Problem feeders

When a kid only eats a few foods, meal time sucks. We talk about various different foods as if they are so easy to eat. For some kids, it’s very hard. I’m not talking about picky eaters because most toddlers (and kids) go through a phases where they refuse to eat numerous foods they previously enjoyed. I’m talking about kids with serious feeding problems.

One reader emailed me and told me I needed to ease up about how bad chicken nuggets were because her family member’s child only eats chicken nuggets and fries. That’s all the child eats every day. Look, don’t misread my intentions. I’m happy that kid is able to eat anything at all. It sounds serious. And that is not just picky eating – that’s a problem feeder. Here are some interesting articles that contain way more information that I’m able to convey:

Identify a picky eater

Problem feeders differ from picky eaters

Problem feeders

Feeding disorders

So if your child only eats 20 foods or less, you have a problem feeder on your hands. Often this is kind of behavior is part of a larger diagnosis including prematurity, sensory concerns, developmental delay or autism. There are resources available to help and there is such a thing as “feeding therapy.” It sounds like a “first world problem,” but it’s a legitimate and serious issue.

I’m a mom so I know meal time can be h*ll. I have a kid that eats great (who knows for how long) but we still waste a lot of food. Since I’m working hard to make sure he gets the best, it’s often frustrating for me to watch him throw food on the floor or mouth and spit out perfectly good food that I would love to have eaten myself. I’m not proud to say that when I lose my temper it’s most likely to occur over meal times, especially when he starts smearing yogurt in his hair and blowing bubbles with his milk and spitting it everywhere (himself, his clothes, the floor, etc). He’ll do those behaviors while making eye contact with me and with a devilish grin on his face….he knows how to push my buttons.

I can’t imagine the level of frustration, fear and sadness a parent experiences when their child only eats a few foods. One of my dear friends has this problem with her son. Due to privacy issues I really can’t say anymore. I can only sympathize and wonder how she manages lunchtime.

When I “attack” chicken nuggets (a food product), it’s not an indictment of your parenting. Hey, us parents have got to stick together! It’s brutal out there.

Blog party winners!

Did I enjoy all of your entries in the blog party!!! Chicken nuggets with a side of ice cream and a pop tart? Pizza with a side of pizza? Chicken nuggets three times a week? I laughed and then I cried. What are we doing to kids in this country?

I’m really inspired by all the “bento mamas.” Really terrific recipes and the lunches couldn’t be cuter. I want to do that for my son too, but my bigger wish is that the schools could offer fresh, healthy food so all kids can eat well. I would opt in financially to a system like that so that my son could get good food at school along with the other kids. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about what he is eating at school and there’s be no need to pack (a parent who prefers to pack certainly could).

Someone linked up to an article from April: School lunch: This is war. The title made me chuckle (I in no way endorse the article — I just thought the title was funny). But “a war” is a good analogy. I’m in the trenches privately but in a public way. We’re fighting for the health of kids in this country. If we don’t win, they lose. And the price for our society? Health care costs that bankrupt this country. The staggering loss of human potential….

Blah, blah, ok, I’m preaching to the converted here so on to the prize winners (list of prizes here)! I used random number generator to pick numbers from the 29 comments:

Winner is: #17 decafmom You were lucky number #17 — $50 giftcard from Whole Foods!
(I used random number generator but this post is going to be gigantic if I post screen grabs of all the numbers)
Winner is: #12 roundredorgreen
Winner is: #24 mealplanmom (Brenda)

Winner is: #26 corrie
Winner is: #21 Bettina at the lunch tray
Winner is: #13 Bar7 ranch
(There are three sip to transition cups and two kids water bottles. Please email your preference, will try to accommodate if possible.)

Book prizes with a note from me:
Winner is: #22 Melissa
Winner is: #20 sljones718
Winner is: #27 Shannon (what’s for lunch)
Winner is: #29 Viki
Winner is: #19 Sunflower’s mom
Winner is: #23 Christina @ spoonfed
(If you have a book preference, please include that in your email. Will try to accommodate if possible)

If you are a winner, please email me at fedupwithlunchATgmailDOTcom with your mailing address! Enjoy!

Doing giveaways has been a lot of fun. If you didn’t win, don’t lose hope. I’m going to do more giveaways this Fall (from sponsors and from me). Stay tuned and thanks for participating! (And check out the winners are @scatteredmom’s blog !)

