Monday, June 13, 2005

Baby's eating habits: The chicken nugget and macaroni and cheese diet

Every day I worry that my baby is hungry. He just doesn't eat! Okay, that's not entirely true. Sure, he'll turn his nose up at a piece of fresh fruit or a plate full of vegetables, but if there's a cookie in sight he'll scarf up every crumb. He'll throw a sippy cup full of milk across the room, but then he'll go to the refrigerator and point eagerly to the apple juice (his way of asking for some).

My little guy is going on a hunger strike, or so it seems. His pediatrician said not to worry--apparently all toddlers go through this stage, but his seems rather extreme in my opinion. My goal is to get one good meal in him throughout the course of the day, but even that's hard sometimes. His favorite foods are chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, but I know he can't eat that three times a day every day!

Sure, once in a while he'll surprise me-- yesterday he ate a half of a banana for a snack and I was thrilled. He'll usually eat watermelon, if I cut it into cubes, and he likes baked beans (which I sometimes mix with black beans for extra fiber). I only buy whole grain bread, so on the rare occasions that he eats a sandwich or a piece of toast, at least it's on whole wheat.

Yes, he will sometimes eat spaghetti with tomato sauce on it and he occasionally will eat little spoonful's of oatmeal from his Daddy's breakfast bowl (he likes to sit on his daddy's lap at meal time, so sometimes he'll pick at whatever is interesting on his dad's plate, even though his own plate has the same foods on it-- for some reason Daddy's just tastes better).

Another sometime food is pancakes-- it depends on his mood if he'll at them or toss the plate onto the floor. Once in a while he'll eat yogurt if he sees his big sister eating it, and pizza will usually get somewhat of a response (sometimes favorable, sometimes not).

So how do I get through the day with this finicky eater? I just offer him a variety of foods and pray for the best. If I try to reason with him, it doesn't work (he's too young to understand) and bribing doesn't work either. Oh, I also make sure to give him a children's multivitamin every day and I'll sometimes give him a fortified nutrition drink.

Because my son's eating habits are so poor, I stopped buying snacks and junk. It seems that every calorie is going to have to count with this kid, so there's no room for foods that don't have at least some nutritional value. Instead of goldfish crackers (a toddler favorite) I give him a cup full of Cheerios and he will actually sit and graze on them. I do offer him fruit every day, although it usually ends up on the floor. And when all else fails I'll cook up some chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese-- the foolproof staples of my baby's diet until he gets through this worrisome phase.

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