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March 15, 2006

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» Oh, the Changes he'll make from start-up dad
He used to hate getting into his chair at dinner, for instance. Now when I say, "ready to eat?" he runs giggling to his seat so fast it gives me a twinge of guilt that we've been starving him. Maybe he was laughing when I tickled him in the vain hope... [Read More]

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christmas gomoe

I gotta give it to you, I don't know too may parents (particularly daddies, no offence) that would go to that lengths. The variety you're giving her is great. But in full honesty, cut the snacks. Yea, I use to live in Park Slope but I'm no granola head. When it comes to todders (have 2 under 3, just to give you frame of reference), they won't starve. Don't cave. Does she like soups? My 2 love various korean soups w/ rice and they both like the texture of a washed kimchee. Tofu's great. Try adding a touch of soy sauce for flavor.

amy

That's good advice. When my daughter started doing that at around the same age (for my daughter it was a control issue, she even stopped eating foods I KNEW she loved) I stopped giving her snacks until she started eating better. She's not a perfect eater, but in a given week - she'll definitely eat everything her little body needs to grow. (She's almost three, and has consistently been in the 50%ile for weight and height.)

Think about it week by week, and not day by day. (Advice given to me by my pediatrician friend.)

Anyway, I let her get pretty hungry, and I let her go to sleep hungry. Unless the Peanut has a real medical problem, she WILL eat. It's just frustrating and heart-breaking to wait it out.

mo-wo

You have my complete commisertation on this topic... But I can direct you to an excellent overview of how sane child experts do it over at It's Not all Mary Poppins'

http://daycaredaze.blogspot.com/2006/03/eating-green-direct-way-updated.html

I can add that I'm with you -- presentation counts. Our girl is a food fetishist.. At one point anything that was a sphere was golden.. I practically wore out my melon baller!

Good luck to BL on the new job... And you, three blogs and takin the 2nd shift 5 outta 7 -- what are you on?????

rach

My best friend took me to Rainbow, a Korean restaurant by her house. Lemme tell you, I am one kimbap lovin' honky. I'm glad it's a hit with the Peanut.

Does she like fruits and vegetables? Is she old enough to eat them yet? You could make her some peanut butter sandwiches, and cut them into fun shapes with a cookie cutter.

I think your idea of slipping baby food into her dessert was pretty great. Maybe you could start doing that with her other foods and her snacks (if you keep them).

MoMMY

I agree that shw won't starve. She also won't eat. Part of it could be her going through a slow growth period. The boys go through phases where they eat (and try) everything under the sun and in large amounts. Then they go through phases where they "hate" everything but a bowl of cheerios with milk. Your best bet is to not stress about it (will make it a power struggle - and she WILL win) and just give her the variety (although maybe not quite what you're doing now - that's a LOT of food you got going on there) and even offer things up at unusual times. tofu for snack? veggies mid morning? Just try to keep it low key. She'll get back to the eat everything phase someday - but not for long and not for a while.

JJ Daddy Baby Momma

Oy. Little Mary Sunshine, up to about the same age, was a famous eater - favorite meal was spinach. Right at this age she starts picking the green tortellini out of her tri-colored tortellini and goes through a year-long-stage of eating Absolutely Nothing Green Ever.

It also coincided with a slowing growth rate, which I only now realize in hindsight.

She's still a very careful eater and chews each morsel thoroughly. She'll probably never struggle with her weight.

Chang and Eng, however, must take after both their parents, and chow hearty like the prison guard's coming to take it away. I'll let you know what age their slowdown hits (college?)

Now's when there palate is set, so it's up to you to keep offering variety, so they don't turn out like my 37 year old brother whose palate is pre-programmed to Count Chocula and FlufferNutter.

JJ Daddy Baby Momma

You know I meant "Now's when THEIR palate is set", right? Typo!

Mr. Big Dubya

Why is it when you talked about bringing home the bacon, I immediately started singing the Enjoli commercial?

I can't offer you any help on this front - Little Dub is in that stage where he's just inhaling everything, non-stop.

Linda B

Huh, you learn something new everyday. I never thought about how many snacks we give E. That could possibly be what makes Peanut not as hungry or pickier these days? Makes sense as to why my daughter might be acting the same way lately. I think I'll try cutting back on the snacks I give E. Good advice from above.

