Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waste no Food, You MUST finish what is in your plate!

"Mum, why aren't you eating your noodle?"
"Coz its does not taste nice... gooey & sticky."
"But MUM!!!!  You MUST finish what is in your plate!" wagging his fingers at me.

Yikes!!!  Caught red handed! Actually its difficult to hide my "waste of food" gesture since I am eating out with him alone, doesn't help when we are sitting on a 2 seater table, face to face.  *cringe*  Besides breaking the #1 dinner table rule of NOT finishing my food, I also broke the #3 dinning table rule of saying the food is yucky.  Yikes again!!!  I am not following what I am preaching.

When DinoEgg started to eat solid food we were determined to raise a Non Picky Eater.  I have managed to delay his overdose intake of salt or MSG till he was over 2 years old.  I was a noob in cooking, I tried my best and have painfully prepared his porridge, macaroni & noodles with natural flavouring by adding in tomatoes, carrots, wolfberries, red dates, dried baby scallop, ikan bilis etc.  I seldom prepare stock since I was not cooking regularly, the only time I am in the kitchen was to prepare his meals during weekends while DinoPapa & me usually dine out 24/7 or we pop by my mum's for dinner twice a week.

It was easy initially when he was new to all sorts of food flavour and texture.  I can even give him bland porridge and he will still finish it.  As he grows older and able to decide if he likes a particular food or not he will choose whether to swallow it or to spit it out.  I will stop him if he starts to do the spitting action, telling him sternly to swallow it.  If he spat that mouth of food out I will flick my fingers on his cheeks to inflict some pain as a punishment *O U C H* I know! Its cruel!  How else to let a toddler remember something that he was not suppose to do since he still do not understand words  & instructions very well.  Thank goodness its not very often that he does that.

It was toughest when he was 3 - 4 years old.  He will spit out the food even when we warn him not to do it, it was not even anything spicy or too sweet or too bitter, its normal dishes of decent normal flavouring.  Punishment will be given with a smack on the cheek if he does that.  Then he starts to say things like "food taste yucky" or make the vomit sound, usually a new food he has never eaten before.  We encourages him to take a taste test (sometimes have to force him to do it), we explained to him that he should not condemn a food that it is not to his liking simply by just looking at it.  "You won't know if you like it or not if you don't try it!", he obliged, sometimes he like the food, sometimes it disagree with his taste buds and he gagged, he asked permission to spit out the food which most of the times we'll say No.  Of course we ensure the food is safe enough for him to swallow quickly without further chewing before we say that.  Fish with chances of bones hiding inside or green leafy vegetables are a No-No for fear of choking.

There was a period of time he was being very difficult during meals time, refusing to eat despite the threats n warnings plus the punishments.  A few times he was sent off the dinning table with an empty or not so full stomach for defying the rules.  Hang on!  Before you condemn us, we let him return to the table to continue his meal after he (and perhaps us too) calmed down.  We keep reminding him that there are kids in other countries who have no food in their stomach, no clothes on their back.  He should not choose or waste food or take food for granted.  He should be grateful that he is not living in that condition.   He was affected and understands better after he watched a documentary about the living conditions of some people from a poorer country.

Food fights are lesser after that.  He will eat the food that is put in front of him, he's open to any type of food we present to him (especially now that we are cooking more and experimenting with different recipes), even some weird looking ones *chuckles*. He accepts gracefully -most of the time- when we insist he finish the extra helping of food which he does not like. 

After 4 years+ of "intense" teaching, training & disciplining, we have today a healthy boy who is not picky on food.  I guess I got off easy since DinoEgg is basically a food lover who rarely have issues with food.  How could he be when he love to fight with DinoPapa for pigs skin from the kuey chap dish or from the braised pigs trotter, the sotong head with all its wiggly yucky tentacles since he was 4 year old?  He love to snatch with me the uncooked lettuce on the McChicken burger, most of the kids will wriggle their nose n turn their head away.  He eats vegetables of all kind & color, even bitter gourds, though its only a few pieces.

We feel very happy whenever he exclaimed to us "Mum/Dad!  I like this!  I won't know if it taste so yummy if I don't try it right?" or he says nicely "No thanks Mum/Dad, I have enough." when he does not want a 2nd helping of a particular food that he does not like.

We were assured that we have taught him well when he rattles off to another child "You must finish what is in your plate and cannot waste food!" though the child's parent may not like their child being told off by another child.

*** *** ***
In case you are wondering, here are our Dinning Table Rules
(Not applicable to guests of course lol)

Rule #1 Finish all the food that is in your plate.
Rule #2 Never spit out any food from your mouth, unless there are bones in it.
Rule #3 No saying the food taste yucky, funny, not nice.
Rule #4 You may request not to eat that particular food AFTER you finish the portion in your plate.
Rule #5 Ask permission to leave the table after you are done finishing the food in your plate.
Rule #6 Clear your own plates & utensils to the kitchen sink.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


  1. Great table rules! I'm guilty not advocating the last one. :(

    1. There is nothing guilty about anything, its every household's individual rule =)