It seems to be almost inevitable. That infant that seemed to be keen on nonstop feedings ages into toddlerhood and beyond, suddenly recognizing that those taste buds = power. Mom and dad can be so desperate for their child to eat *something* that they may find that important vitamins and minerals fell by the wayside.
At some point or another, many parents share a concern that their little one may not be getting enough to eat... or maybe not enough of the right balance of foods! Do you have a toddler that pushes everything but cereal away? Perhaps you have a preschooler that insists they only want to eat a cheese sandwich... for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe your 7 year old absolutely REFUSES to eat fruits - ever!
Whatever your child's personal quirk, the bottom line is that food pyramid you wish to aim for has toppled to look more like a flat pancake. What ways do you employ to try to insure your child gets the nutrition he/she needs? Share your secrets or ask for advice if you have a tough "nut" to crack (literally!)
We'll be pulling some of our favorite tips into an upcoming article! Feel free to email me your ideas as well!
We have some simple rules that all of the kids have to follow when it comes to nutrition. We have been using these rules since Caleb and Patrick were 2 and 3 years old:
1. You must have some sort of protein for breakfast. This usually means eggs, cheese, oatmeal or sausage, but some of my children's more creative breakfasts have included nuts, chicken, even spaghetti and meatballs. Once they have their protein, they are allowed to eat other foods like cereal or pastries.
2. You must have at least one glass of white milk at the table before you are allowed to have other drinks (including chocolate milk). Lately, the exception is chocolate milk at dinner on Friday nights as a special treat. Only water between meals.
3. You must have at least one fruit or vegetable with lunch and dinner. Sometimes we will have two or more for the kids to choose from.
4. You must try a little of everything on your plate. For awhile, when Caleb and Patrick were little, we had to give them a small spoonful of each item in order to get them to try veggies. Once they cleaned their plates, they could have more of what they wanted.
5. You must eat everything on your plate. The key here is to give very small servings. You can always give more if they are still hungry. If you pile the plate full of food, the children will fill up on their favorite portion and leave everything else behind.
Another tip for babies and toddlers starting out: We started Thomas on fruits and veggies instead of rice cereal. First food was avocado, then banana, then oatmeal, then various steamed veggies that were pureed, and applesauce. Once he was eating a variety of fruits and veggies without signs of allergy, we began grinding our table food with a baby food mill. Thomas has turned out to be our least picky eater. He loves fruits and vegetables. And he never went through that picky stage. Pretty impressive for a kid that didn't really show any interest in solid food and nursed exclusively for 7 months.
Deb ................. DH Norm
DS Caleb, 13 ...... DS Patrick, 12
DS Isaiah, 8 ......... DS Thomas, 7
DD Cherish, 6....... DD Emily, 7\18\13 ....... Ripple, 17
William, 14 weeks, 4/11/12
The only child I worry about is DD, as she eats like a bird (although she's a brick to carry lol), so I started giving her those Breakfast Essentials chocolate shakes. They're full of calories and vitamins, and she thinks that it's chocolate milk!
Krystal & Donovan - 12/2/06
Reagan - 10/2/02
Maximus - 3/10/05
Liberty - 12/11/08
My angel in Heaven 1/7/13