What Brady Ate: Lunch Edition

This is the second post in my “What Brady Ate” series. Don’t forget to check out breakfast if you haven’t already!

Whereas breakfast tends to be mostly repeat foods, lunch and dinner are much more diverse. Which means new and unfamiliar foods, and ample opportunity for Brady to refuse them. Which he does, often.

So this post isn’t necessary what Brady ate. It’s what I served to him {that just doesn’t have the same title appeal, though, does it?}. He chooses whether or not to eat it – remember children get to choose whether and how much, based on Ellyn Satter’s theory. Many times, he doesn’t touch it. At. All.  

The evolution of baby mealtimes

The evolution of baby mealtimes

How do I deal with food refusal? Here’s my 4-step process: 

  1. REINFORCE: When trying a new food, I always make sure there’s at least one thing on his tray that he loves and eats freely. 
  2. REPEATExposure, exposure, exposure, as I discussed in this post. Keep trying. Be more stubborn than your toddler! Serve a very small portion to reduce food waste, and save leftovers to try again the next day. He/she may come around eventually, and if not, that’s okay too. Because…
  3. RELAX: Your toddler is probably eating enough. Adults have a tendency to want kids to eat, Eat, EAT. But most kids are good at self-regulating (coincidentally, also a skill we want them to develop!) and don’t need as much as we think.  
  4. RELENT under special circumstances: Occasionally, I’ll offer options beyond what is served. For example, Brady likes soft and palatable foods (and not the shredded BBQ chicken we’re having for dinner) when he’s sick, teething, or overtired. I try to let my mommy intuition speak louder than books and parenting theories, although honestly it can be hard to know whether it’s intuition, or guilt, or just wanting to avoid a battle!

In a perfect world, toddlers are consistent and rational, and food theories are followed 100% of the time. In the real world (or my world, at least), there is inconsistency sometimes, and irrationality often, and I do what I feel is best given the circumstances. I won’t make a special meal, but I’ll make concessions in offering him Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, a squeeze-pouch kefir, a Lara Bar (just dates & nuts) or more of what’s on his tray. 

What Brady Ate for Lunch: 9 dietitian-approved toddler lunch ideas

Same pictures, with descriptions: 

What Brady Ate for Lunch: 9 balanced lunch meals for toddlers

Toddler Snacks

Lastly, snacks! I didn’t photograph them, but Brady always eats a mid-afternoon snack. Lately, mid-morning too. Our go-to’s are: 

  • banana & Goldfish
  • raisins, walnuts & string cheese
  • graham cracker & grapes
  • chopped apple w/ peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt or kefir squeezy w/ sliced strawberries
  • Babybel cheese & apple sauce
  • fruit or veggie pouch & dried cereal

In the next post about Brady’s dinners, I’ll share the #1 thing we did that instantly stopped Brady from throwing food on the floor. Hallelujah! 

August 25, 2016

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