1 June 2009

Food glorious food

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting for me is feeding my children. I've read all the weaning advice, I know what they should eat, but getting them to eat it is a different matter. I don't want mealtimes to become a battlefield. I've seen House of Tiny Tearaways. In fact I watched it before I had children and tutted at the terrible parents. Now I have two children of my own I can completely understand how they got to the point of desperation. It all starts with a bending of the rules here, and a backing down there. Bad habits are so easy to make.

Luckily I also saw a documentary called 'My child won't eat'. The advice was to let them eat what they want. The most important thing is that they get enough calories. You could see that these children were healthy. One of them would only eat yoghurt, another lived on Wotsits and chocolate. Clearly these were extreme cases, but it made me relax my attitude to feeding.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself - but don't we all do that as parents? I beat myself up most days for being a crap mum. Sometimes I forget to change a nappy, sometimes I get distracted by the computer, but I try to make up for it in other ways. Obviously your children want to spend time with you, so I spend hours reading every book in the house or playing peek-a-boo or making up songs.

The other thing I do to show them love is to feed them, it's a natural maternal instinct to nurture your loved ones. This is where the feeding problems can start. Rejection is so hard to take, rejection of food can be equated to rejection of love. I am learning not to take offence when I've spent half an hour cooking a meal that gets thrown on the floor. More importantly I try very hard not to show annoyance. I try to keep in mind that the behaviour is naughty not the child, and act accordingly. I clear up the mess and offer an alternative.

I thought it may be useful to share what my 21 month old toddler eats. When I wrote it down I realised that it's not that bad. I hope! A good day is one where he eats all of what he's given, a bad day is one where he doesn't! On a bad day I keep offering different foods until he will eat something, while keeping an eye on my poor carpet. 

What he eats on a good day:
7am - Milk
9am - Super porridge made with milk
11am -Rice cakes
1pm - Tuna & sweetcorn sandwich and a yoghurt
3pm - Banana
5pm - Cheese & tomato pizza, more sweetcorn, a pear and a breadstick
7pm - Milk

What he eats on a bad day:
7am - No milk
9am - Two spoonfuls of super porridge, a fromage frais, Cheerios
11am -Some of my toast, strawberries
1pm -  One bite of a cheese sandwich, strawberries, breadsticks, branflakes
3pm - Half a rusk, an animal biscuit, strawberries (you see a pattern here?)!
5pm - Two sausages, two peas, no broccoli, no potato, a plum, a custard dessert
7pm - Milk

I would love your comments on this. What do your children eat on a good day? Do you have bad days? 



  1. My little one is 10 months old and she has always been fantastic t eating. He typical day is
    7am cereal with milk (rusk, weeetabix, baby brekkie)
    7am milk
    9am Toast
    11am Baby Bicci
    12:30 Pizza or cheese butties with fromage frais for afters
    3pm Fruit smoothie (pinky ponk juice) and a biscuit
    6:30pm our dinner from the night before partially blended (sheperds pie etc) or pasta with tinned tomato, finely chopped fried onions and ham or chicken

    She has a food belly, a nice food belly (yoghurt etc) and a sausage belly which is bigger the other two. She can eat infinite sausages..

  2. oh and she loves to chomp her way round an apple while we hold it. From the minute she started weening she used to have a banana every night with dinner and in the last couple of weeks she has got bored with them.

  3. Oh I have been there! I also watched that programme. Since being more relaxed my son has started eating veg, albeit only peas and carrots but it's veg all the same! He is also more open to trying new foods. It sounds like your little one is eating just fine! I was always told that if you look at what they eat over a week rather than a day, then it gives a better picture of what they're consuming. Everyone has days when they're not that hungry! xx

  4. Food is always a battlefield my four year old only eats broccoli - no other veg, but she is brilliant with fruit. I think the key is to choose your battles and i am also guilty of taking huge offence when they refuse to eat the meal i have spent three hours cooking, i'm going to try and not take it too personally from now on. x

  5. I try to stay relaxed about food and i think my children all have a balanced diet. Sure they get some non healthy stuff but its balanced out by health food. Im lucky that my children , all 3 eat fruit and vegtables easily but also unlucky as my eldest two (baby to little yet) have terrible sweet tooth .

    Morning starts with 1/4 bagel and slice of toast . 2 bowls of cheerios and a peice of fruit.
    Snacks normally fruit or crackers or Yoghurt Flakes .
    Lunch nearly always a sandwhich and dinner something easy , last night hubby and i had Fajhitas but made cheese and vegtable wraps for the kids.

