NWR: Step-kids food issue and it's none of my business. (but it sucks!)

posted 2 years ago in Wellness
Post # 16
2020 posts
Buzzing bee

As a step mom yes, this would bother me. As a step parent, you’re so limited on what you actually can and should exercise your opinion on. Meal time/ family time is definitely one of them, and is absolutely a hill I would choose to die on. For all the reasons you mentioned ( health) and also cohesiveness of the family unit. We’re not doing Nutella sandwiches for 1/2 of the attendees and grilled eggplant for the other 1/2, we’re all sitting down together and eating. I am not your personal chef and you are not at a free for all buffett. Maybe that means coming to a compromise and expanding your menu a little to include chicken nugget strips or whatever + veggies and salads… but ultimately– DAD needs to step up and lay down some ground rules around meal time.

Post # 17
128 posts
Blushing bee

Don’t buy the junk

They’ll go hungry or eat it.

May be a bit harsh but still.

I used to be a fussy eater and mum wouldn’t let me leave the table unless I had eaten it all. Even if it took three hours.

They aren’t allowed dessert if they havent eaten their mains. 

You might not be able to do that without SO support. 

But if you don’t buy cake and sweets then they can’t eat it.

Maybe try making homemade nuggets, get them involved in it. You could make healthy desserts with them!

Maybe tell SO that it’s unfair on your kids if they see his being allowed to eat whatever and that you shouldnt have to cook seperate meals for everyone. Some blanket rules everyone in the house hold should follow.

Skinny in this case could mean malnutrition.

Maybe get him to watch something on diabetes. Once he sees the effort and health implications involved in having a child with it he will change his mind.

Does he and his ex allow this because they feel guilty for seperating a home maybe?

My brother has an eating disorder, he will eat and eat and never feel full. He lives in a special home but when he visits my mum he is allowed anything and gets away with stealing food because she doesnt want to argue when she doesnt see him much. But it’s not good for him. He can gain a stone in 24 hours. It could rupture his stomach. Heck he got hospitalised for eating frozen Sausages.

I know its not the same but tough love is needed at times. Its not being mean, it shows how much you care

Post # 18
1639 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Shesaidyes :  I may be slammed for this and I really don’t care. Obesity is an epidemic right now with 80% of adults living a sedentary life with lack of nutrition “standard american diet”. The sad sad truth is that 40% of children have diabetes type II. Because they aren’t getting outside and they aren’t eating right. 

Processed foods, convenience foods, and sugar are to blame. Unfortunately, many parents are ignorant to what is actually bad for their kids. Anything packaged should be out and used as treats or desperation food ‘forgot to pack kids lunch, throw them a protein bar’. 

Childrens food should consist of high carb, good amount of protein, and fats. For an american adult the percentages are 45-65% carbs, 10-35% protein, and max 20% fat really. Obviously there is a lot more science to this. When I say carbs I mean healthy carbs, when I say proteins I mean healthy proteins. 

Processed meats are not healthy. They are laced with nitrates preservatives (tough on endocrine system)and fats that are not processed in the human body in a healthy way. Healthy carbs means complex carbs, whole wheats, brown rice, Quinoa, etc. Healthy proteins are (as you know), spinach, kale, cauliflower, brocolli, soy, etc, lean chicken, lean turkey, fish, lean beef.

This is all stuff I have learned over years of research and studying nutrition for my NASM personal training certificate. 

When you’re in the nutrition/sports world, you know all this. Unfortunately, most people don’t or know very little. There are so many factors playing into why the nutrition of these children is no good. 

And just because they’re skinny doesn’t mean they are healthy, in fact it could very sadly mean they aren’t getting enough essential nutrients. 

This is really disturbing for me and it’s a shocking reality for many american kids sad to say. 

If it were me, I would have a strict healthy food policy only when kids are at my house. There’s not much you can do if the mother isn’t open to educating herself about important nutrition for her children. There is every scientfic study, countless books, even youtube videos that point to childhood obesity and diabetes being a real issue. 

I’m really at a loss here bee and don’t know how to help other than putting your foot down when the kids are home with you. 

I wish you the best of luck. 

Post # 19
678 posts
Busy bee

Have you tried sneaking healthier options on them? Like an organic cocoa nut butter instead of Nutella, which is mostly palm and vegetable oil. Or an enriched white bread. Or low sodium/nitrate free lunch meats? I wonder if you switch the packaging if they’d even notice. 

Otherwise, I’d keep the ‘healthier’ versions of things they like on hand and call their bluff if they refuse to eat. They only pull that know because they can bully/sucker your husband into getting what they want.

I don’t know any details about your socioeconomic background, but in many parts of the country people think nothing of eating only processed food – so you could be up against a bigger wall in say, rural Mississippi than you would be in Seattle.

Post # 20
1738 posts
Bumble bee

I’m not shocked by what they eat. I used to eat similar foods when I was that age. My mom used to make me sandwiches that were just white bread and butter. I was a very picky eater and she cared more about me just eating anything than eating healthy at that point. I got better with age and am not nearly as picky. I was always thin too and never had any health issues because of my diet back then.

Post # 21
5126 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

avprobeauty :  “40% of children have diabetes type II.”

Did you mean that 40% of kids with diabetes have type II (and 60% have type I)? Not saying it’s not an issue but we’re nowhere near 40% of all kids having T2D, it’s not even close to that for adults.

