Sunday, March 7, 2010

dinner time!

dear emily,

a sweet, young mommy asked me what she could do to help
her toddler eat better.  she said that he only wants snacks and
won't eat a bite at meal time.

"it's just the biggest battle every meal and i'm so afraid he isn't
getting enough to eat!"

it took a lot of will power not to smile and say, "honey, you
will look back on this, when he is screeching on two wheels
of his truck out your driveway, and wish this was all you had
to worry about!"

instead, i told her that there were some tricks in establishing
healthy eating habits.  if possible, she should save all battles
for any other time, so that her little ones would have happy
memories of family dinner.

easier said than done.  we had some doozies at our house, but
here are some pretty fail proof tips to get your toddler to eat:

1.  hide all snacks so that is not even an option.

2.  put a few healthy, yummy choices out for each meal.  who
     wants to eat lima beans from a can?  gag.

3.  make sure your little guy works up an appetite from running
     and playing, and i promise he will eat.

4.  no dessert until he has eaten the good stuff.

the first day may be rough, but they are such smart little guys
and will fall into line if they see you really mean it.   if your
precious angel is especially stubborn, a banana before bed
will help you sleep better.

i used to hide my peas under the cushion of my chair.


"how sweet are Thy words...sweeter than honey..."
psalm 119:103


Kristin said...

Such good advice. I have one child who is a reluctant eater. It is so foreign to me as all my other children eat a variety of good foods. He is a stubborn one, though, and will hold a bite in his mouth for 20 minutes rather than swallow. Persistance is paying off and meal times are getting smoother. (And he loves bananas so that always works.)

~Karen~ said...

When one of my girls was a bit picky over food, I stumbled upon a food tray much like the schools use. That was it for her. She loved that all her food was separated, and was willing to try different foods to fill up the sections.

Beautiful pear tree lane said...

Hi Lea,
What great tips! Some I have practiced in times past.I also enjoyed reading some of your other posts especially the one concerning tayler, the seed you are sowing into her life will bring an abundance of harvest. I applaud you for giving of yourself.
Thank you for visiting and for leaving me such a sweet comment.

Vicki said...

Wow Lea, just read the comment on my post about your husband reading about Canute and Sarah...what a compliment that is! I'm amazed at how many people are reading it, I'm humbled! Aunt Edith would be too...

I haven't added up all the comments yet so you are in for the drawing. Be sure to come again every week through the 22nd. I'll post more of the story tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned, it's going to take a twist..

Vickie said...

Hi Lea - am enjoying your "letters". Wouldn't it be nice to have someone writing letters to us as all as young mommies! My kids are all in their 20's now, but I remember when... I limited snacks and tried to have at least one thing they liked for sure for dinner. When they became picky and seemed like they'd gone for days without eating wholesome foods, I asked my pediatrician. He told me in his commanding 75 year old voice "Vickie, when they get hungry, they'll eat". So I relaxed a little and kept extra peanut butter and bananas on hand!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Nice advice. Lea.

My daughter-in-law finds that my 15 month grandson will eat almost everything except meat, eggs and and fish. She was concerned if he was getting enough protein but her pediatrican said as long as he drank milk he was fine, and that he's probably enjoy more foods when his molars came in.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Lea
You know I think I'm as bad as this toddler at the moment.. I need to hide the snacks from myself!!! haha

I found it interesting you mentioned the banana at bedtime.. I was told this by a chinese therapist... ppl in australia seem to think bananas are great breakfast food when in fact it is the opposite!!

Have a great week xx Julie

Deb said...

my Dr. told me when my son was small that is was better for them to graze when they are small...just small amounts through out the day...also...make sure you only put small amounts on their plate.. 3 or 4 green beans, dab of this, dab of that, then they can have more if they are hungry...we had nice meal times....

Naturalearthfarm said...

We have a two year old that doesn't eat all that well either. We have found some healthy snacks he likes - bananas slices that he can then dip in honey and then in wheat germ. Another way is banana slices rolled in crushed graham crackers.
THank you for sharing this great advice Emily.
Warm wishes,

Vee said...

Good, practical advice...may I add one more? No milk until the meal is eaten. So many children fill up on milk alone.

Food has been a battle in my family since the beginning of time. True confessions: I couldn't eat a cooked vegetable other than corn and potatoes to save my soul. (I used to hide all my food behind the steam register...imagine the smell! My mother is still holding this against me.)

Deborah Ann said...

I always made my kids try everything on their plate. They only needed one bite, if they didn't like it, they didn't have to eat it. That seemed to work out pretty good - they all like their vegies!

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Oh Wise ideas! If only all mommies/daddies would be told them, and follow them.

I personally have to choke back my views, when eating with some of our family. They still have one of those children, who choose to be difficult as to eating. I say choose, because this one is way too old to still be doing this. And what really bugs me is ----- He always gets dessert. -Duhhhhh-