Food Fixes 7-8
As the working mother of a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old, dinner is especially difficult. By the time I get home from work at 6:00, they're starving. If my husband picks them up, they've usually had a snack (not a healthy one, either). By the time dinner is ready, they don't eat much.
Create a list of healthy, easy-to-fix snacks your husband can offer your children. For instance, he can pop sugar snap peas in the microwave or offer baby carrots and cucumbers with a light salad dressing for dipping, suggests Bauer.
Celery sticks won't cut it?
- Consider an apple slice with some peanut butter, almonds, or one stick of part-skim string cheese.
- Avoid starchy foods that will fill the kids up without providing much nutrition.
- And stick with water as opposed to liquid calories like juice.
Another option: Have your husband feed them dinner as soon as they get home. The meal doesn't have to be elaborate, just easy to prepare and nutritious, like healthy chicken or veggie nuggets, or a microwavable burrito. You can still have family mealtime when you come home; while you're eating dinner, your kids can enjoy a dessert of applesauce or strawberries with a dollop of Cool Whip Light.
I have a 21-month-old who will rarely try something new. She eats crackers, chips, and dried fruit. She is still eating baby food out of the jar because she won't try anything else.
While baby food is not bad for your toddler, she will certainly need a lot of it. But simply stocking up on baby food is not the solution.
Try to determine why your baby won't expand her gustatory horizons, advises Dr. Bhatia. Is it a question of taste and texture? Or is it a fear of the unfamiliar? Some children resist new experiences, be it a strange dish or a change in their regular routine. In either case, you need to be patient and persistent. Keep offering a variety of foods. But if the problem persists, you may want to consult a child psychologist with expertise in eating and behavior.