Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Think outside the box

My daughter has been sick. Six days of fever, crying, sleepless nights, and of course, poor appetite.  She was already becoming a picky eater, and I was running out of ideas!  When she got sick, I thought, "Great, another speed bump on the road to feeding a toddler."  Today has been no exception, UNTIL NOW!

Her lunch:  a spinach, egg, turkey and cheese scramble, followed by 3/4 banana. Yes, you read correctly. My one year old just ate spinach. Not a drop on the floor.

The miracle recipe:
1 handful of spinach leaves, sauteed over medium heat until wilted, then chopped
1/2 slice of low sodium, thick cut deli turkey, torn into bite size pieces
1 whole egg*, scrambled with about a tablespoon of whole milk
1/2 slice of white American deli cut cheese (her favorite)

Scramble over medium heat until egg is cooked, and it's magic, you have a protein packed, colorful little meal for one. That's a ONE year old.

Why "think outside the box?"  My box lately has been this:
Eggs are for breakfast....
And, my kid won't eat any vegetables besides the peas I make her every day.

I tried something new and for once it paid off!  She's a toddler, so who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Here are some of my rules about feeding a toddler:

-Always offer the healthiest, and newest to her palate, foods FIRST when she is hungriest.
-Always re-offer these new foods every day (or a few times a week) for at least 2 weeks. Then, give her a break, try something different, and re-introduce in another week or two. Just because she won't eat it now, doesn't mean she won't try it later.
-Make her plate, or her high chair/booster tray, look like the Food Guide Plate as often as you can (www.choosemyplate.gov). That is, include a small serving of protein, fruit, vegetable, and whole grain for most meals.
-Offer 5-6 small meals daily, and avoid the traps of the "snack" foods. Their bodies are on the move and they need the constant introduction of energy from healthy nutrients throughout the day.
-Offer water, not juice. Fruits are an EXCELLENT source of energy, as well as vitamins and minerals. Fruit juices are NOT. Kick the habit now before the sugar obsession takes over and your child is facing weight problems and rotting teeth.

*Please talk with your doctor before introducing eggs in your baby's diet. Eggs are on the list of potential allergens, so avoid introducing them prior to your doctor's instruction. I did so at 9 months, very slowly, but your doctor may advise you to wait until 1 year, or even 2. This can be a serious and life-threatening condition, so heed your doctor's advice!

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