Sunday, February 09, 2014

Fight Time, I mean, Dinner Time

I want to go on strike.
To quit making dinner. Can we just go to Chick-fil-A?
This is not the dietitian talking.
This is the mom, who is tired to fighting to feed every single bite of healthy food into my children's mouths.

Maybe it's because I'm tired or pregnant, but our dinner time has become a major fight time with my two children. I attribute this all to the prolonged winter weather and record cold temperatures, and the lack of the ability to lock send my children outdoors before dinner.

There are stages where it is explainable, commonly known in the nutrition world as "food jags", when kids get stuck on certain preferred food items-- but what about all the other times?

A RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) named Jill Castle, wrote a great series on feeding toddlers, as well as wonderful resource for raising healthy eaters through childhood. In her article, "Your Toddler's Development: What to Expect and How It Affects Nutrition" she says,
Toddler eating can worry parents. Understanding how the toddler develops, both physically and cognitively (fancy word for brain development), can help you get a grip on why your toddler behaves the way he does, especially around food and eating.
Instead of giving up, I try to remember that children use food as the first power play-- they are learning to exert their independence as well as using it as a power play with parents and the limits we set. My role is simple: make and offer healthy food choices and model good eating behaviors.

In agreement with Castle's guidelines, we have never had many "rules" for eating at the table, but we have structure and standards for manners like: sitting still and not getting up from the table until you are finished with your meals, saying "please" and "thank you for dinner", not complaining about the meal, and trying at least one bite of a food that is "not your favorite".

I think it has worked for the most part, but with our long winter, I've been relying on a lot of warm foods, like soups and stews, which seem to be particularly difficult for them to try, because they can't separate the ingredients.

My husband was so kind as to offer to help me make some freeze-ahead meals for the next month or two, so I started by writing a list of our children favorite meals.

Here's a snapshot of what I came up with:
For the full list, you can find it on my Pinterest page here.
I am going to get a shopping list and few of the recipes together and start posting them as I go and fill up my freezer again with some of the freeze-ahead versions and shopping lists.

Thanks for stopping by!