OK, need an honest answer

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ryzgal, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. ryzgal

    ryzgal Guest

    Does anyone seriously lock up food?
    I seem to recall that someone (more than one someone?) said they lock up the food at night?
    My darling difficult child has been recently binging on carbs (bread, cookies etc ) late at night. Our rule was that he had to eat a complete dinner in order to eat later, and he had to eat extra fruit/veggies before he could indulge in anything else. Well his new thing is to sneak stuff. And frankly I mean steal. Does that sound harsh? I suppose it does. But seriously, it's annoying. I bought cookies the other day. I wake up to find the package gone. I tell him not to eat them again. So the next night he does it again. Ok, so what happens the next night? Same thing. Last night, I take the last of them (Costco, in case you are wondering how I have so many cookies LOL) and put them in a ziplock bag, as I tell him that he may not binge on sweets any more at night and the cookies are off limits to him from now on AT ANY TIME until further notice. So, naive me, I think my kids listen to me. Today, I notice they are gone. I ask where they are. He says "I ate them last night".
    Now, I am thinking I must have misheard. Nope, he definitely said he ate them, because he says it again. I ask what he was thinking. Surely, he must have been having some thoughts of remorse, shame, guilt etc at disobeying etc (I am thinking this will be a perfect teaching moment). Nope. Nothing. He says what he was thinking was "I want those cookies"
    Since I had warned him previously if he was going to steal food, I would lock it up. Now since I put the warning out there, I have to follow through. Of course, I got the "You're MEAN blah blah blah" rant "it's not stealing etc" but the blow up was much less than anticipated.
    But now I find myself in need of advice on how to go about locking up food LOL :tongue: and whether this is the battle I should fight. I think it is.

    Advice oh wise warriors?
  2. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    Many of the medicines these kids take create huge cravings for food, especially carbs. The only thing I could suggest is to eliminate those foods from the house all together (or hide a stash in your bedroom, in case YOU want some) and just have healthy snacks available. If they are hungry enough, they will eat whatever is provided or available.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There are two ways of doing this. One way is to lock up the problem food but allow (and provide) unlimited supplies of permitted food. We used to have food such as cold sausages, fresh fruit & vegetables in the fridge and the kids were allowed to help themselves. If they spoiled their appetites on good food, it didn't matter because they'd at least eaten properly.

    The other way is to stop bringing the wrong foods into the house in the first place. No cookies at all for anyone. No crisps. No sweets. No fruit juice or soft drink, only water, tea and coffee. And milk. But the problem here can then become the kids who steal money to buy junk food.

    What medications is he on? We found risperdal was a huge problem for difficult child 1, it gave him the munchies, big time, and he doubled his weight in six months when he was about 15. medications can aggravate this sort of problem.

    I would be asking a therapist for help with this one. It's important to understand why, even it if is partly medications or all the child's own internal drives.

    Something else to consider (in terms of possible cause) - a friend who is a doctor has a similar problem with her daughter, that we had with easy child. The baby was born literally starving to death in utero, and in easy child's case had to be induced because we had a very good doctor who identified the problem. Once easy child was born, she was able to feed for herself and doubled her weight in six weeks! But it's similar to someone whose metabolism has slowed due to extreme dieting - when you stop the diet, even more weight goes back on so you end up worse off than before you dieted. In similar way, we had a baby who developed serious weight problems and now as an adult, is obese despite at times a very active lifestyle. She would steal food, hoard it and also binge. She would come home form school having spent every cent of pocket money she had, on junk food. She was a easy child so she had part-time work which paid her well, and she spent a lot of money she earned on more junk food.

    My doctor friend's daughter has a similar history. Doctor looked it up and found there is a strong link between prenatal malnourishment and later weight problems/food issues.

    With your son, he needs access to GOOD food. It's a boy thing, too - they can get ravenous and need food NOW. Especially as they head into puberty. It seems to be a growth hormone thing. I saw it with my own boys as well as friends' sons - the boy would suddenly say, "I'm hungry!" and it was like being held up by a ravening wold snarling at the fridge door.
    I learned to have food available and to keep checking to make sure we didn't run out. Expensive foods had to be rationed or simply done without. But I would roast chicken, for example. Roast two instead of one. Keep leftovers cold in the fridge. Roast more vegetables (I always roast vegetables in a tray on their own, sometimes roast veggies without anything else in the oven) and taught the kids how to use the microwave oven so they could have a fresh roast dinner from fridge leftovers. But the hungry wolf teen male would often graze at the fridge door and eat cold roast chicken and cold roast vegetables, there just wasn't the time to heat it up. Had to eat immediately.

