Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Food Fight!

I have a problem. It's something that drives me crazy, and yet its something that is SO changeable.

Everywhere we go, whenever we eat somewhere, I always hear people say "I wish my kid would eat like yours!" which is ALWAYS followed by "My child will only eat chicken nuggets!" I've also heard other foods, but throughout this post I'm using chicken nuggets as an example, because honestly it's what I hear the most.

Well... they could eat as well as mine. Honest.

It just bugs me. I don't feed my daughter an all 100% vegan organic diet. Not by a LONG shot. But she doesn't demand JUST one food either. Why? Because she isn't offered chicken nuggets at every meal. In fact, she MIGHT be offered them once a week. And then she usually eats a few bites and is done.

I think part of it comes from the fact that I don't buy much (if any!) processed food for around the house. I can't. I can't afford it. If she DOES have chicken nuggets at home, it's ones I've made (and by the way, she goes crazy for those!). One of my favorite ways to fix them is to cut of chicken tenders or breasts, dredge them in an egg, then dredge them in a mix of flour (or cornmeal now that I can't eat flour), salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes (until done in the middle and brown on the outside) and viola! Chicken nuggets! It might take, oh, I don't know, 20 minutes tops and is SO MUCH HEALTHIER than processed meat! Plus you control EVERYTHING that goes into them!

You have to OFFER healthy foods for your child to EAT healthy foods. Yes, K eats mac and cheese. Yes she eats carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. Yes, sometimes her lunch is a few bites of apple and a string cheese. But you want to know what her favorite food is? What she cries for? Soup. Yes, soup. It doesn't really matter to her if its vegetable beef, chicken or chili. She simply loves soup. And it's so easy to make HEALTHY soup from scratch!

I just don't understand stating "I wish my child would eat like yours" when they WOULD if you simply offered them different things. Stop offering chicken nuggets (unless you make them yourself) and start offering healthy choices. Chicken nuggets and fries can be healthy if you make it yourself and bake both instead of deep frying! Step out of the frozen aisle and start shopping around the outside of the grocery store (dairy, meat, bread, veggies). It usually only takes 10-20 minutes longer to make it from scratch than it does to heat it up in the microwave.

No time for that? Heck! Cereal is healthier than fast food. That's what we had for dinner last night! Even my husband!

Your toddler or child is not going to starve themselves. We have a rule that K has to try ONE bite of something new, if she doesn't like it, she doesn't have to eat any more. It's not about forcing your kid to eat something they hate, but about encouraging them to experience new foods and new flavors. If she turns her nose up what I've fixed, that's fine. But she's not getting junk food fifteen minutes later either. She's welcome to have something else (cheese sandwich, peanut butter, apple, etc), but not candy, chips or the like.

So yes, sometimes my toddler has cheerios and brussel sprouts for dinner. Sometimes she has salsa, chicken and cheese dip. The point I'm trying to make is that she eats a VARIETY of foods. Some super healthy, some not so much. But she'll try foods, because we OFFER foods. She's not stuck on eating ONE thing (other than those little Cutie oranges right now...), but will eat a variety of different foods. She's a toddler, so sometimes a long time love (eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter) suddenly drops from her love cycle.... but we have many other old favorites, and a LOT of new foods to try.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on this, Shaina. I have a whole list of things I'd like to say to the "my kid will only eat chicken" statement. At the top of the list is, "YOU did that to your kid." Maybe that's harsh; maybe not. One of my four kids is a picky eater, and some of my biggest victory moments as a mom come when he adds a new (healthy) food item to his "tolerable" list. I'm convinced that if we hadn't been firm with him, the only things he'd eat would be meats and starches. It's been a long, slow process, but it feels totally worth it when I see him asking for a second helping of lima beans, or chowing down on raw cauliflower.


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