Eat Something, Dammit!

March 30, 2008 at 3:48 am Leave a comment

My 20 month old daughter is going through her hunger strike/power trip phase. She has run for most of the day on a dozen pieces of frosted mini wheats with a splash of milk. And I mean RUN all day. She theoretically should be ravenous, since she is the wiggliest, most wiry little girl I know. I give her all kinds of activities that might make her hungry. We run around the yard, jump off tree stumps, dance to Elmo music, fingerpaint, you name it. When I ask her if she wants anything to eat, I get “No.” Scrambled egg? “No.” Banana? “No.” Cereal? “No.” Ravioli? Nope.I have tried everything from PB & J to stirfry. Maybe about 5% of the time she will eat what I give her. Sometimes I can’t even get her to try what I have made. This stresses me out! I know, it’s a phase, but that really does nothing to make me feel any better. I look at her spindly little legs and teeny arms and offer ten more snacks to her. Which, of course, are all happily answered with “No!”Today, before Lily’s nap, I asked if she wanted a yogurt. They are these yummy Breyer’s YoCrunch yogurts, vanilla flavored with a separate container attached to the top full of crushed Oreos. She says “Yah”, so I get excited at the prospect of her actually eating, and pull a yogurt out of the fridge. After I open it, dump the cookies in the yogurt and stir it up, “No!” defeated again. Tricky little….Thank goodness for Pediasure. I am happy for any sip I can get down her. It’s like a vitamin and protein fortified milkshake. The smell leaves something to be desired, but she doesn’t mind.I also beef up her meals whenever I can. Adding nutritious forms of calories are important, I don’t substitute fatty, non-nutritive things such as butter, oils or sugars. I use whole milk and an extra sprinkle of mozzarella or cheddar to macaroni and cheese. Throw in a few Tablespoons of frozen mixed veggies and TADA!

Meatloaf is one of the best veggie disguises, and it packs a lot of protein too. Use lean ground beef or ground sirloin. A bit pricier, but definitely worth the extra buck. Add a half cup of Quaker Oatmeal that’s been soaked in the same amount of milk, for more fiber (that’s a whole other post in itself…) and iron. Gather some veggies and shred them on a cheese grater or a mini cuisinart and you have a well balanced meal. I like broccoli, celery, carrots, and onion. Variations I’ve done include ground turkey or chicken, and additions of BBQ sauce, cheese, mushrooms, crumbled Cheez-Its, or whatever you think will get your kids to eat. Or to at least take a bite.

Pizza is another wonderful way to get some nutrition in your child. Even on her pickiest day, my daughter will eat pizza. I get a step stool and she “helps” me make it, from start to finish. Boboli pizza or the equivalent is the quickest and easiest, screw the kind where you have to prebake any crusts. I put on the sauce, Lily sprinkles on the cheese. I cut the tomato slices, she sets them on top. And usually swipes a handful of cheesy sauce, leaving her signature on every pizza we make. Shredded squash and zucchini are great on top, with some chopped fresh basil and onion. Hint- put foil on every baking sheet before you use it. I hate washing black burned stuff off them and doing dishes is not in my top ten favorite activities.

So your kids don’t choke, cut hotdogs lengthwise in half, and then in half again, to make them really skinny. Then wrap them in a refrigerated cresent roll. Sometimes you can find turkey dogs or chicken franks. They work, but I love the pork and beef hotdogs with the casing. Add cheese before you wrap it up and bake them according to package directions.

Mexican lasagna is a fun twist too. Burrito shells are substituted for pasta, and layers include taco seasoned cooked ground meat, black beans with cheddar cheese, whole grain rice precooked in chicken broth, and a salsa/ranch sauce. After you bake it, top the casserole with chopped tomatoes, avocado, and light sour cream.

Always serve a veggie with every meal, and a fruit at breakfast. Even if your kids wont eat them, at least they get used to seeing them, and learn that other people eat and like them, so they must not be too bad. Don’t stress out if they are still on the plate at the end of them meal. Your kids will only think its a cool new way to get rise out of you. Don’t offer alternatives, or your child will learn that it is a made-to-order restaurant. You can say, “Hey, do you want corn or peas”, but leave it to that.

Fun placemats help. We, of course, have an Elmo/Sesame Street one on our table. We play the game “How many bites can you eat” where I speak like the count on Sesame Street. One, one bite, ahhh ahhh ahhh. It really works.

Good luck, and if your child is still young and eats whatever you give her, just wait. You will soon understand.

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Entry filed under: Eating, Mommy Life, Recipes. Tags: , , , .

My Honey Is Handi

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