Holy Sausage Batman. Inlaws and Meat.

Updated on March 15, 2012
A.J. asks from Norristown, PA
27 answers

My husband wears rose colored glasses about his parents eating. They, like my parents, eat fairly unhealthy food in general. But he won't admit it for his parents. SO he has no problem pointing out how much salt and butter and oil is in anything my mom makes, (and I agree and I don't eat that way), but the fact that his parents eat nothing but red meat all day because it's the "only source of protein and iron on the planet" is totally healthy and great and fills him with nostalgia for his "perfect childhood" (which was actually pretty crappy). Whenever he comes back from spending a long visit with them, he's cranky about our mostly vegetarian diet (with some chicken, turkey, and a bit of red meat from time to time).

I don't care what his parents eat, and I try to be laid back when they feed the kids bad food for visits because we live far away and don't see them often. But EVERY visit contains at least one kid getting severely constipated, stomach pains or throwing up at least once at some point because they just aren't used to the food. Now the kids are a little older, and my daughters don't eat meat (of their own choice) and my oldest won't eat sweets (of her own choice) but my son (4) likes unlimited meat and sweets if he can get them.

Last week, my kids came back from a week at the inlaw's house, my son (4) didn't poop for two whole days after getting back, and then he gave birth to a papaya-sized rock hard poop while screaming because it hurt so much coming out. I later heard tales about how he downed a whole tray of sausage at a party the day before they left and everyone thought it was hilarious how much he loved the WHOLE TRAY of sausage and ate a burger the same night and hot dogs the day before (yuck).

Fine. The past is the past. But two days ago my FIL passed through town and stayed the night and brought enough of the sausage to last a family of settlers through a harsh winter on the range "for my son" as a gift. My husband is giving it to him with "every meal" (or at least lunch and dinner and snacks). I want to throw it away. If I say anything about the sausage, or the fact that 4-year-olds don't necessarily know what they should eat (in response to my husband's plea that "He LIKES it")I'm attacking his parents.

Apparently if they GAVE us thirty million pounds of sausage, my son has to now EAT thirty million pounds of sausage. I told my husband as an adult, he was free to eat all the sausage he wants, but I only want my son to have a tiny bit now and then. This was ignored. My son has eaten the sausage six times in three days and is constipated (I made the plates without sausage, and my husband threw on some sausage and hands him sausage to munch on as snacks). I'm thinking of just throwing out the sausage and dealing with the wrath of the hubs.

ps My husband is home full time right now between music tours so I don't have full control over meals like usual. He leaves again for a year in mid April, so I could throw out the remaining sausage then...but that's still way more sausage than I want my son to eat. :-0

What would you guys do?

ps, I know how unhealthy meat is. Even without the awful additives, it's really bad. My son also knows, but he's four, and I can't leave it up to him to refuse things the grandparents (who are rebellious and stubborn and don't care what you ask them not to feed the kids) and his own dad are encouraging him to eat on vacations when I'm not there. I had figured allowing it only rarely on visits wouldn't hurt, but this "sending us a year's supply" is a brand new problem, especially since my husband won't admit it's unhealthy no matter what information I show him.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Mum4, My husband is slim and healthy because for ten years I've been forcing him to eat veggies and go to the gym. His twin brother who still eats the way he was raised, however, is obese with many health problems.

Gamma G. No. I'm not uber strict about food simply because I don't want "sneaking" and "forbidden fruit" complex. My husband eats all the meat he wants. He eats it constantly when he travels, I let him cook it here in addition to his healthy food, I let the kids eat it sometimes, and have never given the inlaws trouble about what they feed the kids. My kids eat junk at parties and dark chocolate almost every day. We eat McDonalds when we need to use a play yard in winter and have pizza nights. Just because they eat MOSTLY very healthy organic food, does not mean I am overly militant or focused on food.

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answers from Detroit on

I often get rid of things like too much halloween candy.. by throwing a piece or two in the trash at every opportunity.. and then I quickly take out the trash. it doesnt make it all disappear immediately.. but it helps.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

Get over it?

Your husband is alive and well and you married his carniverous behind.
If your son likes sausage, why do you feel the need to deprive him based upon your own personal tastes and likes?

Just add more fruits and veggies to his diet to help with the pooping. Meat alone is not the culprit of his constipation. It's the lack of fiber and fluids.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Sounds like you are super focused on foods. Of course you don't want kids to eat unhealthy but you seem a bit over zealous when it comes to food. If I were your hubby I would be sneaking out to eat food I liked.

