Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: CakeBeret on March 28, 2013, 01:08:29 PM

Title: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: CakeBeret on March 28, 2013, 01:08:29 PM
My son, age 3, is going to Disney sometime this year with my brother and his kids. My brother invited DS and is paying all his expenses.

My only concern with this trip is that Bro and his kids eat a lot of junk food and I don't want my son eating corn dogs and potato chips for an entire week straight. DH and I agree that we don't mind the occasional junk food, but we also want our son to have nutritious food on the trip too. So if they are grabbing lunch from a hot dog stand, that's fine, but if they are eating at a restaurant I'd like them to order DS something non-fried and with vegetables.

(My son is not a picky eater at all--he loves hot dogs and will choose to eat them if given a choice, but he will also eat grilled chicken and broccoli if that's what is put in front of him.)

Is there a polite way to ask my brother to make some healthy choices for DS, or is that out of line? I know that if we ask, Bro will abide by our wishes, but I'm not sure if it would be terribly wrong to ask. How can we phrase it without coming off preachy or judgmental? To be honest, I don't think my husband will let DS go on the trip if we don't talk to Bro about food choices, so it will come down to either talking to Bro or not sending DS at all.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: SiotehCat on March 28, 2013, 01:13:02 PM
I think you should not send your DS on the trip.

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: rose red on March 28, 2013, 01:16:45 PM
Is he the type to let his own kids eat junk food for a week?  If not, why don't you ask what the meal plans are for the trip.  If yes, then tell him you want to have a meeting regarding your son's diet.  This is your brother who is paying for the trip so it sounds like you get along.  If it's not possible for him to agree for whatever reason, than you can simply cancel.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Two Ravens on March 28, 2013, 01:18:29 PM
Best just to not let him go, or accept that he's going to be eating junk. How could you enforce something like this anyway?

It seems rather ungracious considering your brother is paying for a week long trip to Disney.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: blueyzca01 on March 28, 2013, 01:18:35 PM
Sadly, in a lot of restaurants, junk food is usually cheaper than something healthy, like grilled chicken with veggies on the side.  I just visited a Steak n Shake for the first time:  the hamburger was $2.90 and the salads started at $6.50

Im going to assume that youve got a decent relationship with him, or else Id doubt hed be interested in being responsible for and paying for your kid.  Since bro is covering all the expenses, why not offer him $50 or $75 and ask that he use it to buy everyone some healthier dinners while theyre on the trip? 

Tell him what you said earlier:  if youre grabbing lunch from a hot dog stand, that's fine, but if they are eating at a restaurant I'd like you to order DS something non-fried and with vegetables. 
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: bah12 on March 28, 2013, 01:25:28 PM
I'm pretty big on making sure that I, DH and DD have nutritionally complete and healthy meals pretty much always.  But, I'm also of the mindset that during a vacation, having to think about calories and fat all the time sort of ruins the experience.  (I actually like grilled chicken/fish and fresh veggies anyway, but don't stress if DH and DD spend a few days eating junk if we aren't at home).

Personally, for me, if I were sending DD (also 3) away for a week, I'd be more concerned about her being happy and comfortable.  If her cousins would all be eating french fries, I know she'd notice if she was told she had to have broccoli...and be upset about it (potentially making it more difficult for the adults caring for her).  And yet, I do get that when you allow your children to be "spoiled" by relatives, then undoing all of that and getting them back into their normal routines is tough...so it's a balance.  And a week is kind of an awkward time...it's definitely a long time to be eating nothing but junk food and definitely long enough to have them get used to an alternate diet, but not quite so long that if they did eat junk the entire time, it would cause health problems (other than maybe an upset stomach from sugar and grease).

That being said, I think it's fine to talk to your brother about your son's diet. Just say that you are teaching DS about healthy food choices and want that reinforced on the trip...if they are at a restaurant where he can have veggies over fried foods, then that's what you'd like ordered...and this especially if he won't complain that his cousins are eating something else and asking for that. 

As for your DH, I hope he understands that this is an opportunity for him to bond with his uncle and cousins and his uncle is going to take good care of him.  If you want to request a certain diet, I think that's fine, but I don't think that the diet/food choices alone should dictate if he goes or not.  I also like the idea of offering some money to cover the meals that you do want him to eat.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Sharnita on March 28, 2013, 01:27:36 PM
I'd ask what the plan is for meals.  Are they getting the meal plan?  If so cost might not be as much of an issue.  I think you could ask your brother to make sure he gets a fruit/vegetable at two of his three meals (not counting fries) and that he drink milk or water - stuff like that.  Being more specific than that seems a bit unrealistic. I do think I'd find out the general approach to meals first.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Carotte on March 28, 2013, 01:28:37 PM
Does his kids have any say in what they want to eat (or are they too young/ don't have a say?) because there's a wide range of why someone would feed primarily junk food to kids, one being that it's easier because" the kids won't throw tantrums.
So I think reminding your brother that your son quite like vegetables is a good step, that way he actually knows he can order something and it will be eaten. Maybe he'll even be gratefull to show his kids that there are alternate options and that their cousin likes them.
A little white lie could also do, something about DS pediatrician wanting him to eat plenty of veggies to avoid constipation (and it's actually true that if your son is not used to a diet of junk-food it could throw off his body functions).
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Oh Joy on March 28, 2013, 01:32:26 PM
I get it.  Really.   :)

How would it fly with DH if your request was along the lines of 'You know DS usually eats pretty simply at home, and I find he sleeps and listens best on his routine.  I don't want you to eat anywhere special just for DS, but would you mind helping him choose things that have less sugar or aren't fried when they're on the menu?'

Best wishes.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: CakeBeret on March 28, 2013, 01:32:32 PM
OP here. My brother lets his kids order what they like in restaurants--they are older and capable of making their own food choices. Bro would be ordering my DS's food, so he could easily guide him to, say, have apple slices instead of fries with his sandwich. I wouldn't want to institute some sort of hard rule or create an additional expense, and I certainly don't want to come across as ungracious.  :-\

ETA, to answer some questions: They do get a meal plan at Disney, though I am not very familiar with it/what it entails. And they always drink water, so that's not a concern.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Bexx27 on March 28, 2013, 01:35:39 PM

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.

I agree. I just don't think you can ask your brother to do this, other than a casual "make sure he eats his vegetables!" How will your son react to being told he must eat grilled chicken and broccoli while watching his cousins eat chicken fingers and fries? I know how my own 3-year-old would react and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, much less my kind and generous brother. And it's definitely not fair to expect the whole family to change their diet so your son won't feel left out, whether or not you approve of their choices.

One week of a not-so-healthy diet will not give your son heart disease, and a 3-year-old is capable of understanding that vacations have different "rules" and he will go back to his normal diet when he gets home.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on March 28, 2013, 01:41:09 PM

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.

