Home Parenting You think you know your kids until they stop eating cheese.

You think you know your kids until they stop eating cheese.

by Andrea Updyke

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After writing a post for BabyCenter about my breastfeeding journey , I had to laugh because looking back over years of parenting, I can see one theme glaring back at me; I am obsessed with what my children eat.

From breastfeeding to solid baby food in jars (or yes, even homemade) to offering veggies and sneaking them into sauces,  I have tried almost every trick in the book to make sure my kids are eating healthy. Well, I’d like to say I “make sure” but really it’s a lot of trial and mostly error, because they are kids who are growing up in America, the land of opportunity and far too many choices.

It’s easy to say, ‘well kids in this other country only ever eat rice! There are children your very same age who have never even tasted chocolate!‘ But what does that even mean to a five year old who has already been to countless birthday parties and celebrated National Donut day almost every year of his life? A child who laughs as he tells the story of the good old days like a weathered old man rocking in his chair on the front porch,

Hey, remember when I used to eat CHEESE? (hahaha) Remember when dada would stack it up and I ate it? (hahaha) Yeah too bad I don’t like cheese anymore. 

Guys, isn’t that hilarious!?

As days passed and more and more items went the way of the cheese, I started to panic. I started reading and worrying and obsessing like I had when the breastfeeding was keeping me up at night. Meanwhile my little cherubs feast on Honey Nut Cheerios without a care in the world.


I know the tricks. I shop the perimeter of the grocery store stocking up on fruits I know they will eat and vegetables I hope they will try. I buy lower sugar cereal and natural applesauce and so what if I pretend veggie straws are healthy? At least I didn’t go full-on potato chip. I dutifully make them eat what we eat when I cook a family meal. Basically, I am either planning or preparing the next meal every waking hour of my life.

But for all my striving, it sure feels silly when I think of the rice-only no-chocolate kids. My kids are picky, but they do eat some healthy stuff. Why do I care if it’s the same thing over and over? Why am I putting my need for variety on little people who really just want grapes again? HOW CAN THEY WANT GRAPES AGAIN?

lemonade oscar

lemonade cal

This year, I am joining the ranks of school lunch makers extraordinaire. Oscar is officially in Kindergarten and as of today I have exactly two meals in rotation that he will eat. Naturally, this means I’ve become obsessed with Pinterest again, not for the ridiculous (albeit adorable) bento box ideas, but for any ideas I can add to his very limited plate.

Tuesday, he threw out his chocolate milk after one sip. Yesterday, he took a bite of a carrot and tried some mystery dip with black dots that was yummy (I guessed ranch but he denied it). I feel like I am being punked while at the same time, embracing a new mission to add something unfamiliar to every lunch. Maybe if I am not there he will try it. Maybe not.


Must. Crack. Code.

I guess I answered my own question. I obsess about food because for now, I am the one who decides if it’s going to be lemonade or water, cookies or cucumbers. I am the one who has to offer the healthy options, not the schools or his friends or the books, me. So obsess I will, until it’s not my job anymore.

If you want to join me, check out my food boards on Pinterest. But y’all, don’t even make the Frozen themed lunches I pinned. I just added those because, really? Someone actually did that? I mean Pancake Sven maaaaybe, but that rice Olaf with beef grass would have a one-way ticket to nowhere in this house. And that just breaks my heart.

I’m still crying over the chocolate milk.


This isn’t over.

When your kids stop eating cheese and other awful developments

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Nicole H. August 7, 2014 - 1:04 pm

Wait….veggies straws aren’t healthy?!!

I did a lunch thing on my blog – I have pretty bento cups with not so out of the box items for you to peruse (my kids are picky too) – And there are ideas on one of my many Pinterest boards if you’re interested in adding to your plethora of ideas. There was a group of us who did a linky to try and motivate creative lunches. I lasted the first month of school. Then it was back to the basics. 🙂

Andrea Updyke August 7, 2014 - 1:37 pm

I will check it out! The problem is I would LOVE 99% of those lunches while my son will only eat the 1%. Alas.

Julie Meyers Pron August 13, 2014 - 11:55 am

This is going to sound a bit simple, but what about having him help you make lunch? You make a chart of ideas: (and forgive me, I’m going off the top of my head here and he may not eat *these* ideas, so you and he will create the chart together):

Main course options
-leftover pizza (cheeseless?)
-bagels with … hummus? turkey?
-wraps with … turkey? ham? roast beef?
-chicken noodle soup
-mac and cheese

Fruit option
-list 3-5 fruits (apples, banana, orange slices, applesauce, raisins, craisins and fruit strips, yogurt covered raisins…)

veggie option
-carrots and dip
-celery with PB
-peppers with hummus
-plain pepper slices
-cucumber slices

grain option

dairy option
-okay… this may be a bit more difficult. I have a Dairy-free kid, so we skip this for him, but my other 2 love BabyBels, cheese strips, etc. oh! yogurts and cottage cheese

Then, together each day, you have fun coming up with a combination (one from each option area) and pack the lunch together. He can suggest changes and additions to the list as time goes on.

Pretty soon, he’ll be making lunch and you’re overseeing it. And he’s learning to balance the meal.

Also, remember what it was like when you were in school? One person declared she hated cheese and, suddenly, eating cheese was the WRONG thing to do in school. I recently reminded my friend, Suzanne, of when that happened in 1st grade. And how she single-handedly changed my mom’s packing options for 3 years. But she also opened me up to new foods. Because Suzanne, who I sat with every. single. day. ate sliced peppers every. single. day. And, suddenly, I realized how YUM they were and started asking for them too.

Phew! Guess what? I’m going to copy this comment, do some edits, and write a post for next week. XOXO

Andrea Updyke August 13, 2014 - 11:59 am

We have just started doing this! He helped make his lunch this morning and we have already added black olives and raisins to the list! He won’t do dips of any kind but I am going to start including a couple slices of veggie here and there to see what happens. Last week carrots were a no go. Gonna try peppers and cucumber next!

Julie Meyers Pron August 13, 2014 - 11:58 am

oh!! And Chips and Salsa!! Or Chips and Queso! My kids LOVE that.

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