Basil and Corn Couscous and Family Food Tensions

Hi everyone. I thought I would share some readers’ comments about finicky child eaters:

“I can relate to your friend about the veggies in the bathtub. Up until about a month ago, I couldn’t get anything green past Mia’s lips. I would bribe, lie, negotiate but she is very stubborn. It was my biggest source of frustration and one of the few things Tony and I clashed on. The doctor always said she’d eat better in time and was OK as long as Mia got protein. Tony is very laid back about Mia’s eating habits because he can eat anything and not gain an ounce. He’s a sugar junkie and Mia has inherited his sweet tooth. I bought Jessica Seinfeld’s book and was somewhat successful with hiding fruits and veggies. Then all of a sudden, a month ago Mia started to eat much better. She asked for peppers, cukes, beans, oranges. I thought she was possessed. I’m relieved and thrilled that she is becoming experimental and will try just about anything. As long as she tries, even if she doesn’t like something, I’m satisfied with the effort.”

Or this one:

“My kids are tweens and teens. I have found it nearly impossible to get them to sit down at the table together as a family, even when they were little . My one trick is to invite one of their friends over for dinner. It seems like a desperate move but firstly, people sit together for a whole 15 minutes (before they find they need to urgently i.m. someone) and secondly, the friends often compliment me on the dinner in front of my kids (unlike my children who pretty much hate everything I make. ) I like the positive feedback. It’s pretty demoralizing to put effort into cooking when people are so unappreciative so I end up nuking Trader Joes more than I can believe. I am an excellent cook.(But so is TJ)
I wish I had been successful at enforcing the family meal earlier but I must say, it is very difficult if both parents are not on the same page about this idea. My partner does not see it as a top priority so the kids see that there is a choice: eat miserably together like Mom wants us to, or eat whenever, like Dad does. Unfortunately a strong marriage is often the most necessary ingredient for a family meal.”

I am so glad you shared these stories because it shows that not only do some kids eventually change, (there IS hope) , but that we need to work together as a family and all be on the same page about getting our kids to eat and to eat well.

Finicky eaters can cause mealtime stress, marital tensions, power struggles and poor nutrition. I am talking about finicky adults AND children. Food is truly a loaded issue on many levels. Just like any other stress-causing issue, we need to have gentle, productive communication about what everyone’s opinions are and why, and come to a family decision as to how to deal with the issue.

Food is no different from any other family issue so let’s talk about ways to ensure that we get everyone’s needs met as best as possible and do so in a non-judgmental , constructive way. Easier said than done.

Here’s an easy and healthy side dish or entree if you add a protein. I believe it is a Martha Stewart recipe. She’s not so intimidating if you get to know her.

Whole Wheat Couscous with Basil and Corn:

10 oz. bag or box of thawed and dried frozen corn
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup fresh basil sliced into very thin strips
3 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 TBS Olive Oil
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, bring one cup of water to a boil. Add couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Add basil, corn, vinegar, and oil. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add sliced, cooked green beans, pea pods, or tofu, chicken or shrimp to make it an entree. You made need to add more of the seasonings if you add more items to it. enjoy!


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