BYW, there are millions of healthy people out here who eat meat and don't go to the gym because their wive made them do it.

My sister eats healthy, she also "makes" hubby eat healthy. Her cholesterol is over 300, her triglycerides are higher than that. Heer BP is something like 130/95. She rides her bike every day, she hardly ever cooks meat. She can't understand why she isn't in perfect health.

I eat chocolate every day, I eat cheap meat from Walmart on a daily basis, and I eat off the dollar menu at McDonalds when I have a couple of extra bucks. My cholesterol is below 200 and has never been any higher. My bp runs low, around 90/70 or lower. It is hardly even higher than that even when I am ill.

So eating one way or another has some influence over health. It also may have no influence over health because genes and other issues in a person's body is controlling that.

I say stop focusing on the food so much and start considering how to integrate a more balanced diet that the whole family would enjoy more. Hubby and son would not be so focused on this meat if it wasn't such a treat.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you're point of view is a bit jaded towards your inlaws in general BECAUSE you don't agree with their lifestyle.

I don't agree with them letting him eat a whole tray of sausage, but I do think that there can be a balance. Like everything in life, a little bit of sausage will be fine. There is nothing wrong with a 4y eating red meat in controlled portions.

Cut the sausage up into small portions/packages. That way you control the amount he eats at a time. If I give my son a large bag of beef jerky, he'll eat just about the whole bag. If I buy the small bags or the individual servings, he'll eat just that serving.

Ask your husband to only offer it for one meal a day, similar to dessert or other treats.

As for the constipation, yet the meat could be a cause, but it could also be that since his belly was so full of food that he didn't drink alot and so was a bit dehydrated.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this may be something that will work itself out.

Your child obviously tasted something that he really, really liked. The grandparents saw this and "gifted" him with some more. I don't think there was anything maliciousl about it.
You don't say what type of sausage you're talking about. Breakfast saugage, link sausage, beefstick sausage that you eat in small slices like salami?

Either way, I see a couple of things happening:
Your son will get tired of his tummy troubles.
Your son will get burnt out on sausage morning, noon, and night.

Also, I know so many people who won't eat certain things because they ate so much of it as a kid. It's not even so much that they don't like it, it's just that their parents made it so often when they were growing up that as adults, they will not eat it. Split pea soup, chicken and dumplings, sauerkraut....

The sausage of a thousand summers could have the opposite affect than you are worrying about.

I wouldn't throw the sausage away as opposed to the "everything in moderation" approach. Make sure your son gets plenty of fruits, veggies and liquids.

If your goal is to get your husband to admit it's unhealthy, you may need to rethink your goal and try a different tactic.

Best wishes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Try this method: Remind your son of the time he was constipated and it hurt so much when he pooped....tell him it was because he ate so much sasauge....maybe he will back off! Just a suggestion!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I love sausage, wish I were there to help you with your problem !

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think you have a lot of good suggestions about 'regifting' or passing the sausage along to another family who can use good sense about serving it...

If it were me in this situation, I'd keep sending my husband into the bathroom Every Single Time your son has any sort of stomach ailment due to this food. Make it his problem, entirely.

For what it's worth, in my opinion it's NOT fair for a parent to stand back and let their kid gorge themselves on any sort of food. However, your husband is acting like a teenager in this power struggle (sorry, just my opinion) and needs to see that it's not a picnic. So, explain to your son that you think this food is what's causing him problems and that he shouldn't have so much of it. Then tell your husband that if he continues to serve sausage without limits or moderation, then he does the 'birthing the nasty poop' duty. And then, make him do it. Don't be mean, just be unavailable (doing other household jobs, or just shrugging your shoulders..."you were the one who insisted he eat half a pig of sausage... go deal with it"--emotionally neutral voice) when your son is needing help in the bathroom. Or, better yet, have your husband take constipated son in to the doctor--and get the scolding from the ped. Tough love.

Something people might not understand, too, is that our stomachs have to produce different enzymes to digest certain foods. When we are over-exposed to a food we don't usually eat, it's common for illness to result in some form or another. So, while fiber and liquids can help, it doesn't correct the problem that the body needs time to learn or relearn how to make these enzymes.