I agree. I just don't think you can ask your brother to do this, other than a casual "make sure he eats his vegetables!" How will your son react to being told he must eat grilled chicken and broccoli while watching his cousins eat chicken fingers and fries? I know how my own 3-year-old would react and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, much less my kind and generous brother. And it's definitely not fair to expect the whole family to change their diet so your son won't feel left out, whether or not you approve of their choices.

One week of a not-so-healthy diet will not give your son heart disease, and a 3-year-old is capable of understanding that vacations have different "rules" and he will go back to his normal diet when he gets home.

This.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: cicero on March 28, 2013, 01:44:26 PM
OP here. My brother lets his kids order what they like in restaurants--they are older and capable of making their own food choices. Bro would be ordering my DS's food, so he could easily guide him to, say, have apple slices instead of fries with his sandwich. I wouldn't want to institute some sort of hard rule or create an additional expense, and I certainly don't want to come across as ungracious.  :-\

ETA, to answer some questions: They do get a meal plan at Disney, though I am not very familiar with it/what it entails. And they always drink water, so that's not a concern.
put this way, I think you can ask him. Let's say that they will be eating at fast food places - tell him that whatever he chooses for DS's meal is fine (It's probably best that your son will eat more or less what his cousins are eating), but if possible you would prefer that DS drinks milk or water and not juice, or has apple slices instead of fries.

Or if they eat at a restaurant, ask him to order a side of salad or brocolli with "whatever everyone else is eating".

And maybe send some healthy snacks/Kashi/string cheese/little peanut butter cups etc with them (enough to share) so that will cover at least some nutrients.

If my brother had offered to take my three year olds son to disney, I wouldn't worry too much about one week of not-the-best food.

Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: TootsNYC on March 28, 2013, 01:45:17 PM
Of course you can!

Of course you can pass on your Care and Feeding Instructions about your children to the people who will have charge of him. You *should* give info on things like when or if he needs to nap, whether he needs full darkness to get a good night's sleep, how to tell that he's hungry early enough to do something about it, etc.


But I would suggest that you don't say "Please be sure to order him something healthy and not junky." And don't say, of course, "don't order him the junky food you guys usually eat."

Instead say, "Son likes broccoli and grilled chicken, and he likes Other Healthy Food as well." Tell them that HE LIKES to get some vegetables in every day.

Tell them that his "system" does best when he gets these sorts of foods--some vegetables every day, for his "elimination" system. And a minimum of high-sodium foods so he doesn't get heartburn or something.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Judah on March 28, 2013, 01:59:05 PM

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.

I agree. I just don't think you can ask your brother to do this, other than a casual "make sure he eats his vegetables!" How will your son react to being told he must eat grilled chicken and broccoli while watching his cousins eat chicken fingers and fries? I know how my own 3-year-old would react and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, much less my kind and generous brother. And it's definitely not fair to expect the whole family to change their diet so your son won't feel left out, whether or not you approve of their choices.

One week of a not-so-healthy diet will not give your son heart disease, and a 3-year-old is capable of understanding that vacations have different "rules" and he will go back to his normal diet when he gets home.

This. I used to leave my kids with my sister all the time when they were little. One of the things they remember most about their stays with Aunt Jenny is that she always let them have dessert before their dinner.  I would never have allowed that, but staying with Aunt Jenny was special, with special rules. And it turned into a cherished memory for them.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: SiotehCat on March 28, 2013, 02:06:00 PM

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.

I agree. I just don't think you can ask your brother to do this, other than a casual "make sure he eats his vegetables!" How will your son react to being told he must eat grilled chicken and broccoli while watching his cousins eat chicken fingers and fries? I know how my own 3-year-old would react and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, much less my kind and generous brother. And it's definitely not fair to expect the whole family to change their diet so your son won't feel left out, whether or not you approve of their choices.

One week of a not-so-healthy diet will not give your son heart disease, and a 3-year-old is capable of understanding that vacations have different "rules" and he will go back to his normal diet when he gets home.

This. I used to leave my kids with my sister all the time when they were little. One of the things they remember most about their stays with Aunt Jenny is that she always let them have dessert before their dinner.  I would never have allowed that, but staying with Aunt Jenny was special, with special rules. And it turned into a cherished memory for them.

When my niece was a year old, my sister went to Vegas for 5 days. On the day before her trip, she came to drop off my nieces things and left me a sheet with all kinds of rules.

Things like, bed/nap times, no sweets, no coffee, etc... It was a page long. I thought it was so cute, but told her that , in all honesty, Im probably not going to follow any of them. My niece is 12 now and I am still the cool aunt.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Sharnita on March 28, 2013, 02:09:34 PM
The meal plans are actually great because it makes it a lot easier.  You might even ask your brother if he has made reservations at any of the restaurants - people frequently make them ahead of time.  You can look at the menus online.  If i remember correctly they will get either two meals and a "snack" or three meals and a "snack".  Snack is in quotes because you can get a piece of fruit from the hotel restaurant or a huge muffin or ...

I think you can probably get an idea of the options available by looking at the menus online.  And I do think that a week of any kind of dietary change could be problematic.  If you suddenly switched from a high fiber diet to a low fiber diet you could be unhappy (or vice versa). Changing DS's diet could actually affect his ability to fully enjoy himself.

Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: rose red on March 28, 2013, 02:17:16 PM
Having fun on vacation like eating dessert before dinner is one thing, but junk food for every meal for an entire week can't be good, if only because junk food is addicting and the parents will need to retrain his eating after the trip.  Some junk food is fun, but there can be compromises like a hamburger with apple slices, chicken fingers with a side of veggies, etc.  Also, not all kids like junk food.  My friend's daughter always order sandwich with a side of fruit or applesauce, while her sister always orders chicken fingers with french fries.  They order their own food even at three years old.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: WillyNilly on March 28, 2013, 02:24:13 PM
I definitely think you should mention to your brother what your child likes. My cousin's (4 years) egg loves eggs, spinach, and apples. Refined sugar does bad things to him (really high sugar high, really cranky crash later). Knowing that makes it easier to keep him happy when out and about - its easier to give the kid an apple then an ice cream cone: he might pout a bit about it at the time but its much less annoying then the tantrum the sugar crash causes later.

I also wonder if you could do something like send a big fruit and cheese basket to their hotel room. Its a deluxe wonderful thing for them (who wouldn't delight in receiving a big fruit basket while on vacation?!?!), its not too expensive (in comparison to them taking your kid on vacation) and it means they will have healthy, easy to throw in their bag at the beginning of the day or eat as a snack after returning, fruit on hand.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: doodlemor on March 28, 2013, 02:26:37 PM
Relax, CakeBeret.  You've already instilled good eating habits in your son, and a week of other stuff is not going to cause harm.

