munchkin meals: mealtime battles

I was tempted to skip talking about Munchkin Meals because, really, nothing has changed in the last 6 or so months. MacKenna (3 years old) is still incredibly picky and extremely stubborn. Her meals typically revolve around cheese quesadillas, macaroni + cheese, and salami. I’ve tried incorporating more produce (read: fruit) into her meals, but even that is difficult. This child persists off junk food. And I’ll admit, sometimes I’m OK with that. If that means she’s eating. After being grilled by the pediatrician about her size a few months ago, I just want her to put on some weight and grow out of her 18-24 month and 2T clothes…

So, instead of showing you the junk she eats and has been eating, I thought I’d focus on the process we go through at pretty much every meal. Now that I’m home with her daily, it’s much more of a battle than I ever realized. (Although somehow our babysitter can get her to eat anything. *sigh* Parenting fail on my part…) This was yesterday’s lunch…

I started lunch a little later than normal because we had been out at Target (her light on her nightlight burnt out and I knew I wouldn’t get her to take a nap if I didn’t replace it). So, instead of her 11:30 lunchtime, we ate at 12. You would think that would mean she’d be hungry, but not so much. (Note: she had 1/2 a poptart for breakfast with milk, and the other 1/2 around 9:30, so not too much of an excuse for not wanting to eat.) She requested macaroni + cheese and I gave her the choice of banana, blueberries, or an apple in addition. She chose to have a banana.

After a quick picture, the struggling commenced. She decided that she no longer wanted her macaroni + cheese but just wanted the Frozen (movie) yogurt we had just bought at the store. I told her she had to eat all of her banana before she could have yogurt. (I typically make her eat all of the healthiest thing on her plate before she can have anything else.)

I sat across from her eating my lunch and continued to remind her that she had to eat her banana if she wanted yogurt. She played with her banana, asked me a million questions, and argued about getting down. We sat there for AN HOUR before she finally started actively eating her banana. She finally finished her banana at 1 and I happily gave her the yogurt she requested, along with sprinkles, because at least it’ll make her eat it. She ended up only eating about 3/4 of her yogurt before declaring she was done.


So, that’s about how every single meal goes. Matt force feeds her food at dinner and there is always some kind of negotiation to get her to eat, whether it’s taking away her after dinner snack (she always has to finish the majority of her plate to get chocolate or jelly beans) or telling her she can’t have a bath. When did I become this parent I swear I wouldn’t be? The one who is just happy to have her child eat something, even if she won’t touch a vegetable. I try to lead by example and just pray that someday she’ll pick up my good habits.

Oh, you thought I would have nothing to say about the 1 month old? Even though he is a GREAT eater, my poor little guy is suffering from some horrible gas in the middle of the night. He’s definitely not screaming in pain, but from 4 AM on, he is grunting and pulling his legs up to his tummy, obviously unhappy. The only way I can get him to settle down is by letting him sleep on my chest. He had a HUGE fart the other night as soon as I out him on me, so I thought maybe I could put him down. Nope. No such luck. I’m going to try cutting out dairy to see if that helps because the gas drops definitely have not. Any suggestions would be appreciated!


  • Tiff

    Ooooh, the things I have to look forward to! My little man is 16 months old now, and he still eats pretty well most of the time. Pickiness is starting to set in though…

  • Have you thought about taking away all her treats and only offering healthy choices for awhile? She’d probably be resistant at first but it might be worth a shot.

    • Kristen

      I could try that. I don’t know if it would make much of a difference though, but it’s definitely a thought!

  • Sarah

    I force feed my 3 yr old too. Sigh. Before preschool the only thing she will eat is yogurt and fruit snacks. Lunch is Mac n cheese. Dinner is usually bread or a bun and some fruit. She won’t touch the other food I give her, but I keep putting it on her plate

    • Kristen

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. That sounds pretty similar to Kenna for sure!

  • Haley

    For the baby…. Cutting out dairy and using Gerber probiotic drops made a huge difference for my little one!

  • Jen

    I’m so sorry you’re still dealing with this, too! Wyatt is still a horrible eater and our biggest struggle is even getting him to sit down to eat now. He just won’t. Even if I take his dinner away and don’t let him eat a thing until the next morning. He just does not care! Infuriating. Some kids just do not care about eating.

    I’m sorry Miles has bee gassy! Gas drops always helped Hadley, but I tried 1000 things with Wyatt and nothing helped his gas/ stomach pain. He just had to grow out of it. Hugs mama!

    • Kristen

      Ugh. Toddlers. 😉 I actually think I have an overactive letdown which was causing him gas. So, I changed to just feeding him on one side and that seems to have worked great. He’s still waking up at 5 AM, but I think that’s just when he wants to wake up (and be held).

  • momslrb

    That gas is no fun! I know that isn’t easy.