Friday, January 13, 2012

Positive things we have going when it comes to eating

Lately, I have been talking too negatively about getting our 3 year old to eat. In fact, I feel like most of my eating posts are related to frustration. I don't mean to mislead readers in thinking this is normal for us. I often get the urge to post when I need to vent. It's somewhat therapeutic for me. Other bloggers could probably relate.

I want to let everyone know and also remind myself when I look back at this time one day that we are in fact very lucky to have a 3 year old who eats well. That's right. You heard me right! Tristan eats well normally :)

I breastfed Tristan for a year and he drank breast milk exclusively for the first six months. His first solid food was broccoli. He even tried bittermelon as a first solid food. Every new food presented to him was in pure form with no seasonings until he was around 12 months old. He only drank milk and water. Even now, he drinks more water than anything else. If you offer him juice, he would probably ask for water. He can be picky sure but we don't dine on junk foods like potato chips and we rarely eat processed foods. We may open a can of soup or cook from a pack of instant noodles once or twice a year. Processed foods usually gross me out. We eat a lot of brown rice, multigrain breads, vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, and we always have a variety. We have pretty much introduced Tristan to every kind of food out there since I love to cook Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Greek, Italian, Indian, Hawaiian, and so many other things. We are even doing tons of vegan food these days! Jean-Louis and I pretty much love eating everything and are somewhat adventurous eaters. Tristan will probably grow up being the same.

Feasting on durian
Tristan loved food until he was about two years old. He didn't care what it was as long as he could put it in his mouth, he would eat it. When he was around two, he started to resist certain foods, including some of his favorites. Jean-Louis called him a moody eater. Some times he would love it and other days he would hate it. He would pick at his food a bit for a few days or weeks and then he would go back to eating everything we give him again. We would go through these cycles where we would have to nag on and off to get him to eat most or all of his food. When he would be sick, it would be way worst. Nowadays, he will still eat anything but just not as much as we would like him to. Many people who have dined with us are usually impressed that he eats what we give him. They are also impressed he does this on his own.

Right now, Tristan is finishing all his meals. The nagging is almost non-existent. I guess he is hungry now from having so little to eat last week when he was sick. The type of nagging and coaching we do now is more along the lines of "you only have three more spoons to go. You can do it!"

Here is what he ate today:
  • Breakfast: 1 slice of multigrain bread, 1 fried egg, 4 slices of pear, bit of water
  • Lunch: chicken pesto salad panini sandwich (2-3 cups), 3 slices of apple, bit of water
  • Dinner: mushroom, tofu, shrimp stir-fry rice macaroni (3-4 cups), 2 slices of orange, 1 hedgehog, 1 small vegan almond cookie, bit of coconut water, lots of water

Tristan finished everything above, except for a small piece of chicken from his panini sandwich. Today was a satisfactory day! The thing is Tristan knows that we are not happy when he doesn't eat. He also knows our rules at the table. Eat your main dish first, especially your vegetables and then you can have fruit and possibly a treat if you are really good. Sometimes we would present a dish of food to him and also give him a piece of bread or cracker to go with his meal. He would check with us first to see if he could start by eating his bread or cracker. That's because he knows that things like bread, crackers, and fruits are more like rewards for eating well. Some times we just tell him to eat everything together but he'll set aside the bread or fruit until he is done with his main dish anyway. Fine with us, as long as he eats everything.

The three of us eat together all the time. Well, I eat breakfast with Tristan every day and Jean-Louis joins us on the weekends. I sometimes eat or at least sit with Tristan while he is having lunch and at dinner, the three of us all sit and eat together. I think Jean-Louis has only ever missed a couple of dinner sit downs because of his iPhone meetups. I think eating together as a family is important and we are fortunate to have schedules that support that. Sadly, I have heard of many families where this can't happen very often. We also all eat the same things and that is also important for Tristan to see.

Speaking of eating the same things, because I started baking more in the past year, people may have the impression that Tristan eats too many sweets now and has become a pickier eater because of it. Yes, I have baked a lot but I'm actually the one that eats most of it. Jean-Louis is always watching his weight and I'm the Mommy in the family so I eat all the leftovers, sweets included. We also send quite a bit of sweets to Jean-Louis' work so we can get rid of them quicker. As for Tristan, if he is well behaved and eats well, we may offer him a small treat. If he does get a treat, it will be 1/4 to 1/2 the size of the treat we would get. Many times when a treat was offered though, he never got it because he didn't quite finish his meal. If he doesn't finish or at least eat most of his meal, he doesn't even get fruit! Yeah, we use fruit a lot as a bribe. It's funny because he would come so close to finishing his food some times and then refuse to take the last bite and just declare defeat. He would tell us he doesn't want the cookie anymore just so he doesn't have to finish the last bite of his food. That's okay with us and we just take his food away. Remember that Santa hat cake I made? Tristan didn't even have a bite of that! He probably has a treat like a cookie or chocolate two times a week. That doesn't sound like a lot to us, is it? As for how often I eat treats, you don't want to know! I will be hitting the gym next month though and will be paying dearly for all my sweet sins. Oh boy :S


Michelle said...

Hi Susan, you and your husband have a hardcore stance towards Tristan's feeding. You do not have to justify your approach as Tristan is your child and it's your choice however you want to feed him. It is just a little disconcerting to hear that your 3 year old has nightmares about feeding.

In general, with or without child, meal times should be enjoyable, a time when a family sits down together to enjoy their meal and talk about their day.

I have an extremely picker 31 month old at home. She's actually into healthy food by her own choice, not from my influence. She likes her veggies, hard boil egg whites, pasta cooked in chicken stock and has absolutely no desire for sweets, juice, chocolate, pop etc., She does not care for meat in general either and may eat he occasional chicken.

We have dinner together everynight and have been doing so since she was 1-ish. Most of the time, she eats what we eat, unless we are having something spicy. She feeds herself and if she doesn't want to eat her dinner, I will give her cheese or crackers and milk. This is not a regular occurrence but I would rather fill her up with something then have her waking up at 3am hungry.

She may be a super picky eater but she's growing well and above all, is healthy. I do not know if her pickiness is a phase she'll outgrow but it is no big deal to us, it is something we can handle and we both love food!

I subscribe to my PD's reccomendations - we decide what she eats, she decides whether she wants to eat or not and how much to eat.

I hope that you will all have enjoyable meal times in time to come.


Susan said...

Thanks for the comment Michelle!

Sounds like your girl is good healthy eater like Tristan:) It seems that no matter how healthy your child eats, they will still go through a picky stage. It's frustrating but it's normal.

Yes, we are hardcore. We are also stubborn some times and like things our way. Poor Tristan, right? :) Luckily, we're in a good eating phase right now. I think he is starting to grow up a bit more as well, and understands that food not only fills his hunger but is also nutritionally good for him. But if not, he will!

Related Posts with Thumbnails