Me personally, I might also remove myself from the bedroom and find another place to sleep. I don't think I could sleep next to someone who was knowingly acting childish and causing our child pain and health problems; I'd likely want to kick him in my sleep. Sounds harsh, I'm sure, but my b.s.-o-meter hits red when this sort of nonsense occurs. I don't want to cuddle up to someone who is ignoring a very reasonable request because they choose to be pigheaded about this sort of thing. Not very solution-oriented, I know, but I'm a mom first...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

What would I do?

I would step up and be Mommy and help my son by adding some grapes or cherries and some water with his sausage. It is not the meats fault it his lack of fluids and fiber in his diet at this point in his digestion.

If you are as health conscious and food wise as you claim I think you can figure out how to help his digestion so he can enjoy his sausage.

~This is just my opinion but I get the sense that your poor kid is the victim of blow back from what your husband and in-laws perceive is YOUR controlling nature over your family's diet. There is nothing wrong with wanting your kids to eat healthy food...that is not what I am saying...but it is obvious by your post that you have a problem with red meat but unfortunately for you, your husband and some seem to like it and that should be OK, they are people too and have the right to eat things they enjoy as well....because come on, we all know a well balanced diet including red meat is not anything to get this worked up about!?

You would really rather throw perfectly good food away rather than donating it somewhere too? Really? Ugh!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Moderation and variety. Tell DH (and the kids) that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If DH gets cranky, remind him that your child was screaming in pain because he ate too much of this food at once. If there is too much for your family to reasonably eat, share it. Maybe give it to someone who could use some extra food in the pantry or make a big jambalaya and invite friends over. If your child is truly ill from all the sausage and won't moderate the kid's consumption, then I'm with you on getting rid of it. My SD eats a ton of sugar and after last year where she had FOUR dental visits costing about $900 each, I refused to buy her any more sugar items. It wasn't til her sugar habit gave DH sticker shock that he took me seriously.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Tell your hubby that growing children need a variety of food in order to grow up health and strong so sausage at every meal is something that's not to a child's best interest. Then treat the sausage like it's a valuable thing by portioning it out and throwing it in the freezer (where you can throw it out due to freezer burn in a couple months). When you do cook some make sure you cook a large portion and toss out the leftovers.

Stop making food a big issue in your house because it's unhealthy to do this in front of your kids. As far as getting your husband to admit that something is unhealthy I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Unless you hold a degree in the field then you are just picking and choosing whatever information you are finding to support your point of view on the subject. I'm sure he could do the same to support his point too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Ditto what Casey C said about reminding your son of his rock hard poop and the cause from the sausage. Then if he continues to eat it, and your husband won't stop handing it out constantly, make dear hubby go sit with him by the toilet when he's trying to squeeze the next one out. I'd have, "something to do or somewhere to be..." so hubby had to listen to his tears.

My kids get constipated by bananas, and my MIL gives them to my kids every chance she can because I think she thinks I'm wrong. Then sends them home to me to deal with the constipation. My hubby threatened that if she continued feeding them bananas, she wouldn't see the kids for a long time. People have different reactions to certain foods, and not everyone will get sick/constipated by the same things. The meat is not bad in small doses when combined with other fruits & veggies, but an entire day built around eating it not-stop obviously doesn't work for your son, and it's not a balanced diet. Hubby needs to get over it and y'all need to come to a compromise.

Definitely throw a little out every day to help with getting rid of it faster. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

If the meats contain BHT, BHA, nitrates, and nitrites, I'd suggest getting meats that do not contain these very unhealthy additives.
Meat is not unhealthy, unless it is from unhealthy animals.
Here are a couple of weblinks you may wish to learn about healthier eating and share with your family.



Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Meat is not intrinsically unhealthy. We're meant to eat some of it - we've been eating meat since the dawn of time. But our bodies aren't meant to eat it all day, every day - in the hunter/gatherer days, you ate when you killed it, and the volume was nothing like what's available today.

Stop attacking the sausage, because that's like attacking hubs and his family. He'll take it personally and dig his heels in about it - which you've already found out.

I like the idea of sharing the sausage with your meat eating friends - cause if they like it, you have a place to give the next batch if it happens. Freeze what you can. That way it takes more to prepare and isn't easily accessible for snacking on.

Was hubs around when your son was screaming and pooping? If no, remind him about this and tell him that son can have some at dinner, but not all day cause you don't want him having hard poops and hurting. If the sausage is tasty, acknowledge that, but focus on the individual body responses.

Let his parents know about the constipation issue - again, don't attack the meat eating, focus on your boy's digestion. I have no idea if it'll help, but maybe they'll listen if it's not about the meat.

