The endless shame of toddler parenting for me is, yet again, how far I fail in the food department. 5th time round, I still have a child who has hit age 2 with the palate of an adult and then suddenly regressed until nothing but white processed bread will do. Natural weaning, home made or responsibly created packets and a plentiful supply of different tastes have been, once again, as nothing as my boy retreats into a world where any acceptable food is ditched as disgusting after 3 days and consigned to the ‘he used to eat’ bin yet again.
Tell me I’m not the only one? He used to come home from nursery with a report sheet listing the salmon gratin and chilli beans he had happily chomped on; suddenly it listed “a bit of bread, all his cake and tasted some of a bowl of dry krispies’. It’s disheartening and even as an experienced parent, a little alarming as your toddler descends into the realms of existing on air.
For us, the only trick to keep him eating (and he hasn’t ever looked malnourished so I’ve contented myself with concluding he just went through a phase of not needing so much) is to vary the food as much as possible, pick my battles (a calorie low means ANYTHING will do, even if wouldn’t be my first choice of nourishment) and grab moments when I can distract him into eating such as while in the car or while watching TV (Peppa Pig, I salute you!) I genuinely have used Ella’s Kitchen (Bene refused all others), the brand who made the video below as a way of having a handy and novel snack in my bag and at the low point, a few months ago, we reverted to pouches of pureed fruit and veg for him to such on as the only way to get fresh food into him; this worked a treat, as did stirring it into yoghurts, rice pudding or custard.
We have a massive problem re-educating parents and children in this country so that they grow up eating fresher, healthier food with nutrients rather than empty calories. Perhaps one way is to get them involved in believing what they put in their mouth matters, like these feisty little people in the video. But I know how tough it can be when everything you offer is met with a firm no.
What are your toddler and preschool food tips?