Thursday, December 1, 2011

Feeding Children

Original Post March 19

Now that my son is 2 1/2, I keep receiving children newsletters with articles about how to feed a picky eater. In one mainstream magazine, they even offered suggestions on how to get your child to eat different foods. These different foods included avocado, sushi, hummus or falafel, curry, and some other things which I can’t remember. What I do remember is the complete disbelief that a child wouldn’t have already been introduced to these foods! Eli eats everything on the list of what is considered different. It’s his normal. I also read various mother boards. There’s always a post about how “my child will only eat pizza and spaghettios” and wanting advise on how to get them to eat something else. I always want to scream HOW ABOUT NOT FEEDING YOUR CHILD PIZZA AND SPAGHETTIOS! If they don’t know it exists, then they won’t want it!
I bought one bag of chicken nuggets and hated feeding them to my son so much, I threw the bag away and have never bought another bag. Guess what, he hasn’t starved and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t feel deprived from not eating dinosaur shaped nuggets. Now, I only feed him what I feel good about feeding him. Making homemade food, from scratch, doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time. In fact, with a little prep, I can whip up a delicious meal in about the same amount of time it takes for chicken nuggets to cook. Some meals take a little longer, but for those, I make extra so we have leftovers.
So, what was for lunch today? I thawed out some pesto, cooked some veggie pasta, steamed some veggies (frozen blend of broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots), warmed up left over chicken, threw it all together, Eli helped sprinkled parmesan cheese over it. Eli ate it up! The entire meal took about 10 min. to put together. And there’s leftovers for tomorrow.
Now, there are foods he doesn’t like and I honor that. There are foods I don’t like, it’s okay. Since he was about 8 months old, he has had some version of what we were eating. We have always offered a wide variety of tastes, flavors, and food for him to try. We also cook foods in a variety of ways for him to try. While he won’t eat just plain steamed veggies (which I find to be very bland as well), add some pesto, or put them in a soup (usually with garbanzo beans and seasonings) and he will eat them right up. One way I introduce fresh greens, like spinach or kale, is to make him a green smoothie- which is basically a fruit smoothie with greens. He loves them!
Some kids are going to naturally be picky eaters. But I am a firm believer in offering a variety of real, whole based foods, early on, restricting processed food, and not making food a power struggle. Mealtime really can be a fun time, even with a toddler!
For more delicious meal ideas, visit http://weelicious.com. It’s one of my favorite sites and the crock pot oatmeal is WONDERFUL!

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