Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I need some feedback.
Jesse has gotten into the habit of grazing (a fancy word for he eats alot of snacks throughout the day and not enough at meals) lately. I know part of this is probably the preschool age- I have read that 4 year olds can't sit still for very long and it is expecting too much for them to sit and eat a whole meal. I have also heard that for preschoolers, it is better to let them graze on healthy food throughout the day to get all their nutrients. I have always tried very hard to limit snacks during the day and to train Jesse to eat meals with the family. But, it is just not working. He is asking to eat lunch earlier and earlier, after several snacks after breakfast (which he hasn't been eating entirely) and dinner time is usually a battle, unless it is something he really likes. SO, I am at the point where I have realized that he probably won't get all of his good nutrients at a meal. I have tried to make snacks a little more meal-like but I am at a loss for how to approach this. Should I stick to my guns and say no when he asks for one snack after another (literally, he finishes one and begs for another) during the day or should I make his snacks packed with protein and other good stuff (like little bites of chicken or turkey dogs)? Should I expect that he sit with us during our meal and eat the majority of what we put on his plate (we never make him eat all of it but if he wants dessert he needs to eat a determined amount- this is usually a good motivator).
This is what I have tried as snacks so far:
- pretzels
- whole wheat goldfish or dry cereal
- bananas, apples, carrots, frozen blueberries
- I tried hearty granola bars for a while but I think he has caught on- Odwalla has these carrot raisin and berries go mega that are pretty much a meal but he doesn't eat them anymore, Karis will!
-I tried soy beans, roasted and salted- he spits them out
- Raisins or Craisins
-Pirate Booty w/ spinach and kale (he loves this)
- We don't do juice, just milk with meals and water in between.

Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps something with peanut butter for a snack (with an apple or on whole wheat toast). That has more protein to stick with him?

-Andrea Chimo

Lisa said...

With Geneva, she wants to snack all the time too but I think part of it is that she really likes snack foods: crackers, fruit, pretzels, cereal, yogurt, etc. When she says she's hungry and I ask "you wanna have lunch?" she responds, "no. a snack." I give her a lunch and if she doesn't eat it all, I pull it back out the next time she asks for a snack. Or I leave it there and she's free to graze on it. After she's eaten the meal food, then we can talk about snacks. So if breakfast is going unfinished, soggy cereal is probably something you can't go back to but toast, eggs, bagel, even oatmeal (with some added milk) all seem to stay viable throught a morning. If it's getting close to dinner and a snack is requested I'll give something very light (like a handful of cheerios or a graham cracker) or a cup of milk. I know when I'm feeling like I need to eat ASAP the protein in milk seems to stabilize my blood sugar. I think you should expect him to sit with you at dinner, whether he wants to eat or not. I think you might later regret making a concession in that area. Keep trying your best to keep meals pleasant and try not to engage in the battle. If he doesn't want to eat you can't force it and yeah,no dessert. But let him know that dinner time is a special time for you as a family and you love him and want to spend and enjoy that time with him. Don't let the food ruin your meal!

Daisy said...

Since he is really hungry in the morning, try to pack all of the nutritional requirements in then. Make a really healthy breakfast (eggs, oatmeal), and give him healthy protein and veggie based morning snacks. I know, it is hard to make super healthy breakfasts, but it may be worth the extra effort. That way, when dinner time comes and he doesn't want to eat, you can relax knowing that he has eaten well already. You may want to get a copy of Super Baby Food out from the library- it has lots of healthy snack recipes. Also, I have heard that "Deceptively Delicious" book is good for that as well.