When she refuses to eat or throws her food, I remove E from the table and put her in her kennel...er, I mean. um her room until she stops acting up. We continue eating and let her walk around. If she's really hungry, she'll come back up to the table and ask for food. If she spits it out again, mealtime is over for her. I think the more you fight against Peanut, the more frustrated both of you will.

Oh, try Daenjang chigae mixed with rice. Every baby loves that, don't they?!

landismom

Well, here are the three food rules in our house. So far, neither of the kids have starved to death, so I guess they're working okay:

1) Everyone eats the same thing for dinner (waived in times of gastrointestinal distress)
2) You don't have to eat everything on your plate, but you do have to eat one bite of everything on your plate.
3) If rules 1 & 2 are broken, then there's no dessert, not even fruit.

Okay, there's actually a fourth rule (but my kids don't know about it): Mommy & Daddy eat dessert after the kids are in bed. And they get whatever they want.

Leora

"I now stand here before you as a rueful father eating humble pie off the tabletop of remorse."

I LOVE that line! I think you're very quickly learning that parenting is all about eating humble pie!

bill

I will have to try the presentation method. Looks good. I suggest (if you are worried that she is not eating enough) is sit her on your lap and eat together. It works for me.

Woman with Kids

My house has similar rules to Landis' Mom, except we have a three bite rule. My oldest was the same way, I thought he'd starve himself, but eventually he ate. Do not feed at 4am though, unless you like getting up then...

MIM

Dude, Peanut has to learn that Casa Metro is NOT a restaurant. I know you're concerned about her nutrition, but toddlers need very little to survive (Brazelton). So, yes, she may have to go to bed hungry -- and trust me, she won't die.

The first thing I suggest is NOT giving her too much of the stuff she likes right away. Give her some dumpling and some other nutritious food she may not eat, and after she wolfs down the dumpling, tell her she can have more after she's had 2 (or 3) bites of the food you REALLY want her to eat. If she refuses, then tell her she won't be getting anymore food. It may take a couple of times of her going to bed hungry, but she'll get the picture pretty quickly.

I know some parents don't like to use the "neogitation" tactic with food, but a) not only does it work, but b) the key is that once they start talking, you don't let them set the rules. For instance, I'll tell Tod-lar that he'll get a LITTLE yogurt if he eats 2 bites of peas (and if he eats more peas after the little yogurt, then he can have more). He'll try to negotiate only 1 bite. I stand firm -- 2 bites or nothing. He'll eat 2 bites. But you have to stand firm, otherwise they'll know you're wishy washy and they'll make dinner hell.

The main thing with food is to not engage them in a power struggle. And, yes, you can negotiate with them without a power struggle. The rule is "eat what I give you or don't eat, AND I don't care what you do, because it's your choice." But be sure your tone is light and cheery -- never frustrated or angry (that's when they sense the power struggle) Whenever I tell Tod-lar this, his tune will suddenly change from "I don't like it," to "I'm gonna eat it all, Mama!" Then I heap a bunch of praise on him and do much cheering and dancing.

So, in sum, don't engage in power struggle, negotiate with food she really likes (since she NO problem eating that stuff), limit choices at dinner (no more 6 course meals, man), never let them see you upset (at least at meals), and work on yer 2-step.

Oh, and landismom's rules are good, too!

CroutonBoy

I'm useless. We can't even get Cheeky to keep a single Cheerio in her mouth.

I vaguely remember one of my brothers being a picky eater, and I think my parents just gave up after a while. And he turned out to be taller and more athletic than the rest of us, although not nearly as handsome and good-lookin' as yours truly.

I'm also told that all kids love chicken fingers. But that's a gateway drug to nachos and mozarella sticks, so be careful...

MIM

Oh, and I forgot to mention. If she doesn't eat her lunch, do NOT give her any snacks (and it is a good idea to cut down on snacks at this age anyway. But let her know at lunch that no snacks will be an additional consequence of her not eating her meal.

