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Okay, seriously, what do I feed my picky toddler?

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  • Okay, seriously, what do I feed my picky toddler?

    She has been eating lara bars, veggie straws (um, yeah, not actually a veggie and not paleo) and mangos for breakfast with some raw milk. And she acts terrible in the mornings. Maybe related? So, she has been informed that she can now eat only eggs or a fruit smoothie (relatively low sugar compared to mango/lara bar!) for breakfast. Ensue weeping and nashing of teeth. Oh well. She'll have to learn to love them or starve.

    Lunch is always deli meat from Whole Foods with some sliced oranges, cherry tomatos, and/or broccoli.

    Dinner is plain, whole milk yogurt or some chicken and cheese. Maybe some olives or cherry tomatoes.

    Okay, that is literally all the paleo food that she will eat. Seriously.

    She wants macaroni and cheese, peanutbutter and jelly, fried rice, pasta, goldfish, candy...etc....She would like to eat dairy and carbs constantly.

    I am sick of the crying and whining and general poor behavior. I want her to grow up loving vegetables (like I do!). I know people say that their kids ate what they ate for dinner... But we eat things like curries and elaborate BAS's and she will not touch them for anything.

    I work full-time and I cannot figure this out! It's a source of huge stress for me.

  • #2
    Sorry, but I am going to give you that same advice: she eats what you eat, with additional things for her if you choose. I would try to nip in the bud any expectation she has that you will cook to order.

    My little boys are not Primal, but there is no way I am making them nuggets while I eat a Primal dinner. If you make a BAS, cut up the protein for her and serve it with sweet potato fries, cut up avocado and fruit. If you make a curry, take out some of the cooked meat before you add the seasonings and serve it to her with rice. Maybe make curry a little less often and instead make simpler proteins. Lamb chops are always a hit with toddlers because the meat is nice a soft. Fish - hers can be served as a fish taco if you like or with cut veggies. Stir fries.

    I would skip the yogurt at dinner b/c that will fill her and then she won't eat the veggies etc.

    Our kids drink tons of organic milk. As I said - they are not primal. More like 50% Primal.

    Also, there is a book out called "Eat Like a Dinosaur" that has fun paleo recipes geared toward children if you need more ideas.

    Lastly - most important rule of parenting - don't make yourself nuts. Sounds like you're doing great with her food.

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    • #3
      I have the same problem with my kids. For nights when my son won't eat what I've prepared, I have some charbroiled burgers in the freezer. I pop one out, heat it up and viola, primal dinner for one. last night I paired his burger with grapes and he was a happy boy. My boy tends not to like whole cuts of meat, but will eat meat that is ground.

      My daughter is not so picky right now. She's 2 and will eat whole cuts of meat pretty well, but veggies are out. Our daycare ruined our kids with veggies by putting sugar on them. I refuse to put sugar on them. She will eat potatoes that have been cooked in coconut oil.

      The ELaD book is pretty good and has foods that *I* like, but I don't think they're anything special aside from the fact that they gave them kid-friendly names (roast beast instead of roast beef, etc).

      have you primalized chicken nuggets yet? There's a recipe in ELaD that I tried (neither of my kids ate them). If you have or find a good CN recipe that primal, please share. lol

      Maybe you could do meatballs for her? Kids like meatballs. Spaghetti with rice pasta is always a hit at our house. They don't like the texture of spaghetti squash.

      As for breakfast, I don't know. My kids love eggs. Daughter loves hashbrowns. Son loves bacon and sausage. But if I make a scramble with anything added to the eggs, they won't touch it.

      Kids are hard. Hopefully someone has some more ideas.
      Primal since March 5, 2012
      SW: 221 | CW: 204 | LPW: 166 | UGW: 140 (80 lbs loss)



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      • #4
        I will agree that the Eat Like a Dinosaur book is fantastic for kids (and grown ups!) and to just keep feeding your daughter bits and pieces of what you are eating. I "gave up" with my 2.5yr old and 4.5 yr old. I said - this is what is for dinner. Eat or don't, those are your two choices. The 4.5 yr old now eats most of it (and finally loves steak) and the 2.5 yr picks at the little bits he likes. It helps that I do make dishes that I know they will like too, or things they request. Sometimes my 2.5yr old eats nothing but eggs and cheese for days on end, but for now, I am fine with that. Eventually he eats fruits and vegetables, and there are meals I make fairly often that he loves, so it evens out in the end.
        Originally posted by L8F
        ... I drank the fermented koolaid, and am totally on board...

