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Thread: Step daughter HATES veggies

  1. #1
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    Question Step daughter HATES veggies

    i'm a new step mother.. we only get the kids two months out of the year - and they've arrived! My step daughter is 11 and HATES veggies.. all veggies.. even corn for heavens sakes.. the only veggie i know she likes is potatoes ..

    i've never had kids.. and i'm trying to eat healthy which includes lots of fresh veggies.. any of you experienced moms have any ideas on how to handle this situation?.. should i just let her eat what she wants?.. should i cook separate things i know she'll eat??.. she does seem to love meat but she's a growing girl and a balanced diet is important, right? .. advice.. recipes.. ANYTHING!!
    "It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
    Anais Nin

  2. #2
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    hmmmm...that's a tough one. I don't have kids and I have always hated the idea of pushing food on someone. I think since you only have them two months out of the year, I would still eat heathly as you usually do, but maybe have a few options for her. Have a fruit salad handy and have her eat that for a snack. Also, what about something like tacos or a taco salad? Will she eat the lettuce and tomato if it is something like that? I would try that or a corn/black bean type salad - it seems like kids like the mexican/southwestern flavors. Do fun stuff like grilled pizza and have fresh tomatoes and herbs to put on it. If she is having fun, maybe she will try some new things and discover that she likes some veggies if they are prepared in interesting ways.

  3. #3
    Ah, stepmotherhood. Isn't it grand? I have two stepkids myself - I call them my steplovies. They are now 19 and 18, but I've had them since they've been 3 and 4.

    Here's my suggestion: take her grocery shopping with you once or twice, right away - so you both can get the house stocked up and you can see what she gravitates towards in the store. Make it a fun outing - stop for a donut or icecream, etc. Buy what you want, a few snack thing she wants and spend some time in the veggie aisle. Ask her about different veggies, has she had experience with them cooked or plain?? Serve veggies and fruit with your meals, but if she doesn't eat it, oh well. At some point she will or she won't - you can't do too much during 2 months and who knows what their mom serves at home.

    Perhaps you can both spend some time together in the kitchen making brownies, etc. I always had my steplovies set the table for me, and each time they came to visit one of them could request their favorite dessert and I would make it for them, and as they got older, they baked with me.

    Good luck. Don't, don't, don't make food an issue. Just show how you enjoy the kitchen and cooking (if you do) and they'll get it by osmosis. Your job is to be a good stepmom and find a way to have a good relationship with the kids. It's their dad's job to handle the hard stuff - let him do it. Trust me on this one
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

  4. #4
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    I will preface this by saying that I don't have kids, but my suggestion is to try hiding/disguising the veggies. There is a book called Stealth Health (by Evelyn Tribole) which talks about how to address nutritional problem areas (ex. not enough veggies, not enough calcium, etc.) through tips and recipes. One example from the veggie chapter is a pesto pasta where broccoli is blended into the pesto.

    Hope this helps and good luck!

  5. #5
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    Let it go - it's not your issue.

    I would certainly not make vegetarian entrees this summer. Ask her what she would like to eat and make sure you stock it so that she really feels that this is a home away from home during the visit.

    It's fairly easy to plan a meal around all kinds of meat, chicken etc. prepared healthfully in a manner the whole family eats. If she doesn't want to eat the veggie side dishes so be it.

  6. #6
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    Maybe you could make an agreement with her that she at least taste the vegetable at each meal? I was a real fussy eater as a child, but ended up liking most foods eventually (still not crazy about asparagus though). Anyway, I wouldn't really force the issue since that might make it worse, but maybe she'll realize she likes something if she just tries it.

  7. #7
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    I'm a step-mom too. Hang in there! Blended families are much more complex than you can ever imagine when you first get married. My step-son lives with us 50% of the time, so I just make what I would normally make, including lots of vegetarian entrees. Fortunately, he's a good eater, and eats most of what I make. On the other hand, my daughter is very picky and food is an issue with her. Lately, we serve her a small portion of whatever we are eating, and she is expected to eat it. Some accomodations are made, like last night, we were dipping our calzone into red sauce--she doesn't like red sauce, so I didn't serve her any. But for the most part, she eats what we eat (in tiny portions) and she can eat fruit too as part of her dinner. If she doesn't eat her whole portion, she doesn't snack that night or get dessert.