Open thread: Twitter party questions

Last night’s Twitter party was a lot of fun! We started a trending topic (TT) (#lunchrevolution) in Canada (here’s a screenshot: http://yfrog.com/jy1d3p)! What a thrill! I think that was because @scatteredmom (Notes from the Cookie Jar) who is located in Canada tweeted so much she reached her Twitter limit and got kicked out! All of a sudden she stopped tweeting and I assumed she had something to attend to at home. Then I see a new Twitter ID — she created a a new ID so that she could still participate! I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw her new ID! What dedication!

I actually did have something to attend to during the party: I had to run away from my own party for a couple minutes to (re)put my son down as he wouldn’t really go down for my husband. It’s like he knew… 🙂

I wanted to share the questions from last night’s party that got us talking:

First question: “How do we engage more people in #schoollunch reform?”
Second question: “How do we find out the ingredients in current meals?”
Third question: “What nutritional ingredients are we
lacking in overly processed #schoollunch?”
Last question: “How do we start talking about “nutrition”
 instead of “obesity” in reference to #schoollunch?

I want to thank our sponsors: @SprigToys (who participated in the chat) and @DesignFaire:

(and Mrs. Q too!)

The blog party is still open through midnight Sunday night so you can still discuss School Lunch Revolution!

Twitter party tonight! Blog party answers below:

Twitter party is tonight 8 PM CST/ 9PM EST — Let’s get ready to chat about school lunch! Here’s a the Tweet Grid again so you can watch in real-time what people are saying using hashtags #schoollunch or #lunchrevolution or anything tweeted to @fedupwithlunch or @scatteredmom. That’s one of the ways I’ll be tracking your tweets. Chat with you tonight!

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How is “Back to School” going for your family?
Well, it hasn’t started yet. I go back next week and the kids come back after Labor Day.

Is school lunch important part of your child’s day?
Our son goes to day care and obviously we pay for meals (it is included in the fee). We send our own organic milk with him even though regular whole milk is normally provided. Last year I sent the occasional additional menu item to supplement his lunch. It’s leftovers from the previous night’s dinner: one time it was salmon and another time carbonara pasta. His childcare providers told me the other kids wanted the food and how delicious it smelled. They high-chair-fed before so it was easy to segment out small, individual portions. But now he’s in a different room with older kids and they sit at a table. I need to find out how it would work to bring in additional food when other kids could easily reach over and grab what I bring. I don’t care if they eat it, but I’m sure their parents wouldn’t want that especially if there is an allergy. I’ve got to have a chat with them right away.

What is school lunch like at your school or your child’s school?
At my son’s daycare they have a cook and certainly provide better food them I eat at school for the project. However I pay substantially more money for everything there so I expect that. Things I like on the menu include scrambled eggs, ground beef and pasta, rice, and soup. Last year was his first year at this particular day care. On the menu they had fish nuggets. I asked, “What kind of fish is it?” When they couldn’t find the answer I knew I had to provide something on the days they offered fish nuggets (they have since changed that menu item). I also asked about the tuna that they offer to make sure it wasn’t albacore (it’s chunk light). I think they are looking closely at their menu as early last year they switched to all whole grains in breads and pastas. The director told me that there was not even a single complaint from any child after that change. They still have a way to go, but I have seen baby steps.

Does school lunch need to be reformed?
Absolutely. It’s the kids who come from homes where they don’t have access to good food who rely on the school to provide their best meal of the day. For example at my son’s day care, his best meal is not lunch. Every morning I feed him breakfast at home even though I could take him to daycare and they would feed him a breakfast of cereal and milk. During the winter he gets oatmeal (actually today he requested oatmeal!) I like him to have a hot breakfast on cold days. And then dinner at home is nutritious and planned by me. Last night it was ground turkey in tandoori sauce (delicious sauce from a jar) with a wild rice, lentil, and black bean dish. Simple and nutritious. I feel for kids who don’t get good meals at home.

Do you write notes in your kid’s lunches and what do you write?
Too young for notes, but I liked this question because when I was a girl, I loved getting notes from my mother.

How much time should kids get to eat lunch?
Kids should get at least 30 minutes. In the business world an hour is common. That’s because many important deals happen over lunch. And they need a break. Kids are learning how to eat especially the really little guys and they need help with everything. Plus they need a break from academics. They need to value the meal.