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answers from Washington DC on

Like others have said, I would freeze some of the sausage and give some away. The issue isn't sausage, per se; the issue is your husband thinking it's OK to give anyone sausage, or any one food, day after day after day, and the other issue is your in-laws' thinking it's so darned cute for a small child to gorge himself -- on anything. No child should get that new favorite food ceaselessly -- it only teaches him that "I can have what I want, whenever I want it!" That's a lousy lesson whether the thing wanted is food or anything else.

You will have a lifelong fight over food with your husband; you say you can't get him to admit meat is unhealthy no matter what you show or tell him. Your daughters seem to have made their own, healthy choices, but I wonder if your husband and in-laws, consciously or not, see your young son as their last chance to mold one of the kids the way they feel a kid should be molded. Like I say - It likely is not conscious with them, but I wonder if there is a strain of "He's a BOY and needs that manly meat" kind of attitude at work here? Just something to think about and watch for, not just in your son's eating but in other ways they might try to make him more what they think he "should" be.

You cannot change the in-laws and I think from the post you know that. Also, you are wise not to make a big deal out of what they eat at the in-laws' house, since let's face it, we don't have grandparents with us forever, and this is not worth any permanent rift. However, I would have an issue with the fact of kids vomiting and having severe constipation after time with the in-laws. It sounds like they were visiting there without you; if you can be there to ensure veggie and fruit and water intake along with food, great, but if not, can you ensure visits are shorter (maybe more frequent but shorter visits is the answer here)? Kids should not be kept from otherwise loving grandparents based just on food choices (unless there are allergies involved and lives are at stake) but maybe the best route is shorter visits.

If the in-laws send a ton of food again, smile, say, "Gee, so generous, thanks, we can freeze some for later," and then do that with some and get rid of the rest (donation, not trash) quickly -- preferably long before your husband knows it's there or how much there was originally.

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answers from Lakeland on

My stomach hurt just reading how much your son ate. We are not vegetarians and are careful about how much meat we take in daily. I would talk to your son about how eating certain foods are causing him to have hurtful poops. Let him know he can eat it with the in-laws, but to not get carried away. I would also politely talk to your in-laws and ask them to not let him eat so much. His body is not used to it and it is just causing him problems. Another thought is that his siblings can help teach him proper portions when he is with the in laws.

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answers from San Francisco on

Give your son foods with fiber, (oranges, grapes, nuts, pear or prune juice,carrots, dried fruits, etc.), along with his "beloved" sausage. Instead of having your husband putting sausage on your child's plate, you put it on the plate, in small portions. You son may start liking some of the other things better then sausage. He also might want to eat sausage because Dad and Grandpa eat sausage.....so again use portion control and when Dad leaves for a year, toss the remainder or give it to someone else who might appreciate it.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I say just let your son have sausage with his meal one day a week. If it constipates him also give him a lot of fiber rich foods that day. And besides that don't worry about it. So...sausage with his breakfast every Sunday morning or whatever with a nice glass of prune juice, haha. Good for you for eating healthy! I'm with you on that one! But a sausage treat once a week probably won't hurt your son. (PS - your story is kind of hilarious. I think it is very funny your FIL brought over a YEARs worth of sausage! I think you should just laugh about this. AND get your hubby on the same page as you with only ONE day a week for your son.) Good luck!

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answers from Columbus on

I'd throw away the sausage. You don't need to have a preschooler withholding poop out of fear (making his constipation that much worse).

Or, next time your son is constipated and crying, video tape it and show it to DH and have him watch what DH's choices are doing to his son.

Tell him "Its our job as parents to put healthy food choices in front our children, and their job to decide whether or not to eat them. Food that consistently causes constipation given in large quantities is not generally considered a healthy chioce. You don't believe me, ask the pediatrician how much sausage a 4yo should get per day." I say that a bit tongue-in-cheek, but still I do mean it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Just have him watch the news for the next few days. A very well-done study came out yesterday demonstrating that eating more than 2-3 servings of red meat per week increases the risk of colon cancer and the risk of death. I know you say he won't admit it from anything you tell him, but maybe hearing it from an unbiased source will help. It is all over the news right now.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I'd donate the sausage to a homeless shelter. Uggh, just reading your post made my stomach churn.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Ugh, A.....make the sausage disappear. Garbage night is your friend. :)

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answers from Springfield on

You and your husband have to try and come to a compromise, but in the mean time, there is something you can do to help prevent the constipation. Just increase the fiber in his diet it other ways. Add even more fruits and vegetables, perhaps make sure his morning cereal is rich in fiber (Fiber One?), you can even begin giving him Fiber Choice tablets once a day.

