Continuing the routines series, I would like to write about our current eating/feeding process, and a follow up post with an average week of meals.
The “cooking for Lexi” process really happens randomly and is almost never planned, sort of like for us. I try to make enough food to for her to last 2-3 meals and it’s usually rounded enough that she could eat it all day long if we needed to and still get plenty of nutrition and vitamins. According to what I read, at 18 months a breastfed toddler still gets 50% of his/her nutrition from breastmilk which is a staggering number for me. In the morning, when Andrew takes her and I either catch up on sleep or get an hour or two of work done, he usually gives her fruit (per my instructions, though he does tend to forget sometimes) while he quickly cooks hard boiled eggs, peas and broccoli. Those are his staples, and those are the foods she likes to eat now (along with many others). The reason for fruit in the morning is something I have written about in the past, but I’ll mention it again.
In the morning, our body doesn’t have the energy to digest food (the most energy consuming process) because it has just spent hours going without food all night. So loading up on heavy meats, eggs, pancakes, which seems to be breakfast staples in the US, doesn’t work for our bodies as well as getting a piece of fruit that is partially digested in your mouth and then quickly digested in your stomach, releasing that energy you need to digest heavier foods. That’s why fruit goes first and then 30 minutes later heavier foods.
Once I come down, I attempt to cook her soup or whatever we’re having for lunch while she plays. There is lots of distractions happening at that time, because Lexi loves to involve everyone around in her playtime. Recently I have been putting her into her Svan chair at the kitchen desk with a rolled out butcher’s paper, crayons, stickers and look and find books and it’s been working like gang busters. In fact, I don’t think there is any other activity that engages her long enough for me to chop up some vegetables and throw in some grains or beans to boil, aside from the IPhone.
The dinner is cooked after Andrew is done with work for the day and can watch Lexi or go for a bike ride with her while I put it together our dinner (again a lot of chopping and sauteing), or if Lexi is in a particular mommy mood, Andrew will cut the stuff for me and then I’ll come in to put it together.
We don’t have a set time for when we eat, because often we are out of the house on some days or travelling on others, so we go by Lexi’s cues. She is pretty good at letting us know when she is hungry, so I just make sure that I have food ready before I know she should get hungry. For example, on an average day at home, she eats first breakfast at 7-8am, second breakfast an hour later. Her lunch is around 11-12 and then often she will have another small meal before her nap at 2pm. We eat after she wakes up, around 4pm and then dinner at 7pm. She doesn’t eat much at one time, so we have smaller meals throughout the day.
Feeding set is by Toddler
These are more rules for us, rather than Lexi, because she pretty much does what we ask/tell her to do.
- I try not to stress about her throwing food, though I always tell her that it’s not something she should do.
- I definitely don’t stress about her not eating or eating less than I think she should, because I believe that babies/toddlers self-regulate on food perfectly and we, parents, have no way of knowing how much food they really need and when they are full.
- She cannot eat while playing on the phone (snacking doesn’t count)
- She cannot eat while playing or running around
- She has to eat while sitting in a chair or at the table.
And the final rule is: it’s ok to break all the above rules occasionally.
WHAT SHE LOVES EATING:
- all green veggies: peas, broccoli, avocado
- all kinds of beans
- frozen fruit purees in an ice cream form, home made popcicles.
- cous-cous and quinoa
WHAT WE TRY NOT TO FEED HER:
- cheese (she doesn’t care for it herself, I’ve offered a few times)
- ice cream (loves it though)
- salty foods
I’ve offered her some of the things on this list before. Usually she sees us eating them and asks to try. Most of the time, she spits it out, with the exception of cookies and ice cream. I don’t believe in saying no to a food that she sees me eating – if i really didn’t want her to eat it that much, I would not eat it either. So if I am eating and she asks for it, I give her a taste. She absolutely LOVES ice cream and when she sees me eat an ice cream, she runs to the kitchen chanting “POON POON” (spoon), opens a drawer with her spoons and gets one out. So I try not to eat ice cream around her, but will give her a taste if she sees me do it. She’s never had any candy (correction, just did have 1 one Halloween), because we don’t really eat candy, but she’s asked for cookies and liked them. I have occasionally bought her those baby cookies which she enjoys, but I am not making a habit out of it. On average she will probably have something sweet ( ice cream, cookie) once a week or rarely. She doesn’t ask for it more often than that.
Obviously when we are out and about, we try to bring our own food, but if she has to eat a cheese quesadilla because it’s the only acceptable thing on the menu, it won’t kill us.
It’s really amazing to have a kid who will eat or at least try pretty much everything, as long as you tell her what it is and ask her to try it. When we eat out (which happens all the time during travelling), we skip the kid’s menu (that consists of all the things she doesn’t eat), and order a meal off the adult menu. Usually it’s fish, or whole grain pasta, or a vegetable meal. It’s always a nice surprise when a restaurant has an unconventional kid’s menu with healthier options than meatballs, hotdogs, chicken nuggets and whatever else is usually offered on a typical kid’s menu. Disney has some restaurants that we loved eating at because their kid’s menu is like a limited pint size adult menu with fish, veggies and rice, chicken or equally complicated meals.
We didn’t use to do a lot of snacking until recently. She still only snacks occasionally, since she eats in smaller meals all throughout the day, but when snacks do happen it is usually when she wants to relax on the couch, or in a stroller while we go for a walk/run, or when travelling on a plane/car ride. Our main snacks are:
- whole grain pasta
- whole grain buns (she loves those)
BEST BIB EVER
And finally, this is a very recent addition to our meal time…. At the ABC expo, I stopped by a booth, KiddoLogic, that was exhibiting a bib that looked awfully like the bib my sister in law made for Lexi, the one that many of you inquired about and loved the idea of. It’s a cloth bib that has a waterproof lining, sleeves, tight neckline and feels more like a shirt than a cold unpleasant bib.
That was pretty exciting, because obviously my sister in law doesn’t sell them, she only made a few for Lexi, but now there is a source for similar bibs that everyone can get to. The owner gave me a sample to show to my readers and it works pretty much the same way. The sleeves don’t interfere with eating and nothing ever gets on the clothes. Seriously, the best and most comfortable bib ever that wears like a shirt and feels like a shirt.
So since I know many of you would love this kind of bib, I wanted to share where to get it: Kiddologic Bib. You’re welcome.