I was very careful, like you are, when my children were small and I was the person cooking for them.  Once they went to school it was harder to  control their diets, and they

The early habits won out, though.  Now that my kids are adults they both eat nutritiously by choice.  Desserts can sit around for days, and not get eaten, to my great surprise.

Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: amylouky on March 28, 2013, 02:40:04 PM
This is a tough one, because a dietary change like that really could affect your DS's health and enjoyment of the trip. OTOH, I can see where you don't want to seem to be preaching to your brother about the way he feeds his kids.
I'd approach it as a food tolerance thing.. maybe say that DS gets belly problems if he eats more than one fried/processed/whatever meal a day. I know with my DS who is also 3, that would be completely the truth. He loves veggies and fruit and will pick an orange over a cupcake. If he eats too much sugar or fatty/fried foods in his diet, he'll get hyper/cranky from the sugar, the fat will give him a tummy ache or worse.. potty problems. And who wants to be on vacation with a hyper 3 year old who is crying from a tummy ache??
It is good that they have the meal plan, hopefully that will keep it from being an added expense.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 28, 2013, 02:41:58 PM
Podding Doodlemor.  While my older 2 boys like some junk food and sweets now and then, they also like their vegetables and I must admit, sometimes they're better at eating their veggies than I am.  They're pretty good at selecting healthy food at a restaurant.  My eldest even will order an entree salad for himself and polish it off.   He's liked salads ever since the first fistful he snatched from my bowl when he was a little over a year old. 

So sometimes kids are pretty good about eating healthy food when they've learned that healthy food can be tasty too.  All three of them love yogurt and applesauce.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: WillyNilly on March 28, 2013, 02:45:40 PM
This is a tough one, because a dietary change like that really could affect your DS's health and enjoyment of the trip. OTOH, I can see where you don't want to seem to be preaching to your brother about the way he feeds his kids.
I'd approach it as a food tolerance thing.. maybe say that DS gets belly problems if he eats more than one fried/processed/whatever meal a day. I know with my DS who is also 3, that would be completely the truth. He loves veggies and fruit and will pick an orange over a cupcake. If he eats too much sugar or fatty/fried foods in his diet, he'll get hyper/cranky from the sugar, the fat will give him a tummy ache or worse.. potty problems. And who wants to be on vacation with a hyper 3 year old who is crying from a tummy ache??
It is good that they have the meal plan, hopefully that will keep it from being an added expense.

^ Now that I think about it, I remember when I was a wee child and my parents would take vacations we would drive several hours to get there. At first my parents were ok with me having friend food at lunch stops - it was vacation splurge a bit. But we all figured out pretty soon through trial and error that greasy fried foods would cause me to get motion sick on the second leg of that long drive.

Disney is a lot of motion (rides). And no one likes a puking kid. Advising your brother on non-greasy food choices need not only be about your kid's diet but also just about everyone's enjoyment!
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Docslady21 on March 28, 2013, 02:58:29 PM
My son, age 3, is going to Disney sometime this year with my brother and his kids. My brother invited DS and is paying all his expenses.

My only concern with this trip is that Bro and his kids eat a lot of junk food and I don't want my son eating corn dogs and potato chips for an entire week straight. DH and I agree that we don't mind the occasional junk food, but we also want our son to have nutritious food on the trip too. So if they are grabbing lunch from a hot dog stand, that's fine, but if they are eating at a restaurant I'd like them to order DS something non-fried and with vegetables.

(My son is not a picky eater at all--he loves hot dogs and will choose to eat them if given a choice, but he will also eat grilled chicken and broccoli if that's what is put in front of him.)

Is there a polite way to ask my brother to make some healthy choices for DS, or is that out of line? I know that if we ask, Bro will abide by our wishes, but I'm not sure if it would be terribly wrong to ask. How can we phrase it without coming off preachy or judgmental? To be honest, I don't think my husband will let DS go on the trip if we don't talk to Bro about food choices, so it will come down to either talking to Bro or not sending DS at all.

When people invite my children places at their expense, I try to make it as simple and carefree as possible because I am grateful for their hospitality. That means I don't determine bedtimes, food choices, or schedules. If I don't like their style, I don't send the kids. But I don't do anything that makes life harder for people doing my family a kind deed.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: rose red on March 28, 2013, 03:11:48 PM
When people invite my children places at their expense, I try to make it as simple and carefree as possible because I am grateful for their hospitality. That means I don't determine bedtimes, food choices, or schedules. If I don't like their style, I don't send the kids. But I don't do anything that makes life harder for people doing my family a kind deed.

But isn't it easier to ask them to order a side of veggies with the meal than dealing with a potential meltdown or stomach issues by eating junk food all week long?  If asked ahead of time and the brother says that's too complicated, then they can keep the child home.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Oh Joy on March 28, 2013, 03:15:14 PM
Relax, CakeBeret.  You've already instilled good eating habits in your son, and a week of other stuff is not going to cause harm.

I was very careful, like you are, when my children were small and I was the person cooking for them.  Once they went to school it was harder to  control their diets, and they

The early habits won out, though.  Now that my kids are adults they both eat nutritiously by choice.  Desserts can sit around for days, and not get eaten, to my great surprise.

(Just using your post as an example, doodlemor, not picking on you specifically)

It sounds like our OP doesn't need any convincing that this trip won't ruin DS's chances at future health, but she's juggling DH's concerns as well, KWIM?
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Zilla on March 28, 2013, 03:19:28 PM
There's no nice way to say it to bro without sounding judgey of his choices.  Sure you can say, "Kid likes grilled chicken and broccoli" and he will note that.


Then when it's time to order from the picture kid menu, what is your kid going to point at?  That's where bro will just "spoil" him that week and let him eat what he wants.  And will your son eat his healthy stuff while his cousins are all enjoying the foods they want?


I agree with others, let him have a week or not send him.  If you do send him, I would just mention that you try to include a veggie with every meal and hope they remember.  But not sweat it if they don't.  You can also send along a bag of healthy snacks for him to eat on the run to help cut down on the junk food intake.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: rigs32 on March 28, 2013, 03:43:41 PM
Allearsnet.com has menus for all the disney restaurants.  Talk to your brother about where they plan to eat and perhaps suggest meals that will go over well with your son (both as to taste and health).
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: CakeBeret on March 28, 2013, 03:51:46 PM
Okay, would this be a fair compromise?

