View Full Version : ?s about feeding toddlers
03-19-2009, 04:49 PM
Looking for thoughts on feeding toddlers. Do you generally offer a few things for each meal and just let DC eat what they want? Do you continue to offer other things if they don't want the first items offered? DS is 14 months old and it seems to be a mystery at each meal what he will eat. I seem to go through 5 or 6 things before he finds something he wants to eat. Am I offering too many choices? Should I just offer 2 or 3 things and nothing else? He also has gotten bad about throwing his food on the floor after 2 or 3 bites. I know it's a learning phase, but I hate to see food go to waste. Thanks for any thoughts or ideas!!
03-19-2009, 07:52 PM
We usually offer say (veggies) peas to start. Let that run its course. Then offer (protein) cheese or egg. Then maybe a grain (bagel or toast, cracker). Then fruit. I offer it in an order vs everything at once. I offer little pieces not a huge bowl to eliminate mess/throwing of things. Once he throws something a couple of times, I move onto something else.
03-19-2009, 08:17 PM
I do basically the same as the pp. I start with something that I know he likes, though he may not want it that particular day. I continue to offer a variety of things while keeping an eye toward some sort of balance nutrition-wise. Now, he doesn't always want everything, sometimes he doesn't want anything! And there are some days where the entire meal was cottage cheese or something. But he is basically getting a fairly balanced meal every day (he's at daycare during the day). I do watch what I'm feeding him because he's a (self-imposed) vegetarian so I need to make sure he's getting what he needs to make up for the lack of meat.
Also, at this point (19mos) he's able tell me what he does and doesn't want, and he has been for a couple of months. He doesn't have a huge amount of words, but he has a few and he does gestures. So, if I say "do you want some cheese?", he will nod no, or yes or if he's really excited bang the table (for yes) or shout "nay, nay, nay" for no. Basically, I offer one "main" dish, and then ask if he wants several other things. I give them one at a time to reduce what gets flung away.
It's not my parenting style to force him to eat one particular thing as that is what happened during my childhood and I think it had some lasting detrimental effects on my relationship with food, so if he refuses something I just move on. I do have the Sattler (is that the right name?) book because I don't want to go from being permissive to being a short-order cook. But for now this is working fairly well and DS actually eats a fairly wide range of things which are pretty healthy too. He is also quite keen to try things from other people's plates which we encourage in order to expand his range.
03-20-2009, 08:07 AM
I have found that it helps if I am eating along with my boys. DS2 (13 mo) is extremely interested in eating either what I am eating or his big brother eats. I generally make us the same meal with a fruit or veggies, protein, dairy, and carbs. With new foods, I will take a bite first to show DS2 that it is edible and tastes good. This usually peaks his interest.
I think it also helps that he isn't the only one eating. So that I can eat too, I try to have everything in small enough pieces for him to eat by himself. Even if I'm not eating a full meal, I still sit at the table with my boys and eat a little something.
For the most part, DS2 will eat anything. If he throws something on the floor a couple of times, then we move on to another food. I don't force him to eat something if he really doesn't like it. It seems to have worked with DS1 (3 yo). DS1 is not a picky eater and is up for trying all sorts of foods.
03-20-2009, 09:57 PM
It's a lot trial and error as well as persistence. Some foods are instant hits and some only seem to be grudgingly eaten when it is apparent that nothing else is coming. Then there are the days that he surprises me by eating or not eating something as I expected him to.
I usually put a bit of everything that will make up his meal at one time. Sometimes I withhold his favorites till after he eats some of the other stuff. For example, he would gladly fill up on fruit and veggies so I try and put the protein out first.
I think it is the Dr. Sears' wisdom to go for a balanced week vs each day. If you log everything for a whole week you usually find that they eat a pretty balanced diet.
Meal time is over if he starts to throw if he ignores us telling him not to throw. He does a pretty good job listening to that request.
I start with the items he is somewhat less excited about (veggies) first, when he is most hungry. Then I move into fruit or yogurt or applesauce. Then meat or ravioli which he loves. And last either milk or water. Also, some things it matters to him how I cut them - - he loves blueberries cut in half or blackberries cut in quarters but won't eat them unless I cut them that way. Other foods the temperature is an issue: he will devour salmon and haddock if freshly baked but won't touch the cold leftovers.
I read somewhere you have to offer a particular food a dozen or more times before you can deem it rejected. I have found that to be the case alot of the time. A;lso DS will turn on a food he likes and won't touch it and then will eat it again a few weeks later. When this happens, and its always with veggies or fruits, I just get a substitute. I have lots of packages of organic frozen veggies in the freezer for this purpose so I just microwave or steam another option.
Finally, I will force feed a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt or applesauce even if he is protesting - - our DS tends to squawk for a minute or two on those even though I know he likes them. I think he may be objecting to my spoon feeding or he just doesn't know what it is on the spoon for a couple of bites and decides to play defense.
ETA: Maybe this is helpful- - though the caveat is that DS is a ridiculously easy eater. For breakfast we do: low-sugar cereal (Annie's was the lowest I found and I often mix it with my cereal, flax plus for him), fresh fruit and/or applesauce with nordic naturals fish oil. Then he usually gets a morning snack of a cheese stick or crackers or a piece of whole grain bread. For lunch, it is virtually always veggie, protein (chix, boiled egg, grass-fed beef), and yogurt or a cheese stick, sometimes fruit. Then he gets a mini meal right before his afternoon nap: crackers/applesauce/yogurt/cheese. Then he gets dinner #1 at around 5pm: veggie, ravioli (varying fillings), a little chicken or other meat. Finally, right before his bedtime he gets dinner #2 with DH and I and that is generally whatever we are eating or still more chicken and veggies. I think alot of toddlers do better with many smaller meals.
03-21-2009, 10:26 AM
Thanks for all the tips. I'm going to keep a record of what he eats next week so I can get a better idea of how much he's really eating.
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