Friday, April 4, 2008

Feeding the Younguns

Angela asked for some ideas for feeding the little ones, so I thought I'd start a discussion. I'm not an expert, but after thirteen years of parenting and a lot of mistakes here is some of my advice.

1. Don't completely change your meal planning for the sake of the toddler. Eventually she will grow up and will be more likely to try different foods if she's at least seen you eat them and enjoy them. But don't wear yourself out making two different meals. I often say, "Mommy is not a short order cook." Follow Rule #2 as much as possible. I only make exceptions if I'm making a special dish with shrimp, something really spicy, or a food that is prone to food allergies or not safe for younger kids, i.e. choking hazards and such. I just make sure the foods match. When we have shrimp, I make fish for the kids.

2. Make sure for each meal you have at least one item on their plate they will eat. This is advice I read in a magazine somewhere. I have also learned it is best to introduce only one new food at a time.

3. Don't underestimate your kids tastes. One night when Aiden was a toddler I had not been to the grocery that week and the only green vegetable I had was a bag of frozen broccoli. I had never pushed much broccoli because baby food broccoli stinks and gives them gas, plus none of the kids ever liked it. But, I was desperate so I tried it. I didn't think any of the three would eat more than the requisite one bite so I only made half the bag. I stir fried it in olive oil and garlic and then added some butter. To my shock Aiden kept asking for more and Cameron was not far behind! (Emily ate her required amount.) I ended up making the rest of the bag because they ate it all!

4. It can take up to 15 times of trying a new flavor to learn to like it. That's why my kids are always required to eat one bite of each item on the table. It doesn't always work, Ron is 38 and still hates carrots. But Emily now loves broccoli cheese casserole and broccoli cheese soup. Broccoli is also acceptable if mixed into macaroni and cheese.

5. Don't panic if it seems your toddler will only eat one or two things. EVERY meal. My pediatrician said it is not unusual for a toddler or young preschooler to only eat one meal a day. They also find comfort in repetition and familiarity. So, let them eat yogurt every meal. Just let them know they need to try the other items, too.

6. The Clean Your Plate Club is Dead! This is a very hard concept. Think about it, it's the way you were raised, too, probably. Sometimes your kids really are full. Their little stomachs are really not much bigger than their fists and a clean plate by force can equal over eating which can turn into childhood obesity. If the wasted food really bothers you, make sure you give them very small portions. They can always ask for more.

7. Not every food trick given by the experts will work for your family. I'm sure you already know this, but it bears repeating. Use what you think will work and don't beat yourself up if it doesn't. Believe me, if they get hungry they will eat. And then there will come a time when it seems like they want to eat ALL THE TIME!

I hope this helps you some. Everyone feel free to chime in. I'm working on creating a Word file of all the recipes on the blog. If you would like me to email it to you send me an email at meriam(atsign)followjesus(dot)org and I will return it to you.


Dan C said...

To brag on my niece, and nephews. I smoked some salmon for our Easter Dinner, and they all tried and liked it. There was another meat choice, so they were not expected to eat any, but their cousins, both teenagers, love salmon, so Aiden wanted to try some. He liked it, so Cameron wanted to try some, and he liked it. A few minutes later we talked Emily into it, and she also liked it. I will admit, I prefer my salmon marinated in some kind of citrusy marinade, and then either smoked or grilled. So they enjoyed Caribean Jerked Hickory Smoked Salmon. Not having any kids I only can go on my sisters' kids, and friends. Emily was one of the pickiest eaters I knew, but she is growing out of it.

Meriam said...

I feel I must add their mommy does not like salmon. At all. I tried Dan's and it was pretty good, for salmon. Fish just shouldn't taste... fishy.

professional custom writing service said...

salmon?? not, only not this. I just have an allergy on salmon, so that's why I dislike it