-Tell Brother that Son behaves best when he doesn't have too much sugar (which is very very true) and will get tummy troubles if he doesn't get enough veggies
-Send along some homemade granola bars (made with applesauce, shredded apple, and raisins) that the whole family can take for snacks
-Send a fruit basket to their hotel room (love this idea!)
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: camlan on March 28, 2013, 03:57:29 PM
I sometimes take care of my nephew (8) and niece (12) for up to a week at a time. My SIL, their mom, is very careful about what they eat, cooking everything from scratch and really limiting candy and sweets. When I first started taking care of the kids, I was asking her about nearly every meal.

Now that I have a better feel for what she wants and now that she knows I won't be stuffing the kids with candy to keep them quiet, these are the rules that we've come up with:

There will be one meal of hot dogs, mac & cheese from a box, and peas. This is their all-time favorite meal.

The kids will be taken out for ice cream one or two times.

The kids will be given at least one fruit and one vegetable daily. (Although I don't promise they will eat it. I am not forcing the kids to eat anything. Fortunately, they eat pretty much anything I put in front of them.)

We will bake one batch of cookies and the kids will get to eat some. (The rest go home with them as a present for Mom and Dad.)

The kids will get one piece of candy every day, after lunch, from Great-Grandma's candy bowl. This is a family tradition, starting with my grandmother.

Because my niece gets very cranky if she doesn't eat at regular intervals, SIL provides a big bag of healthy snacks for both kids.

So, I'd come up with some minimal requirements for your son's meals, like one fruit and one vegetable per day, and limited sweets. If there's anything that would make your brother's life easier, like "He needs to eat every three hours or he throws massive temper tantrums," or "If he eats too much greasy food, he'll throw up," please tell your brother that, as well. Send him off with a big bag of healthy snacks.

If that's not enough for your DH's peace of mind, then maybe he shouldn't go.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Eden on March 28, 2013, 04:04:57 PM
Okay, would this be a fair compromise?

-Tell Brother that Son behaves best when he doesn't have too much sugar (which is very very true) and will get tummy troubles if he doesn't get enough veggies
-Send along some homemade granola bars (made with applesauce, shredded apple, and raisins) that the whole family can take for snacks
-Send a fruit basket to their hotel room (love this idea!)

Yes, I'd say especially if you're super casual about it. "Have a great time! Here are some snacks for you guys. BTW, brother, since Son is used to pretty healthy foods, you may want to be careful not to let him go too crazy with sugar and junk food or you may end up with a sick little one on your hands."
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Bottlecaps on March 28, 2013, 04:09:48 PM
Okay, would this be a fair compromise?

-Tell Brother that Son behaves best when he doesn't have too much sugar (which is very very true) and will get tummy troubles if he doesn't get enough veggies
-Send along some homemade granola bars (made with applesauce, shredded apple, and raisins) that the whole family can take for snacks
-Send a fruit basket to their hotel room (love this idea!)

That sounds totally fair since you're willing to pop for some of the healthy stuff, and I'm assuming that if your brother is offering your son an all-expense-paid trip to Disney, your relationship with him is good enough that he will understand your dietary concerns for your son. In all honesty, I'm sure he'll be grateful you gave him the heads up about sugar highs and tummy troubles. If you didn't, for all we know he could bring him back saying, "I wish you would have told me he turns into a terror when you give him too much sugar!" :-P

Also, by sending some of said healthy foods along, it shows that you're not being pushy or overly-demanding, you're willing to provide some of that healthy stuff, and that you're OK with him having the occasional treat but you don't want treats to comprise all of his intake for a whole week. Who knows? Maybe your brother's kids will return with an appreciation for granola bars and fruit too. :)
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 28, 2013, 04:14:06 PM
If I were your brother I would appreciate you giving me some guidance on what your 3 year old usually eats. If his kids are older he might not even remember what 3 year olds like to eat. I'd just include it in any other instructions.  Shoot, I would want a list of care instructions. Not given as "don't feed my kid junk food and make sure he gets 12 hours of sleep every night" but tips and tricks on how everyone can have the best experience.

Also, as mentioned before, a week of all fried food when your son isn't used to it could create some tummy problems for him.

This is what I'd say to one of my siblings taking my kids.

Bro, thanks for taking Jr.  He is so excited. Just so you know. He normally sleeps through the night and doesn't have any accidents, but if he drank anything within an hour before going to sleep, you might want to wake him up before you go to sleep to use the bathroom just to make sure there are no problems. Also, if he starts dancing while your in line somewhere, don't ask if he needs to go to the bathroom, just get him there before it's too late.
Also, his not used to eating a lot of fried foods, so when you get a chance, I'd suggest substituting apple slices for fries. That way he won't end up with any upset stomachs.  If he's eaten a lot of fried foods or sweets during the day, you might want to go with something like grilled chicken and steamed veggies for dinner or even just a burger on a bun with lettuce. He really isn't a picky eater at all and I'd hate for him to get an upset tummy and ruin any of your time at the park.
And one last thing, he LOVES Goofy and will probably scream your ears off when he sees him. But he is scared of Mickey for some really odd reason so if he bursts out crying, don't worry, just get him away from him.

You are the most awesome brother and I love your kids too for wanting to take Jr along.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Docslady21 on March 28, 2013, 04:47:22 PM
When people invite my children places at their expense, I try to make it as simple and carefree as possible because I am grateful for their hospitality. That means I don't determine bedtimes, food choices, or schedules. If I don't like their style, I don't send the kids. But I don't do anything that makes life harder for people doing my family a kind deed.

But isn't it easier to ask them to order a side of veggies with the meal than dealing with a potential meltdown or stomach issues by eating junk food all week long?  If asked ahead of time and the brother says that's too complicated, then they can keep the child home.

No, not at all--if it's phrased as, "It would be nice, but it's not a requirement." Best plans usually go to heck at 11 p.m. when you're driving back to the hotel and Wendy's is right there. Or if the line is about 10 miles long at the restaurant and you can hit the corndog guy way faster. Or, heck, if you just want to treat the darn kids to cotton candy at 2 p.m., snow cones at 7, and ice cream on the way home because it's vacation after all! =) I don't like limiting people watching my kids for things like food, or bedtime. Walking in downtown Chicago at 2 a.m. with no supervision? No. Chicken strips every meal for 7 days? Meh. The kids will be grateful to eat healthy after that! It doesn't hurt to ask, but the way the husband is saying: food our way or he doesn't go (the impression I got) is what makes me feel like this is more than a simple "please try".
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: CakeEater on March 28, 2013, 05:11:53 PM
If I was making this kid of request, I would phrase it in a way to let borther know that I knew it was an inconvenience for him, and that I was asking a favour.

'I know it's a huge pain, but DS really needs a few serves of fruit and veggies a day to keep his tummy happy, so can I ask you to try to give him a meal like that every day? I'll send along xyz foods for you all to share if that would be helpful?'
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Brisvegasgal on March 28, 2013, 05:21:37 PM
Just a thought.  In the original post you've said that your brother's family don't eat healthily.  How do you know?  There are some people I know who probably think that too based on what they see our kids eat because when we go out or to a BBQ we have treats.  This also applies to when we have visitors - we have yummy desserts and soft drink at dinner when that's not the norm.