    We have almost no food rules , they eat or they don't but we don't give them something diffrent . At dinner they must try there food or they get no dessert (which is yoghurt)

  6. Olly ate everything - including worms and Amber ate nothing....just picked like a sparrow!

    I had a cream carpet when they were tiny, lasted five minutes - how stupid is that!!!!

    He'll eat when he wants to. RMx

  7. Thanks for your most welcome comments.

    Actually when you see it written down his diet isn't that bad. He has had a casserole made from chicken, sweet potato and broccoli the last two nights without complaint. He loves fruit, but I have to disguise most veg. Wish he ate pasta too, maybe one day...

    Did you see this on the BBC website about toddlers and eating disorders?

    Thanks, that's given me plenty of ideas, especially for my 9 month old (but that's another post)! x

    Yes, I'd heard that about looking at their diet over a week. Thanks for reminding me.
    Thanks for the award too, that was so sweet of you x

    It is hard when they don't like your cooking. It's even worse when they won't even try it. If I feel upset I just take the bowl into the kitchen, breathe deeply, count to ten, then turn round and smile. Then fetch the Cheerios! x

    That's a good idea that they must try dinner and that is all that is offered. I may give that a go, but my toddler is sooo skinny I find it hard when he doesn't eat x

    A cream carpet?! Oh dear :-)
    When we looked at this house we both hated the patterned carpets, now we love them! x

  8. Hello! This post is great because there are so many mums out there struggling and fighting with their children for them to eat 3 peas. I am one of them. Funny enough when I read the list of what your child eat on a bad day and on a good day, I can tell you same here! This is the same sort of amount and type of food he also has. He is just over 2 years old and one thing I have noticed is that when he is going through a growth spurt or teething he will eat more or less. Sometime I wonder how he gets through the day and he could live on dairy. There are days when all he has is milk, yogurt and cheese...
    I try not to worry about it. I do offer the things I know he likes when he eats less and I am daring when he is in a phase when he eats better. If I am offering something new and he won't eat it after trying a little bit I offer something else. Afterall I find this is fair. However if he refuses to eat what I know he likes but ask for a yogurt and won't touch his main, I won't let him have a yogurt. It is sometime really hard because it means that he doesn't eat much (he is as stubborn as I am!). He is doing this less now so I am quite glad to see that it works. If I had just one thing to say it would be trust your instinct, it is telling you when you are doing the right thing so listen to it, don't listen to the books!

    Like Rebel Mother I had a cream rug in the past... then I had children... :)

    Lovely blog, thanks Tim at "Bringing up Charlie" for pointing us in this direction!

  9. PHM - Yes, my toddler goes through hungry phases too. I think I have been instinctively pushing the food boundaries at those times. We're going through an eating phase at the moment. He ate a whole bowl of (mild) chilli and rice yesterday and is having extra fruit courses too. I tried roast potatoes today, but they were still potatoes and as such were spat into his bib. But at least he tried them!!
    Thanks for the lovely comment. Also thanks for letting me know it was Tim that sent you x

  10. I'm thinking about doing a fussy eating post - I'll link to you when I do.

    I have a fussy eater and it is tough. Veg are an anathema to him. Fruit, fortunately is not too bad, strawberries are a godsend.

    I've decided to feed him his meals, if he eats them he eats them, if he doesn't well, there we go. hoping this will destress mealtimes. But there is nothing more frustrating than cooking something really yummy and they won't even try it! Grrrrrr.

    No. 2 eats almost anything in his way (not tomatoes though). The main aim at the moment is to encourage him and not let him pick up on the fussiness of No.1. It must be said that No. 1 sleeps like a dream and No.2 has yet to make it fully through the night (ie from 7.30 to 7). You would not believe they have the same parents.

  11. Daughter eats most things, her favourite is broccoli, and being the eldest I sat smug in the knowledge that it was all down to me.
    Cue arrival of son who rejects most things with a 'yuk mummy' has to be practically starved (I give him a very small lunch about 11.30am) so that he will eat his tea with all the vegetables in and requests spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast. This of course must be down to Husband, not me....

  12. Just realised I've been very slack in responding to comments. Sorry.

    BiB, it's funny how they're all different. Baby is fussier than toddler, but that's another post for another day! Looking forward to reading your post about it x

    MH, that's reminded me of how my husband and I responded to praise for our eldest. For instance if someone said 'he's a good sleeper' we said (smugly) 'we blame the parents'. Now when the baby refuses to eat veg we say 'they're all different'!! I hope your son soon starts to try more foods x


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