Nira81

Can I change my carb-loving teen daughter?

8 posts in this topic

My daughter turns fourteen this month.  She used to eat fruit and vegetables, chicken and beef, although she's always been picky.  Now she refuses these foods when it's dinner time and there's a Whole30 meal on the table.  She'll eat potatoes but not much else of my cooking anymore.   I do make her sit with the family for dinner and she will eat a bite or two... Later in the evening she'll quietly make herself some bean covered nachos or some mac and cheese.  Now if I don't purchase these foods, she and my husband will shop together for them.    A lot of this has rebellious teenage vibes all over it.  My husband certainly isn't helping.  My question is, what can I reasonably control here?  

So, she has been quite sick this winter - this week her stomach has hurt her every day her and she is missing school - and I want to try again at communicating with her about nutrition.   Her weight isn't increasing in line with her height either, but her doc appeared reluctant to be pushy about food.  My philosophy is to offer all nutritious foods but let people make their own choices.  

What is reasonable for me to control with my teenage girl's eating, and what isn't?  

Thanks for any thoughts.    

MeadowLily likes this

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This is touchy. If you push too hard you could set up a pattern of secret eating.  Secret eating often leads to binge eating for a lifetime.

Alot of us can look back into our pasts and childhood and find the root cause of a food addiction or eating disorder. A food addiction/disorder is not always linked to a readily identifiable trauma. 

Nobody in our home was hung up on food in general or diets. There may be no particular peer pressure.  The school career was blissfully uneventful.  We didn't suffer the slings or arrows of bullies.

After elementary school, too much pressure can cause kids to struggle with sneak eating or hiding food in closets. Kids and teens go through phases. 

A house divided against itself brings on confusion. I'd keep putting the good food on the table. Using reverse psychology can backfire.  Tread lightly for awhile. Don't get bogged down or obsess too much about the snackity choices.  

Good food fixes everything.  Keep putting it on the table.  They'll come around and when they do, don't bat an eyeball.  No remarks. Just hugs and kisses all around, not at the table....when they least expect it.  Folding laundry, doing dishes or taking out the trash.

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This is so helpful!  I DO remember getting pushed towards one eating style (have to clear my plate to be a good girl) or another (low fat everything for middle school athletes!?).  And how messed up I became, when the adults thought they were looking out for us!  You're right about the backlash I might get trying to "fix" this, @MeadowLily 

MeadowLily and GoJo09 like this

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With a 14 yo girl I have to agree with PP it's a very sensitive age for diet and body issues.  I think the best thing you can do with that age is provide the healthy options, not make any big deal about it, and be a good example yourself. When she sees your success she may want to start eating that way to, but it needs to be all her choice. I was slightly chubby around that age and then became anorexic. If she is at all overweight (or even if she isn't ) you can bet at that age she is very aware of it.

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Have you tried involving her in the meal planning process? If she's taking the initiative to cook for herself when she doesn't eat what you cook, then she could definitely be involved. Maybe ask her if she's seen any recipes on the internet that she'd like to try? (Not even asking her to find a whole30 recipe, just to get her to branch out from nachos and mac) She might not like the idea of being told that she has to follow an eating style that she's had no say in. 

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I think what I am going to do for my children is offer Whole 30 foods at dinner time and not necessarily push the Whole 30 lifestyle on them all the time. I would also have a heart-to-heart with hubby about your concerns. I like the ideas of letting them take turns choosing a recipe or meal, or maybe take one of their favorite meals and tweak it to be Whole 30 compliant?

kirkor likes this

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These are great ideas! I have an 11yo daughter that tends to the picky side (My 11yo son will eat almost anything, and loves my 'whole30' cooking as much as my 'notwhole30'.   My youngest son tends to be on again off again with foods but leans toward the picky side).

 

My bigger issue isn't getting them to eat dinner so much as my kids like to eat carbs/sugar/soda ALL other times.  And i can't argue with them... they are all super active. My boys are all muscle, strong and fast, and my daughter is literally a rail.   

 

We have always talked about healthy foods in my house because I've had eating disorders and have always wanted to try and set a good foundation for my daughter that eating "HEALTHY" or "GOOD FOOD" is always great and that it making you grow 'up' and not 'out'.   Rather than focus on weight or 'bad foods'.  Just what is good.  Fruits, veggies, meats, etc.   

 

Also always went from a young age with put it on their plates anyway.   Even if they don't eat it.  We did that with veggies from the start.  If it isn't there they can't eat it.  And the try a bite method. Just one, then you don't have to eat the rest.  Eventually they end up liking some things over time.  Others, I can accept. I still hate asparagus, Brussels sprouts and onions no matter how old I get. 

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