I think that you need to let it go as I can't think of a polite way of saying what you want to say without sounding preachy and potentially insulting your brother and they way he parents.  If this is such a big ticket item for you then I think you should keep your son home.  Your brother has kids and probably remembers what it was like to look after a little one also the first time your son has a tummy upset (if he has one at all) then he will deal with it.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Cami on March 28, 2013, 05:23:26 PM
If they are getting the Disney Dining Plan, please understand how the DDP works and check the Disney menus before you make any requests of your brother. As I recall -- and of course, it could have changed -- a kid HAD to order off the kid menu. No substitutions. I know they've been adding healthier kids' choices on the menus, but it's also been a complaint for years that the kids' food on the DDP largely consists of hot dogs, chicken tenders, frieds, mac and cheese and pb&j. So before you ask your brother to make healthy choices, ascertain that kid menu healthy choices are actually available at Disney restaurants.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: SPuck on March 28, 2013, 05:42:11 PM
Instead of mentioning anything about their health, or feeling like you don't trust your brother to feed your son right, you might want to take the approach of telling your brother your son should have X number of certain kinds of food during the week or y will happen.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 28, 2013, 06:53:31 PM
I liked your update, OP and feel that works best.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Dr. F. on March 28, 2013, 06:59:31 PM
If I were your brother I would appreciate you giving me some guidance on what your 3 year old usually eats. If his kids are older he might not even remember what 3 year olds like to eat. I'd just include it in any other instructions.  Shoot, I would want a list of care instructions. Not given as "don't feed my kid junk food and make sure he gets 12 hours of sleep every night" but tips and tricks on how everyone can have the best experience.

Also, as mentioned before, a week of all fried food when your son isn't used to it could create some tummy problems for him.

This is what I'd say to one of my siblings taking my kids.

Bro, thanks for taking Jr.  He is so excited. Just so you know. He normally sleeps through the night and doesn't have any accidents, but if he drank anything within an hour before going to sleep, you might want to wake him up before you go to sleep to use the bathroom just to make sure there are no problems. Also, if he starts dancing while your in line somewhere, don't ask if he needs to go to the bathroom, just get him there before it's too late.
Also, his not used to eating a lot of fried foods, so when you get a chance, I'd suggest substituting apple slices for fries. That way he won't end up with any upset stomachs.  If he's eaten a lot of fried foods or sweets during the day, you might want to go with something like grilled chicken and steamed veggies for dinner or even just a burger on a bun with lettuce. He really isn't a picky eater at all and I'd hate for him to get an upset tummy and ruin any of your time at the park.
And one last thing, he LOVES Goofy and will probably scream your ears off when he sees him. But he is scared of Mickey for some really odd reason so if he bursts out crying, don't worry, just get him away from him.

You are the most awesome brother and I love your kids too for wanting to take Jr along.

THIS IS *BRILLIANT*!
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: kudeebee on March 28, 2013, 09:08:22 PM
OP, I think you have come up with a good way to talk to brother and like the idea of sending some snacks with them.

On sending a fruit basket, my question would be this:  would bro and family think "Oh, this is so nice of aunt to do, these will be great to take along, eat at night" or will it be "Oh, great, now what the heck are we going to do with this?  Where are we going to put it?"  Will they eat the fruit or will it likely end up getting thrown out?  Fruit can be hard to take along, get bruised or soft.  Some people don't mess with taking along backpacks and snacks, they just buy at the park.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: *inviteseller on March 29, 2013, 12:02:00 AM
The problem is, while your brothers kids will be eating the junk, if your brother listens, your son will be getting different foods and a 3 yr old is going to wonder why he can't have the fun stuff.  You can ask your brother to make sure your son gets something healthy everyday (fruit, yogurt ect) but either you will have to accept that he will be eating vacation food on vacation, or keep him home.  And i say this as a mom who battles my wonderful sister about her alwys buying my DD's fast food to the point I refused to let her order for her at a  drive thru when I was with her and said if she kept over riding me, she wouldn't get to take the kids anywhere.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: cicero on March 29, 2013, 02:08:53 AM
The problem is, while your brothers kids will be eating the junk, if your brother listens, your son will be getting different foods and a 3 yr old is going to wonder why he can't have the fun stuff.  You can ask your brother to make sure your son gets something healthy everyday (fruit, yogurt ect) but either you will have to accept that he will be eating vacation food on vacation, or keep him home.  And i say this as a mom who battles my wonderful sister about her alwys buying my DD's fast food to the point I refused to let her order for her at a  drive thru when I was with her and said if she kept over riding me, she wouldn't get to take the kids anywhere.
Actually not exactly. First of all the op says that her ds is used to the healthier stuff so he may not even see it as as punishment. And second, she isn't saying 'you can feed your kids hot dogs and fries, just make sure D's eats grilled organic chicken breast and quinoa-broccoli pilaf', she is saying 'if you getting them hot dogs for lunch could you offer D's the apple slices and not the fries? Thanks, it's so much easier on his tummy.'

As I'm reading this thread I remember when D's was little and we would visit my in laws. There would be tons of other grandchildren around (D's has probably a dozen first cousins around his age on that side) and they would all eat bread with chocolate spread for breakfast. Shudder. D's would get bread with cheese or tuna or some other protein.but they were all eating together, and it appeared to be very similar. It didn't bother him so long as he was eating something that was familiar to him.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: *inviteseller on March 29, 2013, 09:35:35 AM
The problem is, in any amusement park or family type resorts, it is hard to find food for kids that isn't junky (I hate kids menus) so while your brother may try to follow your sons dietary needs, it can be difficult.  My friends always invited my older DD to go for their weekly vacation to Ocean City, but I didn't send her til she was a bit older and one of those reasons is because of their dietary habits.  I have never seen either of their 2 kids eat anything other than pizza or chicken nuggets.  When she finally went with them when she was 11, they were amazed when they went to dinner every night that my DD ordered 'real' meals, salad, baked not fried entrees, vegetables.  They asked me why she had weird eating habits  ::).  You can try to talk to your son about choices now, but I think that just telling your brother that he may get ill from too much greasy or junk food as he is used to vegetables and healthier choices is the best option you have and hope that it can be accomplished. 
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Sharnita on March 29, 2013, 09:44:52 AM
Looked at the menu at the 50's cafe which is a Disney favorite and this is one of the things on the kids menu.

