Tag Archives: toddler food

Dinner winner: 7 tips that got our toddler to eat

My sweet Little Bean (which is one of her many nicknames, and much less visually confusing than “A”.) has been challenging at the dinner table, but we seem to have gotten into a good routine lately.  After lots of stress about food, we’ve found a few things that work for us.

1) Give a very small portion on her plate, and have extra set aside to top it up. Too much food on a plate can be overwhelming visually, and seems daunting.  She seems to enjoy it better when she can clear her plate and then ask for more.

2) Everyone at the table eats the same thing, and we sit down and eat together as a family. Seeing hubby and I eating something will encourage her to give it a try. Sometimes she prefers to sit on our laps and eat right off our plates, which is also okay, though not always convenient.

3) If she gets dramatic about not eating something, stay calm and don’t give attention to it. Instead, turn conversation to anything else – toys, her day, whatever – and keep eating.  This is sometimes easier said than done, especially when she’s shouting “I don’t want it!” and turning her head and flailing her arms in front of her face.

4) Include her in the dinner conversation. It’s a family meal, and when she gets to participate I find everything goes more smoothly.  Even when it’s just asking her what sounds an animal makes.

5) Try presenting things differently. Little Bean HATES cooked vegetables but loves them raw. With pasta, she prefers the noodles plain, and having the sauce on the side like a dip. Even cutting things into different shapes, or steaming instead of pan-frying, or just organizing on the plate can make a difference.

6) Remember that she knows when she feels full, and respect that. This is the hardest for us, since my daughter has always been at the bottom of the growth chart for weight and eating has been a HUGE stressor for hubby and I. But, also, announcing that she’s full means that she’s done, and doesn’t get to snack later outside of her normal routine. She still has to sit at the table and hang out with us if we’re not done eating. We leave the table at the same time. Sometimes she’ll pick at what’s on her plate some more, which is fine. We’ll leave it out for her until we’re all done and put all the dishes away at the same time.

7) NO tech at the table. No phones, no TV, nothing. It’s our time to connect with each other, to talk and make eye contact. This is NOT negotiable in our house.

It has taken some trial and error to get to this point.  Dinner time is still not flawless, but it has improved a lot.

What tips or tricks would you suggest for a picky eater?

Enjoying a Canada Day poutine with daddy.

Enjoying a Canada Day poutine with daddy. Photo courtesy Daddy’s Twitter account.

Stirring the dry ingredients

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!  I have so many things to be thankful for, starting with my wonderful family.  We are all happy and healthy, and that really is a lot to be thankful for.  I’m thankful for our cozy home, our two ridiculous dogs, and the love and support of our extended family, both blood relations and the chosen relations. I’m thankful for the small things too: the last crop of raspberries from our back yard; the fun creative outlet that is making jewellery; and, those deliciously quiet moments where everyone else is napping.

I originally wanted to do something exciting today with the family, since hubby and I are both enjoying the long weekend.  I thought of going out somewhere, but couldn’t decide on anything that A would really enjoy.  So, we stayed in and have been playing and enjoying time together at home.  It wasn’t all playing with the Little People farm and banging on A’s drum – I took a look through the pantry and found all the ingredients we needed to make some banana bread!  I got A to help by pouring ingredients into her bowl and stirring the dry ingredients, which she did with much care.  I brought her little table into the kitchen so it would be at the right height, and she loved helping out almost as much as she enjoyed tasting the finished product! Those who know me know I’m not much of a baker, but if it helps get A enthusiastic about the kitchen and preparing food, I’m willing to learn.

Stirring the dry ingredients

Stirring the dry ingredients, most of which stayed in the bowl.

Dear A: 19 months old and completely awesome.

Hello, my dear! I haven’t written anything in a while and that’s a shame, since so much has been happening.

Any time there’s good weather your daycare provider takes you out to the park for an hour or so. You enjoy the swings and the slides, but your favourite is digging in the sand. You love to make sand castles and dig and put handfuls of sand on the play structure. You even say “sand castle” when you see your park toys.

You’ve been having a great time at gymnastics. The trampoline is still your favourite area, and you can jump with both your feet and keep your balance like a pro. This week you walked along a short balance beam, holding my fingers for reassurance more than support. You get along well with your only classmate, Max. You love to hand him a ball you are playing with, and say his name. A few weeks ago, as we were getting ready to go, he leaned in with puckered lips and so you did the same. We never expected you’d have your first kiss so young! It was absolutely adorable.

You seem to have overcome your fear of strange adults. You are still shy at first, but if Daddy or I interact with them, you will eventually warm up to them too. You love other children, and have been getting to meet the kids of Daddy’s and my friends. You remember their names, and can pick out who they are in photos, too. I’m pretty impressed by your memory.

You can also remember a ton of words. You’re stringing together 3 or 4 words now, and still continue to use the signs with spoken words. You’ve got a huge vocabulary, and pick up new words pretty effortlessly.  You love to repeat what Daddy and I say, too, and you’ve picked up some expressions, like “Awesome!”  It’s a treat hearing you testing out your new words.

Meals are still a bit challenging, though we’ve figured out some strategies to get you to try what’s on your plate. You’ll try almost anything once, but will have nothing to do with tomatoes. You’ve also decided that, instead of eating only green vegetables, you would rather eat veggies of any other colour instead. You have also realized that your sippy cup straw makes a great pea catapult. Our dog Phoebe loves this discovery as much as you do.

You’re growing, too, and you are getting to be such a big girl. We’re lucky that you’re starting to wear a new size of clothes right at the edge of a new season.  You are still quite petite for your age, but you’re so healthy and strong and agile and clever that Daddy and I have stopped worrying about your size and embrace the fact that you must just be meant to be small.  You are fabulous just as you are.

Building Sandcastles

Building Sandcastles