    So either lock it all up or stop buying the treat foods, and replace treat foods with healthy options. For everyone. Frankly, it is easier to make the same rules for everyone. And if others whinge that they are being punished for someone else's lack of control? This isn't about blame, it's about doing everyone a favour and everyone eating more healthily for a while. After all, it is a gift to your family to give them only healthy food. And if you are all out somewhere and you want to have a treat - you can. Something we have done, is buy a four pack of ice creams form the supermarket freezer, when there are four of us out shopping together. The same treat bought singly would be twice the price. But the important thing is, when a treat is available, to ensure it is shared evenly, and eaten immediately. Then ensure no treat leftovers, because they will be scarfed down fast and secretly by someone determined to get to it first.

    Go to the seat of the problem and work on that. Best results.

  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The only problem with hiding a stash of your own food - it teaches all the kids, that it's OK to hoard.

    Seriously - it is healthier to put the whole family on a Jamie Oliver health kick. Tell them you are doing everyone a favour, giving them a chance at a longer, healthier, happier life. Then try to convince yourself! Because you have to believe this to make it work.

  5. ryzgal

    ryzgal Guest

    thanks to you all, as always you provide wonderful words of wisdom :D

    we've been cutting out the bad foods lately since I am prediabetic, but still do have the nasty little foods around the house!

    I don't eat after 7 pm anyway, so it wouldn't bother me to have a rule that no one eats that late. nor would it bother me, to have only healthy foods avail after a certain time because i love fruits and veggies, roast chicken etc. The problem is mine and mine alone and that is good old fashioned guilt. I have let my kids (mostly my son, difficult child 1) eat what they want since they were little (because of massive trauma to me as a child that had to do with food--long story, but I swore I would NEVER force my kids to eat foods they didn't like) and I feel awful changing that so drastically now. Don't get me wrong. I've made baby steps. Cutting down on candy, fried foods, eating out, sugary foods etc. But I still don't force veggies or new foods. Add to that a kid with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a texture issue who still likes what I call toddler foods (chicken nuggets, mac and cheese etc)---wait, that sounds like a whole lot of excuses doesn't it. :redface:
    so, I need to process this in my own head for a bit.

    oh, and regarding it being like a ravenous animal--I laughed out loud. He was never a big eater. always a light, picky eater my boy. But within the last year or so, it WAS like a wild animal showed up!! LOL He will eat a whole loaf of bread scarfed down with a gallon of milk. JUST BREAD not a sandwich! and it has to be RIGHT NOW...:laugh:
    I don't mind that he gets hungry, ravenous even! it's the sneaking it in the middle of the night, the waiting til we go to bed to come get it. I have made extra dinner numerous times for him. He says he doesn't want "dinner". He wants bread, cookies, cereal (aka starchy carbs) hmmmm...I'm rambling again...

    Off with me thinks for a bit

    Appreciate the support and opinions group

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    medications can and do cause cravings that are impossible to ignore. You can literally think of nothing but food. Antidepressants and antipsychotics and mood stablizers are all big offenders (there are a few that are supposed to be different, but I think it depends on the person...I've taken so many medications in my life and I can tell you that the craving is NOT defiance, it's desperation...lol). And, of course, you crave carbs and sweets.

    When my son was on medications he was pretty young so we restricted him the best we could. He was great at begging food off of others anyway and I'm glad he's off medications now, however his huge weight gain has not gone away. He's still got a weight problem and I wonder if the medications played with his metabolism because no doctor can find out why he still seems to crave the bad foods. He never did before medications so I assume the medications have something to do with it even though he's not on them anymore.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    it can be medications, it can me male hormones, it can be both.

