by Kristen Bagwell
The past week has been a little loose as far as dinner planning goes. (Said differently – I have not planned or cooked any dinners since last Wednesday.) Normally, I am on top of these things because my family loves to eat. Left to our own devices, though, we’re not so good. Example? My toddler refused to eat anything last night besides fruit/cereal bars. I offered chicken and rice, pb&j, fruits, veggies, cheese and crackers…all of the favorites. No dice.
When I asked my son’s pediatrician about it at her last visit, Dr. Bo replied “actually, toddlers are great self-regulators.” He went on to explain that toddlers whose diets were not restricted in any way actually made good caloric choices, and sort-of automatically stopped when they’d had enough to maintain their nutrient and energy levels. (This is an ability we tend to lose later in life, in case you wondered.) Dr. Bo promised that if we’d just keep his fluid intake steady to prevent dehydration, he would eat when he was ready. It did not make me feel any better to remember that my mother gave this same advice to my sister when my nephew was on a hunger strike years ago…live and learn, I guess.
It is also possible that kids need to get interested enough to eat, which is why it is so much fun to play with food. Snacks like Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins “crawling” across the top) or even a sandwich cut into fun cookie cutter shapes can go a long way to keeping kids engaged at meal time. I also love the colored / fun-shaped pasta, which seems to always be interesting with “just butter mom.” Perhaps not the most nutritious, but at least they are eating something.
While I was looking for more fun food ideas, I found an article by the Mayo Clinic. It offers some great tips to help get kids interested in trying new things. Parenting magazine has some fun recipe ideas online too, including one super-tasty grilled pb&j sandwich idea from Paula Deen’s boys. I think the whole family will love that one!
I am sure there are other picky-eater-moms out there. What are some tips and advice you can share?
The photo at the top of this blog was taken by Anna Yamamoto, and can be found in the "20 Easy Bento Lunch Boxes" article on Parenting.com.