fell off her growth curve around 15 months despite her eating really well. She is still off the growth charts for weight, but back on her own curve. What worked for us was adding fat to everything. I put healthy amounts of Earth Balance or coconut oil on her veggies and pasta. She will not eat avocado, but that's another great option. She also eats lots of nut butters. I think a large part of her growth is just genetics - I am quite small, so no surprise she is as well. But I was vigilant about adding extra fats to all of her meals, and we eventually got her to a good place. I will say, however, that we had a great pediatrician who was fairly unconcerned. Her perspective was that L was otherwise growing and meeting/exceeding all milestones, so we never even broached the topic of failure to thrive. I'm not sure if this would apply to your situation, but if you feel that this may be an issue of Layla simply being small, you might want to consider a second opinion. Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:12 am 
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How do you handle your kid refusing food? We had veg news mac and cheese, VB pinto bean chorizo sausages, and shredded carrot salad for dinner last night. Lydia ate two bites of chorizo, a bite or two of carrot, and not a single bite of mac and cheese. She is generally a good eater, so this is much much less than she normally eats. She feeds herself most of the time (she's 16 months), but I did try to see if she would eat more if we fed it to her making airplane noises, but no dice. She did eat dessert (small handful of raisins). I know my parents never would have fed me dessert if I hadn't finished my dinner, but I don't think the whole "you must always clean your plate" mentality is a good idea. What do you guys think?


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:59 am 
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Sometimes Kai eats way less than he usually does, or flat out refuses something he usually eats. When that happens, I figure maybe he just isn't hungry so I don't force it. Sometimes I'll give him something else he does want, like bread w/ hummus, puffs or blueberries, but only after I'm sure he really isn't going to eat his meal. I guess I just don't want him going totally hungry.

Like a week or so ago i made him a bean & cheeze tortilla, which he usually loves, but he would not eat a bite. Just kept saying no no no. I think maybe he had a bit of bread instead, but I figured out later it was because he had eaten a huge late lunch with the babysitter.

I try not to cater to his whims too much, by making him a whole other meal or anything. Though that really hasn't been much of a problem yet. Mainly I think when he has refused food he just hasn't been that hungry, unless it was something brand new I was trying that he didn't like.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:38 pm 
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yeah we go through cycles over here where D will eat everything I put on her plate, no matter what it is, and times when she does more fussing than eating. I'm totally guilty of giving her separate food later because even though I'd hate to encourage picky behavior, I don't want her to be hungry! so usually fruit or soygurt or raisins. But I figure that like all things, it's another phase and she'll be on to some other thing next! I feel for all you parents having trouble with gaining, it was a concern for us too for a while but we just tried to remain calm and eventually her weight starting picking up. She's still quite thin but so strong and healthy.
these poor friends of mine have a 2.5 your old who HATES to sleep and eat! Their pediatrician recently became concerned about the lack of weight gain and urged them to do ANYTHING they can to get her to eat. They tried every food combo known to man, had her checked for digestive issues etc and the consensus is, she's just not interested in the actual act of eating. Their current way of getting her to eat - which they hate and feel really guilty about - is sitting her in front of the TV. She is so enamored with watching it (usually Yo Gabba Gabba) that she will let them feed her big spoonfuls. Again, a terrible position to be in but a case of doing whatever works!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Aubade wrote:
I try not to cater to his whims too much, by making him a whole other meal or anything. Though that really hasn't been much of a problem yet. Mainly I think when he has refused food he just hasn't been that hungry, unless it was something brand new I was trying that he didn't like.

That's totally what I'm afraid of. I don't want to cater to every whim of my daughter's, but I (obviously) don't want her to starve! I probably shouldn't have worried so much-- she made up for her lack of eating last night by eating an entire apple larabar and a full piece of peanut butter toast before 10 am this morning! Eep. That's more than I eat for breakfast. I'm glad to hear that cycles of not eating are more or less normal for toddlers. Lydia had rarely refused food before though, so it was a new thing for me.

