The Gallery: Food

Ever since we weaned my eldest, food has been a sore point for this family. My husband will tell anyone that he’s the only one who eats normally in our house. Which isn’t entirely true, my younger son would too if he wasn’t held back by his brother and sister and their issues (thank goodness he gets a bit of variety from school dinners!).

But that still leaves three of us with issues. I’m a vegetarian and I’m intolerant to wheat, dairy and sunflower oil. Which leaves me with a pretty limited diet. I’ve eased up a bit and can manage small amounts of wheat and oil now, plus cheese (I don’t like any other dairy anyway), but I’ve still largely got ISSUES. My diet consists of an awful lot of fruit and vegetables, rice noodles, wheat-free pasta, rice cakes, cheese, peanut butter, soya yogurts, Dolmio and a shed-load of Green & Blacks Maya Gold.


Then there’s my eldest. He’s vegetarian too, apart from Bird’s Eye fishcakes (no other brand will do). He exists on a diet of cheese sandwiches, Marmite sandwiches, apples, baked beans, spotty bananas (not yellow ones), margarita pizza, pasta, potatoes in their many forms and gallons of milk. He won’t even drink any juice or squash.


People tell me I shouldn’t let him get away with it. They say ‘he’ll eat if he’s hungry’. Well, I know my son better than them. Do you think I want him to get away with it? Do you think I haven’t tried? I saw how thin he was after a four day Cub camp when the leader laughed and said: ‘He really doesn’t eat, does he?’. No, he really doesn’t.

We have made some progress. In recent years he’s started eating sweetcorn and grapes and will eat a few mouthfuls of peas or carrots (with an awful lot of fuss). He started eating tomato sauce on pasta and has now progressed to small amounts of Quorn bolognaise as well as one type of Linda McCartney sausage (only that type, though).

Then there’s my daughter. She’s fussy in an almost entirely opposite way to my son. Apart from not liking vegetables. That’s pretty much universal.

She likes meat and is OBSESSED with sweet food – chocolate, cake, ice cream… Her main meals are half the size of her brothers’ and they take three or four times as long to eat. But she can always manage the same size pudding as them.

As my husband is a meat-eater, it’s not unusual for me to make five different meals at teatime. There will usually be something we have in common, such as pasta with different toppings. People think I’m mad, but I don’t know any other way. I actually feel like I’m being a good mum when I do this, because I know all of my kids will eat their meals and enjoy them.

It’s always been like this and I suspect it always will.

This post was written in response to a prompt on The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. Pop on over to see how others have interpreted the theme ‘food’.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Me and hubby eat most things so we were a bit shocked when we got a Little Z that eats hardly anything. Every meal time is a big fuss in our house now, constantly trying to get him to eat! I would eat birds eye fish cakes every day if I could 🙂

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  2. Can empathise, am told if you keep offering them veggies (like for years) they will eventually eat them…something to do with evolutionary biology (ie we are programmed to be suspicious of berries and unknown things that could poison us). We are still trying (and Boy has a long term medical condition that means he needs to pile the calories on….but won’t touch chips, milk etc and recently announced his intention to become a fruitivore).

    And yes, I do try, but have become the woman I always swore I’d never be, cooking two meals often!

    On a positive note, have been working on meals that can be adapted easily for different tastes, we are mainly on the high fat low fat thing at the moment and I can see that more complex needs may be harder, but may be possibilities with gluten free pasta and meat substitutes….

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  3. Veggie here too, all of us are in this household. What with A being cows milk allergic as a baby and possibly E being the same, I think soya is the way to go! 😉 A used to be so fussy. E not so much with his veg and fruit puree!

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  4. Wow, Vegetarianism must be tough if you have such an array of intolerances to cope with too! I follow a Paleo diet so don’t eat any grains, dairy or sugar, but meat and veg are my staples. I’m not sure I could cope without the meat!!

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  5. Sounds like you have a really tough time feeding your family and doing what is best for them all. Never let anyone tell you what to do – you know your kids better than anyone and it sounds like you are doing a great job catering for everyone’s needs!

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  6. I think you’re doing a great job. I know from experience that it’s not easy producing separate meals for everyone. If it’s any help, now they are grown up their diets are less restricted, OR they are kind and scoff what I put in front of them because they only eat with us every few weeks 🙂

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  7. wow 5 different meals, my daughter is the worst, I even took her to the GP as I was worried her diet wasn’t good enough but they reassured me she was fit and healthy, she’s 18 now and still survives on pasta with cheese, beans on toast, rice on it’s own and the occasional Chinese (rice and chips only)

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  8. I’m a veggie too, but the rest of the family all eat meat – and to be honest the kids are all fairly good eaters. Most days! But, I have been known to make several different meals, or at least variations on a theme just to make sure everyone eats something… At the end of the day, we all do the best we can to get our kids to eat enough to be healthy, and if that means a bit of faffing with meals, then so be it x

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  9. Wow, I admire you dishing up so many different meals at once. Monkey has been really fussy but we’re getting there. He loves his veggies but won’t touch potatoes in any form other than chips, so he doesn’t get them unless we’re out! #TheGallery

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  10. Your kitchen sounds like a busy place. I love pasta, one of my favourite foods!

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  11. Thank you all for your support! It’s so nice to hear support rather than criticism for making so many meals!
    Interesting to hear there are other vegetarian families out there. In my case it’s not always getting them to eat healthily, Sara! Some of the time it’s just literally to get them to eat! I do keep sticking the vegetables etc on their plates, but my expectations aren’t high!
    Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out, Sarah! A child who doesn’t like high calorie foods is unusual! Good luck with tackling his issues.

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  12. Wow, I take my hat off to you making that many meals each evening!! Eli is quite a fussy eater too but I’m hoping that’s just his age, he seems to have developed the idea that lunch can only be jam sandwiches, cubes of cheese and grapes. Even if we go out for lunch somewhere else he will insist he hasn’t really eaten anything!

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  13. How on earth do you cope with cooking up to five different meals & stay sane? I’m also vegetarian, but Mr A & my daughters aren’t (they eat almost anything)!

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  14. Now I feel bad, It is one meal does all in our house and those who don’t like it go without. Mostly they have all learned to eat whatever comes along, and fast if they want to be in with a shout at seconds!

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  15. Thanks very much, everyone! I literally don’t know any other way! It’s a hassle (and the word ‘cooking’ might sometimes be a little bit overly complimentary for what I produce), but I’m used to it. I would love it if my kids ate grapes, Jess!
    I tried the going without, Coombe Mill, but there are just too many things my son doesn’t like. He would go without pretty much every day and starve! I still put stuff on his plate to challenge him and we’ve made gradual progress, but we’re a long way off normal.

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