Chronicle of a mother: I force my children to eat vegetables

So, I know, this will shock you, but sometimes, yes, I force my kids to eat their vegetables. But do I really have a choice? Do you have any advice if not?

This post is taken from the weekly newsletter “Le Balagan” by our editor-in-chief Candice Satara. Candice is the mother of four boys ages 2 to 12. To receive it you can sign up for free here.

At my home, we try to eat healthy, I spend a lot of money on organic vegetables, I don’t buy ready meals, we don’t eat cured meats, little meat, but apart from that, we can absolutely enjoy a bar of chocolate in front of Netflix, we still consume a lot of coke zero and a lot of bread and butter. I cook vegetables at every meal, well cooking is a big word, it’s often a war because my grown-ups (10 and 12 years old) don’t want them, so I shout, I get angry, I threaten… And I balance this injunction which I certainly don’t it is foreign to you “No dessert for you, you haven’t finished the vegetables. »

I’ve tried everything

I’ve tried different forms: savory pies, gratins, salads, raw vegetables, some good things and some not so good (because I’m at the point I’m at), but there’s nothing surprising, he is almost always under torture, especially for the second one. There are some vegetables that go in small doses, green beans, peas or even broccoli but, it is not surprising that adults want meat, more meat, more meat. This would not please Sandrine Rousseau.

For the twins I can still deceive, even if you already meticulously sort the food on your plate. I assure you, sometimes I let myself go, I let them eat what they want, especially during the holidays, but control of the plate returns very quickly, sometimes despite myself.

Read also:
3 food tips to lighten the mental and parenting load

Yuka killed me

My obsession with healthy food goes back a long time, I would say when my oldest son started diversifying. Then I started to favor organic products and then, as a journalist in the parenting press, I started to get interested in endocrine disruptors, which scared me. And there, with no luck, my second was born with a slight hypospadiasa malformation of the penis (later corrected) which could be linked to exposure to pesticides during pregnancy. I speak about it under a pseudonym in this Obs article published in 2017.

I felt so guilty then I decided to check everything that came into my house. And then Yuka arrived. The app launched in 2018 and like many I signed up. Except it’s June 2024 and I continue to religiously scan the food and beauty products that pass through my hands. You will say to yourself “she’s crazy.” Yes, probably.

Knowledge of healthy and unhealthy products

Sometimes I spend long minutes in front of the biscuit section of the supermarket looking for good things but there's nothing. Since I did the scan, I know exactly which cakes are full of additives and which are less so. Against all expectations, Kinder isn't doing so badly, but she forgets the Granola and the other Pims. I'm supposed to make the cakes myself, but with four kids the cake gets gobbled up too quickly.

I contaminated my husband who recently showed his partner the amount of additives in m&ms, it's mind-boggling. And my children of course: the last time my son told me about his babysitter he told me “you know what he had in his snack bag, Neapolitans, you realize it”.

I am very aware that the situation is becoming too serious and that by controlling their food, I may develop an eating disorder in them. And when I see my firstborn secretly eating chocolate, I don't calm down. I also know that by forcing them to eat vegetables, I am giving up hope that they will actually enjoy vegetables.

How to stop checking your plate?

I tried to understand why I was so obsessive, with food and even orthorexic. I'm scared for my children, I'm scared that they will die. And therefore, I want to give them the best nutrition possible, so that they have every chance of living a long and healthy life. I also project my neuroses onto them. When my son abuses mayonnaise it bothers me, I can't help but think about it. Thinking about it, I realize that somehow I can't stand seeing him let go, slap, lick his fingers, start again, in short, have fun...

For what ? Because I can't do it alone, because I'm always in control of everything : I control my family's diet, I weigh my cat's kibble, I control my weight and I demand that those around me are like me. This is obvious when it comes to food, if I give in to my impulsiveness I will overeat and for me this is synonymous with failure. Sometimes I let myself go with joy when I send myself a four cheese pizza without feeling guilty, when I give him pasta for three days in a row or when I turn off the parental controls on the switch.

I can not take this anymore food dictatorship that I have established

My children are scared, my boyfriend goes shopping and sends me photos of the products before buying them. Changing will require considerable effort, but I must free myself from this useless mental burden: stop wasting my energy on courgettes and aubergines. But at the same time, if I let go, they will never eat the vegetables again, EVER. So what do we do? Since it is necessary to set achievable goals, the first will be to no longer prepare their dish in the kitchen, I will let them help themselves by bringing the dishes to the table or asking them for the quantity they want. Well, this is already a first step. And I will also reason with myself by telling myself that they like fruit, it's true, and raw vegetables. Okay, summer is approaching.

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Source: Madmoizelle

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