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Cross-dimensional (between houses) eating habits

myspoonistoobig's picture

My husband and I eat a primarily plant-based diet. We are by no means completely vegan or vegetarian, but I avoid processed foods when at all possible, and we eat A LOT of vegetables.

This was the list of food we are asked to feed SS during his stay.

turkey cold cuts
green grapes
chewy chocolate-chip granola bars
thin mint girl scout cookies
quaker oat squares
apple jacks
pancakes sprinkled with sugar
hash browns
spaghetti with meatballs
peanut butter and jelly
mac and cheese
chicken nuggets
green beans
taco (no veg, just meat and shell)
french fries
cheese sticks
corn on the cob
corn dogs
hot dogs
chocolate chip cookies
root beer
fruit snacks
gummy worms
goldfish crackers

Of the 40-ish items on this list, I am willing to feed him 10 served as described. The rest I will have to probably modify, and there are 22 items that I won't feed him.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not deliberately trying to direct my step-son's eating habits. That pesky nonsense is on his mother and father. However, I will not feed him things here that I won't feed to his sisters. My house, my rules.

So I guess I'm just curious about everyone else's experiences with different eating styles house to house. How does that work out for you? Do you have a lot of problems getting the kids to adapt to the changes? Any tricks you've used to get kids to eat vegetables that don't involve wrapping them with bacon or slathering them with butter? Not saying it's awful if you do, I'm sure it's quite tasty, but that's just not how shit goes down in mi casa.

Preemptive thanks for your feedback!

Silvercat's picture

Hi, I'm in a similar situation.

I buy a lot of the new vegetarian products that are now available (burgers, scnitzels, pies, sausages, sausage rolls etc) and my SS7 does not know and can't tell the difference, so that is not a problem.

The problem we have is the same as you - his mother and my DH's parents feed him the usual working class diet - lots of fried and processed food, lots of sugary treats and drinks, hardly any fruit and vegetables.

They think he doesn't get fed properly when he is with us (weekends) because I am a vegetarian and my DH has become vego too, so I suspect they probably over compensate with the meat and junk food as treats during the 5 days he is with his mother.

When he is with us I try to make sure he eats at least one piece of fruit per day and one serve of veg. I know this is not anywhere near the recommended amounts but it sure as hell is more than what he gets at home and it is a battle to get him to eat it. If I don't pay attention to this my DH sure won't. After a few battles I let it go to see what would happen if I just stepped back, (would DH step up after learning more about nutrition from me) and of course SS7 didn't eat any fruit at all. My DH is almost as bad.

Last weekend the grandparents (DH's parents) stayed with us and they brought all their own food, including enough to give to SS7 so neither he or they would have to eat what DH and I eat (ie what I cook). DH's mother said she brought it all so that I wouldn't have to come home from work and do all the cooking, but I know that is not the real reason. I feel kind of insulted by it, given that any other guests we have over for meals really like what I make.

On the Sat night I thought I would make a cashew, egg and banana curry, which although vegetarian is absolutely delicious and has sufficient protein. My DH's mother said she would heat up something she brought for DH's dad - I said, "no, everyone likes this curry, I'm famous for it". I also made a couple of comments saying "you don't need to bring all this food every time you come". They obviously think if they go without meat for 2 days they will get sick.

Did I mention DH's mother is obese and his dad has had a triple bypass (and several other serious heart disease related operations) and my DH is a diabetic and was overweight as a child.

Grandparents have a lot to answer for. Unfortunately SS7 spends a LOT of time with them. So far he does not have a weight problem but that is because he refuses to eat much at all.

myspoonistoobig's picture

Sad Thank goodness I don't have the grandparent problem. Do you have children of your own? I know that is why it becomes such a sticking point with me!

sam44's picture

Slowly, we have managed to get SS6 to eat salad but I do wonder if its worth it. It only started to happen when my own kids piped up and complained about the double standard and I told them all (didn't go down well) "he's not my kid and I don't care if he eats shit and grows up fat. But you ARE my kid so eat your broccoli". Then and only then dud SO start trying to make him eat veg and salad. It's always possible but reading your post and looking at how much your DH seems to make you the bad food cop with everyone, I'd give up. Screw them and let them go hungry. It is very disrespectful to bring your own food unless you have special dietary requirements (apart from a high shit, low green diet). I would pull SO for his apathy and get him to step up to the plate. His parents, his kid, and MOST portantly his wife and home being trampled on!

myspoonistoobig's picture

DH hasn't made me the food cop, I have happily assumed the role.

