Food Jags… When To Freak Out

Ever had a toddler that only wanted to eat one thing?  Mac & Cheese for breakfast, lunch, dinner and every snack in between.  Or just berries.  Or only Eggo waffles.  It’s called a food jag and it’s a perfectly normal part of development.  Most pass within a few days-weeks and aren’t really a cause for concern.  When you think about it, adults have mini food jags too.  We crave chicken salad sandwiches for a week or two and then forget about them and move on.  We just know that we can’t only eat chicken salad sandwiches so we add other things to our cravings.  But in a toddler’s mind, there’s no good reason why they can’t eat their very favorite food-of-the-week all the time.  So, that’s what they try to do.  Food jags are frustrating, but also scary when you’re parenting a kid who may come with a history of food issues.  The multiple issues that adoptive and foster parents work through with their kiddos can make food jags especially difficult to work through.

Here’s some tips if you have a toddler who is stuck on one food:

  • Don’t stress out!  Most food jags pass if you don’t freak out about them.  In fact, freaking out could be the very thing that makes it last longer because it’s fun for toddlers to control their parents’ emotions.  So, take deep breaths and pretend like you don’t notice.
  • Don’t change how you feed.  Continue to put regular, balanced meals and snacks on the table and don’t stress out that your kiddo is only choosing to eat one thing from what you are providing.  Again, this will pass most of the time.  Continue to follow my successful feeding guidelines.
  • Know your kid.  Is the food they are choosing something that is comforting in a transition?  Does it remind them of home?  Is it a familiar food in a new place?  Provide the food regularly along with other foods that balance it out if there is a deeper reason why your kiddo is clinging to one particular food.
  • Know when to get help.  If the food jag lasts for long enough that you are concerned your kiddo’s nutrition is being compromised or your suspect there are other factors that are contributing to only choosing one type of food (like oral-motor issues), then don’t hesitate to seek out some professional help.

What “food jags” have your kids gone through?

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