The mind of a toddler is a curious thing, especially when it comes to any meal time. One moment they may not like anything green (though a stalk of broccoli seems to be a different green from those M&Ms they are only too happy to eat). In another moment, if any foods touch each other, I can assure you, the world will come to an end. Meal times for many Moms can be more of a walking mine field, and after a long day at work, and your little one’s long day at daycare, anyone would be at their wit’s end. Handing them food your know they will eat without a fight becomes an easy go to option, even if that mean pizza bites each night for ten days straight.
Now, just for fun, add the task of instilling healthy eating habits into your toddler, and it is just too much on some days. I can hear many Moms out there saying “Right, just spend one night at my house and see if you make it out alive, never mind instilling a lesson on healthy eating.”
Dr. Harvey Kapp once said: “Living with a Toddler is like take a trip to the distant pass…they are like cavemen.”
I am the Mom of a two year old. She is a cavewomen. However, it is not about type of food that will have her do an Incredible Hulk–like transition, but rather the quantity of food. If my two-year-old lived in a cave, it would be stuffed to the rafters would food. She loves it and will happily eat until from dawn until bedtime. So, what do I have to complain about? I have a kid that eats!
Well, not feeding her or getting her to stop eating at meal times can result in the same melt downs as a picky eater. Also, I am a Mom who is wants to pass on the importance of eating with Mother Nature in mind. So the challenge remains, how do we get through meal times with healthy habits that also include being eco-conscious?
Currently, my husband and I are trying out the Paleo Diet, which essentially has us eating as if we were cavemen ourselves. The focus is on lean meats, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables (for a full list of the foods click here). Now “diet” seems like a bad word when you talk about feeding a toddler, so I feel I really should amend the phrase to say, The Paleo Way of Eating, as we are by no means restricting her food intake, but rather offering her a selection of things that may sit better with her caveman metabolism, making her feel full and also nourishing her. We figured by taking on this way of eating, it would teach her healthy habits. At the same time, it is a selection of foods that we can find easily at the local farmers market and our local butcher’s (though fish is sometimes hard for us to find locally). Local and organic were the 2 concepts I settled on that were most important for her to learn from the high chair and with this way of eating in mind I thought I would try and take on these concepts as well. So what are the results?
So far, great! What I love is that the food choices are easy to find. Though too young for some of the food items (nuts and seeds are still a choking hazard for her), the berries and vegetables are right up her alley. With an array of colors to choose from, we have yet to run into the “I don’t want that color” issue, which results in pulling out something processed to accommodate her tantrums.
Does she still demand more food? Yes. But she demands “blackberries” and “strawberries” now rather than an Arrowroot Cookie. I am open to giving her more of these versus her previous favorite, chicken nuggets or the aforementioned cookie.
What has been great to watch for this eco-mom, has been the development of her understanding of where her food is coming from. We will be out driving and go past our local fruit stand, and she will shout “Berries” – knowing that if we pull in there will be berries. So we defiantly have “local” as a concept down, still working on organic (maybe I need to wait till she can say “organic” first).
So though we still run into the tantrums, they are getting fewer. Whether it has to do with feeding a two-year-old cavewomen a caveman diet, I am unsure. But I do know that this did turn meal time in to a lesson on healthy eating, and she is learning great “green” concepts when it comes to finding food.
Happy feeding time!