BM has already thrown out "sugar nazi." I'm sure it will continue to be a source of conflict for a little while.

YoungCanuck's picture

You've got it right - your house your rules. I can't believe she had the nerve to send a food list! By all means, try to get the kid eating healthier. From BM's list it looks like he could use all the help he can get before he's fat too.

myspoonistoobig's picture

Mmmm... hoping to avoid the stink-eye. We've been tossing around a lot of ideas but I think we're really going to have to sit down and establish some no-bullshit food rules.

myspoonistoobig's picture

Well... she sent it. It's not an issue, yet, so we're not going to make it one. He didn't tell her he was going to feed him based upon the list, and to be honest it's not a bad thing for us to know what he eats. Push comes to shove that's exactly what we'll tell her. But when she pulled the "I don't agree with him not eating meat," DH just ignored her. Wink

RedWingsFan's picture

^^^I SO agree with Scubed here. No reason to follow BM's rules in HIS house right? Unless kid is on a medically necessary specialized diet anyway.

myspoonistoobig's picture

Yeah... not a fan of meat substitutes. I don't feel like I have to feed the kids meat substitutes for them to get their protein, and there is definitely cheese and milk in the casa.

My husband is chicano, so beans are a pretty big staple here. Smile

I'm not a big fan of smoothies for meals. Call me crazy, but I like chewing my food!

myspoonistoobig's picture

My biggest concern is sugar. 5-year-old kid has a candy stash and gets a soda every night before bed. What. The. Fuck.

myspoonistoobig's picture


bug's picture

Dh used to keep a candy stash and give soda whenever the kid wanted it. After thousands of dollars in dental work the candy stash is gone and now the kid drinks diet pop which I wouldn't even do with my own kids as they had water or milk.

Silvercat's picture

I never liked most of the meat substitutes in the past either but there's a new type available now, the brand is called "Quorn" and there is another good one "Fry's" (ironically!) They're made of mushrooms, but don't taste like mushrooms. They are quite expensive though!

Myspoon - I'm lucky we don't have any bios so don't have that extra problem you have. OTOH maybe you can use your bios' good eating habits to set your DH and his son a good example.

I think another problem is that people tend to think that vegetarians are all like Smith's BM - eating lots of unusual and extreme kinds of foods. We will still have the occasional junk food meal like pizza, and other small treats, but they are OCCASIONAL, not part of the daily diet! Even vegetarians like to eat sweets and chips sometimes!

myspoonistoobig's picture

We never ate much red meat to begin with, and it is for sure a sustainability issue. We just started adding vegetables to everything we ate. It's worked out pretty well. Even my sister wants to try some of the stuff we've been creating and posting (I run a page for healthy eating on fb for a local religious community).

Replacing processed meat with processed soy seems.... kind of pointless. Smile

I've been looking into making my own vegetable meat substitutes. Found a recipe the other day for "chicken" nuggets... I think they're made with chickpeas.

myspoonistoobig's picture


jumanji's picture

Just like anything else: Mom's house, Mom's rules; Dad's house, Dad's rules. I didn't agree with all of Dad's rules, but not my house. And vice-versa. Between the two of us, though, they did learn to eat a variety of things. And that when one went to someone's home, one ate what was served.

Heck, my daughter made food she hated at several b/f's homes. And ate it politely.

EvilWickedSM's picture

Oh my goodness, I wouldn't feed my kid much of what is on that list! My thoughts on this are, screw what BM thinks you should be feeding your kid. In my house the kids eat what we have there or else they don't eat. If I fix a meal, we all eat that meal, trying everything that is there, regardless of whether they think they will like it or not!

I have the opposite problem with my DD. I feed her healthy, fruits and veggies with meals, snacks, etc. We eat whole wheat pasta and breads, rarely any refined starches, etc. Then she goes to her dads house and gets donuts or Pop Tarts for breakfast (on the days she has softball tournaments), hot dogs or fish sticks for dinner, among other nasty stuff. I don't say anything and just thank God she's only there 4 days a month. Of course, it makes it more difficult at my house because she doesn't like the things she used to like because she's being given all of this crap at her dad's house and, of course, likes that better!

myspoonistoobig's picture

Probably won't last. My mom was anal about what she fed me. My Dad occasionally fed us crap. Now here I am, back to being anal. Smile

christinen's picture

I don't have my own kids yet but I go through the same things with my SD5. We have her every other week and it's been a battle trying to instill good eating habits in her. Obviously at age 5, it's up to the parents to buy healthy foods and to give them to her. I make fairly healthy meals but every night DH will send SD to bed (yes, to bed) with a yoo hoo (chocolate milk) and a bag of potato chips. I personally think it's so disgusting and have told DH on numerous occations. I have bought SD fruits and vegetables, water bottles and apple juice but she will choose the chocolate milk and chips if they are available. I never buy these things, DH does. I guess I shouldn't care because it's not my kid but frankly, it's hard to watch. Especially since DH and I are planning to have our own child eventually and I know I don't want him/her being brought up this way. So frustrating! The best advice I can give is to not have the junk foods in your house. If it's not there, they can't eat it! My SD will eat an apple every day if that's all that's in the house.

myspoonistoobig's picture

No lie, if you want kids of your own you'll want to get all of that out now. It might be hard now, but it will avoid more conflict in the future.

Aquastepmom's picture

Wow, I also cannot believe she had the audacity to send a food list. Lol I would have made up a list of my own and sent it right back. It would have been just a ludicrous as the one she sent. I mean really, kids have to learn to adapt. Idk what they are "used to" at home, they can get "used to it" at your house also. I love to have variety when I cook so I make lots of different foods from recipes I find. Now I do give the kids choices because thats just how I am, if I'm cooking something that I dont know if she'll like or not, then I will give her another option, but its always a much much easier meal as a second option. I'm pretty picky about what I eat, so I do give the girls choices. SO if I'm gonna make omelettes for dinner, and the girls dont want that well, I would offer them something easier like PB and J or noodles. Now I dont do this all the time, but I will do it sometimes becuz sometimes it cuts down on how much time I'm cooking and it gives my and DH an opportunity to have a nice, hot meal together, while the girls have eaten and are already getting ready for bed. Then it'll be like we're all in the room watching tv together, they're tired because they've played all day and ate so they're okay with jus layin down watchin tv while we eat and talk. So although we don teat together all the time, we are together most of the time and I decide what we eat, not the kids, not DH. They pretty much go with my flow, but I give plenty of choices so everyone is always happy at dinner time.

ltman's picture

I go thru this with SGS11. I have never seen him eat a vegetable, fruit, or meat. He survives on mac & cheese,chicken nuggets, pbj's, candy and pancakes. It is crazy and at this point has grown to almost a phobia to try anything new.

I once got him to eat raisins only because they were chocolate covered and he thought it was a caramel center. That is until his older cousin told him the truth. I wanted to smack the whistleblower. After being with us for 2 weeks he almost tried marinara sauce with his fried cheese sticks. It was almost dunked but he chickened out at the last minute.

Tried everything. It is very weird.

Craving Normality's picture

My SO feeds his kids crap on the 4 days a month they are here. Party pies, sausage rolls, pizza, whatever. I used to cook for them the same as we had through the week, healthy meals. They would look at it and say yuk! I am a chef, a damn good one. They would just carry on so guilty dad would feed them junk. I just go on strike while they are here now and they eat junk for the ENTIRE visit. Funny thing is BM probably knows about the crap they get fed here and probably blames me.