Why It’s Okay To Relax About Your Child’s Eating
Yesterday was pretty much an all carb day for my kids. Well, not really, since all foods have some protein and we aren’t scared of fat in this house. But it’s like they went out of their way to avoid all higher protein sources. Our usual breakfast is mixed grain hot cereal, fruit, and milk. Lunch was leftover Mediterranean platter components and some leftover lentil soup. My 2.5 year old, who scarfed down that same food the night before, took one look at what was on the table and complained: “why are we having this again?” Haha, thanks little one!
He barely ate anything. Another normal toddler’s erratic appetite. Both kids ate some cheese and some tortilla and almost nothing else. But while it was frustrating and kind of disappointing, I didn’t panic because I knew things change from meal to meal and day to day. Then for supper they mainly ate the lemon-blueberry cake I’d made that day–and barely a bite of the main meal. I don’t blame them, the cake was GOOD. Plus it was really filling and though I tried to only give them a child-size slice, it’s hard to cut cake slices that small. No biggie, though. It was one meal and I don’t bake decadent cakes daily.
So this morning, thinking back on their eating the prior day, I decided to make scrambled eggs instead of our usual grain based breakfast. Rest assured, this scrambled egg day was not just for the them because 1) I love scrambled eggs and 2) you just don’t know what kids will be interested in. But for the sake of offering some balance when I knew they’d be hungry, I went for eggs. And I made them really tasty. Thanks to the cake recipe, I had nearly a whole pint of heavy cream left. Eggs scrambled with heavy cream…divine!
This is how breakfast went down, play-by-play:
Now what if I’d let my displeasure show when for the first several minutes of breakfast all my 4y.o. had on her plate was a sprinkling of blueberries? I could have suggested, nagged, bribed her to put more on her plate, to take some other items and round out her choices. After all, I’d gone to the trouble of preparing this more-elaborate-than-usual breakfast and she just took the ‘easy’ stuff. I could have taken it personally. But I didn’t. Truthfully I was feeling slightly let down. Eat some protein kid! But I know kids aren’t going to do a terrible job of eating. They will do just fine when I serve them good, balanced meals and they will balance out over time.
My hope with this post is that you’ll be able to relax at meal time and let your kids eat as much or as little as they want from the selections you put on the table. Because they will do fine.
*I did refill the blueberry bowl once because we were all enjoying them a lot and I had more. But I didn’t refill it twice and explained to them that it was because I wanted to have more at another meal. I really didn’t care if they ate more blueberries, but even frozen ones aren’t cheap and I wanted to spread out the goodness.