Sunday, October 21, 2007

How we eat, lately

In response to Sara's revealing of their mealtime adventure:

How we eat changes pretty often, all depending on what works at that moment. I'm no stickler for schedules or table-sitting or anything, and I graze all day rather than eating three easily identifiable meals. I think this works great for my toddlers too, since they would much rather be playing than sitting and eating for long stretches. We do eat a lot of the same things every day, but my attempt to keep almost everything that I buy be healthful, means that no matter what J wants to eat, he can have it (except for a few days last week when he asked to make and eat corn cookies at every meal -- I don't even know what they are). I think my basic idea is that I will make something that J likes, using his ideas to shape the menu, when he seems to be hungry, and if he only eats part of it, we save it for later. I ask him to eat a few bites, but if that's all he's interested in, no big deal, he can have it for a snack a little later. (I don't do the short-order-cook-thing -- I'll make one or two things and if he refuses to eat it after I make it and asks for something else instead, he just doesn't eat until he decides he does want what I made after all. We only have this sort of conflict on very rare occasions.) It also helps to put his leftovers on the counter or bottom shelf of the refrigerator where he can reach it himself. In addition, I will make a bowl of nuts and dried fruit, cereal and crackers, and just keep it near where he's playing and usually he'll polish it off in an hour or so. He's also big into pouring himself milk these days, so I try to keep the jug in the front so he can reach it.

Typical daytime foods around here:
egg and cheese in a tortilla, hot oat bran (or oatmeal) with raisins and apples, banana with peanut butter, bread or bagels, yogurt with berries, muffins, quesadillas, soup, rice and veggies, fresh fruit or raw veggies, cheese

I doubt we've eaten anything off that list for a couple months. He likes it, I like it, it works. For now. E will eat or not eat, and nothing I do can change it, so I just let her be, and we're all happy. She's nursing a lot and growing fast, so I'm not worried.

Dinner varies a lot more, and I plan it by week, so J doesn't get much say, but he also isn't super picky these days. He loves to cook with me, and although he often doesn't eat much of the end product, he is free to eat as much of the ingredients as he wants. So, on pizza night (Friday, of course) he will eat bread dough, grated cheese, slices of tomatoes, and so forth while I'm making it, and then will only nibble at the pizza when it's cooked. As long as he's eating good food, it doesn't really matter when it happens. Some nights (like tonight) he's particularly distracted and will just play while we eat and take bites from our plates as he goes by, but he ate a lot of good stuff earlier.

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