Ugh, Audrey, I can't imagine how tough that must be for your friend.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:30 pm 
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It hadn't even occurred to me to worry when Walter refuses a meal. So far today he only ate banana at breakfast and maybe two bites of lasagna at lunch. At breakfast he wanted to get down and play and at lunch he was just too tired to care about food. I know when he wakes up he will eat a big snack (probably bread with hummus and some seaweed snacks) and maybe eat a big dinner (lentil tacos). I usually only get one-two good meals in him a day. I never offer him alternatives if he doesn't want what I'm serving. He can eat or not eat, and if he chooses not to eat now he can make up for it at the next snack or meal.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Yeah, it is totally normal for toddlers to skip meals. My general principle is that I'm responsible for offering him food, he's responsible for deciding whether or not to eat it and how much he'll eat. It can be frustrating as hell but I like to think it's good for both of us in the long run. My family had crazy asparagus rules about food when I was a kid and it did not do me any favors.

I try to offer at least one thing per meal that I know he likes... broccoli or tofu or brown rice noodles or whatever. But beyond that, I don't cater and I try really hard not to pressure him about trying things. Some meals he eats nothing, and that's a bummer, but it evens out in the end.

Slow weight gain is normal for toddlers, too... it sucks that doctors make a big fuss about it when your baby is on the small side. The Emperor has always been huge, so his doctor is like "you've only gained a pound in a year! that's great!"

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Yeah, poopiebaby skips meals all the time. Like C&S, I grew up with lots of crazy rules about food and mealtimes, and it's ruined my eating habits for the most part. I figure he is much better at reading his own hunger cues so I just follow his lead. If he won't eat what I give him but asks for something else, I try to gauge whether he's just being picky or if he genuinely doesn't like what I offered, and go from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Well I finally got around to trying that ravioli recipe I posted on page 2. That was an adventure. All I can say is thank goodness I don't have to make my living off of cooking things!

I filled them with sweet potatoes/cinnamon/nutmeg and peas/mashed potatoes/herbs.They were at least edible, and didn't fall apart. Kai ate about 5. They were just really, really ugly. haha I didn't even take a picture.

I don't think I'll be doing that again.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:18 pm 
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Aubade, I'd love to have your protein muffin recipe if you have time to post it. We need something new and exciting for breakfast, he is bored with toast and will only eat fruit. LOVES PRUNES!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:35 am 
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Sure no problem, here you go:

Low-Sugar Baby Muffins

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
170 mL oat milk substitute
80 mL canola oil
2 ripe bananas

Mash bananas & mix in other liquid ingredients. Mix in dry ingredients. Bake in lightly greased muffin trays for 18 - 20 mins at 350F.

My oven is a little cool, so I usually do them on 355 for the full 20 minutes and it works well. One time I was out of quinoa flakes and successfully substituted ground rolled oats. Of course you could use soy or whatever kind of milk. I also used a packet of baby food fruit one time when I didn't have mashed bananas and that worked ok too, although it is better with the real bananas. You can omit the wheat germ if you want, or put in less (but it does add protein). Basically, it is a pretty forgiving recipe.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Kai is foiling my every attempt at dinner.

Saturday I made him pasta with the minute-man cheezy sauce from the ultimate uncheese cookbook. That went on the floor.

Monday I made him Swiss Seitan from Table for Two. On the floor.

Today I made him 2 bean chili over baked potatoes. He wouldn't even try a bite.

By all rights he should have liked these things - they had all ingredients he likes in them. I just don't get it! And it is so frustrating to see things I made from scratch with organic ingredients go on the floor. :-(

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Ugh, my little guy is the same way right now. I mention anything about "dinner" to my partner, and the little guy will come running over saying "I don't like dinner!" Doesn't matter what it is, or if he knows what I'm making. He refuses to try a bite of pretty much anything at all. He seriously just waits until breakfast the next day. And I know he's hungry. So ridiculous. I try not to flip out, but it gets me so irritated that he won't even try it. I offer him all kinds of healthy foods regularly, so it's not like weird stuff he's not used to. Bah.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:54 pm 
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I have successfully used a few techniques to overcome this with my kids.

1) Increase the variety - perhaps, rather than giving a larger portion of one food, or two foods, make a visually appealing "monkey platter" on a fun plate. The platter can contain cut up fruit and veg, dried fruit and veg, a couple of sushi rolls, hummus, a couple of crackers, chunks of cheez, etc. - lay out what the kid likes PLUS a few things that might be intriguing or new...and then let them go for it and don't push. It's also always interesting for them if you add a couple of choices of sauces that they can choose to use on this platter - ketchup, guacamole, tahini or whatever. Kids love to think they are in charge, and this way they decide. And, secondly, they love to "mix and match" and make, often disgusting, combos that we wouldn't necessarily dream up ourselves...it's all about exploring and pushing boundaries...for a while. Also, you can just save the part of the monkey platter that they don't eat in a tupperware...for another monkey platter. And you can involve them in going out and buying some funny (and cheap) plates or platters to use for this.