What are some products that you use when you pack lunch?
I use Corelle products with little Rubbermaid lids. They are microwaveable.

***

Check out all of the prizes on yesterday’s post as well as on Notes from the Cookie Jar.

Back to School / Lunch Revolution Blog and Twitter party

Welcome to the Back to School Blog and Twitter party!

I’m partnering with Notes from the Cookie Jar for a fun weekend of blogging and tweeting. Here’s how to participate:

1) Answer any, all or one of the following questions in a blog post on your blog, flickr account, or youtube video:

  • How is “Back to School” going for your family?
  • Is school lunch important part of your child’s day?
  • What is school lunch like at your school or your child’s school?
  • Does school lunch need to be reformed?
  • Do you pack lunch for your kids and what do you pack?
  • Do you write notes in your kid’s lunches and what do you write?
  • What are some of your favorite lunch recipes (kid-friendly or adult-friendly)?
  • What are some great beverages for kids and adults?
  • What is a traditional food item that you have made even more healthy and how did you do it?
  • How much time should kids get to eat lunch?
  • What are some products that you use when you pack lunch?

2) Link your blog post to the linky widget below (at the very bottom of this post).

3) Come back over the next couple days and review the links of other bloggers (as well as those on Karen’s blog: Notes from a Cookie Jar) and make ONE comment citing THREE things you found interesting. If you can’t find three things you learned from the other blogger’s blogs, please note that. One of the three things can be that you signed Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution petition for better food in schools.

4) I’ll close the blog party on midnight on Sunday August 29th. You have the entire weekend!

Blog Party Prizes:

Sponsor: Whole Foods Market

Prize: $50 gift card
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses.
About the sponsor:  We seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Add to that the excitement and fun we bring to shopping for groceries, and you start to get a sense of what we’re all about. Oh yeah, we’re a mission-driven company too. If you are interested in learning about our business practices and what makes us tick, check out our Core Values, Quality Standards, Declaration of Interdependence, and more. Around here, we often talk about our mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet.
Sponsor: Watergeeks
Prize: One of five water bottles: three Transition sip cups and two kid-sized stainless steel water bottles
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses
About the sponsor: WaterGeeks is helping turn the global water crisis upside down by empowering consumers with compelling new water consumption choices that embrace both their active lifestyles and their ecological beliefs.
Sponsor: Mrs. Q
Prizes: Select books related to lunch sent along with a little note from me
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses only
About the sponsor: I’m offering books about how to make better lunches for your family. I have read Lunch Lessons and it is terrific. The other books look like ones I should check out.
If you check out Notes From a Cookie Jar, you’ll notice right away that she has some major prizes too! A BIG THANKS to her for being organized and helping me coordinate prizes!
I hope you will be able to join us this weekend! I can’t wait to read your blogs and see what you think about school lunch! I will select winners at random, but remember to win you must: 1) Write a blog post, take a picture or record a video about school lunch 2) Link it below 3) Comment on this post.
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Lunch Revolution Twitter party 
On Friday night August 27 at 8 PM CST/ 9PM EST I’ll be tweeting with Karen, from @scatteredmom and Notes from a Cookie Jar, about school lunch and going back to school. I hope you be able to tweet along using the hash tag #schoollunch #lunchrevolution
We will be discussing school lunch. I will post discussion questions and feel free to ask your questions too! The twitter party is another way for you to connect with people who care about school lunch reform and meet some new folks who you may not have known about before.
If you have never participated in a Twitter party, here is a Tweet Grid that will help you follow along even if you don’t have a twitter account. Click on that link to real-time tweets using the hash tags #schoollunch #lunchrevolution and ones that mention my Twitter ID @fedupwithlunch and @scatteredmom
Twitter Party Prizes:

Prize: Blog banner redesign valued at $250
Open to: International bloggers

About the sponsor: DesignFaire provides full service consulting, from domain registration, hosting, web design, development, search engine optimization, to training. Our goal is to build compelling, easy-to-use websites. Their process is collaborative and client-centered. Expect an engaging development process that has you in mind.

