Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Food Wars

K. has reached the stage in which at least one meal out of every day is a ROYAL STRUGGLE. 

This is a huge bummer because we already have anxieties about his weight (he is a string bean). I'm trying not to let it get to me that usually once a day, on and off over the past week, he will literally refuse to eat anything I put before him (that is, anything that's not sweet).  And not only will he refuse, but he will put up a major fuss.  I mean tantrum, crying, screaming and sometimes, yes, even holding his breath.  

I always hope and pray that the fit doesn't happen during the dinner meal, when his dad is around, because my spouse will inevitably cave and give him cookies.  His rationale? "We need to give him calories, calories, calories."  Um, yes, but we also need to teach him good eating habits, and God knows I don't want him inheriting my junk food addiction!

All the sources I've consulted say "don't sweat it" when it comes to getting toddlers to eat.  You want to offer them a wide variety of healthy foods, which I really do try to do, but you also should not force them to eat anything.  I consider it a victory if I can get K. to take 1 or 2 spoonfuls of something before turning up his nose.  Vegetables are the big problem - he likes corn and peas but other than those sure fire favorites, everything else is a crap shoot.  I try to disguise the vegetables with tons of butter (also not a great habit to get into, but I'm desperate!) and sometimes that works, but usually I have to work like it's my job just to get him to touch the food to his lips.  Argh.

If anyone has any tips out there, or words of advice, please share.  Otherwise I'm just going to try to chillax and hope this is just a passing phase.


Sweet Pea Chef said...

Ok, so you know I have an interest in this subject...and I have definitely had my share of food battles!

I get the whole "calories, calories, calories" thing, since G was *this close* to being referred to a specialist because of being underweight around 9 months. SPH went through a similar mindset as JJ about food, but I really think that no matter how easy it is to throw the cookie, I would seriously throw the cookies out in the trash and not buy any (if DH can't find any, he can't give Kibi any) more.

Try spicing up the veggies a bit. I think our culture is way too slow to introduce spices as a way to help our kids acclimate to veggies. Have you tried refried beans? Or Indian vegetables (come in cute little packets at Trader Joes). What about roasting some sweet potatoes with either savory or cinnamon spices? I would even try stirfry veggies with some soy sauce. Perhaps Kibi is just ready for something other than steamed veggies.

In the meantime, check the consistency issue...R shocked me at about this age when all he wanted were frozen green beans. He gnawed on them and the they became mushy and he ate them.

As long as you keep offering a variety of foods, and all he eats are one or two kinds of vegetables, don't worry about it. He will find new ones to like, as long he is offered them again and again.

Ok, last thought--Feed the veggies first...when he is most hungry and most motivated to eat them...

BigBi said...

SPC: this is GREAT advice... thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

julie said...

Or, if that fails, you can do what my mother did- use a blender and hide veggies in everything. My sister was rail thin and refused to eat much other than buttered noodles. Mom got inventive and made zucchini/pumpkin bread and marinara sauce with pureed spinach/squash/carrots/etc. It worked - my sis never even knew the difference and we all got more greens. (of course, SPC's suggestions are ideal and should be tried first, but I know if yours is as stubborn as mine, you may have to resort to sneakiness)

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