Grilled Fish of the Day - served with whole-grain pilaf, green beans and carrots, and yogurt parfait

I know not every single place at Disney offers stuff like this but I think more than the typical amusement park.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: MrTango on March 29, 2013, 09:51:25 AM
Yes, I'd say especially if you're super casual about it. "Have a great time! Here are some snacks for you guys. BTW, brother, since Son is used to pretty healthy foods, you may want to be careful not to let him go too crazy with sugar and junk food or you may end up with a sick little one on your hands."

This is probably the best way to do it.  Sudden changes of diet can really mess with a person, especially a kid.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Sharnita on March 29, 2013, 09:57:27 AM
A couple other examples from places I know my niece and nephew have enjoyed eating at:

The Sci-Fi drive in: Meaty Macaroni - ground turkey with marinara sauce, topped with mozzarella served with green beans and carrots and fruit salad

The Kona: Grilled Shrimp Skewers- served with mixed greens with fruit and almonds, and vegetable rice pilaf; fruit salad
 

 There are definitely places to get really good, really healthy, really well cooked food for kids at Disney.  These are just a few.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: whatsanenigma on March 29, 2013, 10:23:44 AM
Yes, I'd say especially if you're super casual about it. "Have a great time! Here are some snacks for you guys. BTW, brother, since Son is used to pretty healthy foods, you may want to be careful not to let him go too crazy with sugar and junk food or you may end up with a sick little one on your hands."

This is probably the best way to do it.  Sudden changes of diet can really mess with a person, especially a kid.

I like this approach but I would make one little change.  I wouldn't use the words "healthy" or "junk".  I would instead offer specific examples.  You could say he is used to getting vegetables at every meal and doesn't usually eat much candy or chips, that kind of thing.  Subtle, but characterizing the foods might make it seem judgemental and more off putting than you intend.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: CoryanderX on March 29, 2013, 11:15:14 AM
It seems to me (as a WDW fan who was last there in October) that Disney is trying so hard to make their meals (relatively) healthier that this shouldn't be that much of an issue. For example, at the Pecos Bill Cafe at Disney World, the kids' meal is: "Hamburger, Turkey sandwich or PB&J - All meals include choice of two side items: grapes, carrot sticks, or applesauce and choice of beverage: 1% milk, small bottled water, or apple juice. Chocolate Chip Cookie, French fries and soda available upon request." I think that's pretty typical. So, while they COULD still feed your son cookies and French fries and soda, it's not like it'd be any kind of burden for them to just order for him from the standard menu.

Another thing I remember is that at Pizza Planet in Disney's Hollywood Studios, you HAD to get a Caesar salad with your individual pizza. They wouldn't let you pay the same price and just not get the salad. At least, that's according to my boyfriend, who ordered for us while I was in the bathroom, and who knew I wouldn't be eating a bite of that salad.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: EllenS on March 29, 2013, 12:03:30 PM
Yes, I'd say especially if you're super casual about it. "Have a great time! Here are some snacks for you guys. BTW, brother, since Son is used to pretty healthy foods, you may want to be careful not to let him go too crazy with sugar and junk food or you may end up with a sick little one on your hands."

This is probably the best way to do it.  Sudden changes of diet can really mess with a person, especially a kid.

I like this approach but I would make one little change.  I wouldn't use the words "healthy" or "junk".  I would instead offer specific examples.  You could say he is used to getting vegetables at every meal and doesn't usually eat much candy or chips, that kind of thing.  Subtle, but characterizing the foods might make it seem judgemental and more off putting than you intend.

I agree with being careful about sounding judgy, and making sure it is based around DS' health.  Your brother loves DS, obviously.  I use this with my dad about my kids, and it is helping.  "Please make sure he has some fruit or veggies at each meal, or he will get backed up and have a stomach ache."  Especially at such a young age, constipation can also increase the chance of a poopy pants incident.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Take2 on March 31, 2013, 10:57:38 PM
My brother thinks my kids' diet is oddly healthy. And he loves to spoil them.

But even at age 3, my kids would request what they like. So if you asked about fries or apples, they'd take the fries, but if you asked nuggets or turkey sandwich they'd go for the sandwich, and heaven help you if you tried to give them juice instead of milk or water to drink.

And yeah, my brother likes to spoil the kids, but he doesn't want to deal with aftermath. So I would just say "Hey, can you try to keep Junior to non-fried foods whenever you can, please. If he gets fried food more than once a day, he gets digestive issues. I would hate for you to have to deal with that at an amusement park! I know there will be more sweet treats than usual at Disney, and that's fine. But you may want to give him smaller helpings and make sure he gets as much fiber as it's convenient to feed him. Again, extra sugar has caused digestive stuff before. His tummy just isn't used to it. He isn't picky at all, so I am sure he will happily eat the fruit and veggies and grilled options, when they are available."

Then my brother would roll his eyes at me, confirm with Junior that he really likes grilled chicken and fish, and give the child two times the amount of sugar I'd be comfortable with...which is about half of what he would have given if I hadn't mentioned it.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Promise on March 31, 2013, 11:17:46 PM
Eating junk food for one week isn't going to "hurt" him. I'd lighten up about it. If you've raised him on wholesome food and he likes some healthy things, have a talk to the family taking him just asking them to be sure to include vegetables at each meal or some such thing - have veggies on pizza if ordered, etc. Honestly, it's not so bad. He'll go back to his regular diet when he comes home. Offer to provide snacks for everyone to pack for their day packs in the park. Pack bags of mini carrots, cookies you make, etc. But again, don't make a bigger deal than it needs to be. Let him enjoy a week's vacation from health. We all do it. I take a week off of exercising. During the holidays I eat lots of crap but Jan 1 starts me back on my regular habits. Kids need that freedom too.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: cicero on April 01, 2013, 01:06:45 AM
Interestingly enough, after reading this thread I took a look at some of the children menus at WDW and boy- things have changed since I was there last . a lot healthier choices are available now, in some cases the default sides for kids are apple slices or grapes and they offer 1% milk or water as beverage. You can get the fries or juice as well but you have to ask. And some places offer interesting choices beyond burgers or Mac n cheese, such as quinoa salad, grilled chicken, etc.so it shouldn't actually be too much of a hardship to get healthy ( or helthIER) choices for your son
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Roe on April 01, 2013, 06:55:21 AM
It's quite easy for a child to eat relatively healthy while at Disney. (ie: Sharnita's posts)

OP, if you are truly worried about the kids menu options, you could pay the difference and upgrade your son to a regular adult menu. This will work only if they are on the DDP, otherwise, just give your son more money so he can choose from the regular menu.

Otherwise, I say let him have fun!  I'm sure he will eat a combo of good food mixed in with some treats.  If his tummy starts to hurt, I'm sure (assuming your brother recognizes the signs) your brother will make sure he eats better or has less candy.

