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Lynda Loveland: How can you not like it?

Posted June 8, 2011

Lynda Loveland

My seven-year-old daughter Campbell will eat just about anything. She absolutely loves fish. She pounds it. Not the battered stuff, but the baked kind. She even likes sardines and smoked oysters!!! She could live on fish, a loaded baked potato and a salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

But for some reason, she doesn’t like red pasta sauce. As in spaghetti and meatballs. What kid doesn’t like spaghetti? It’s the most basic kid food around next to mac and cheese! It’s also one of the quickest and easiest meals to whip up.

I made a cheesy spinach pasta casserole thing last night with red sauce and she asked me, “Why do you keep making this when you know I don’t like it?”

I told her I don’t cater to one person. The other kids liked it just fine. I ended up making her eat ¾ of it anyway. (Good thing she didn’t make out the mushrooms I finely chopped in the mixture.) I make one meal for everyone.

But I kinda feel badly about Campbell. First of all, she’s very much on the skinny side, so I really need her to eat. And secondly, she’s normally a good, healthy eater. Should I make her something else? As I write this, I think, heck no! That will only lead to an uprising from the other two. But … she does make good choices normally. I really don’t want to stop making pasta with red sauce dishes. I don’t make them too often, but I do like the option.

Do you have a child who won’t eat one of the “basics?"

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays.


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  • LibertarianTechie Jun 10, 2011

    When I was growing up, Mom fixed one meal, and if we did not like it, we did not eat that night. It was one meal fixed per night. We quickly learned eat what is fixed, or go without.

  • marla6110 Jun 10, 2011

    One of my kids loves eggs, another hates them and the other one can take them or leave them. Two of them love mashed potatoes, but the other one gags if you force him to eat them. One loves sweet potatoes and yams, the other two gag on them. I have two that eat green beans like candy and another one who will give up dessert and Wii time not to eat them. Still, I am just like you, I cook one meal. Some eat more than others depending on the meal, but no one is starving.

  • superman Jun 9, 2011

    As a parent I soon learned that you cannot make a child or another person do anything. We did everything in the world trying to get our daughter to try different foods. One night out of frustation I told her she was not going to leave the table until she at least tried something we wanted her to eat. At 11:00pm she was still sitting at the table. I told her she could leave the table and get ready for bed. She looked at me and said, "Daddy I havent tried it yet". I cant begin to tell you how angry or frustrated I was. I learned then that we could never ever issue an ultimatim to her again. Over time and the years she has learned and enjoys eating most anything. Sometimes we all focus on things that in the long run are not really important. We will all eat most anything when we get hungry.

  • jkwit Jun 9, 2011

    One of my kids, who is now 24-years-old, would not eat macaroni and cheese! I always took a portion of the noodles and left them plain for him. He still doesn't eat mac and cheese.

  • hamishmom Jun 9, 2011

    My 5 year old son is beyond picky. He has never eaten meat except chicken. We have tried just about everything to get him to eat. He use to love fruit but now will not touch it. He loves yogart. He drinks the V8 fruit/veg juice to get those. His doctor says that his weight is fine and he is growing just fine. With him starting school this year I have no idea what we will do for his lunch. I hope that he will see the other kids eat different things and start trying new things. Any help or suggestions?

  • jcsteffan Jun 9, 2011

    My son was a very picky eater also and did not like red sauce either. Whenever I made pasta, I made both a red sauce and a white, alfredo sauce, which he liked and served both with pasta. My son was also very thin and the alfredo sauce had many more calories than the marinara sauce so it served two purposes. With the alfredo sauce he liked pasta and now he likes pasta with either type of sauce.

  • Debbie04 Jun 9, 2011

    My kids are ow in their twenties and both eat a variety of healthy foods. When they were young, I gave them the option of eating the dinner I had prepared or making themselves a sandwich and eating that. I did not cook two dinners. My daughter hated pizza-so when the rest of us ate that, she had a turkey sandwich. My son disliked a favorite casserole that that the others loved, so he would fix himself a cheese sandwich. I tried not to have power struggles over food, and this worked well for us.

  • tcrawford Jun 9, 2011

    My 7 year daughter will not eat the red sauce either when I make spaghetti she wants her just plain noodles with butter

  • MomOfTwins Jun 9, 2011

    You might want to read "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter. At my house I make sure that there are at least two things on the table that they'll eat. Two nights ago that meant my daughter ate broccoli and cantaloupe for dinner. After having gone through failure to thrive for the first two years of her life, she wasn't even on the growth chart until she turned a year old, I have a LOT of angst and guilt built up around feeding compounded by vivid memories of my own childhood food battles. Dinner is not a place you want to become a battlefield, nor do you want to be a short-order cook- but there is middle ground.

    Specifically about the red sauce at your house- first, spaghetti is not a "basic"- I didn't touch the stuff myself until adulthoood and now I will only eat certain types and in limited quatities- but maybe compromise and don't mix the sauce into the pasta so everyone has control over how much, if any, they eat? If that's not possible because

  • elliesmom Jun 9, 2011

    My daughter was a great eater until she became a 'tween and now all food is scrutinized with great judgement. I don't want food to become a power issue, especially at this age, so she chooses one dinner of the week (and often cooks it--with help) and if she doesn't like what is served the rest of the week, she can make a sandwich for herself, but no one is going to get up and make it for her. She knows what her choices are and we are keeping her from turning dinner into dinner theater (the drama!). It's working--for now :-)