Another success for me - I call them the "irresistibles" - but they are simple foods that will simply serve to get some food in their belly for those times. And easy for me to make. Mashed sweet potato with coconut oil...mashed potatoes with protein powder tucked in...mashed lentils...refried beans...mashed butternut squash. Sometimes, at least in my case, they are less into, say, trying lasagna, but would wolf down a bowl of the mashed lentils I used it in it. It helps to remember that, try as we might, we are sometimes offering things that are still too sophisticated for their evolving palates, and in my experience this can cause a meltdown.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Here is a good resource for getting "monkey platter" inspiration. She shows you the before and after results of what happens when she puts one down in front of her kid - who had just refused to eat every food she could name. Sorry, I don't know how to link directly to the site:

http://barefoothippiemama.wordpress.com ... -we-snack/


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:29 pm 
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bodhi wrote:
I mention anything about "dinner" to my partner, and the little guy will come running over saying "I don't like dinner!"

Sorry this made me laugh so hard


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:31 pm 
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My picky guy and I are coming along a little better.
He will eat anything for a Starburst Jelly Bean. (the only vegan jelly bean on earth)

Want a jelly bean? Eat 6 bites of your peanut butter sandwich. Done.
Want another jelly bean? Take one bite of your broccoli (trying to be realistic- I can't expect him to eat all the broccoli)

Its probably crappy parenting, but it makes him eat. Oh well. :p


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:07 am 
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Beetroot will sometimes refuse to eat another bite of food. I will be all, "please, just eat three bites." Then, just to be contrary, he will be, "NO! I eat six more bites!" And then he will. Weird little dude.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:24 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
Beetroot will sometimes refuse to eat another bite of food. I will be all, "please, just eat three bites." Then, just to be contrary, he will be, "NO! I eat six more bites!" And then he will. Weird little dude.

Haha, reminds me of my favorite kids poem, "Tricking" by Dennis Lee

When they bring me a plate
Full of stuff that I hate,
Like spinach and turnips and guck,
I sit very straight
And I look at the plate
And I quietly say to it: "YUCK!"

Little kids bawl
Cause I used to be small,
And I threw it all over the tray.
But now I am three
And I'm much more like me -
I yuck till they take it away.

But sometimes my dad
Gets terriffickly mad,
And he says, "Don't you drink from that cup!"
But he can't say it right
Cause he's not very bright -
So I trick him and drink it all up.

Then he gets up and roars;
He stomps on the floor
And he hollers, "I warn you, don't eat!"
He counts up to ten
And I trick him again:
I practically finish the meat.

Then I start on the guck
And my daddy goes "Yuck!"
And he scrunches his eyes till they hurt.
So I shovel it in
And he grins a big grin
And then we have dessert.

(<3 Dennis Lee)

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:22 am 
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bodhi wrote:
Ugh, my little guy is the same way right now. I mention anything about "dinner" to my partner, and the little guy will come running over saying "I don't like dinner!" Doesn't matter what it is, or if he knows what I'm making. He refuses to try a bite of pretty much anything at all.

Westley is EXACTLY the same way! It's so frustrating, but I'm glad to know someone else is going through this. What's especially maddening is that he won't eat things I KNOW he's loved in the past. It doesn't matter what dinner is, when my partner and I sit down at the table, it's, "I don't like dinner!" or "I'm not hungry!" (which seems impossible, when I know for a FACT the last time he ate was 2:00 PM).

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding vegan kids
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 2237
Location: nj
Haha that poem is cute.

I think it is definitely some psychological thing with kai, not that he doesn't like the food. I gave him the chili/potatoes twice after I last posted, and both times at first he cried his face off not wanting to take a bite. But then he finally tried one bite and was like "mmmmm!" Then he proceeded to eat it. So go figure.

At least we did have a hit this weekend. I made a green pea spread from Table for Two. It was just blended peas, fresh thyme, cumin and soy-free mayo. I spread it on crackers and he gobbled it up.

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I'm not asking for utopian dreams...just a little peace in this world. That's a logical thing. - Deee-Lite


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