Our kids continue to eat healthy while at Disney as they make it pretty easy to do so.  Disney is not your typical theme park. 

I also think your latest update is a good way to go!  Sending a fruit basket is a good idea.  It'll be a nice surprise for your brother and his family and a good way to get your son to eat the fruit.  I'm sure his cousins will want to eat the special fruit basket fruit too!  :) 
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: shygirl on April 01, 2013, 07:07:00 AM
My son, age 3, is going to Disney sometime this year with my brother and his kids. My brother invited DS and is paying all his expenses.

My only concern with this trip is that Bro and his kids eat a lot of junk food and I don't want my son eating corn dogs and potato chips for an entire week straight. DH and I agree that we don't mind the occasional junk food, but we also want our son to have nutritious food on the trip too. So if they are grabbing lunch from a hot dog stand, that's fine, but if they are eating at a restaurant I'd like them to order DS something non-fried and with vegetables.

(My son is not a picky eater at all--he loves hot dogs and will choose to eat them if given a choice, but he will also eat grilled chicken and broccoli if that's what is put in front of him.)

Is there a polite way to ask my brother to make some healthy choices for DS, or is that out of line? I know that if we ask, Bro will abide by our wishes, but I'm not sure if it would be terribly wrong to ask. How can we phrase it without coming off preachy or judgmental? To be honest, I don't think my husband will let DS go on the trip if we don't talk to Bro about food choices, so it will come down to either talking to Bro or not sending DS at all.

When people invite my children places at their expense, I try to make it as simple and carefree as possible because I am grateful for their hospitality. That means I don't determine bedtimes, food choices, or schedules. If I don't like their style, I don't send the kids. But I don't do anything that makes life harder for people doing my family a kind deed.

One reason I might say something, at least about bedtimes/schedules, is that my son (almost 3 years old) is a complete monster when he doesn't get enough sleep, or has a late nap.  He absolutely needs a nap in the afternoon, or the rest of your day is going to be miserable.  I guess if the other family wants to deal with a tantrumming toddler for hours on end, they can.  But I would definitely tell them about his need for a nap.  Same idea goes for eating habits.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: whatsanenigma on April 01, 2013, 07:53:04 AM

One reason I might say something, at least about bedtimes/schedules, is that my son (almost 3 years old) is a complete monster when he doesn't get enough sleep, or has a late nap.  He absolutely needs a nap in the afternoon, or the rest of your day is going to be miserable.  I guess if the other family wants to deal with a tantrumming toddler for hours on end, they can.  But I would definitely tell them about his need for a nap.  Same idea goes for eating habits.

This is the angle I agree with myself.  Sure, vacations are a time to relax, to not worry as much about food and such.  And there is the factor of not wanting to put anyone out, to go to extra effort-meaning, one doesn't want to be a special snowflake, and one wants to appriciate the hospitality as offered and not be impolite by saying anything that sounds like critisism.

However, shygirl and others have made the very good point that a drastic alteration of diet might upset the child's stomach and make him sick.  I think this would be true even if it were the reverse, if he ordinarily ate junk food and suddenly were given vegetables.  And the child being sick from different foods, or reluctant to eat at all what is offered to him due to it being not what he is used to, that would likely cause far more problems than politely informing the hosts about his usual diet and other relevant habits, such as bedtime.

This situation isn't as strong as for example, the child were a type one diabetic or had celiac disease or another such thing, but the general principle applies, I think.  The hosts need and want information to take care of the child properly, and even for an otherwise healthy child, this includes diet.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Sharnita on April 01, 2013, 08:25:08 AM
I don't really see how it would cause anybody "extra" touble in this case.  Because it is a mela plan a kids meal is equal to any other kids meal, regardless of cost on the menu so all you would do is say "grilled chicken and geen beans" instead of "corn dog and french fries".
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 02, 2013, 02:18:02 PM
DH, DS and I eat a pretty healthy diet.  The first time we took DS to WDW he was 5.  Even then they had a pretty wide variety of children's choices because they are dealing with customers from all over the world.  It wouldn't hurt to mention to your brother that if your DS eats a lot of fried things he has tummy troubles (my DS did).  There are also a lot of buffet type restaurants where there are abundant choices.  We had two incidents with DS that really surprised people.

He was behaving particularly well one day at Epcot so I said I would buy him a treat.  We went into a bakery and he asked for a fresh fruit cup.  People raised an eyebrow at that one.  It's what he wanted so that's what I bought.

Our last night there we went to the Hoop-de-Do Review.  They served family style and the menu was fried chicken, BBQ ribs, corn bread, baked beans and corn on the cob with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  DS didn't like strawberry shortcake so our waiter brought out a MM shaped ice cream bar for him.  DS looked at him and, very seriously said "No thank you.  Can I have more chicken?".  The waiter had worked there 30 years and had never had a kid refuse dessert.

So your DS may automatically gravitate toward the food he is used to eating.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: wyliefool on April 03, 2013, 07:42:07 AM
Okay, would this be a fair compromise?

-Tell Brother that Son behaves best when he doesn't have too much sugar (which is very very true) and will get tummy troubles if he doesn't get enough veggies
-Send along some homemade granola bars (made with applesauce, shredded apple, and raisins) that the whole family can take for snacks
-Send a fruit basket to their hotel room (love this idea!)

OT--recipe please? That sounds awesome! I'm so tired of store-bought granola bars!!
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: CakeBeret on April 03, 2013, 09:04:46 AM
OT--recipe please? That sounds awesome! I'm so tired of store-bought granola bars!!

I use this recipe as a starting point: http://happyhealthymama.com/2012/11/apple-peanut-butter-snack-bars.html

I always double the recipe. I'm not a fan of honey, so I sub unsweetened applesauce and add a small amount of sugar. At some point I plan to experiment with adding some shredded zucchini. I usually add raisins, walnuts, or chocolate chips, or some combination of those. Chocolate chip and walnut is divine!
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: wyliefool on April 03, 2013, 10:50:48 AM
OT--recipe please? That sounds awesome! I'm so tired of store-bought granola bars!!

I use this recipe as a starting point: http://happyhealthymama.com/2012/11/apple-peanut-butter-snack-bars.html

I always double the recipe. I'm not a fan of honey, so I sub unsweetened applesauce and add a small amount of sugar. At some point I plan to experiment with adding some shredded zucchini. I usually add raisins, walnuts, or chocolate chips, or some combination of those. Chocolate chip and walnut is divine!

Thanks!  8)
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 03, 2013, 01:52:37 PM

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.

I agree. I just don't think you can ask your brother to do this, other than a casual "make sure he eats his vegetables!" How will your son react to being told he must eat grilled chicken and broccoli while watching his cousins eat chicken fingers and fries? I know how my own 3-year-old would react and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, much less my kind and generous brother. And it's definitely not fair to expect the whole family to change their diet so your son won't feel left out, whether or not you approve of their choices.

