Friends and clients often ask what I feed to Brady, my 17 month old toddler. I usually want to say, “Nothing special, and probably exactly what you feed your kids!” Because it’s really not exceedingly healthy. I’d call it “mostly healthy with a generous helping of ‘sometimes foods.'”
Even though it feels “normal” and “not special” to me, I understand the need to share what our “normal” is. There’s so little nutritional guidance for parents during the toddler years. Plus it’s easy to get into a rut and need some fresh ideas. Oh, and the general curiosity of what a dietitian feeds to his/her kids! Heck, I’ve asked many friends what it was like growing up with a mommy dietitian. `
First, let me share my parenting food mantra: Always have nutritious foods available. Eat them myself (+ hubby!). But provide exposure to all kinds of foods, and no food is completely off limits.
I don’t want any foods to have the allure of “I can’t have this at home, so I’m going to pig out at my friends house” (or worse, college and forevermore when he’s responsible for his own food purchases). I believe restriction often leads to binging and unhealthy relationships with food, and I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with whose emotional eating issues started during childhood. So Brady gets pizza, and turkey hot dogs, and pretzel buns, and Goldfish, and ice cream (well a little, and he actually doesn’t like it yet), and we’ll continue to expose him to these types of foods.
Here’s the flip side: I make sure he’s surrounded by healthy foods. Brady gets a fruit or veggie with every single meal or snack. I plan to give Brady an “edukitchen” and present him with varied foods, but then let him choose whether he eats it and how much.
Granted, he’ll be choosing between the foods I offer him, that I’m already making for our family. That’s because I get to choose what we’re eating, when we’re eating and where we’re eating. This is the Ellyn Satter Institute’s theory that:
- The parent is responsible for what, when and where
- The child is responsible for how much and whether (to eat it)
This seems to be working for us thus far, although we’re still at the very beginning of this journey. And Brady definitely shows some picky eating tendencies, so I’m sure I’ll find my own balance of book theories + mommy intuition.
Okay – the pictures! Here are 9 days of breakfasts. I’ll follow up with a post on lunches and dinners, as well as our go-to snacks and what I do when Brady won’t eat what’s in front of him. 🙊
Same pictures, with descriptions: