Crustless sandwiches, and picky eating

My kid doesn’t eat crusts. I have a kid who doesn’t eat crusts.

This may not seem unusual to many parents, but to me it is. I never had this issue as a kid (growing up in Switzerland where the bread we used to eat had thick, dark crusts on them which were a favorite amongst children).

DH thinks that Ben is just normal. Whatever….it’s a lot of bread that goes to waste in my mind. In the picture above which I took today at lunch, he clearly didn’t eat more than just the crusts; he practically left half the sandwich on his plate.

Such waste.

Andrea wrote about this in her own blog (more than once, even), and I’m getting closer to the point where I may follow some of the tips. Trouble is, I don’t know if cutting the crusts off prior to eating will result in a waste-free sandwich…

This brings forth the next challenge, so prevalent amongst North America kids: picky eaters.

I have a very rigid, European attitude when it comes to picky-ness in food – I think it’s the parents who are too quick to accommodate, too lenient on selective eating. I am not this way. And I always have enough of a choice at mealtimes that if someone doesn’t like one part of it, there are plenty of other choices they can make to satisfy themselves.

If it was up to me, I would let that kid go hungry way more often than we do now…it’s a delicate balancing act, this food-eating thing. DH and I agree most of the time on how we handle the ever-changing picky food choices (for 4 years he loved roasted potatoes, now he says he can’t stomach them), but sometimes we take the easy way out. Sometimes I get a look from DH that indicates he’d rather have quiet than some noisy protest which will last for the foreseeable evening and set the tone for the rest of the night…Sometimes, I shrug it off and do it my way anyway. And sometimes, most times actually, we work together to get him to either eat or not eat and realize that this is it for food, hungry or not.

Seems we are not alone. Quick chats with other parents at recreational activity drop-offs reveal all kinds of similar behaviour in 5, 6 year old boys.

Makes me laugh.

And cry…

But eating the crusts? I’d be fighting that battle all alone.


4 thoughts on “Crustless sandwiches, and picky eating

  1. We try not to fight over food. You are more than welcome to eat what is at the table. You are more than welcome to leave it.

    By and large I can allow my children the freedom to make those decisions. Before school I do request that a sandwich be made (put on it what you wish) even if the child says he/she has no hunger. I prefer them to have *something* with them regardless.

    And complaining? Sometimes we send that child from the table: you are more than welcome to come to the family meal when you can partake politely (and you do not have to eat anything, you can eat everything). Sometimes we do not let a kid off that hook so easily: I realize that you may not appreciate this food but it is what we have offered at the table. We think you can buck up and sit here politely regardless (you are more than welcome…).

    Never ever had an issue with crusts. I remember people systematically cutting off the crusts (in Holland where the bread is more like North American Wonderbread types of soft stuff and soft crusts). Fascinating (and likely frustrating)!

  2. I use those words too when the child is complaining/whining at the table: “you may join us when your behaviour meets our expectations” kind of thing. He knows what the expectations are, and sometimes I accompany him to his room since he won’t leave on his own (and say “you are more than welcome to join us when X and Y”)

    It takes practice….doesn’t it.

    He doesn’t like spending time alone in his room when the rest of us are eating so it seems to be working, although I use that term loosely…


  3. We do much of what Andrea and C speak to above.

    It’s worth a try though, cutting the crusts off before presenting the sandwich and seeing if that works.

    I’ve also heard a mom who works as a lunch room supervisor note that sandwiches cut into quarters on the diagonal (leaving 4 triangles) get more bread eaten than any other configuration.

    Good luck!

  4. Miche – perhaps you are right. I will try the cutting off crust thing. And the triangle pieces? I have heard somewhere that the tinier, more bite-like the food, the more likely the children will eat it…so, this is all giving me food for through! (pun intended).

    PS that anonymous person commenting on your blog was me but for some reason I was unable to connect as Javamom. I think maybe you figured it out though.

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