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Eating Habits of a 4-year old

Ever had a routine question thrown at you that made you stop and pause?  An innocently asked question to merely gain information, with no intent of questioning your parenting, but through which you realize you have one messed-up situation on your hands?

“So then, what DOES she eat for lunch?”  There is is – the million dollar question that has thrown me into a tailspin.  The head of my Little One’s new preschool simply asking me what my daughter usually eats for lunch, since she’s been there at preschool camp for three days now and has yet to find a meal to her liking. 

You know it is a doozy of a question when you start stammering, “Uh…uh…well uh, apples and peanut butter….uh…”  But peanut butter isn’t something they can serve and yes, she tells me, she knows my Little One likes fruit – it’s been the only thing she has nibbled off her plate.  “What she does eat for the MAIN part of her meal?’

As I pathetically stand there racking my brain for SOMETHING, she takes pity on me and starts throwing out suggestions.  “Tacos?  Grilled cheese? Turkey roll-ups? Mac and cheese?”  My head is shaking in nervous twitches as I realize these are all the normal things kids have for lunch – and my daughter won’t eat any of them. 

Yes, Houston, we have a problem.

It is with great relief to both of us that we stumble upon chicken nuggets.  I am overjoyed – we found something!  Although the voice in my head tells me if I want to be honest about it, she has recently been informing me at the dinner table she no longer likes chicken nuggets and although she still eats them begrudgingly, frosted with ketchup, they really need to be the dinosaur kind because the other brand from Whole Foods didn’t work out at all (as in you might as well just throw that box away because not one more bite is ever going in that tiny mouth again – ever).

So Friday’s lunch at preschool is taken care of; they will now be serving chicken nuggets (to all the little campers) so that my daughter will eat something.  Marvelous.  What happens on Monday? 

I drive off, embarrassed it took being asked the question to become aware of the problem we have.  Has this Zen Mama Wannabe just been out to lunch?!  ☹

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4 Responses to “Eating Habits of a 4-year old”

  1. Nancy Larkin Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    BTDT… if that’s any consolation! Somehow a problem has snuck up on you, one baby step at a time, no doubt — and now you find you’re in the middle of the quicksand with no easy way out. You know the Five Food Groups — you probably do pretty well at eating from them yourself. So how did it get so out of hand with your little one?

    No matter how you got there, now you’ll have to start helping your child make healthy choices when it comes to eating. It’s going to be hard at first — on both of you. But I remember my mom made my older brother list all the foods he liked, then posted it by the kitchen table. Once a food was on the list, he couldn’t refuse to eat it. Actually, looking back, I think his list was pretty lengthy and diverse — I wish my kids had been that adventurous in their eating habits!

    So find a way to encourage your child(ren) to explore more foods. I recently read an article in our local paper that kids who help raise vegetables in a garden are more willing to eat vegetables — so maybe start a garden and make sure they do the majority of the watering and weeding. Find dishes they can help prepare — another way to give them some ownership in what they’re eating. It won’t get dinner on the table any faster — but they’re more likely to eat it when it’s finally ready.

    Good luck! But know that you’re not alone. I seem to remember that my younger sister went through a stage when she ate a hamburger patty and instant mashed potatoes for dinner as many nights as Mom would make them for her. She grew out of it — and turned out pretty well!

  2. Zen Mama Wannabe Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I’m clueless about a lot of things – as we can see – so please help…what does “BTDT” mean??

  3. Nancy Larkin Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Sorry 😉 BTDT = Been There Done That!

  4. callienadbatido Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I think we have all been in the same situation. It took me years to realize that I was so focused on making sure my girls ate healthy that I didn’t realize I was creating picky eaters that were difficult to take anywhere. I went as far as fixing “kid meals”, all to insure my little angles were eating. Now I fix one meal and everyone is required to try a small bite of everything. I have also worked on some rules on how to handle it when you are somewhere and you don’t like what is being served.

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