So, last month, I was on a mission to improve my toddlers meals. After moving in with my parents at the end of March, MacKenna’s meals had totally gone downhill – to the point where she was no longer eating anything nutritious when she ate at home. My goal was to get her eating her meals better and eating what we were eating for dinner – no more catering to her every want and need.
I’m THRILLED to report that everything has been going smoothly and we now are not only eating better but eating more, and there are fewer and fewer tantrums at the dinner table. (Of course there will always be some – her, “I no like it” is the new one lately when she simply just doesn’t want to eat the rest of her dinner.)
All-natural chicken nuggest with BBQ sauce and an apple.
Sure, not every meal is absolutely perfect – we still have macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and quesadillas, but she is definitely starting to eat more of what we are eating for dinner (except for quiche nights and a few other meals that are a little too sophisticated for her toddler palette).
My happy little eater.
We have also been doing a little more incentives and negotiating, but it seems to be working. Many times we tell her that if she eats one or two more bites of her dinner (usually giving her a specific food item to eat), she can get down and go play (usually with Gigi’s iPad, which has become and after-dinner-only luxury). It works for us and she is definitely eating better and more of her meals.
Quesadilla, avocado, and blueberries for lunch.
I’m also happy to report that we are no longer eating “cake” (yogurt with Ovaltine and sprinkles) everynight – in fact, I don’t remember the last time she has eaten it! And she is very rarely eating dessert. Usually only if she asks for it and if she ate her dinner well. If she doesn’t eat well, or refuses to eat something, she doesn’t get anything after dinner.
After eating quinoa burgers + tator tots, she was happy to get her first popsicle!
Our meals still aren’t tantrum-free – those incentives/negotiations don’t always work – but the certainly aren’t stressing me out nearly as much as they used to! WINNER!