    We also have the Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) issues with food as well as traumas from the past in me not wanting to force kids to eat foods they don't like. But you need to compromise or they will suffer. We were finding difficult child 3 eating only nachos made with my home-made bolognese sauce and one brand of commercial corn chip. So we began to insist that he at least taste new foods. For example, when we're on holidays it is good to buy local produce and try it. In New Zealand we ate fries made with kumara, an orange sweet potato. SIL1 loves kumara and served it up to us in numerous ways. It was SIL1 who taught difficult child 3 to at least have a taste. Once he had a taste he could go back to what he wanted, but he also had to tell us what he liked about the food, and what he disliked about the food. This also got him expressing himself about it.

    In order to try a new food, difficult child 3 needs to be prepared. He needs a glass of water handy to wash the taste out of his mouth if he doesn't like it. He also wants food he DOES like to be handy, so he can then replace the yucky taste (if it is yucky) with something tasty. And this has led to a positive conditioned response where having a taste (ie taking a risk) is rewarded by then having his favourite food.

    It is important to keep gently challenging the "try this". However, we don't insist when it's a sensory issue (such as creamy textures, which difficult child 3 will gag on). But even there we've been able to sneak a few foods through - butter cream, for example - we showed difficult child 3 how it is made (we whipped butter with icing sugar while he watched). We also made it clear that butter cream is not cream, so it's OK to taste. We also made sure it was very firm. Started him on chocolate ganache, then worked toward butter cream. He will now even eat cake with a little cream in it, but this is still unusual. Of course, this is only at birthday time.

    What we find works for difficult child 3 in terms of good food available - raw carrots. Celery. Tomatoes. Bread (he also will eat a whole loaf, preferably frozen). BUT - while it's OK for him to eat what he wants (as long as it is available - and we keep forbidden food unavailable) he must tell us when he eats the last of something. We actually have said, when the number of slices of bread drops below 6, he needs to put another loaf on to bake (bread machine). My personal recipe for bread includes an egg, for added protein. We keep a shopping list and whenever something gets opened, it goes on the list. If we run out of corn chips, for example, difficult child 3 can't make nachos. If he is eating too many, he runs out. So he has had to learn to ration himself because he is the only one who eats corn chips. I let him eat them because they are fairly high fibre and he can also get away with it. He's skinny, despite being a walking appetite.

    On Tuesday nights we go to drama class and afterwards, difficult child 3 gets to choose what fast food he will buy. He alternates between burger and pizza. The burger is a classic Aussie huge home-made kind that we get here in the small privately-owned takeaway shops. The pizza - he gets a family size pizza which he then has for lunch the next day (or even the day after, too). It's pretty much the only fast food he gets. It's funny though - there have been times when he has said, "I feel like pizza tonight," but refused pizza because "it's hamburger's turn." It's always his choice - he could have pizza every week if he wanted. But he seems to be ruled by his decision to alternate.
    Meanwhile, of course husband & I go to a Chinese restaurant, while difficult child 3 waits in the car. difficult child 3 has totally gone off Chinese food, even though he will happily eat fried rice and steamed rice. So we enjoy our meal and difficult child 3 has learned that the price of his pizza or burger is to wait patiently for us in the car outside. Where we can watch him through the window.

    You do what works. Yes, it is unconventional. But when your kids are unconventional, you need to think outside the square. It is OK.

  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I didn't really read the rest of the responses...kind of skimmed actually. But yes....we lock up food in my house. Mainly, cereal, cookies (and other "junk" food like that), sugar, syrup, crackers, oatmeal.......really anythign that difficult child will binge on. There are refrigerated items that he binges on also but I try to not have them in the house or hide them best I can in the fridge/freezer.