        I'm alergic to carbs - they make me break out in fat!


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        • #5
          We have the same issues. My only advice is to keep trying. Offer things, but don't push the subject too much. I bought little cookie cutters in various shapes. The ones we have are fruit shapes. I found that if I cut things into cute shapes, my daughter is more willing to eat them. My middle daughter will eat just about anything if she helps cook it. Even the little ones can usually cut some things with a dinner knife. Get her involved as much as you can and make it fun. If it's a battle, no one wins.

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          • #6
            I don't have kids so I'm not really qualified for this, but why the hell are you feeding a toddler Lara bars? From their own website: "LÄRABAR produces healthy, gluten free energy bars made from minimal, pure ingredients." Lots and lots of fructose. If it's a convenience thing maybe you could make your own ahead of time with less sweet ingredients in the ratio.

            I'm no good on how to get them to eat anything else, but I don't think I'd give those to a toddler.

            again, my disclaimer that I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to wee youngsters. Good luck
            carl's cave

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            • #7
              Carl, indeed you do not. And in my original post I said that I was banning them and offering her only eggs or smoothies in the AM.

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              • #8
                Ah, I just misread one sentence in your post. No worries and no cause for alarm.
                carl's cave

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                • #9
                  YOU decide what and when, SHE decides if and how much. Just keep putting clean, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods in front of her and let her choose. SHE WILL NOT STARVE if she skips a meal or snack. Being HUNGRY an being MALNOURISHED are not the same thing.

                  Don't panic if her daily intake is unbalanced. It will all average out over the week, especially if you change what you offer from day to day. Always offer at least one thing you know she'll eat at every meal, but not the same favorite food every time. Make portions *tiny* (like a tablespoon) and let her know she can have more of anything if she finishes the little bit that's on her plate.

                  I am sick of the crying and whining and general poor behavior. I want her to grow up loving vegetables (like I do!). I know people say that their kids ate what they ate for dinner... But we eat things like curries and elaborate BAS's and she will not touch them for anything. I work full-time and I cannot figure this out! It's a source of huge stress for me.
                  Have some patience. Most kids don't "grow up loving" all kinds of veggies. Its an acquired taste and texture, and they will often flip flop on what they like and don't like from week to week. If you start them off on mac&cheese and goldfish crackers, of course they're going to resist clean, unprocessed foods. And be realistic...you want her to like what you like, but she has grown up eating 'kid food' instead. If you know she resists "elaborate" meals, then dial it back for a while. Often kids will eat the same ingredients if you keep them simple, so put the same foods on her plate as you're eating, without the fancy sauces and toppings.

                  Don't let her see you sweat. Ignore the meltdowns...its a manipulation. Preschoolers have nothing better to do than push boundaries. Its not a fight if you don't let her push your buttons. Show her with your actions that this is not a topic that is up for debate. A toddler - or preschooler for that matter - is too young to be reasoned with. "Because I said so" is completely appropriate at that age. YOU are the grownup, you've done the research, you understand nutrition better than she does.
                  Sandra
                  *My obligatory intro

                  There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

                  DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sandra in BC View Post
                    YOU decide what and when, SHE decides if and how much. Just keep putting clean, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods in front of her and let her choose. SHE WILL NOT STARVE if she skips a meal or snack. Being HUNGRY an being MALNOURISHED are not the same thing.

                    Don't panic if her daily intake is unbalanced. It will all average out over the week, especially if you change what you offer from day to day. Always offer at least one thing you know she'll eat at every meal, but not the same favorite food every time. Make portions *tiny* (like a tablespoon) and let her know she can have more of anything if she finishes the little bit that's on her plate.



                    Have some patience. Most kids don't "grow up loving" all kinds of veggies. Its an acquired taste and texture, and they will often flip flop on what they like and don't like from week to week. If you start them off on mac&cheese and goldfish crackers, of course they're going to resist clean, unprocessed foods. And be realistic...you want her to like what you like, but she has grown up eating 'kid food' instead. If you know she resists "elaborate" meals, then dial it back for a while. Often kids will eat the same ingredients if you keep them simple, so put the same foods on her plate as you're eating, without the fancy sauces and toppings.