Our oldest is more prone to this than his brother. We had the same issue every time we visited the in-laws. My MIL, bless her heart, kept wanted to stick various things up his butt to try and help the situation (she insisted that a bit of soap would stimulate his bowels). Thank God my husband was against that as well. We told her we would handle things. So we really began to research different things we could do that would help increase his fiber. We did monitor what he ate while we were there, but she and her daughter just kept trying to sneak him junk food whenever we weren't looking. They just felt so bad for the poor little boy whose mommy thought 5 cookies was more than enough after a sugary cereal breakfast! (no sarcasm here!)

Anyway, try to come up with a compromise about the sausage an suggest that to your husband. He must know, deep down, that what he is doing is not fair to your son ... even if he "really likes it!"

Added: Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh, speaking of constipation, I just realized my 3 year old ate not one but two bananas while I was typing. Bad mom, bad mom. Guess I need to find those fiber rich fruits for him just in case!

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answers from San Francisco on

I'd sit down and remind my child, during the painful poops, that the reason he's having so much pain, is because of the sausage. Repeat repeat repeat. Then later, when he wants sausage or is offered sausage, all you have to say is "remember how painful that last poo was? Do you really want to do that again?" And let him choose. It'll take a couple times for it to sink in.

My daughter has the opposite problem. If she's in the middle of a project and it's time to eat, she'll feign not being hungry so she doesn't have to stop. I used to force her to sit at the table and eat, but she'd stubbornly just stare at her plate in defiant anger until I excused her so now I just tell her, "It's fine if you don't want to come eat with us, but remember when we're all done eating, the food is going away and you're going to have to wait till the next meal to get something to eat..." Sometimes she'll throw a big sigh and come take a few obligatory bites then beg to be set free so she can go finish coloring. Later, when she's suffering hunger pains, I remind her of her decision and the next time I ask her to come eat she'll race over to the table and eat everything on her plate. Of course next month the hunger pains are all forgotten and she'll pull the same garbage again. It's especially bad when she pulls that stuff at dinner time, because then she has to go through the whole night without food and in the morning she's nearly nauseous with hunger and has absolutely NO trouble eating at every meal.

Cause and effect. It's not to early to teach it.

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answers from Denver on

I'm curious about what kind of sausage this is. Is it store-bought or gourmet or homemade or the ordinary frozen sausage that comes in boxes?

If your son likes sausage, perhaps you can make homemade sausage. There's no need to deal with casings and stuffing them with the sausage, just make sausage patties. Sausage is just ground meat, usually pork or turkey (but of course there's elk and venison and probably a million other choices), some seasonings like onion or fruits, some herbs, and maybe a little maple syrup for a breakfast sausage. You could make them fairly small and your son will enjoy the sausage taste but without the additives, the nitrites and nitrates, the extra sodium and all the junk, and without overdoing it. You could add apples or put whatever spices your son likes. You could also make little sausage balls, like small meatballs.

Here's a link for one to try:


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answers from Pocatello on

"My husband is slim and healthy because for ten years I've been forcing him to eat veggies and go to the gym. His twin brother who still eats the way he was raised, however, is obese with many health problems."

hmmm... resentment maybe? He might be insisting you let the boy eat the sausage because he feels like you pressure everyone into eating "your way" Your son does like it, and sausage really isn't the worst food he could eat. but obviously it is making him constipated, so why not say to your husband... "I'd rather just give him a couple slices a day if he wants it for a snack... but having so much with every meal is making him constipated and the last thing we need is "bathroom problems".

If you make this an issue... I bet it will become a fight. Your husband is obviously using the sausage to send a message to you, (or else he would have tossed it). I think, it isn't about the sausage at all... it is about you loosening the reigns a bit and letting the boy (and family) have his cake, er sausage--- and eating it too!

Another thought, the growing boy might be craving fats and proteins, hence why he is craving MEAT every chance he can get? Check his diet and make sure he is getting PLENTY of protein. No, a toddler may not know what is good for them, but thier body still tries to crave the foods it needs to develop. My daughter craves sweets when she really needs things like antioxidants and vitamins normally found in fruit, for example. If I fill those needs she USUALLY stops trying to raid the cookie jar...

In the meantime buy a big can of prunes and feed those to him as snacks with the sausage!

Good Luck!


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