A few months ago, I would proudly claim that my son would “eat anything except mashed potatoes and avocado”. I was proud that he was such a good eater. But, now? My he’ll-eat-anything-son has quickly turned into a he’ll-eat-that-maybe-some-of-the time-son. I wouldn’t call him a picky eater, because he still eats many things, but he is slowly getting preferential to some foods at certain times. He has also taken on a deep passionate affair with his milk. He walks to the fridge and looks at me, signs “please”, and asks me in his way to give him his milk….20 times a day!
He is a healthy boy, weighing in at 28 lbs and 3 oz. a couple weeks ago; I am not at all worried about his health. I do, however, want to make sure that I am giving him enough variety and trying things enough times to give him the opportunity to like them.
Back when Isaac started eating solids, I made a sorta cheat sheet to hang inside the cabinet. It was helpful for Doug and Isaac’s grandparents when they were wondering what was OK to feed him. It has evolved into a short list of his staple foods. I’ve updated it a few times over the last year.
I thought I would add another list – “foods to try” to help me think creatively when preparing foods for him, especially breakfasts & lunches. For dinner we mostly have him eat what we are eating and since we don’t eat the same thing every night, neither does he. Also, his appetite is lowest at dinner.
What did moms do without the internet? I spent 15 minutes searching online and got some good ideas. My favorite finds were Wholesome Toddler Food, Toddler Lunch Ideas, and Feeding the Picky Eater - 17 Tips. I also spent some time reading about toddler nutrition reviewing toddler portion sizes. As I made some notes, I tried not to discount foods that I don’t like, since Isaac already loves things that I don’t care for (like yogurt).
I also updated Isaac’s staple list.
I hung them both back in the cabinet where I keep his plates, cups, snacks and etc. I see these notes on a daily basis. I feel like now if I am ever feeling the food funk, I can try one of these ideas.
I think that the best thing that came out of this little project was being reminded that I already knew a lot about toddler eating. Yep, Isaac is one!! He should be picky, he should be grazing, and it is all OK. Plus, it’s not like I haven’t been down this road with many kids before, and they have all turned out just fine. Through my experiences as a nanny I followed a few unwritten principles. I think that writing them down will remind me to live by them with Isaac as well.
9 Principles to Feed By:
1. Don’t focus on each meal for nutrition, instead look at what the child ate in a day or even week.
2. Don’t stress about food, kids will pick up that
3. Everything in moderation.
4. Keep offering foods over, and over, and 14 times over.
5. Try foods in different locations and served in different containers.
6. Model nutrition.
7. Don’t discount foods I don’t like myself.
8. Sit and eat as a family – enjoy the experience!
9. Kid portions are small.
I plan to relax a bit and remember lessons I have already learned. I also plan to try new things with the boy and new things myself.