Foodie Friday: The mysteries of toddlers

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Categories Feeding, Feeding Older Children, Foodie Fridays, Mommy IssuesTags

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My 21 month old kiddos are heading quickly towards their twos. And no where can you see it more than in the changes we’ve seen lately around food. They have recently decided they are too old for highchairs, even though we had more boostery ones than many are. This change is fine with me, especially because they’d rather sit on the bar stools at the counter. Super easy for me, and they can sit and watch what I’m doing. And them wanting to eat with adult forks and spoons, also fine with me. I can toss the baby spoons and make more room in my drawer. However, the eating has gotten downright unpredictable. Mysterious, and even a bit annoying at times.

This probably isn’t fair to lump poor Abigail in with Danny in this complaint, since she is overall pretty easy with food and happy to eat whenever, wherever. However, even Abigail has gotten a bit finicky around her food choices. For example:

Foods we do NOT eat:
Pasta with tomato sauce (unless really hungry)
Any food I have spent a significant (more than 5 minutes) preparing
Many veggies, unless still frozen (see below)

Foods we LOVE:
Carbs. Any kind. The more processed, the better
Fruit: Any kind. Canned. Frozen. Fresh. Dried. Whatever.
Frozen peas. Really. They do NOT enjoy them thawed, only frozen
Lima beans (Ick. I mean, really?!)
Shredded cheese—not cubed for Danny, only shredded, preferably orange cheddar
Canned olives
Mac and cheese from a box (the awful bright orange stuff their dad really likes)
Any food being offered as a free sample at Whole Foods

Arg. Seriously. And we are not a big cater to kiddos family. They get a couple of options, they can eat it or not. And, more likely than not, if it’s dinner, Danny will say no thank you. (Or, in reality, yell, yell, yell—we’re still working on single words here, much less polite, well-formed sentences).  They will love something one day, and turn up their noses at it the next. And meat of any kind, forget it! I guess I have budding little vegetarians. Their no-animal eating grandmother will be so proud. Me, I’ll just pull my hair out.

Those of you with toddlers out there—are yours doing this too? I miss my happy go lucky eaters of the baby days.

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9 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: The mysteries of toddlers”

  1. You have just described dinner at our house! The boys love one thing one day and hate it the next day (except fruit which is always on demand). They also could be perfectly happy eating what is in front of them until something else appears in the room. For example, this morning, they were each happily eating a banana until I pulled the box of Cheerios out of the cabinet. They dropped the banana — which they were totally enjoying — and began yelling and furiously signing for “more” in the direction of my Cheerios. Why can’t they understand that it is possible to enjoy more than one food at the same time? They used to understand this! They also used to sign “all done” but they now signal that by chucking the food in front of them across the table. Table manners are a whole other topic, though, I guess!
    I think you are right to not cater to them. Our Pedi told us that a toddler will not let themselves go hungry. If they are truly hungry, they’ll eat what’s in front of them. Give them the options and if they don’t want it, well…too bad. I know that sounds tough but it helped us through this phase with our big girl. I’m hoping it helps with the boys as well.

  2. Oh, aren’t toddlers fun? Sometimes fried rice is a huge hit. Sometimes it’s offensive. The only near-sure-thing is bananas. And maybe strawberries. Oh, and graham crackers, usually.

    I’m trying to do the same: offer a few options, offer variety. If they elect not to eat it, I’m not going to keep throwing things on their tray until they decide to eat. Hopefully it won’t backfire. :-)

  3. Sounds similar to what we are finding with mine who are almost 3. We also don’t cater to them, but I do make adjustments – plain pasta and sausage instead of the baked ziti we are having, for example. And we always have bread on the table with dinner.

    My daughter loves frozen peas too, but will also eat them cooked. She also loves frozen blueberries and raspberries but “No black ones!” They have recently started asking for other things not to be cooked (like sausage) which really threw me off until I realized that they didn’t want it to be hot when they ate it. (I couldn’t figure out why they wanted raw sausage!)

    I am also finding that they freak out when they see me prepare something that they haven’t watched before. They will no yell “no butter! I don’t like butter” when they see me making grilled cheese, not knowing that it always has butter but you can’t see it at the end.

    Have you tried TJs meatballs with the kids? And sausage? Morning star veggie ones were a huge hit with my kids when they were that age. As a culture, I think that we eat too much meat anyway so maybe it doesn’t matter that your guys don’t like it. My daughter is a HUGE meat eater and she definitely didn’t get it from me!

  4. My favorite new development is that my daughter has figured out how to unlatch the high chair tray and dump the entire tray full of food on the floor. Awesome.

    We’ll be moving to booster seats sooner rather than later. Until now, we’ve just used them for travelling.

  5. Yep, sounds exactly like what happened at my house. My boys went from eating anything to being very opinionated about what they want to eat. Not picky, just opinionated.

    I’ve made about 50 different kinds of organic, non-processed, homemade mac & cheese. They almost never eat it. But serve them a box of creamy Kraft mac & cheese and they eat literally the entire box by themselves.

    Just keep plugging away offering them a variety and don’t get offended. We stick with four options at each meal (generally veggie, fruit, starch, protein) and over the course of a week they eat enough of each.

  6. your list encapsulated exactly what my boys are willing to eat right now. exactly. so, you are not alone. i can occ sneak some veg in, but more often than not they try it and fling it. arg. i am so glad i am not alone.

    toddlers are odd odd creatures.

  7. sounds SO familiar! i thought it would never end in our house. and i can’t say it has, as the boys near two. however, it has gotten better…at least THIS week it has! i thank god for morningstar veggie sausage and kashi frozen waffles, because i know that they’re probably getting all the protein they need from breakfast alone. another staple is pb and j on whole grain bread. this week they started eating cucumbers, of all things. even though it’s mostly water, it’s green, so i’ll take it!

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