    And when I say LOCK, I do mean lock. We put up some shelves in our bedroom to store things and we have a deadbolt on our bedroom door. It's the only way we can keep things (not just food) that we want. It hoovers to live like this but it's a necessary evil.
  9. comatheart

    comatheart Guest

    We have seriously considered putting a true lock on the pantry door. That was the first thing difficult child began to steal. We would find enough wrappers and packaging in his room to fill a garbage bag. All things we recognized from our pantry and didn't even realize that he had taken. We just thought they were GONE. For now we keep the things we KNOW difficult child is going to take in our room. I never thought this was teaching him to be a hoarder. Hmmmm.... I'll have to really think about that aspect of it. We have a family of 6 and if we let the kids have free range of the food we'd never have any. It's a necessary evil. If our pocketbooks were deeper than perhaps it wouldn't be such an issue- but unfortunately they aren't. With that said, we do allow them to have fruits and veggies any time. Of course, they never want that stuff because it's readily available and the crackers and cookies aren't.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On the "we can't afford it" angle - I grew up on a small quarter acre property that fed ten of us. A lot of food was 'stored' in the garden beds. Because it all had to be shared among all of us, stealing even vegetables from the kitchen or garden was frowned upon.

    But something I learned early on was that the cheapest food is also the food you prepare yourself from scratch. To that end, we have a lot of fresh fruit & vegetables; eggs; butter (the kind you spread on your bread is a luxury, we also buy blocks of the hard stuff and keep it in the freezer until needed for cooking); meat (usually the budget cuts that need slow cooking) and cheese (also kept in the freezer, usually). The pantry has herbs, spices, some tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, a large storage bin of flour and various kinds of rice and another luxury - lots of instant noodles.

    I do a lot of slow cooking of cheap cuts of meat. The slow cooking makes them tender, but the cheap cuts cooked this way have the most flavour. I can help you with recipes if you want (I call it "gourmet poverty food").

    If the kids are hungry, they'll find something to eat. I tend to keep tubs of pre-cooked rice and pre-cooked casserole in the fridge. Small tubs. The rest is in the freezer, to be thawed on demand. The same rule applies - when you open the last container, put it on the shopping list or tell me, so I can organise for more supplies. And if what has been used up is too expensive or too difficult to make more of, then it doesn't get replaced.

    Cold cooked rice can become fried rice, or another fresh serve of steamed rice to accompany a number of dishes. Cold cooked mashed potato can become gnocchi, it takes about five minutes and is marvellous comfort food, as well as nutritious. It's also very cheap to make, but very expensive to buy. And what you buy is never as good as what you cook - it can't be, too many compromises have to be made wit the pre-cooked store-bought stuff.

    I bake my own bread (bread machine) and make my own pasta. I involve the kids in it too, so they not only know how to make it but can step in and do it themselves. Gnocchi can be cooked ahead as long as it is given a dab of butter or a splash of oil to stop it sticking. I tend to also add a splash of tomato-based pasta sauce if there are weight problems in the family to worry about. A bowl of pre-cooked gnocchi in the fridge can be quickly microwaved and will quickly fill a ravenous kid.

    We did find that this is the cheapest way to keep the kids fed, as well as often the happiest way, to have food of a sort available for the instant munchies.

    For ravenous teens, you can push the carbs as long as tey also eat balanced meals later on and don't have weight issues. If they do have weight issues, cut the carbs back or switch them for high fibre options.

    I have a generic muffin recipe which can be savoury or sweet. A batch of muffins in the fridge or cake tin can also provide good nutrition, if you use the right ingredients. Also very cheap. And quite quick - I threw a small batch together in ten minutes on Sunday night. A high-fibre option can be made with wholemeal flour. Savoury ones can include tinned corn, or cheese, or bacon, or ham. Or chicken and avocado which also works well with cheese.

    If the crackers and cookies aren't in the house, the kids HAVE to eat the good stuff. If the cookies in the house are the healthier option you made - again, it's a win. If the kids object to wholemeal flour, try adding just a little wholemeal flour at first, then slowly increase the proportion.

    Think about it from this point of view - it' a bit of trouble, more trouble than just bringing stuff home from the supermarket, but if you plan it well and also work with the family to cook what you have identified that they will eat, then you will be teaching them good food habits as well as keeping the costs down as well as teaching them good sharing habits. And you will be saving money. For your family, this is very important and worth putting in the effort, as far as you can. Obviously some people will be more able to do this than others, but it is something everyone can work towards.

    YOu do what you can. You can't do any more than that. But it is amazing how inventive you can be, and how successful it can be, even when you work long hours.

    If you want any recipes, let me know.

  11. Marg,

    I got hungry just reading your post! I'd buy your cookbook... ever thought about writing one? Gourmet Poverty Food might work as a title!