Triple Dad Exec

I wouldn't sweat the eating thing. She's a toddler now. As a triple dad, I remember how I too celebrated the advanced and varied diet of my oldest child. Then these little people become toddlers and overnight they seem to subsist on nothing but crackers, cereal, and yogurt. I also think back on the amount of time and wasted energy I spent on the oldest two on preparing perfect meals. There's a great baby blues cartoon--the gallows humor that parents of small children thrive on--that I recommend. In the last panel--the wife is regretting the fact that she's just not spending the time and energy on the 3rd child that she spent on the other 2 for meals. In the end--what she truly regrets is the waste of time it all was. My advice, fFind 1-2 healthy things that she likes to eat and focus on providing those. My toddler eats about 1 decent meal a day--and like the other posters have noted--it tends to change with growth spurts.

kristied

I remember commenting on your post regarding your 15 month old eating everything...Because mine used to as well, but then he just stopped. And that was at 16 months. he is now 20 months and still wont eat much. Our doctor said not to worry about it as long as he is still active and seems healthy and gets enough fluids, but if it makes us feel better we can give him those nutritional drinks (like nouriche - the yogurt smoothies or Boost). (our son will drink anything and everything). My only advice would be to limit any snacks to a bare minimum and just continue to offer the food. And hold off on giving the drinks until she has eaten a bit so she doesnt fill up on liquid. They say eventually this phase will end. (i am still waiting, but the little man is healthy and still gaining wieght so...)

Brent

Your meals look great, MD. What's the Peanut thinking? I would eat all of those courses in a heartbeat. It looks much better than the stuff my wife prepares for our dinners!
(Shhh, don't tell her I said that.)

Mama C-ta

You get some serious props, those would be some gourmet meals around this house w/my lack of domestic skills!

Sarah

I've got one that is a garbage disposal and one that won't eat anything. The girl lived off of pretzels, wheat thins, cheerios and milk for about three weeks. I just kept putting food in front of her until she decided to eat an entire grilled cheese sandwich.

Other things that for some reason work more often than other foods:
Yogurt (strawberry or peach)
French Fries (maybe try ketchup for the red appeal)
Applesauce (give her her own spoon to play with while you are feeding her)
Plain toast
Frozen Peas or carrots(if you just thaw them most of the way in water, they will feel good if she is teething)

I hope it helps. Now I'm going to the store to find microwave spinach and feta omelettes.

Susanna

The Peanut eats better than me!

I can totally picture her growing up and being one of those little NYC kids with a sophisticated palette. My 8-year old niece lives in New York and her favorite snacks are edamame, pate, and shu cream!

Kristen

I have no idea what to tell you - my daughter only didn't eat when teething - she doesn't like certain typical things like spinach, liver, you know - but I'm in shock.

NOT EVEN RICE????

MUTINY I TELL YOU!

Elizabeth

That is waaay too much food for dinner. Most toddlers are hungry in the morning - in the evening, not so much.

We have rules pretty similar to landismom's (our daughter just turned two). At home, she eats what we're eating. (At restaurants, it depends on what we're eating whether we get her a kids' meal or let her graze off our plates.) If she doesn't want to eat it, she doesn't have to. We'll probably institute a one-bite rule at some time in the future, but we haven't gone there yet. (When I was growing up, you had to take a "no thank you" serving of everything and eat it.) The basic rule is that we choose what she is offered, and she decides what to eat from those limited choices. But she doesn't get unlimited quantities of the stuff she likes best.

Dorothy loves bread, so we sometimes use that as a bribe to get her to eat anything else. "After you eat a bite of steak, you can have a piece of bread." If she negotiates for two pieces of bread, we often give in and just tear the piece in half - it's great when they don't understand conservation of mass yet.

Unless Peanut has some kind of growth problem where you're really worried about her "falling off the charts," you need to back off. She doesn't need tons of calories, and it's not good for her to be able to jerk you around like this. Throw something in the microwave for dinner, and spend your hour playing with her instead.

Rachel B.

Actually, my toddler doesn't eat ANYTHING in the mornings. Not even milk. She doesn't snack much during the day either. That's why we make sure that she has a good-sized dinner before bedtime. Our pediatrician has told us to just keep things simple. If she eats most of her food at night? Great! No big deal. The important thing is that she's not losing wieght and getting nutritional calories during the day. ANY time of day.

margalit

This is your new mantra: "Toddlers live on air." Toddlers notoriously stop eating when life is just too damn interesting to stop and eat a mean. What do you expect? You get them upright and they get a while new perspective on the world, with brand new things to manipulate and you want them to sit down and EAT? Are you our of your mind, MD?

Now, I've got the world's pickiest eater, bar none. I could beat just about anyone on the picky eater scale. My rules are simple. Like other's, I am not a short order cook. I make one meal. YOu don't like it, then take your own meal. When she was a toddler, she ate almost nothing. We had the famous 3-bite rule at our house, too, with my exceptionally stubborn child, it didn't always work. I also never bargained with dessert, because that comes back to bite you, bad.

