Eating at Three: Munchkin Meals

by tinysneakers

The times have changed I supposed from when feeding a kiddo meant sticking a couple of berries or sweet potato fries in front of him and watching him chow down. Now meal time has a whole new factor: The Opinion. Courtesy of the threenager, of course.

Now I’ll say right off the bat: Kabes is still a pretty darn good eater. He’s generally adventurous, surprising even me with some of his likes, and he loves the actual concept of eating. He would eat if I let him. One of his favorite activities is to “see what’s in the pantry!” Our biggest struggle still remains the opposite of most: getting him to not eat all day long. However, now that we’ve been at it awhile, it’s not as frustrating as when he was younger; when we were still really worried about his weight, habits, and health. Not to say those things aren’t important now, but we’ve learned to trust our guts better and to evaluate things from our definition of “normal”.

Now a days, our challenges with feeding a three year old are a little more standard: dealing with picky eating. Our version of picky eating has nothing to do with not wanting to eat. No, it’s all about the threenager’s opinon of that exact moment. While he’ll always be up for chicken nuggets, granola bars, pouches, and oatmeal, the rest is up for gamble.

One day – or even one minute – he’ll loooove carrots. The next he’s throwing them off his plate because eww gross carrots are disgusting. The same goes for the most basic to the most sophisticated foods. He’s been known to chow down on a whole plateful of shrimp only to tell me the next week that he doesn’t eat “those things”. Sometimes it takes a little urging to eat his veggies and other times he’s practically begging me to take a bite of pepper while I’m cooking or if he can prettttty please have more parsnip fries.

Our battles lie not with getting him to try new foods or to eat his dinner per se, but more in the day to day, meal to meal situation of it all. What will work at this meal? What strategy will go over best today? Is it time to stand firm or let it go? {Cue all parents singing let it go against their will.} I tend to focus on the positive approaches that have worked in the past and stick with them. I don’t choose to have battles over meals or foods, but I also don’t cave and give in to whining or complaints. I do my best to make sure there’s something I know he likes {on most days anyways} on his plate and then he gets what he gets {i.e. usually what we’re having}. If he doesn’t want to eat it – fine, but the kitchen closes.

Instead of battling over the plate to get him to try new foods or eat certain things, I do my best to expose him to things I want him to be eating over and over, whether that’s seeing me eat it, helping me shop for it, growing it, or helping me cook it. Typically if it’s of his own choosing to eat it, it goes over much better.

That all being said, I’m sure to stock known “favorites” so I know he’s at least eating acceptable things throughout the day. Typically in the rotation:

  • gluten free oatmeal
  • oat flour pancakes
  • applesauce
  • raisins
  • veggie straws
  • gluten free granola bars
  • fruit of any and all kinds and lots of it
  • peanut butter
  • gluten free chicken nuggets & fish sticks

And just for fun, some random but sometimes surprising things he likes {when he’s in the mood}

  • Artichokes {straight up}
  • Parsnip fries {or any veggie made into “fries”}
  • Kale salad
  • Cauliflower
  • Black bean enchiladas
  • Tacos {fully loaded}
  • Olives {ew}

In terms of food allergies, he’s still gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. Our last attempt at introduction was gluten in October when he stealthily stole a bagel while helping me set up for an event. It did not go well. We’ll likely try soy again this summer when things settle down just to see, although I doubt I’ll ever regularly add these foods to his standard diet.

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken any pictures of his food, but here are a couple as of late:

     When it comes down to it, if I had to label KB it’d be as good eater. Plus three is pretty much just overall fun and full of opinions on everything, so food is just one more to add to the list. Winking smile

For more I’ve written on feeding kids:

It’s Not Just About the Food

Why We Don’t Follow the Clean Plate Rule


Don’t forget to check out Brittany’s Munchkin Meal Link-up for more feeding ideas!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elise June 4, 2015 at 5:04 pm

From another allergy mama (who has retested dairy without luck) can I ask what his gluten response was? I was thinking of trying it next but I may just wait longer. He’s only two but blood tested positive and has never actually ingested gluten (or soy).


tinysneakers June 9, 2015 at 9:30 am

His gluten response is totally different than his dairy and soy- he gets eczema and gets really mean & angry & lots of behavioral problems!


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