                    Don't let her see you sweat. Ignore the meltdowns...its a manipulation. Preschoolers have nothing better to do than push boundaries. Its not a fight if you don't let her push your buttons. Show her with your actions that this is not a topic that is up for debate. A toddler - or preschooler for that matter - is too young to be reasoned with. "Because I said so" is completely appropriate at that age. YOU are the grownup, you've done the research, you understand nutrition better than she does.
                    +1

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone
                      Sandra, awesome response. I know that's all true, I just have very little energy and patience to wait out marathon hunger strikes/fits. She has it in her to cry for hours so I "pick my battles" and I need to fight the food battle a little harder.

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                      • #12
                        Remember children need much more carb heavy food than an adult. Sugars and starches. That's because they are growing. Also small children have a very small gut and generally cannot handle high fiber foods and find them repellent. High fiber veg is more of an adult thing.

                        I offer meat but don't worry when it is often not taken up. I always make butter and animal fats (chicken skin, cooked meat fat etc.) available, and it gets eaten quite a lot. I find rice is an excellent filler, not being wheat based but still starchy. For whatever reason mine refuse to eat root veg cooked, only eating carrots raw. I was the same as a child.

                        I do offer good quality ice cream that has no HFCS or veg oil. When bread and pasta are demanded I let them have it, but I offer other stuff first. Eggs seems to be very popular, and filling up on eggs takes the pressure off the pasta, which I consider to be junk food.

                        I do not attempt to force me will on my children regarding food. When I have a preference I merely fail to buy what I don't want it and offer what I do want them to eat.

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                        • #13
                          Sometimes children can be such pains in the ___. I am with you and dread the fight. Last night DD would not TOUCH her burger (she did take one piece and picked the cheese off of it, so maybe if there was no cheese), but I also remember she tried to take her food to the living room and I wouldn't let her and after that she would not touch the burger (she's 2). Instead she had a lunchable for dinner (ik, ick... but she ate).

                          I think we'll do tacos tonight. The kids like tacos a lot. DD eats just the meat. DS eats the meat, cheese and lettuce on a corn shell. That meal seems to make them happy.
                          Primal since March 5, 2012
                          SW: 221 | CW: 204 | LPW: 166 | UGW: 140 (80 lbs loss)



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                          • #14
                            Grace gets her choice of breakfast and lunch. Dinner time I make 2 eating options available: Take it, or go to bed. Breakfast she'll often have fruit, or eggs & bacon, or cheese, or lunch meat. Lunch is usually cheese, lunch meat, gluten free chicken nuggets. Sometimes yogurt. She loves her raw milk. Dinner is whatever we're having.

                            Make 2 options available in your home at all times: Eat it or go hungry. After they've come to accept this rule, you can let them start picking what they eat. Just make sure they finish what they picked before picking something else.
                            --Trish (Bork)
                            TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                            http://pregnantdiabetic.blogspot.com
                            FOOD PORN BLOG! http://theprimaljunkfoodie.blogspot.com

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                            • #15
                              I think you have gotten a lot of good helpful advice hear. I want to reiterate the suggestion to not have stuff in the house that you don't want her to eat. aka just don't have mac and cheese, lunchables, etc. I have found over the years it is much easier (for the kids, AND for me) to not eat crap if I never buy it to bring home. then if we are out and about and they want something that isn't in our regular diet I feel fine with letting them. But it's just never an option at home. The treats I do buy are cheese and corn tortillas, full fat real ice cream, and....fruit leather, lara bars (but packaged treats are only for outings or school. Never instead of real food at home)

                              My rule of thumb with feeding kids (all picky in their own ways, at different times) was 1-this is what mom made for dinner. I put a tiny portion of each thing on the plate, like 2-3 bites each thing. That is the first thing they eat. 2-when that's done you may get more, or make something else for yourself (this is when they are old enough to actually make something. When they are tiny I'll make something for them after they eat what's on the plate). I urge them to snack on veggies or meat or a glass of whole raw milk if they are hungry before dinner and then if they aren't hungry at dinner I really don't care.
                              This stuff only works if you only have great options at home and no crap. And all those countless meals of eating one or two bites of new, unloved items builds up to proper tastebuds eventually. I promise, for reals.

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