Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Dinner Challenge

What makes dinner with a toddler exciting (at least mine), is that you never know how it's going to go. A. may have gulped down rice and broccoli one night and want nothing to do with them on another. He may say that he wants pasta, but once they are in front of him, he changes his mind and announces "non pates, riz!" (no pasta, rice!). If I listened to him, I would be a crazed short order cook making five dishes per meal to please His Royal Highness. But I am pleased to say... I know better!

I usually have some pasta or rice already cooked in the fridge. First I present him with the grown-ups' meal. If he doesn't bite... I offer him the back up. If that still doesn't work, he can eat bread and yogurt or fruit if he wants to, and that's about it, because if he's hungry he'll eat, and I refuse to drive myself crazy. I know it's the toddlers' power play anyway.
My only rule is that if he hasn't eaten properly, he can't have chocolate or fun desert afterwards.
In his defense, there are many meals where he actually eats very well. He doesn't really like "bad food" (no interest in chicken nuggets for instance). He sometimes has broccoli orgies and Friday night, he devoured this Red Snapper I had bought whole and just baked in the oven with some butter and lemon. So over all, I can't complain.

I'm also not a total food Nazi. Most of the time he eats healthy food, so he's allowed to enjoy some nutella, an ice cream, or a cookie here and there... and he loves his daily after-dinner Lindt ball (and pretty much says no to any other kind of chocolate.)

can you tell he likes Nutella?
I just wish there was a bit more predictability in his eating habits, but I'm sure that will come with age.
His favorites right now:
- Nutella on bread
- bananas with sprinkles on them (or "bonbons" as he calls them)
- elbow pasta with shredded cheese that HE gets to put on the pasta
- matzah, matzah,  and more matzah! (or "pita" as he calls it)
- baby carrots

How does your toddler eat? Do you have any "tricks" to share?

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