Will loves cheese. And berries. And grapes. And pasta. And beef. And chicken. And eggs. And just about everything you can imagine, except for green beans. He could do without those. He’s also not too fond of sausage, but he’ll tolerate it.
He’s the kid willing to try anything – even if only for a bite. A few nights ago, he ate spinach lasagna and a spinach salad with great glee. There was no complaint over the green stuff in it, no demand for something else. He just ate what he was served. Meanwhile, our friend’s daughter ate the pizza that her parents brought for her. The pizza that they stopped at a restaurant for and brought to my house when I was making a perfect good (and nutritious) meal that I knew my toddler would gobble right up. Will gave her a funny, “it’s just pizza, what’s the big deal?” look.
So, that leads me to a little rant. Seriously, parents. Don’t tell me that your toddler won’t eat anything except macaroni and cheese or pizza or whatever. If you set your expectations right, then they’ll eat whatever you serve them. Me? I expect Will to eat whatever I serve. Whether it’s fish, meat, vegetable or anything in between, Will tries it. Sure, he isn’t always fond of everything, but he tries it.
And yes, I get that sometimes kids will fill up on one food group to meet a need of their body. But, wanting to eat blueberries by the bucketful or enough carbs to make Atkins roll over is one thing. Eating only bad so-called kid food is another. Someday, your children will wonder why they didn’t have more variety as a kid.
Toddlers would eat more than their limited favorites if parents didn’t give in to food tantrums. It’s pretty simple really: a child learns at a young age how to manipulate the situation in their favor. So, if you give in and let them eat what they are demanding or what you know they won’t put up a fight over, you are showing them that they can have that whenever they throw a tantrum or whatever bad behavior started it in the first place. I know that no one wants their child to throw a tantrum at a friend’s house, but it is far more offensive to bring your own food.
Allergies aside, kids are adventurous by nature. If they see you eating something, chances are they will give it a try too. I say allergies aside, because that is an exception: if you have a child with allergies, by all means take foods that are safe for them with you to friends houses or restaurants. But if you have the run of the mill healthy child, it’s rude to do those things. You might as well say, “Your food stinks and I won’t allow my child to eat it,” because that is the only thing missing from the action.
Is Will an exceptional case? I don’t think so. He puts up a fight over dinner on occasion. But in the end, he always eats what I serve. And the more that I assert that, the fewer food tantrums we have.
Here’s another news flash: if you stand your ground and don’t give in, your child will not starve. Sure, they might go to bed a little hungry one night, but they will make up for that the next day.
So parents, just stand your ground.
Category: Feeding Kids