Post # 22
2416 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

avprobeauty :  your statistics don’t make sense. Don’t believe everything you read 

Post # 23
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

BTDT. When my husband and I blended families (full time), he has B/G twins, age 13, and I had 3 boys, ages 13, 11, and 9 (I have 6 kids total, but two were already adults by this time and my third child was living with his father). My Darling Husband had told me that his son had some picky eating habits, which I had experienced with my own kids, so no biggie. HOWEVER, reality was that this kid would ONLY eat plain cheerios, candy, and cheese-flavored bread products such as cheezits or cheese flavored pringles (no real cheese, mind you, just cheese powder – he would pulled cheese off of pizza and just eat the sauce and crust), fast food french fries (only from certain places) and he would drink only soda. That was it. No protein, no veg, no fruit. Literally, he would eat half a can or more of pringles, as a meal. And his parents condoned this. And his sister had her own issues. She was very overweight and while she would eat a much healthier diet with a wide array of food, she would binge eat. Stuff like eating a whole package of hotdogs or pulling out a frozen bag of dinner rolls, sticking them in the frig and eating the whole thing (like 48 rolls!) within a day. It was very frustrating. I had to deal with my kids whining about why their step-brother got to eat chips and soda for dinner and having food disappear at an alarming rate, while trying to keep enough to feed 7 people.

Because of the age of the kids and some power plays by our exes, we had determined to not try to play “parent” to each other’s kids. Their other parents were in their lives, so we mutually took a step back from parenting the other’s children. So I never said anything about the food issues (although I may have complained to my Darling Husband from time to time). He knew they had issues, he knew it wasn’t healthy, but he also knew his kids had gone through some pretty major things as small children. His main goal was to provide them some stability (they had moved around a lot, changing schools pretty much every year, mom had a prescription drug addiction, amongst other issues). So, while the food thing was frustrating…I just let it go.

And now…the twins are 16. My stepson is very lean, tall, and muscular (he was always very active despite his ridiculous eating habits) and he is expanding his culinary tastes. He eats chicken now! He has tried vegetables and ground beef. He recently discovered he loves bacon. My stepdaughter, around the age of 15 decided she wanted to lose weight. She began tracking her calories and watching what she ate. She also started exercising. She has lost around 100 pounds. She’s a little obsessive about it (she has Asperger’s and can be obsessive), but I notice that for the most part, she’s eating a pretty balanced diet and has moved away from sugar and carbs. Her self-esteem, which was quite low before, is skyrocketing!

So I have to say, my husband’s approach seems to be working. We provided the stability they had been lacking and didn’t focus on the food issues and slowly but surely, it seems to be improving. I’ve also lightened up about my own kids’ food habits. I did all the “eat your vegetables…just try it, you might like it…this is what I’ve made for dinner, eat it or go hungry” stuff. It never improved things. But by letting it go, they’re realizing on their own that healthy food is better for them, they’ve come to me to ask what some healthy food options are. My oldest two kids, ages 28 and 26, are vegan and vegetarian respectively and eat very healthy. 

Good luck!

Post # 24
1639 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

SithLady :  From National Diabetes Statistics, (http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/basics/cdc-statistics-report-2017.pdf) for diagnosed children: 


“Among people of all ages, 2015 data indicated the following: • An estimated 23.1 million people—or 7.2% of the U.S. population—had diagnosed diabetes (Methods) (see Table 1b in the Appendix for more details). • This total included: » 132,000 children and adolescents younger than age 18 years (0.18% of the total U.S. population younger than age 18 years). » 193,000 children and adolescents younger than age 20 years (0.24% of the total U.S. population younger than age 20 years). • About 5% of people with diabetes are estimated to have type 1 diabetes (Methods)”.

Assuming attrition of about 30% we’re still about 40%. Even if you discount the assumption, that’s still 18% of our childhood population that has diagnosed diabetes.

Pretty scary for something that can be prevented. 

Post # 25
1639 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

jannigirl :  haha its not just what I read. It’s what I’m studying in school. Regardless of whether the statistics are exact, even if you discount attrition, diagnosed childhood diabetes is at 18% that’s pretty scary for something that can be prevented. And it’s on the rise. What happens to the children who are ingrained with these bad habits grows up? They turn into another statistic. Just look around. Obesity is on the rise, heart disease, and a bunch of other diseases that are correlated to this illness…cancer, ovarian and reproductive issues, you name it, all tracks back to what we eat and lack of excercise. The research and knowledge is out there, we just have to look for it to find the answers. Our bodies weren’t made to process manufactured sugars and fats, our bodies don’t know what to do with them, so they spit them out or (gross) poop them out. We’re not eating right in this country. 

Post # 26
10456 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Shesaidyes :  

Could dad be enabling their horrible eating habits out of fear that they won’t be willing to do their weekends with dad if he tries to feed them healthier fare?  I’ve seen it happen—Disneyland Dad Syndrome.  Dad doesn’t want to risk losing those weekends, so he lets them get away with thing he knows aren’t good for them.


Post # 30
1996 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Anyone else REALLY want a Nutella sandwich after reading this?!?!  OMG that sounds amazing.

I’m not a parent or a step-parent, but in your shoes, I would be having a talk with my husband and attacking this issue as a united front.  It’s downright irresponsible for parents to instill or tolerate these kinds of eating habits in children…. they are being predisposed to a lifetime of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more.  Not to mention, a strain on your family dynamics as others have mentioned.

Good luck OP.  This is definitely your business and I hope you guys can get things sorted a bit.

ETA – ooof, I just read your update.  It sucks that Dad isn’t on board at all.  How irresponsible of him.  Sorry not sorry for judging.  In that case, I’m not sure how much you can do.  One thing is for sure, I would hand off all responsibility for buying and preparing the “special” food to him.  His kids, his lack of awareness of proper nutrition, his problem to deal with.  Frankly I would be morally opposed to feeding kids only that kind of food, and I would not want any part of it.

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