I am amazed how intuitive toddler eating is and how much it drives me crazy.
When our little one eats everything served for dinner, I think to myself, “Yes! Now I can make that again and he’ll actually eat a full balanced meal.” Nope. It actually means that he’s gotten his fill of those foods and is ready for something different. He’ll eat only cheese for lunch (as in, no other foods, just cheese), and then not eat cheese again for another few weeks. He’ll get really into roasted carrots before dinner when we’re preparing them, but then choose not to eat any when it’s time to sit down and eat the meal.
The one thing that is clear is that feeding a toddler is a lesson of letting go of control and practicing to trust the intuition that’s naturally built into each little person.
There are, however, a few standbys that have been happily and consistently accepted by our little one. Yes, that list includes all the fruits, bread, and butter. But it also includes “nut balls,” veggie pancakes, and other nutrient dense choices that include nourishing fats and proteins along with the ever-loved carbs. And yes, those little bodies are moving around ALL day long and do need a lot of carbs! But having a variety of macro-nutrients, along with a variety of colors, textures, and flavors, will set them up for a lifetime of healthy intuitive eating. I believe that if sugar is kept away and most food choices in a house are nutrient-dense whole foods prepared from scratch, toddlers will choose to eat an adequate amount of varied items and get the nutrients they need. It might just take a week (or a month) to balance out all of those seemingly bizarre daily eating choices.
In the next few posts I will be sharing some of our favorite recipes – the ones that ALL members of our house enjoy. Cooking projects keep kids busy, engage all the senses, and result in ready-to-eat snacks and meals that need to be prepared anyway. With every recipe I post, I’ll highlight good opportunities to engage helping toddler hands. Enjoy!