Toddler Meal Reform

I’ve said this before, “things are going to change around here!”, but THIS time I mean it because yesterday was plain awful. It’s not worth going into details about last night’s meal, suffice to say I’m over it. I’m over being a short-order cook. I’m over rummaging through the cupboards in search of snack-type foods he might eat. I’m over preparing meals I know he likes only to find out that today, heĀ doesn’t. I’m just over it all.

So last night, after the most epic of standoffs, while cuddling in bed, I described what he would eat for breakfast, to build anticipation. Hunter and Mommy will mix, mix, mix, and make some pancakes! This was my way of resetting myself. My way of starting the day on a positive note with somethingĀ other than toast or cereal (which lately has gone uneaten). Then we would hit the grocery store and load up on healthy toddler meal options.

My goals are simple:

  • Reduce snacking between meals
  • Eliminate the impulsive eating habits (“now, now, now!”)
  • Try everything on the plate (not just licking but chewing)
  • Offer options but not too many
  • Don’t force him to finish anything but refuse alternatives beyond the selection on the plate
  • Offer smaller portions

Once today’s lunch was prepared, we sat side by side to explore the plate. “What do you see, Hunter?” I asked him as he discovered his foods. The lima beans were magic beans given to Mommy by Jack. The fresh mango was cut creatively for visual interest and fun to hold. The carrots help you see in the dark! The fish sticks are just like the fish from Masha & The Bear. And so on…

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For an afternoon snack, I prepared a smoothie and he was allowed, by request, half a banana, some Mary’s crackers, and a few baby carrots. He was denied gummies.

I tried to involve him in tonight’s meal. He threw the potatoes and carrots into the slow cooker with the roast. With any luck it’ll make him more interested in the meal. He also seems to be getting hungry (it’s now 4:59 p.m. as I write this) but I’ll hold off on any snacking to build hunger.

We won’t force him to eat his plate. But we won’t offer or allow any other food until he’s eaten his meal.

Since yesterday really was plain awful, I’ll leave you with this little pick-me-up…

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