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Old 02-25-2019, 10:13 AM
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Default Dilemma with Food Waste

I have a dcb who heaps his plate with food, pours a whole cup of milk, takes two bites and throws it away. Every day, every meal. Today he took 7 graham cracker halves (I told everyone to get 2) and ate 0. We've been going over correct portions and I told him that if he continues wasting so much food, he would lose the privilege of serving himself and here we are. When I serve, I give him a few bites at a time and then he gets mad and won't eat at all. He is super picky but for some reason he likes the sight of a full plate

I feel a bit foolish, though, because the kids serve themselves and inadvertently breathe on the food, stick their fingers in it, etc...I have to discard it after meals. Whatever I don't serve him usually ends up in the trash anyway unless it's a favorite.

I kind of feel it's a stupid hill to die on, but I want him to learn to only take what he can use. Plus I feel like if he didn't have these mountains of food in front of him he might eat better. What would you do?
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:49 AM
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I would plate his food and let him know if he wants more, he can have more once he eats what's been given to him. If he gets mad and chooses not to eat, so be it.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:00 AM
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If he took seven when I told him he could have two, he'd be told to leave the table. He would be told to return when everyone else was finished after an age-appropriate discussion of greed.

After that occurrence, I would follow through and plate his food until he regained my trust during snacks. I don't care if he does not eat, that is his choice. When he is hungry, he will eat.

I don't do food power struggles.

I also have the plates that only hold the appropriate serving size from MyPlate, they make it super easy for kids to learn serving sizes.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:06 AM
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Link for plates: https://www.positivepromotions.com/c...7C0-5%7CC%3A25
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:13 AM
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I would give him a smaller plate. Like a small saucer.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:43 AM
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I personally do not think it is developmentally appropriate to assume a child knows how much food to take. There are adults who struggle with this!

I would start serving all the children for health reasons as well.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I personally do not think it is developmentally appropriate to assume a child knows how much food to take. There are adults who struggle with this!

I would start serving all the children for health reasons as well.
We have scoops that are the correct serving size, plus we start teaching them this as soon as they are old enough to hold the scoop. Family style dining is a requirement here. And this guy has been here since birth.

I do make an executive decision and serve if the food is too messy or hot, if I know its a favorite and I wanna make sure there is enough for seconds, or in situations like this.
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:07 PM
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I personally do not think it is developmentally appropriate to assume a child knows how much food to take. There are adults who struggle with this!

I would start serving all the children for health reasons as well.
I am required to allow children 36 months and up to serve themselves. I hate it. It is pretty easy with snack foods where everyone takes a couple of pieces each (6 crackers, 4 cheese cubes, one banana), but stews, pastas and rice dishes are such a PITA. Sometimes I just give them each their own serving bowl to dish out onto their plates out of self-defense. Lots of dishes, but fewer mid-day baths.

The plates help so much, though.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:58 PM
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I was told that children perceive quantity but not mass, if that makes sense. Maybe if the pieces are smaller, he will still take seven but it will be less over all.

But I would also find a way to get firm about it if he's not listening to you.

Or you could do what grandma used to do and if he doesn't finish, serve it again the next meal (assuming that there isn't cross contamination with perishable food).
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunni Bee View Post
We have scoops that are the correct serving size, plus we start teaching them this as soon as they are old enough to hold the scoop. Family style dining is a requirement here. And this guy has been here since birth.

I do make an executive decision and serve if the food is too messy or hot, if I know its a favorite and I wanna make sure there is enough for seconds, or in situations like this.
If you have scoops with the correct serving size, how is he taking more and heaping it on his plate? I feel that scoops with correct serving sizes would be the only way I would do this, at least at first until they learned what it looked like. If they started heaping the food, they go back to serving scoops.
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Old 02-26-2019, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I personally do not think it is developmentally appropriate to assume a child knows how much food to take. There are adults who struggle with this!

I would start serving all the children for health reasons as well.
This! I don't allow dcks to serve themselves for this very reason. Kids always seem to want more and never eat it like they say they will.
I saw this very issue crop at at our Christmas dinner with a nephew who is 10! He wanted something, mom questioned him if he'd eat it and he swore up and down that he would. Well, we all got to watch it become a battle between mom and ds and her ds still didn't finish what he picked plus he hid food in my playroom to get out of eating some of it.
So in my mind, why let a child choose what they want?? And if he ends up with 7 crackers, doesn't eat any of them, while another child stuck to the rules with 2 then wanted more but there weren't any more....
Not sure what the experts say but nope, this wouldn't work well in my dc. Ok, reading the last few posts tells me what the "experts" say and I still feel it's ridiculous.
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Old 02-26-2019, 05:38 AM
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We never allow the children to serve themselves in our center but we have the same problem with the kids wanting more and never eating it and its really bad at morning snack.
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Old 02-26-2019, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
If you have scoops with the correct serving size, how is he taking more and heaping it on his plate? I feel that scoops with correct serving sizes would be the only way I would do this, at least at first until they learned what it looked like. If they started heaping the food, they go back to serving scoops.
He either gets multiple scoops or overfills the scoop. The only way he serves himself just 1 normal scoop is if I do hand-over-hand. Then he gets mad.
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Old 02-26-2019, 06:51 AM
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I think allowing the children to serve themselves is beneficial in many ways. It's highly encouraged in almost all early childhood programs I've ever been part of. I think it creates better eaters and a better attitude towards food all together.

In regards to the child that takes too much there are several ways you can manage it...

Assist him while he is serving himself
"Johnny, you've already taken 3 pieces. Eat those first and you can always come back for more"

"Johnny, you may only take 3 pieces"

You could also place smaller amounts of food out so that he doesn't have 7 to take.

Another option is to start out the week allowing him to serve himself during A.M. snack. If he follows the guidelines then allow him to continue self serving. If he doesn't listen, he needs additional assistance/guidance during lunch and P.M. snack. Rinse and repeat allowing him to start off on his own adding assistance as he demonstrates the need.

You can also practice and implement different games and activities outside of meal and snack time to help him understand serving sizes and "sharing" (making sure everyone gets some of what's available).

Like I said, I think allowing the kids to serve themselves is very beneficial and while it can definitely get messy sometimes, it's still worth it.

With obesity being an issue in our culture, allowing kids to listen to and respond to their own needs as well as learn independence, it can prove necessary for some kids. Studies show that family style meals times improve kids' attitudes about eating and trying new things.
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