Peer pressure is a powerful thing. It can be good and bad. Often it is a good thing.
Two weeks ago, I went over to a friend's house and took fixings for PB&J sandwiches for my kids along with bananas. My kids were horrible about wasting a lot of their sandwiches. I don't usually force my kids to finish their food when we're guests in someone else's home. But, I could tell by my friend's face and gentle words that she didn't want to waste it, so she put their leftovers out for the birds. Her reaction made me pause and think.
Last week, we went to visit my mother in law's home for a week and over the years, I've realized that it is very important to her as well not to waste food. So, I paid close attention to what my children were given and ate or didn't eat off of their plates. I don't usually give them too much food, actually. I give them the amount that I've seen them eat before. The problem is that sometimes they eat it--and sometimes they don't!
So, I took a different approach yesterday. I have never been a mom to cut off crusts. I figured that that was just wasting food from the beginning. But, the problem I have faced has been how to get them to eat those crusts! The lunch menu at our house yesterday was PB&J or Ham & Cheese and watermelon balls, with water to drink. Instead of giving them a whole sandwich as I usually do, I gave them each just a half. I also gave them 5 watermelon balls. My deal with them was that they could only have more watermelon if they ate all of their sandwich--which meant all of their crusts. My oldest daughter who loves food easily ate her whole sandwich and had a second serving of watermelon. My second daughter who is my pickiest eater successfully also ate her sandwich, though it took her much longer. My son, who is an on again off again picky eater, was the slowest. But, he did succeed! All sandwiches, crusts included were eaten. Interestingly, no one asked for a second half or complained of being hungry. I do use homemade whole wheat bread so it is filling, but I still thought it was interesting that one half was enough.
My conclusion is that I think I've been wasting a lot of bread for the past year! I am encouraged by what happened yesterday. I am going to try and be consistent about starting out with smaller sized servings and then giving second servings, rather than larger ones to begin with.
I know the reward approach isn't fool proof though. Dinner did not go well with my pickiest eater because of the one piece of squash I wanted her to eat. And that's the way it is in our house--some meals are easily eaten by my daughter and others are not. At the end of the day, it did get eaten. But, I keep pressing on! I suppose I should celebrate the little successes and be encouraged by them!