    In your case, however, since you only have the step kids for 2 months a year, I would try to make it fun and try not to take anything personally, particularly not food preferences. I like the idea of taking her shopping, seeing if she likes veggies in fun ways, like veggies and dip, broccoli with baked potato and cheese, or veggie pizza. But truly, this is her mother's issue to deal with. You can certainly model healthy eating to her, and maybe it will rub off. Meanwhile, stock up on her favorite fruits and maybe make smoothies. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    I'm a mom, not a step-mom (only to the neighborhood kids ). Neither of my sons (12 & 15)like vegetables (the younger only eats steamed broccoli and some times corn on the cob. The older will sometimes eat vegetables if they are served as part of the meal (stir-fry, etc)). I make whatever vegetable I want for dinner, ask them to take a bite and don't force the issue. I also serve fruit with dinner (strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc). They love the fruit so I'm happy, they are happy, and dinner doesn't turn into an agruement. If you are worried, ask her to take a multi-vitamin

    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

  9. #9
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    Jul 2004
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    Oklahoma
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    Thank you all for taking the time to answer. I feel better and have a plan!

    #1 I'm not going to force issue - no fighting at the table. It really ruins the meal. Now I just have to get my husband to buy into this approach.
    #2 I'm not going to take it personally (I feel my spine tighten when she says "what's in it?)
    #3 continue to do the stealth veggies (I learned to do this when my husband said he didn't like onions - so now I grind them up and he loves the taste as long as he doesn't know the onions are in it - like father like daughter?)
    #4 I'm going to encourage her to TRY the veggie at least, if she doesn't like it -fine.
    #5 I'm going to work on us going shopping together. Searching for recipes (if she wants) -letting her test taste and rate a variety of veggies cooked a variety of ways - we'll turn it into a game.

    Thanks again for all your help!
    "It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
    Anais Nin

  10. #10
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    Feb 2001
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    I've been a step-mother for 13 years now and its not the easiest position. My older stepdaughter, now 28, is extremely picky -just like her father! The apple didn't fall from the tree and I knew that he would never try to encourage her to try new things because he won't himself, or will only very reluctantly. I learned, the hard way, to just cook what I cook. She does like some vegs - corn, lettuce, cukes for example. My advice, like others, is not to take any of it personally and don't push it. Good luck!
    Mary Ann

  11. #11
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    I love everyone's suggestions so far.

    The way I have started my kids on veggies was to have them help make a salad. They get a cutting board, knife (not too sharp) and peeler and I supply the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, whatever. They were curious about how the different veggies would taste and started "sneaking" bites when I wasn't looking. Then we progressed to serving the salad and them asking for the specific things they liked ("I'll have some peppers and tomatoes from the salad"). Now they both will eat salad and DD has even tried Italian dressing. My kids definitely prefer raw veggies to cooked.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
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    Welcome to the boards!

    I also would say--don't make an issue of it. Chances are, she's primed and ready to enter into a power struggle with you--not necessarily because you're a stepmom, but because you're NOT another 11 year old girl! The preadolescent years are the toughest in which to have girls around, IMHO. I speak from experience--I raised two daughters, and from 11 to about 14 were the toughest years I had with them. (They weren't bad kids at all--those are just moody, disrupted years for most girls.)

    As others have said, two months isn't very long. I'd focus on getting to know her, enjoying her, and developing the beginning of a friendship. I'd just ask her what she likes to eat--and try to provide her favorites at least every once in awhile. I mean, if the kid loves tacos, I'd make about 5 pounds of taco meat, freeze it in small quantities, have about a thousand taco shells there, and let her go to that if she doesn't like what's being served. I'd definitely take her to the store with you. That might spark some conversation about her favorite foods. I'd permit her to pick out at least a couple of her favorite things--no matter how junky they are. In this particular case, she's a preteen girl, away from home for two months, probably afraid of being homesick (or already homesick). I just wouldn't be willing to make food an issue. And the advice to let your DH take care of the hard stuff is excellent. You don't have to let them rule the roost, but this should be the year that you just all learn to like each other.

    Let us know how it goes. I'll be thinking of you this summer. Hope it is blessed and a positive time for all of you.

  13. #13
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    I think your approach is a good one. Especially at 11, her mind is already pretty well solidified. Pushing her is only going to make her resent you for not thinking she is grown up enough to make her own decisions about what goes in her own body. You want her to trust you and to foster that trust, you need to respect her, which includes respecting the choices she makes about food. You might also look into getting her a subscription to some of the tween magazines out there. Some of them are pretty good at encouraging healthy habits. Next time you are at the book store, flip through a few and see if any appeal. She might listen to this advice more so than yours.

    I would, if she is willing, try to encourage her to cook with you and experiment on her own in the kitchen. If not, let it go, but it might become a bonding thing for you. I loved to do that at her age. Good luck.
    ~ I used to be undecided, but now I'm not so sure ~ Boscoe Pertwee

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