02 January, 2011

Less Talking More Eating

It's been months since I ate a cold meal.

Parents often say that they miss hot meals once they start having family dinners. Too much time spent cutting, feeding, cleaning, and cajoling and not enough time enjoying their own food. In our house we have the opposite problem. Hubby and I finish our meals before our children have even started eating and it's getting damn frustrating.

We always eat together. I dish up the same food for everyone, a little of this and a little of that. Everything must be tried, but not necessarily eaten if you don't like it. A glass of milk on the side and maybe, just maybe, a treat or some fruit after dinner. The girls, like most kids, don't like hot foods. I serve them first and we cut it all up, as necessary, as Hubby and I serve ourselves. Then we all sit down and should be able to enjoy a pleasant meal.


Meals are anything but pleasant these days. Hubby and I will chit chat while we eat, with the girls coming in every now and then to tell us to only talk one at a time or "less talking more eating!" By no means are we inhaling our food, but almost every night we'll be half done before the girls have taken a single bite - if we're lucky.

That picture up there? Our lovely bison stew (a family favourite, made this way) and some olive oil bread (courtesy of Martha Stewart). I snapped that of The Monster's meal when I was already half done mine.

Dinner tonight took 45 minutes! I'm all for leisurely meals, lingering over wine and great conversation. Or even milk and knock knock jokes. I am not, however, down with reminding my children to actually take a forkful of their food and watching them chew everything 50 times, every single bite. Every single bite. Or repeat that there that there is no singing at the table and they are the ones that need "less talking, more eating." (Oh, how my parents are laughing now.)

It isn't even a battle about whether they like it or not. It's the same regardless of what we eat, but definitely worse if it is something they are iffy about.

By the time the girls finally finished tonight and I offered up some grapefruit and vanilla bean panna cotta they, and we, were done.

What would you do when faced with this?


Jan @ Family Bites said...

We have always had a similar problem with my youngest. He's eight and can still sit at the table for EVER!
We started using an egg timer for him. We set it at 25 minutes and nicely told him that that amount of time was more than enough to eat his meal. If he wasn't finished he would have to leave and carry on (otherwise he really could sit there for 60-90 minutes). He loves his food so this seemed to work okay for him, and we all managed to eat dinner together.
We don't use the timer now, but if I feel he's slipping back into his very slow eating habits, I just bring it out and put it on the table and he knows he needs to speed things up a bit. Good luck!

Christine @ CookTheStory said...

We have a similar problem. Our two-year-old sometimes won't eat even if it's his fave foods on the plate! The other day I decided, "Enough! A single missed meal won't hurt him. If he doesn't want to have dinner, he can just not have dinner." We cleaned up and went about doing our usual end of evening routines. All was fine until after he'd gone to bed, or after we thought he'd gone to bed. We saw his light go on and then his little head peeked out and in his saddest little voice he said, "Mommy, I'm hungry." My heart melted and I felt terrible. We brought him down and fed him. He did eat. And we did say over and over again, "Don't let this happen again. See how hungry you get if you don't have dinner?" Not sure if it really sunk in but he has sort of been eating a tiny bit faster. It's a challenge anyways.

Grace @eatdinner said...

Great that you are having family meals! Try not to stress about what or how much your kid is eating and you'll all enjoy it more! I often feel like the less said about the actual food, the better. My youngest often complains and says she doesn't like the food we have made. (We always have at least one thing she can/will eat.) But we try hard to ignore her and just talk about our day or anything other than the food. Some days she eats only a bite or two, other days she eats a ton, and then proudly reports that she did. If you take the pressure off, it will at least be more relaxing for you.

Aimee @ Simple Bites said...

I had one of these nights tonight. (hence the glass of wine now in hand)
I'm not ready to talk about it yet; I'm just here to commiserate.