Is My Kid A Normal Eater?

Toddlers and preschoolers tend not to eat how we think they “should.”  In fact, they tend not to do much of anything how we think they should.  Like how I thought my 4-year-old should lay quietly in his bed during nap-time yesterday when he thought is would be better to sneak scissors, give his stuffed animals haircuts and then cut off his little sister’s pony tail.  But that’s another blog for another time.  Back to how our munchkins make us crazy with their eating habits.  Young kids don’t eat according to My Plate charts, food group goals or serving sizes.  They can be ravenous one day and seem to run solely off the energy they got from two crackers and a spoonful of applesauce the next.  So, what’s typical?  And when should you be worried? Our kids all have vast and varied eating temperaments.  It’s important to acknowledge that kiddos will naturally eat differently based on their unique personalities.  With that in mind, all of these behaviors or within the realm of “typical” or “normal” when it comes to toddlers and preschoolers: Many kiddos do not eat set amounts day in and day out.  Instead of looking at how they are eating each day, look at their diets over the course of a week.  Chances are that they natural balance out pretty well. Most young kiddos prefer carbohydrates.  It’s age-appropriate that your kid only wants pasta (or bread or mashed potatoes).  This preference tends to go away as kids mature. Many young children change preferred foods on a whim.  They may suddenly refuse what was their favorite yesterday. Their...

Family Meals, Family Style

After reading the book Love Me, Feed Me by Dr. Katja Rowell, I was convinced that we should start serving our family meals family style.  Up until then, we had been serving our kids the same way most American parents do with pre-plating.  My then four-year-old (who also happened to be very picky) would immediately protest the minute her predetermined meal was placed in front of her.  There was always something on that plate that made the whole thing inedible… and the dinner battle would begin. At first I was resistant to the idea of serving family style.  Don’t all the diet tipsters say to pre-plate your meal so you wont be tempted to take seconds?  What if she only puts bread on her plate? Or mac-n-cheese?  Or grapes?  What if I don’t want to get an extra serving dish dirty? But I was desperate, so we tried it.  And it’s changed our family dinners.  Serving family style immediately took most of the battle out of our meals.  It gave some much needed control in food choices to our daughter and helped exposed all of our kiddos to a larger variety of foods.  The best part is, that all three of our kids will often choose on their own to try something by the end of a meal that they resisted at the beginning.  They quickly pass along the bowl of asparagus and then snatch a piece out and nibble on it at the end of the meal.  The bowls on the table, being passed without pressure, give them all time to get used to foods they need.  And...