Sponsor: Sprig Toys, @sprigtoys
Prize: Dolphin Explorer Boat
Open to: US mailing addresses only

About the sponsor: Sprig Toys, Inc., is an eco-friendly company dedicated to making the best toys the right way. Inspired by our collective desire to keep kids active and the planet healthy, Team Sprig is dedicated to infusing creativity, smart design, quality manufacturing, earth-friendly materials, product satisfaction and responsible business practices into a superior line of fun, kid-powered toys. We help make the world a better place and we get kids off the couch.

Sponsor: Mrs. Q
Prizes: $15 iTunes giftcard and $25 Target giftcard
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses

Prizes to be given out randomly every 15 minutes to those with thought-provoking tweets. It’s my sincere hope that the prizes offered reflect the broad scope of readers who have different interests including parents, teachers, students, nutritionists, bloggers, and foodies from various age groups. I can’t wait to hear all about what you think about school lunch. Don’t forget to use one or both of the hashtags #schoollunch or #lunchrevolution so that I can see what you are saying.

Let’s get this party started!

Urban Farming: Growing Power

Bon Appetit June 2010
Will Allen, GrowingPower.org
Mr. Allen’s shirt reads,
“The good food movement is now a revolution,”
I want a shirt like that one too!
I have only recently learned about urban farming and had never read about Will Allen until I saw this article in Bon Appetit. I read his bio on Wikipedia. Mr. Allen is an urban farmer and his organization is Growing Power.

Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

The MacArthur Foundation awarded him the MacArthur Fellowship (genius grant) in 2008. Mr. Allen’s organization is hosting a conference in September: Growing Power’s National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference.
(Readers: I know you will suggest I go. I would but I will be speaking at a different conference in another state over that identical weekend. Sadly I can’t be in two places at once!)

Ad critique: Pop-Tarts

Pop-Tarts Ad, Working Mother August/September 2010
“Less sugar makes mornings pretty sweet.”
Pop-Tarts ad, Cooking Light May 2010
“Baked with real fruit.”
Pop-Tarts on display in Walgreens
A paragraph of ingredients, 200 calories per ONE “pastry,” 38g of carbs
Does anyone just eat one pop-tart when they open the package?
*** Just a few weeks to go until I’m back in school and eating lunches again. All summer I have been blogging about food, kids, and advertising. Pop-Tarts are available in many school vending machines including one I visited. ***
Did you read about how Pop-Tarts World just opened up in NYC’s Time Square? Here’s is a Yahoo! News video that shows viewers the inside of the store and interviews people. The reporter remains pretty much a big fan of the whole operation (yeah for journalistic integrity) and interviews a man who said he ate 12 pop-tarts while hanging out in Pop-Tarts World!! I’ll do that math on that one: 2,400 calories. A day’s worth of calories for many people. Holy 456 grams of carbohydrates! Can you even imagine the blood sugar spike? On the road to diabetes in one day?
Another reason to watch the video is that they show a worker making “pop-tart sushi.” Basically they grind up pop-tarts and then roll the bits up in fruit roll-ups! I think I died a little bit inside when I read that.
I’m just going to say it: It is irresponsible for a corporation to open up a store like Pop-Tarts World when our country is in a “nutritional free fall” with cancer and obesity reaching epidemic proportions. Better would be free cooking classes using real food for any person that happens to wander past.
***

My mother never allowed pop-tarts when I was a child. There was a junk food ban at my house. My husband grew up in a family that ate donuts and McDonald’s and fluff (…and he was a chunky kid in elementary school). So as an adult he has bought the occasional box of pop tarts. And I admit that I ate a pop tart every now because they were in our cupboards. And the occasional one when I was pregnant and nursing (i.e. I was starving and eating everything in sight). Up through the first half of this year, my husband was still buying a box every month, but I was no longer partaking, mostly because I couldn’t justify the calories and they didn’t fiill me up. It wasn’t until I read this May article from Anna Lappe that I took a stand:

Take the Pop Tart. Among its tasty ingredients? Gelatin, made from by-products of the meat and leather industries; sodium pyrophosphate, commonly used in household detergents; and Tert-Butylhydroquinone (THBQ), a preservative, also found in household varnishes; three artificial colorants, including Red No. 40, banned in many EU countries because of human health concerns; and, palm oil. The second most-traded vegetable oil in the world, palm oil is found in most cookies, crackers, granola bars, and more. The global warming connection? Ninety-eight percent of palm oil is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia on former forests that have been cleared and burned, releasing tons of greenhouse gases. Steer clear of Pop Tarts and their processed food brethren and choose real food.

