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The example Dr. Kenney uses here is an important factor to consider when deciding if this philosophy applies to one's individual situation.

I, personally, don't believe in forcing kids to eat things they don't want or don't like just for my convenience. But I only have one child, and she's already shown an amazing willingness to make good food choices.

If she isn't interested in having the rather advanced choices I make for myself and my husband, I don't see a problem offering easy but healthy alternatives. Ex: I fix pot roast, she doesn't want that. Progresso chicken soup for you then? OK! I fix burritos or enchiladas, too spicy for her, then fish sticks really aren't a problem for me to throw in the oven, served with a side of raw veggies and some yogurt. I'm not even opposed to those kid-oriented tv dinners occasionally. But I guess I'm lucky like that; when my 4year old daughter asks for a sandwich, it isn't a proper sandwich if it isn't on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato on it, and she frequently requests salads, so...

Also, in the cases of older children, why not use this kind of teaching moment to motivate them to do for themselves, rather than force them to see food as such a control issue? It's roast chicken with asparagus and potatoes au gratin? Younger children might not find this appealing, but I don't think 6 is too young to learn to make one's self a p.b.and j., paired with some baby carrots and a glass of 1%milk. NOR is it too hard for a parent for kids younger than 6 to put this together.

Now, when you're talking about 3 or more kids, all clamoring for something different...yeah, that's not a desirable situation. But I personally believe that a better option in THAT case is to make the adult-planned meal, offer ONE alternative kid-friendlier plan, and those who don't get on board with one or the other can lump it till they're hungry enough to choose what YOU"VE decided to offer. I prefer this to Dr. Kenney's "buy-in" plan because, let's face it; you tell kids that they get to choose what's for dinner, then only offer what they've chosen as a "side-dish," then you'll ultimately be in for a situation where all they'll eat is that side-dish, which sets up a not-so-good eating habit. Tell them they HAVE to have some of everything in order to get the side, and it's ultimately the same to them as telling them they have to eat a dinner they don't want.

Frankly, as I get to the end of this article, I find that she closes with a statement that, irrational as it may be, makes it hard for me to take her seriously...."There’s nothing more fun than gathering the children around the kitchen island and participating and making the meal together." Really? First off, who has a kitchen island? Second, what kids are really having fun preparing food that they probably don't actually want, but have to buy in for in order to get a taste of what they do want? Third, what makes her think that herding 3+ kids through the food-prep process of an entire dinner is less work than just fixing them what they want?

Just sayin'.

January 6, 2011 - 11:47am


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