As toddlers, kids prefer grazing more than eating 3 squares. As beautiful as your meals are (and they are delightful), an easier step might be to put out a bowl of popcorn, some celery and carrot julienned slices, some broccoli trees, some apple slices, clementines split up into slices, canned manderin oranges, and other finger foods. Let her wander around eating when the mood strikes her. It may not be a dinner, per se, but she's eating.

String cheese was a huge hit when my picky eater was little. She loved pulling the strings and it would tickle her fancy to eat it string by string. Yogurt is a given. It's good food, and you can sweeten it yourself if you find the perpared stuff to high in sugar. Just add All Fruit jam to vanilla yogurt, and voila. What about smoothies? Crackers and peanut butter? Or crackers and cheese? Hard boiled egg wedges? Apples and honey?

Have you tried DIP yet? Kids love to dip. Yes, it is messy, but they ingest food more readily with dip. Ranch dressing is particular popular. Cucumber slices in ranch were my girls passion when everything else was yucky.

Let her lead you to what she likes. One day it might be that she's ODed on peanut butter and won't eat it for months. That's a toddler's perogative. If you buy whole grain products, get some protein into her, and a bit of diary, you're golden.

Oh, chocolate milk counts as dairy in my book!

Tisha

I totally feel for you! I've been going through this since my DD turned 1 year old (she's 15 months old now). She never was a great eater, but she just flat out stopped eating much of anything now. Everyone's advice was good for you, but for me, DD plummeted from 50% for weight to less than 5%. I'm desperately trying to get her to eat anything of any caloric value. I've just had to learn to take deep breaths and keep offering her nutritous foods. My indicator for when I should get worried about her caloric intake is if she ever gets less active or seems more sleepy and irritable than usual, and, of course, if the "output" stops being regular. For now, she seems to be able to subsist on heaping servings of air and whatever is floating around in it. :) Good luck to you! You are doing an awesome job as a daddy! My dad was a stay-at-home dad (very unusual for an Asian male!), and I have the best memories of being with him when I was little! :)

Lynn

Hi. I was a nanny for a few years in New York and still babysit all the time. My first nanny experience was with a 16 month old little boy. His grandmother kept shoveling food into his mouth and would constantly complain (in front of him) that he "never eats anything" and he's getting "so skinny." He wasn't skinny, he was a plump, healthy, active little boy who played and danced and sang every day.

I think the whole food thing is a phase that I lot of kids go through. I called my Mom (she raised me and my bro--twins!) when I was fed up (no pun intended) with the Granny not letting the boy up from the table without spooning all kinds of pasta, fruit and veggie dogs into his poor little face, (which he would spit out.) This is what my Mom told me.

"You both went through this phase so I would make a tray of healthy finger foods and set them out on a table in your play room, if you wanted to eat you would and if you didn't want to you would just play and maybe drink from your sip-cups. No child will starve itself, that goes against nature."

I am not a mother, but I love kids. I am sure it's hard when your child isn't eating, but she will if she wants to--give her a few choices, but don't become a short order cook. She's also old enough to understand what you are saying and why you are saying it. She feels your energy. If you are attaching frustrated energy to her eating time then that can't be good either. Chill out and Good luck!

PS--Love your blog!

Jeremy

It's funny, MD. I was just eating a Snickers bar for lunch when I read this post. Now, I feel like having some popcorn!

OTRgirl

It's probably too late for this, but I lived with a family that limited the kids sugar intake. As a result, even through the toddler phase I remember the kids saying, "Peas, please!" and having a taste for vegetables in general. I think sugar inhibits their ability to taste other flavors?

I like the grazing idea. You can have fun with food as well: "Ants on a Log" (celery with peanut butter and a row of raisins), "Pirates Gold" (a bag of cut carrots), "Trees" as mentioned, etc.

I have to say though, your food presentation is fabulous! I love the strategic placement of ketchup!

Kim

You've received great advice already. I may have to bookmark this one, or print the suggestions once the traffic slows down.

My kid is 11 months and up to TODAY, ate everything in sight. Tofu was a particular favorite but I never saw him refuse anything (except his 3 day green veg strike but he got over it).

He had a rough night last night and is sporting a new tooth this morning, though not in the spot we thought the next tooth would emerge from, so there's another one not far behind.

