Friday, January 20, 2012

Healthy Toddler Meals; Bring Back The Hotdog Or Continue Down The Road To Starvation

So for weeks now, Bean has been boycotting all foods besides hotdogs, yogurt and noodles.  She is becoming such a picky toddler that healthy toddler meals are a nightmare. I realized I was in over my head last week when after a frustrating lunchtime, with plates of uneaten healthy meal attempts littering the kitchen counters, I put her in the car and drove her to Burger King for French fries.  As we sat there sharing a fry (and a milkshake...go big or go home), I realized that I was losing my grasp on motherhood or at least on my sanity.  I had just treated her to fast food because I could not watch her eat one more cup of yogurt instead of the healthy lunches I prepared?!  

What was wrong with me?

I talked to the pediatrician about my frustration and she pretty much told me to man up and play hardball.  She said kids in China don’t eat hotdogs at every meal and that if I did not want a five year old that still demanded a separate dinner, it was time my Bean started eating what we eat or nothing at all,  after all a toddler will not starve themselves.

I left determined, I was ready to play ball and I knew I could out play a toddler.   After almost two weeks, I  have learned that our Bean has a stubborn streak that far surpasses me (which I actually thought was a genetic impossibility).

 For the past week and a half, I have made a healthy toddler meal with foods that the Bean once ate willingly.  Every night, she plays with her food and if we make a move to get a single bite past those pursed lips she bursts into loud uncontrollable sobs.

My husband and I have spent a week and a half eating our dinner to the enchanting sounds of a screaming toddler and once we finished have lifted her down from her highchair with an empty belly and sent her to bed.  She wakes demanding milk and food immediately and well saying I am frustrated is the understatement of a lifetime. 

Last night, I caved and after watching her refuse her dinner, I went to the refrigerator and reached for her favorites.  I watched her eat 2 cups of yogurt, 2 cups of pasta and a cup of peaches like a homeless man in a buffet. She shoveled food into her mouth at such a frenzied pace that I held her hands down to make her chew between bites. 

So here I am, at a crossroads, do I continue to feed her foods that I know she will eat (which are actually healthy-ish) or do I continue to starve my child into submission in hopes that one day soon she too will eat a healthy toddler meal of pork chops and sweet potatoes with the rest of the family.


  1. I would definitely back off on the hard-ball - you gave it a good go. My daughter ate like a baby bird until she was about 2 - opened her mouth and everything when in. Then she changed. I had to change my expectation. I made small plate of the things we were eating. e.g. 3 peas, 1 piece of cheese, I cube of meat and made her the things she did like for the main part of the meal. She sometimes did try the other items and as she got older I would try to increase them. She is a pretty good now at 10. It would be worth finding out if it is a textural thing and ruling out any type of sensory processing disorder

  2. I was just having this battle an hour ago - with noodles vs. goldfish.
    My 2 y/o won't eat much of anything. The goldfish won. I don't want her to not eat something! She drinks her milk & juice and then is completely against eating much of anything. I still give her a plate, she will pick usually at one thing at least...then she's done. I started just giving her more healthy snacks & am considering the ice cube tray buffet...have you seen it?
    good luck. i would just give her the faves and let her come around when she's ready, I keep saying she has to eat a real meal eventually! :)


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