Saturday, July 16, 2011

My 14 Month Old Boy, the Vegetarian...Almost

Having 6 children of varying ages, taste preferences, etc. can be a bit challenging when it comes to family mealtime. One needs to make sure that all palates are satisfied, but not compromise on healthy. It's not impossible, but can be interesting.

Enter Anthony, our now 14 month old son. He loves eating right alongside all of us. He loves fruits and veggies, although he is allergic to bananas; poor boy. We bbq quite a bit and so the kids love their hot dogs and hamburgers. Anthony used to eat hot dogs. He used to eat macaroni & cheese made from the box (when mom needs a quick fix for dinner sides). He used to eat chicken. Then, one day he stopped. He won't even touch them unless the chicken is a breaded chicken dinosaur and the mac n cheese needs to be made from scratch. The only beef he will eat is teriyaki beef jerky; long enough to chew the taste out of it, then he gives it to the dog. My son also hates cow's milk. Anytime I have attempted to give it to him, he takes a sip then looks at me like I've poisoned him.

Luckily, I am still breast-feeding him. However, nursing alone is no-where close to enough to sustain this boy. What does a mom do when her youngest decides he doesn't like meat or cow's milk? Oh, did I mention he doesn't really care for the taste of eggs either and I'm allergic to fish so I don't cook it? Enter the conundrum that is my household mealtime. I really started to think. What do I do? This kid HAS to eat. I give him all sorts of fruits and veggies; he loves to eat green beans straight from the garden, sometimes as I'm picking them. For a short bit, I panicked. Then, seeing this as a great thing, though seemingly hard in a family of meat eaters, I texted my best friend. She had me email her brother, while also providing me with sage advice. I love my best friend, she's awesome. I also messaged another friend and started researching.

After text messages, emails and Facebook messages, I finally felt better, almost. The advice and research helped greatly. The one thing I forgot was that I should trust my instincts, as well as my knowledge. Since he won't drink cow's milk, I bought a small container of vanilla soy to try out on him. Remembering that my daughter Sophia used to not be able to stomach cow's milk during the hot summer but always could drink soy milk came to mind. I also bought chocolate soy as there are kids in my house that love it. I used to use it as a special treat. Success!! He loves it! Next up, I bought tofu; extra firm to try frying up in the pan. My former mother-in-law used to cook up slices of it in soy sauce. I always loved it like that. I didn't break out the soy sauce, but, rather, bbq sauce. Pairing that with a side of peas and we have a yummy dish that he loved.

Prior to us realizing his absolute distaste for meat (mostly), I had picked up a couple of the Plum Tots squeeze pouches to have on hand for trips to the pool and such. Boy, did Anthony fall in love with them. The only thing I have to watch is the ingredient list. I didn't realize that the blueberry one with quinoa also had bananas. My poor baby's bum! Apart from that, I highly recommend them for on-the-go. I had one Peter Rabbit Organics pouch, but I knew it had bananas, so my oldest (she's 15 on Monday) and I ate that one. No wonder Anthony loves those squeeze pouches! Yummy!!!! I'm sure my kids will find at least the ones from Peter Rabbit popping up in their lunches every now and then.

So, here I am now, in a much better spot about my son's intolerance to meat. And you know what? I am so okay with it. Both my husband and I know that there isn't anything wrong with what he's eating, so we work meals around it. On nights when I know the main dish involves meat, I make a substitute for him. Otherwise, he eats what we have. Anthony is happy, I'm happy and so is everyone else. I did make sure my larger family all understand that he won't eat meat. My dad, whom I expected to maybe catch some flack from, was very supportive. He and my stepmom totally get it. My mother just said she didn't understand that, and it seemed strange to her. Ok, so my parents had the opposite reactions I thought. Live and learn.

For me, this is a great thing, a positive step to better health for the whole family, as we will all get to try out new foods that no one in our family may have ever thought to cook. And the best part? I have a new buddy to eat eggplant parmigiana with! Yay! Ok, ok, MAYBE I'll share with the rest of the family.

1 comment:

  1. I stopped eating meat out of the blue when I was 5. Of course, way back in '88 (lol) there weren't many choices for kids like me. I am pretty sure I lived on French fries and salad. You're so lucky that there are so many choices now. When he is a bit older, you might also try edammame. I steam the shelled beans in the microwave, and DD3 eats them like popcorn when they are cooled. Delicious! Good luck.