Today I hear from day care that he got "1" ratings for snack and lunch. Oliver always gets "3s". Always. He will eat four bowls of soup and be looking for more, most days. Hmmmm....we think teeth, once again.

Could Peanut be getting a molar?

amy

you're like the cutest dad in the universe! i think these little dishes you make for peanut are adorable.

i feel your pain over her fussiness these days but don't worry about it. she's not going to starve. more importantly, she's lucky to have a dad who loves her so much that he's willing to go to such lengths for her. clearly, she's got you wrapped around her little finger!

Melissa

I agree with MIM completely. I do the same thing. Nata is a great eater, but she will try to just eat the things she wants, like potatoes. Even as young as she is, she will take a few more bites of something else if I take away the potatoes. Also any time you give a kid popcorn and hot dogs they will eat it. If you want to give her choices, that is cool, but limit them, toddlers get overwhelmed with too many choices. Then if she is really hungry, she will know she has to eat the things given to her. Also toddlers go through growing spurts. She may not be in one right now, so she might not be very hungry. When she hits one, watch out, you'll think all she does is eat. And last thing, she is trying her limits, to see how far she can get you to go. I'd watch it, because a habit like you making her a million things to eat is easy to break now, not so easy when she is five.

misfithausfrau

I didn't read all the comments, so forgive me if I am repeating what everyone else is saying. This is just the first of many power struggles you are going to have with the Peanut. Keep in mind, you are not a short order cook at the Metro Diner. You have the power. Sure, there are going to be meals where she is going to refuse everything. But she won't starve. If she refuses what you serve for dinner, calmly put it away and go on with the rest of your evening with her. I'll bet she'll eat a good breakfast. I am lucky to have two kids who are very good eaters, but I have had individual struggles with them. Currently, my 13 month old adores oyster crackers, vegetables of all kinds (she hoovered a bunch of canned beets last night) and she loves fruit. She also goes ape-shit when she sees the yogurt and cottage cheese containers. My only problem is that she screams her fool head off between courses. Now I am dumping everything on the tray and walking away.

Chin up Metro, Peanut will be fine. Just be firm and diligent.

Phat Daddy

Dude, welcome to toddlerhood!

What you're experiencing is the normal progression from baby (I'll put anything into my mouth that fits) to toddler (I will allow nothing to pass these lips except sugary carbohydrates). I'd try to offer you some advice but I've yet to figure how to convince my 3 year old to eat what I want him to.

Very nice presentation on the toddler plates!

Minnow

Stop spoiling her with food. If she don't eat what's on her plate, she goes to bed hungry. Like other people have said, kids will eat before they starve to death. Don't fall into the trap. Trust me. I've got 3 kids and we learned from all our mistakes with the first one. Good luck.

Nothing But Bonfires

Hmm, I know nothing about feeding babies, but I kind of want you to come over and make a pretty meal out of the boring crap in my refrigerator. Such presentation! With the snowpeas!

rach

Come to think about it, I'm going through this phase right now. At 18. So be careful when she goes to college. She might rather starve than eat at the cafeteria.

Deanna

I commented over at Rice Daddies, but good grief, MD, you are trying WAY TOO HARD. I'm with everyone else who says to just let the Peanut be - she'll eat when she's hungry. This is pretty typical of toddlers, as I discovered, and eventually they do grow out of it. And they'll never get tired of a food that they like at this point in life, so if all she wants is yogurt, applesauce and hot dogs, go for it! (Watch the sugar and salt intake, though.) But as Lynn's mother (and mine, too) said, "No child will starve itself." When she's hungry, she'll eat. And don't set the precedent of becoming a 24 hour short-order cafe, either. If she eats a lousy dinner, she'll be hungrier for breakfast. No snacks in between meals just because you're worried that she's starving. She's not - she's just figured out how to play you for snack foods. Mine used to refuse dinner and then ask for peanut butter crackers an hour later. You can guess how far that got her. She didn't starve or wake up in the middle of the night hungry - she just learned early on in life that meals occured at certain times and that she'd better eat then. The Peanut will live and learn - don't worry!

Although I think you have a phone call from Iron Chef coming, because you clearly have food presentation nailed!

Amy

My 18 month old sounds a lot like your peanut. Usually when she refuses something that she ate a few days earlier ( green beans for example) it's just the difference in how it's given to her. If she refuses it on a spoon, then we lay it on her tray and put a shred of cheese on it if she again refuses it. Third time is generally "the Charm" in our house. Also, if she refuses it and you just ignore her for a bit while you eat, she might just be curious enough to try it out without you watching. But then, I only have 18 months of expertise. It's worth a shot though right?

