Meal times can be hard enough, but one mum has been criticised by her mother-in-law for feeding her daughter leftovers.

Dealing with fussy eaters can be difficult at the best of times, but one mum has come under fire for serving her daughter the same meal twice. After her daughter refused to eat the Sunday roast prepared for her lunch by her grandmother, the mum told her mother-in-law to serve it to her again for dinner and got an unexpected response…

Try, Try Again

Posting to popular parenting forum Mumsnet, the mum said she was shocked at her mother-in-law’s reaction. “Partners mum gave me a funny look and said it was ‘cruel’ to just give her a meal she doesn’t want to eat,” she said. “I said just to put it in front of her and if she doesn’t want to eat it, then she can go home and go to bed hungry as she won’t be having anything else.” The mum said that on the second attempt, her daughter ate the meal without complaint, but she still couldn’t ignore her mother-in-law’s disapproval, asking other parents if she was being unfair in her approach.

Mixed Response

Replies to the mum’s story were mixed, with many saying that she had done the right thing. “I’m with you,” said one mum. “It’s how I was raised and I’ll eat anything these days. A number of my friends though who present choices, allow children to dictate the menu or turn food down all seem to be producing very fussy eaters who expect to always be pandered to.” Others were critical of the mum’s strict stance. “I would never allow my children to experience that,” wrote one mum. “Never use food or lack of as punishment.” “There is nothing to be gained from turning food into a battle ground,” said another.

It’s a tricky issue, and there’s a fine line between effective discipline and creating negative associations with mealtimes and food in general. We think if you can at least get your child to try the meals that are put in front of them, then you’re onto a winner!

Have you got a top tip for dealing with fussy eaters? Let us know in the comments!


  • My boys always knew that if they didn’t eat what was put in front of them they wouldn’t be getting anything else. On the other hand, if they tried something and didn’t like it then it wouldn’t be offered again. That way they learnt to try everything and make an informed choice.

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  • Seriously? I just be a horrible person and mother. We eat left overs all the time!

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  • Wow, the mother-in-law should butt out. We know what children can be like with Grandparents, trying to put one over them, and we also know what they can be like with food and the games they can play. I support this Mum totally.

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  • I agree with this mum – I think her daughter was trying it on with her grandmother cause she knew she’d probably get away with it.

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  • Nothing wrong with it, seems like she was trying it on… she ate it later so obviously head no problem with it.
    I have a fussy eater who does this…. and 99% of the time they eat what’s served up when they realise I’m not giving in…. the other 1% they genuinely don’t like it and I get told ‘mummy, I really don’t like this’.
    That’s when I make them something else

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  • I always try this method with my kids. My son often just doesn’t eat much at dinner time (unless its a treat night and he has pizza on offer or some of his particular favourites). We always make him have the left overs for dinner the next day. Sometimes he eats it and sometimes he doesn’t, but it is making him get used to trying things and understanding that he needs to have what everyone else is eating.

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  • My kids know that they have to have 2 mouth fulls of everything on their plate, if they still don’t like it, they can have something else, but they need to try it first.

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  • I don’t think it’s cruel, I think she is trying to discipline her child.

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  • If my child doesn’t want to eat what I’ve made there are two minute noodles in the pantry that she can make for herself. I do not make extra dishes for anyone. Some nights she’ll eat what I’ve made, other nights she has noodles or toast. It’s my compromise that still ensures she’s fed.

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  • As a child, my father was very strict and made us sit at the table until the meal was eaten. My husband was extremely fussy so I often made 2 or 3 different meals, 1 for me, 1 for him and 1 for the children. Turned out 2 had multiple food allergies and our grandson an eating disorder but they all try a tiny bit of different foods. If the child doesn’t have food allergies or intolerances and refused the meal, I agree with what the mum did and would put it in the fridge and serve it again next meal.

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  • Nothing wrong with left overs. My kids have grown up eating leftovers and love it. They are now 13 & 14.. as a family you have to do what’s best for you, your budget..this woman won’t like being in my home because that’s exactly the meal she would get…. speaking of I served spaghetti bolognase last night to my family and they are having exactly the same tonight…sometimes we have 3 nights of toasted cheese,ham sandwiches because of financial issues

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  • I’d like to give the mother an option of unwanted leftovers and tell her she can go to bed hungry if she doesn’t eat.

    Children deserve respect. Don’t treat your kids like you would the family dog.

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  • I was forced to finish meals and eat things I didn’t like with my mums family and told I could leave food when I visited my dads On weekends, needless to say it left me with a lot of confusion. But my mum won out and now I’m literally able to eat anything, even if I hate it, whereas my roomate is soooo picky because his mum would make him something else if he didn’t like his food and even went so far as to put a plate of food In front of him when he was a Kid, sit down to eat herself and if somehow that day she had used the wrong sauce on his food even if he liked that sauce normally she would get up and scrape it off and put the other sauce on. Needless to say now I have to ask which sauce he wants every meal we eat.

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  • The child wasn’t forced to eat it, the meal was perfectly fine to eat and I think the grandparent was in the right. The child wasn’t made to feel bad or threatened to eat it. It was what was for lunch and tea and if she didn’t eat it she would have been fine as well. I have two children and they have been let go and dictated way too much to us about what they will and won’t eat and I wish I had been tougher myself. One child is pretty good and will eat most things the other has a disorder of food and eats less than about 10 different foods. We are working with medical staff to help him but it is very hard to spend hours in the kitchen trying to find food that he can phisically and mentally eat. So I’m all for it granny!

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  • Not cruel at all. If I had more backbone I would do it too but am far too easy on my kids. We make separate meals for them! Silly, I know.

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