Watching your baby taste real food for the first time is one of the most exciting milestones for a new parent to witness. Your baby’s life suddenly becomes more fun and interesting (not to mention messy!), and your daily routine as a parent changes too. But starting solids can also be confusing - especially for first-time parents.
There's no doubt that mealtimes with young kids are chaotic. I often brace myself before we sit down to dinner, knowing that frustrating things will happen - my son might reject some or all of the foods that I've served, veggies might not get eaten, my daughter might throw something off her tray or there might be a spill or two to clean up.
Every child will go through some sort of "picky eating" stage or exhibit picky eating tendencies at some point. For the most part, these behaviours (although frustrating) are completely normal. The trickiest part is learning to handle these stages in a patient, calm, and loving way. The way we react to picky eating as parents can either create bigger, more serious eating issues down the road, or can help a child grow her relationship with food in a healthy way.
Most women know it's important to take a pre-natal multivitamin supplement before and during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, but what many women don't realize is that what is offered in pre-natal supplements and what can be realistically consumed through diet may not be enough.
It's like clockwork- every evening when I start preparing dinner, my kids run into the kitchen hungry and whiny. Requests for snacks are rampant and there are little fingers dabbling in dinner ingredients all over the place. Not only does this make it harder for me to prepare dinner, but it is also a patience tester (big time!).
We've been struggling with mealtime boredom at my house when it comes to dinner - it seems that my go-to list of healthy but easy dinner options has reached its expiry we need some new fun meals. My kids are great eaters, but they too need variety and fun. And I've been feeling the same way.
I've had two completely different experiences with my first two babies. Ben, my eldest, was born in a frenzied panic, with 15+ people in the delivery room, serious talk of an emergency c-section and then ultimately, a vacuum delivery that left me with injuries that took over a year to heal from. Luckily, he was the easiest, most laid back baby, who slept through the night by eight weeks and smiled, laughed, and cooed through his first year.
Feeding from six to 24 months is often referred to as “the honeymoon stage of feeding” because babies and toddlers tend to accept foods well, experimenting with and tasting anything parents put on their trays, or offer by spoon. This is why picky eating rarely occurs during this stage and surfaces in the older-toddler or preschool years instead.
We have oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast. I either make from scratch, reheat leftovers, or eat it chilled with some Greek yogurt (I usually make a big batch at the beginning of the week). To avoid boredom, I add lots of variety: apple cinnamon oatmeal, baked oatmeal with berries, these delicious oatmeal muffins, or peanut butter and banana oatmeal (a kids favourite).
School's out and lunch box packing is on hold for the summer. Phewf! Although home lunches may seem easier than packing school lunches, there are only so many peanut butter and jam sandwiches that your kids will eat (I say this, because this is often the lunch option that I often fall back on when I'm stumped for ideas).
Nutrition labels in Canada may be changing, according to an announcement made on Friday by Canada's Minister of Health, in an effort to make reading food labels (ingredients lists and nutrition facts tables) easier for Canadians and encourage them to make healthier food choices.
It's hard to stay hydrated and drink enough water throughout the day. We try to make sure our kids are hydrated by having cups of water nearby and reminding them to take sips, but we often forget to drink enough ourselves. Sometimes, it's not until we feel a headache coming on, or when we are super thirsty that we reach for a drink, which is often too late - we're already dehydrated. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink, you're likely falling behind - thirst is a sign that you're already dehydrated.
We always have a stack of whole grain tortillas in our freezer because they are so versatile and have saved me from the dreaded last minute "what am I going to make for supper?!" panic more than a few times. Tortillas are great for throwing together a turkey, veggie and cheese wrap at the last minute, or for making easy burritos, thin-crust pizza or healthy quesadillas.
With so much nutrition information out there, it's hard to know who and what to trust. When it comes to feeding kids and picky eating issues, you want to make sure you're reading evidence-based information from credible sources. Because kids nutrition can be confusing and dealing with fussy feeders and picky eaters can be overwhelming (I know this first hand!), I've come up with a list of blogs, books, and Facebook pages that I personally follow, from experts that I admire and trust. Enjoy!
When it comes to desserts, I'm a picky eater. And I think you should be too. This, coming from the Dietitian who helps parents prevent and manage picky eating with their kids - go figure! Although you should allow yourself to indulge in something sweet regularly - even daily - it's important to be selective in which treats you choose so that you can really make your indulgence count and enjoy every bite.