LeeMarv...

MD, I can sympathize with you, my man. I had to come home and cook the last two nights. The wife has been working late and, is not so...shall we say, kitchen friendly.

You have received good, sound advice from the 'sphere...especially the part about trying too hard. Kick back and relax. Make the food. Sit with her and eat. Feed her a bit if you want. But you're teaching her, with the quickness, that she can actually GET a six-course meal by holding out.

And yea, most impressive presentation.

Mike

Don't worry, when reaches adult age and dates (I know horrible thought to put in your head) she'll drop $200 sashimi bills on the namjas.

Tammy

We're dealing with the same situation over here. I even relented and made mac n cheese tonight and my daughter shook her head so violently back and forth to let me know she wasn't going to eat anything more than the 5 strawberries she ate, so there, lady! It annoys me, but I know she's getting enough nutrients and daycare insists she packs it away at lunch. She has a baby beer belly, so I don't think she's starving.

sweatpantsmom

Okay, Mr. Epicurean, Mr. Haute-Freakin' Cuisine, I hate to say 'I told you so' but...

BRING ON THE SOY BACON!!!

kittenpie

a few things that work for us:
-use baby food as "sauce" for pasta (pure veg!), mix in lentils or peas or corn for a sort of casserole. You can precook all the ingredients so they're always on hand.
-use baby food fruit to sweeten yogurt and add iron-enriched baby cereal flakes for the iron needs.
-put some food on fork/ spoon then decorate with cheerio, corn, pea, or lentil "eyes" - the giggle factor seems to get it in.
-slip in a spoon of what you want her to eat between bites of what she wants to eat. Works best if you are talking to distract her. Or else bargain - a bite of this, then a bite of that.
-If it's a real battle and you need to end it, mo-wo mentioned Mary P's advice. Tough love, but it'll work.

Good luck! Peanut seems to be hitting all the same marks as my Pumpkinpie, and providing all those same shocks to the system. Little kick in the head, in't it?

Queen of Ass

Captain Stinky did this and it drove me nuts!

Carnation Instand Breakfast drinks are wonderful. They are milk, but they are chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla milk, and have tons of vitamins in them! They're wonderful, and I usually add liquid iron too, and he can't tell.

As for then, he LOVED fruit. So usually, I'd figure out some 'creative' way to feed it to him. Bizarre combinations. I called EVERY meat 'chicken' because it was the only thing that worked, and everything had fruit because he'd actually eat it.

Anne Glamore

We have the same rule as landismom, and also no eating snacks after 4:00 (since my kids are school age-- gives some time between snacks and dinner). I;ve gotten stricter about snack content as the yrs have gone on, also-- pretzels, yogurt, fruit, pb, crystal light or propel or water instead of gatorade. Cokes MAYBE once a month-- big day at the Glamore house.
Mainly just fix yourself a drink and know it will resolve itself around 4th grade. Otherwise you'll pull your hair out, piece by piece.

eliaday

i pretty much have given up on trying to offer T a variety of food - thus, she eats rice at almost every meal - sometimes with eggs, sometimes with a bite of tofu.

she snacks a lot too.

but, when she doesn't eat a meal, i don't force it. i figure, she'll eat when she gets hungry.

i tried dr. sears' snack tray idea - putting a bunch of different little snacks in an ice cube tray ( a couple crackers, a piece of dried fruit, etc). i think it's a good idea and T liked it. but, once she dropped the whole tray on accident and it was a big mess.

Tom N.

Our daughter loves most carbs, particularly bread/rolls/etc. Since we usually have something like that with most dinners, we can use it as enticement. I.e., "you can have another piece of bread if you eat a piece of meat first." She'll usually stuff the not-so-enticing food into her mouth and then demand (while her mouth is full) the preferred food (usually bread). This means that I have to sit there (and it's usually me, not my wife) and dole out the "good" food. But it gets her to eat something resembling a balanced meal.

Sometimes we're lucky and the "preferred" food is something like carrots. And sometimes she's just not hungry.

Alyssa

Not to be too alarmist but I might suggest the hotdog not be cut into circles which are too easy to choke on. My pediatrician suggested half moons. And I think popcorn is a choking hazard til the age of 4 or 5!

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