One week of a not-so-healthy diet will not give your son heart disease, and a 3-year-old is capable of understanding that vacations have different "rules" and he will go back to his normal diet when he gets home.

This. I used to leave my kids with my sister all the time when they were little. One of the things they remember most about their stays with Aunt Jenny is that she always let them have dessert before their dinner.  I would never have allowed that, but staying with Aunt Jenny was special, with special rules. And it turned into a cherished memory for them.

When my niece was a year old, my sister went to Vegas for 5 days. On the day before her trip, she came to drop off my nieces things and left me a sheet with all kinds of rules.

Things like, bed/nap times, no sweets, no coffee, etc... It was a page long. I thought it was so cute, but told her that , in all honesty, Im probably not going to follow any of them. My niece is 12 now and I am still the cool aunt.

She gave you a single page of instructions, and you weren't willing to put the toddler down for a nap/bedtime at the times requested, or avoid giving her coffee?  And the "cute" comment seems sort of patronizing.  I hope that you let her know ahead of time (so that she could make other arrangements if it was important to her) that you weren't willing to follow her instructions for her child, because it seems that her decision to keep her child on her normal schedule and have her fed foods that are in her usual diet is more important than your desire to be the "cool aunt."
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: SiotehCat on April 03, 2013, 01:59:08 PM

I understand wanting to control what your son eats, but I don't think you should ask your brother to order something different from what he is feeding his children.

I agree. I just don't think you can ask your brother to do this, other than a casual "make sure he eats his vegetables!" How will your son react to being told he must eat grilled chicken and broccoli while watching his cousins eat chicken fingers and fries? I know how my own 3-year-old would react and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, much less my kind and generous brother. And it's definitely not fair to expect the whole family to change their diet so your son won't feel left out, whether or not you approve of their choices.

One week of a not-so-healthy diet will not give your son heart disease, and a 3-year-old is capable of understanding that vacations have different "rules" and he will go back to his normal diet when he gets home.

This. I used to leave my kids with my sister all the time when they were little. One of the things they remember most about their stays with Aunt Jenny is that she always let them have dessert before their dinner.  I would never have allowed that, but staying with Aunt Jenny was special, with special rules. And it turned into a cherished memory for them.

When my niece was a year old, my sister went to Vegas for 5 days. On the day before her trip, she came to drop off my nieces things and left me a sheet with all kinds of rules.

Things like, bed/nap times, no sweets, no coffee, etc... It was a page long. I thought it was so cute, but told her that , in all honesty, Im probably not going to follow any of them. My niece is 12 now and I am still the cool aunt.

She gave you a single page of instructions, and you weren't willing to put the toddler down for a nap/bedtime at the times requested, or avoid giving her coffee?  And the "cute" comment seems sort of patronizing.  I hope that you let her know ahead of time (so that she could make other arrangements if it was important to her) that you weren't willing to follow her instructions for her child, because it seems that her decision to keep her child on her normal schedule and have her fed foods that are in her usual diet is more important than your desire to be the "cool aunt."

Oh, I told her. My sister knew me well enough even if I hadn't told her.

I had a child only 6 months older than my niece at the time and I had been babysitting since niece was born. I didn't need a page of instructions and I thought a page was a bit much. She clearly trusted my judgement enough because she still left niece with me and continued to.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: alis on April 03, 2013, 02:15:10 PM
I leave my kids with their "cool" auntie too. Never thought to leave a list saying "no coffee" at 1 year old.  I'm not suprised you laughed.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Bexx27 on April 03, 2013, 02:55:57 PM
I leave my kids with their "cool" auntie too. Never thought to leave a list saying "no coffee" at 1 year old.  I'm not suprised you laughed.

Yeah, I would be a little insulted if my sister thought I needed to be specifically instructed not to give coffee to an infant!

We left DD with my parents overnight when she was 14 months old and I think I did write up her routine for them (i.e., her usual nap, snack, and bed times). I intended it as a helpful guide, not as instructions for them to follow. I think that sort of approach - giving them general information about his favorite foods and those that don't agree with him - is the way to go, rather than mandating a certain diet. But you have to be willing to accept they might not follow your suggestions.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Onyx_TKD on April 03, 2013, 03:04:38 PM
I leave my kids with their "cool" auntie too. Never thought to leave a list saying "no coffee" at 1 year old.  I'm not suprised you laughed.

Yeah, I would be a little insulted if my sister thought I needed to be specifically instructed not to give coffee to an infant!

We left DD with my parents overnight when she was 14 months old and I think I did write up her routine for them (i.e., her usual nap, snack, and bed times). I intended it as a helpful guide, not as instructions for them to follow. I think that sort of approach - giving them general information about his favorite foods and those that don't agree with him - is the way to go, rather than mandating a certain diet. But you have to be willing to accept they might not follow your suggestions.

It's possible that the intent wasn't "don't give Toddler coffee" but rather "try to keep your coffee out of reach of Toddler because she'll drink it if she can." I'm told that I was quite the coffee thief as a small child. My mom apparently drank her coffee lukewarm for a good while when I was little, since she knew I'd drink it if I got ahold of it and didn't want to risk me getting burned.
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: Roe on April 03, 2013, 03:32:10 PM
I leave my kids with their "cool" auntie too. Never thought to leave a list saying "no coffee" at 1 year old.  I'm not suprised you laughed.

Yeah, my brothers and I have an understood plan that says we get to spoil one another's kids.  No one minds as we have all been "sitters" for one another many times.  One of life's greatest blessings is having a cool auntie or uncle. 
Title: Re: Child's food choices on trip
Post by: ettiquit on April 19, 2013, 03:19:45 PM
Eating junk food for one week isn't going to "hurt" him. I'd lighten up about it. If you've raised him on wholesome food and he likes some healthy things, have a talk to the family taking him just asking them to be sure to include vegetables at each meal or some such thing - have veggies on pizza if ordered, etc. Honestly, it's not so bad. He'll go back to his regular diet when he comes home. Offer to provide snacks for everyone to pack for their day packs in the park. Pack bags of mini carrots, cookies you make, etc. But again, don't make a bigger deal than it needs to be. Let him enjoy a week's vacation from health. We all do it. I take a week off of exercising. During the holidays I eat lots of crap but Jan 1 starts me back on my regular habits. Kids need that freedom too.

Eating nothing but junk for a week most certainly could hurt him.  I know that when I've gone a long time without having anything greasy and then cave and get fast food, my stomach is not happy.

If I took another person's child with me on a vacation, I would most definitely expect and want some guidance on what the little one should be eating.  Especially when it's a child as young as the OP's.