Saturday, November 19, 2011

Project Detox: Part 2- The Search for Hunger

...Continued from Part 1

The breaking point that lead me to Project Detox was the second day my husband left.  Usually when my husband leaves, I don't even put up a fight for dinner. It's a meal that they like because I don't want to fight that battle alone. So the first meal looked like this:

Day 1: Breakfast: regular concessions- meaning I make what they order: a.k.a waffle house, mommy style
           Lunch: normal convenient food for lunch- with plenty of concessions. I usually make what they kids request.
           Dinner: pizza followed by smores.

Day 2 Breakfast: regular concessions for breakfast
          Lunch: Mc Donald's chicken nuggets and fries- not a regular occurrence, but probably once or twice a month.
          Dinner: tortellini and broccoli for, which I thought was a safe food until it was left untouched even after a full hour and half of a little boy sitting in front of his dinner plate.

At that point, I knew it was something I had done.  I knew I had spoiled their appetite with too much convenience foods. Their taste buds had been spoiled to the point that they didn't even recognize a good meal when they saw one.   What boggles my mind is how they would rather go hungry than eat the healthy food in front of them. Which is exactly what they have been doing since I stopped given them what they want. Going hungry. Amazingly they don't seem to mind all that much- so maybe they just aren't hungry enough?

After identifying the two main reasons why they don't eat the food in front of them, I decided to start what I call, Project Detox.  I am detoxing them from convenience foods and foods that they normally would love to gobble down.  Including sandwiches and bread.  Some people think these are not healthy anyway, so I figure it can't be bad to leave them out all together if it's going to kick start the hunger gene in my kids.  I know it's buried some place in their DNA!

Along with foods that they normally like, I'm trying not to give them any sugar. No juices, no chocolate milk, no cookies, crackers, or any snack foods laden with sugar.  Sometimes I give them a snack between breakfast and lunch, but it's never anything more than a piece of fruit or a cheese stick. Once I gave them a snack before dinner. It was steamed broccoli with lemon.  I think it fit well into the theme of Detox week!

However, right now the point is not how healthy the snack is.  I just want get them hungry enough to eat their meals.  So if it means skipping a snack, even though they may be hungry and it may be healthy, I am trying not to give it to them if I think they don't need it.  I know it sounds harsh, and believe me I hate doing it, but I keep reminding myself that they are never going to eat their dinner if they don't experience true hunger!

We've been reading Farmer Boy and we're hearing about how Almanzo looks forward to his mom's cooking.  There is nothing processed nor convenient about they way she cooks. It's honest, good food. It's healthy and hearty and that boy laps up every bite. He even looks forward to his mom's meals!  He has a real appetite, which is something I don't know if my kids have.    Reading Farmer boy has made me see how my situation is not normal.  Kids should like the food put in front of them, or at least be hungry enough to eat it.

The other major component to Detox Week (or however long it takes) is to not give any concessions.  After tortellini night, I gave the kids a long lecture about what the rest of the week's meals would be like. It went something like this: tough love, baby.  You get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit.

 Stay tuned for Part 3- The Hunger Saga Continues and New Food Choices? (with a question mark because I am confused).


Laurie said...

My boys are older, but I think they may be suffering from a similar problem- they are hungry, but they actually complained about the choice of "out" food. I remember when out food was such a treat they were happy for any!

Your posts bring to mind a book you might enjoy. I first read about from Jen @

I have also mentioned it a few times-

The author address food issues (and much more) and has some very helpful suggestions.

JOYfilled Family said...

continued prayers for you and your children to be given the graces to glorify God with your food intake.

may the Good Lord assist you in your efforts to make healthier habits and may Our Blessed Mother be your guide, to take the focus off of food and put it on Our Lord. may your eating be put under His Lordship.

Health and soundness are better than all gold, and a robust body than countless riches. There is no wealth better than health of body, and there is no gladness above joy of heart. ~Sirach 30:15-16

Pax Christi,

Ginny said...

Love it Sarah!

Heidi said...

It definitely is important for the kids to be in touch with the sense of hunger...I think of all the times we grown ups eat just because food is there, not because we really are hungry. When Blaise was ready for solids, I read a couple of books from the library and ended up buying Child of Mine which seemed to be a pretty common sense approach to feeding kids - you're welcome to borrow it if you'd like to check it out for a nutritional point of view...

I don't make the kids eat what I serve at any particular meal, but they don't get any other options and they don't get to graze on anything else until the next regularly scheduled meal time...

Our Catholic Family said...

Yes, yes and yes! My boys are 5, 4, and 2 and our fourth expected in March. I know exactly what you mean. My husband frequently travels or works late...or has a dinner meeting. It's such a stressful time for us. I think mentally I've prepared myself for a down time a rejunivanation only to find tonight it's not happening...means I take the easy road.

I started doing what you advise some time ago. I nixed all chips and pop. Never will you find it here. I have lots of fructose free fruit in a can, applesauce and go gurt. Those dessert yogurts are a hit here. And by reducing, notice I didn't eliminate it, but reducing processed foods made a huge difference. Also, peer pressure at school to try fresh veggies has helped me tremendously. Oh and play dates where my boys eat what other kids eat actually made my son like tortellini!

My advice is to make it something you can stick with. A bag of chicken nuggets lasts us a month or better now. And, they at least taste their dinner. I also instituted a new policy, if you don't eat dinner you go to bed hungry. I had to do this three or four times :/ it was painful. My mom thought I was being to hard on them :( But they know and tonight had two and three helpings of ham, corn and mashed potatoes. My kids wouldn't eat any of them a year ago...

Katie Rose said...

i can't wait to hear how this goes sarah! i love this idea. anna is like your kids. johnny is my eater,he finishes his plate and then eats anna's food too!