Gabriel has reached ‘that age’. The fussy eating stage.
We’ve gone from him enjoying meal times, and eating whatever we made for him, to now point blank refusal on occasions, often accompanied with tantrums!
We’re trying new ideas. Making fun shapes and pictures with food, cooking his favourite meals, encouragement and positivity, and all sitting together with the same meal. Last night Gabriel even cooked dinner (along with Dave’s assistance, obviously) but no, when it came to eating it, he just did not want to know!
Along with the non eating of meals, generally comes emotional outbursts, and sometimes tears. He will occasionally pick at the meal, but usually he just is not interested. He wants to play, read books or sometimes watch television. Sometimes, like last night it’s impossible to deal with, because he’s pretty emotional, and once he is upset, well he’s UPSET.
Where does chocolate toast come in I hear you cry? Well, it’s the only food that we know he will definitely eat at the moment. Yes. Nutella smeared on toasted bread is fast becoming a regular for dinner, when he won’t eat anything else. Gabriel is not spoilt and we are certainly not bowing down to his requests. In fact, he rarely asks for it. But we know that if we ask him if he wants it, he will eat it and surely eating something is better than nothing?
But we aren’t totally stupid. We’ve realised that, with Gabriel he likes to eat his main meal on a lunchtime, as often the problem in the evening is he is too tired to concentrate on his food. He has recently dropped his afternoon nap and we think this is the issue. Perhaps it’s a transition period?
We make sure he is eating a healthy balanced meal at lunch time, usually protein and vegetables or beans, then during the day he snacks on fruit. I know that he is eating enough protein, iron and calcium, and I suppose that’s what matters.
I’m confident the chocolate toast is not doing him any lasting damage, and at least we know he is going to bed happy an satisfied. So the chocolate toast remains. We won’t allow it every day, and certainly not for dinner but as Parents sometimes we have to make decisions based on what is right for our children.
Of course, we’ll keep trying with the mealtimes, but I suppose this way, it’s avoiding making a huge issue and forcing him into doing something he very clearly doesn’t not want to do, that definitely makes me uncomfortable. We just feel that becoming anxious at meal times will just make things worse, for everybody.
So we’ll continue with the chocolate toast. Wonder what next week’s menu entails..
Is your toddler a fussy eater? What techniques do you use for happier meal times?