I confronted my husband and told him that he was not allowed to buy another box of pop-tarts. He whined about it so I dragged him to the computer and made him read that paragraph.

We no longer buy pop-tarts.

***

I don’t miss pop-tarts, but if I did I found a recipe in the April issue of Bon Appetit magazine that details how to make homemade “pop-tarts:”

The recipe
How to make them visually
Now THAT is something I want to eat!

Mrs. Q on the move…

I’ll be back in school and eating school lunch in just a couple weeks. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to eating the lunches again. I keep hoping that there will be menu changes and that things will be better than the 101 school lunches I ate over the first half of the project. It’s probably optimistic of me to think that the food service companies that provide the meals might have retooled their menus. But considering the media attention being paid to school lunches in general, I remain hopeful that things will be better. Maybe I have to tell myself that (“It will be better, it will be better…”) so that I can feel ok about it. Also I’ve mentioned before that I have a sensitive system. My body has been happy all summer long. Upsetting that balance bothers me a little, but I will survive.
When I think about my job, I look on the bright side and think about my students and co-workers. I’m thrilled that I’ll get to see them again and get back into the school routine. I love my work. I work with kids who are needy in many ways. I enjoy helping them and I do believe I make a difference in their lives. I wish I could tell you more about myself, but it will have to suffice that my profession was a deliberate choice. I wanted to do this, I worked hard to get here, and I enjoy most days very much.
I love having summers “off” (this summer the blog has kept me very busy so it was not exactly “off”) but I dislike transitions. The transition from the end of the school year to the summer can be especially challenging because getting through the end of the year stuff can be stressful and exhausting. Then suddenly I’m at home listening to the crickets. In late August it’s the opposite. I’m at home, relaxing (and blogging a lot truth be told), and all of a sudden I’m at work, running around setting up my room, getting rosters together, and trying to plan. A year ago the transition in August/September was the most difficult I have ever experienced. I don’t know what caused my anxiety to spike, but knowing that last year was rough is helping me feel prepared for any emotional changes that come with the start of this school year.
Another bonus: Autumn is my favorite season. It’s hard not to feel excited by crisp, jean jacket weather. Then kicking leaves, going for comfortable walks without humidity and replacing my sandals with more rugged boots (I’m not a sneaker person, but I love comfy shoes). I enjoy Halloween (last year I wore a ridiculous hat and called it my costume) and eating homemade pumpkin bread. I’m vowing now to go to the pumpkin patch this year with the kid (I didn’t get around to it last year). And did I mention that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday? The months to come will be some of my most special.
***
Guess what? I was interviewed by Parents magazine for their September issue, which is on newsstands right now! Last week I was at the grocery store and was just about to check out when I saw a September issue of a magazine. I knew my interview in April/May would be coming out soon. I turned around and went straight to the magazine aisle. I found Parents magazine and I noticed on the front that their school lunch article was one of the headlines! I hurriedly flipped to page 219 (what a thick issue!) and found that my quotes were there, in the first paragraph no less! I wanted to grab the other people in the aisle and scream, “YES!!” But I refrained myself because after all I am anonymous. Instead I did a little excited jump because isn’t everyone excited in the magazine aisle?! Mrs. Q, (aka Me!), was in Parents magazine… What a thrill and what an honor. Check out the article — it’s informative with lots of expert opinions.
***
I will be speaking at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation’s Transform Symposium 2010 next month. They asked me months ago and I had to accept. I mean, who turns down the Mayo Clinic? We’ve been working out the details so that I can remain anonymous. I told them, “No photo, no video, no problem!” Well, they want to record it… Oh boy.
Of course the Mayo Clinic came up with a solution: Second Life. They do various speeches through Second Life already and so it’s easy for them to have an avatar of Mrs. Q “talk” about the project, school lunches, and kids’ nutrition. How brilliant of them — I shouldn’t have expected anything less. Not to mention everyone in the Center for Innovation is exceptionally nice. I have no experience with the virtual world, but planning the presentation has been such fun.
If anyone would like to figure out who I am by attending the conference, well, it’s sold out and I’ll be “speaking” through an avatar. How appropriate for the mysterious Mrs. Q.