Meal time mishaps? - can I do more? — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Meal time mishaps? - can I do more?

Hi, ladies and gents!  My almost-one year old does REALLY well at mealtime.  She always has.  Lately, I've noticed a trend that I'm not super happy with.  Example dinner: grilled chicken, green beans, and potato - fruit (like a few strawberries) for dessert.  This is what I PLAN on feeding.  What actually happens is that I will lay out the bites of potato, green bean, and chicken, and she will pick out only the chicken to eat, squishing everything else into a bloody pulp.  I'm worried that she isn't getting enough greens, mainly, but the squishing isn't fun either.  This child has gone from a great eater to "I'll only take the protein.  Thanks, Mom."  Should I keep offering the veggies/starches even though I know she is just going to squish them and make a mess?  Or should I wait and try again next week?  This has been going on for about a month or so.  Baby wants to feed herself, and we are glad to let her, but she only wants to pick up and eat the proteins.  She will, however, eat greens from a jar, so I've been giving her the protein and a jar of greens/grains to offset the lack of self-feeding green stuff at dinner time.

Is this, like everything else in baby-hood, a phase?  Or are real signs of pickiness starting to show?  Help!!  I want her to have good nutrition, but I'm worried that I'm starting to see an adversity to anything green!

Re: Meal time mishaps? - can I do more?

  • Welcome to toddlerhood! lol This is very, very normal.

    It's hard to know if this will be the start of many years to come of picky eating or if it's simply just a phase. All you can do is offer healthy foods (include a couple items you know she will definitely like) and hope for the best. Try to evaluate her intake of vegetables and fruits over an entire week, not each day. Toddlers need a lot less than you might think they do.

    As far as the squishing are messy. Nothing you can do about that! Unless she is ONLY playing with her food and not eating which in that case meal time would be over for my kids.

    I stressed a lot over my first kid's eating habits but my second child helped me realize it was a waste of my time. Do what you can and leave the rest up to them.

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  • My 20 month old went through this same thing at that age seems VERY common but I just kept offering a healthy variety and eventually he picked back up.  I wouldn't worry to much. if your worried about greens like me I was so paranoid he wasn't getting the right nutrition you can try making smoothies if she will take it with fruit and veggies. Or....  I did this for A little while and it worked really well for us I set out my sons veggies first and let him pick at those and then added in the other food groups, meats are more filling so could be she favors her protein and is just getting to full to eat the veggies. And IMO the squishing the food is just gonna happen I let my son squish away I guess you could say he was playing with his food but I felt it was more of a way to explore the different textures. For my ds it was a phase and he is a great eater now. Good luck!
  • I would say keep offering it and make sure she sees you're eating it too and maybe even telling her how good it is. DD stopped eating veggies all together for a few months and then suddenly she was eating them all again. I think it was because we didn't give up. She used to eat them, so I knew she didn't completely hate them though. My DD gets excited about condiments. A tiny sprinkle of salt and a lot of times she'll try something she wouldn't have.
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  • Thanks for all the advice.  I will keep at it! :)
  • I always offer veggies first, by themselves on their own plate. My mom used used to do this to me and my brothers when we were kids and I think it helps.  Raw veggies, salads, cooked veggies always first and then when they eat that, you can give them the rest of their food? Maybe try this for a few days and see how it goes? Good luck! 
  • Keep offering all the food.  Withhold the fruit until the very end if you'd rather her attempt the greens first.  Don't worry too much about the mess, but be sure to correct things like throwing food, etc.
    If you're worried about getting more greens into her, I suggest the fruit/veggie puree pouches for between meal times.  They're chock full of good veggies and the kids don't usually even notice because it's laced with fruits.

    FWIW, I'm kinda jealous.  My son is the opposite of your LO.  He'll eat all the fruits and veggies, but can't stand proteins.  And as a result we're dealing with low iron in him.  Total PITA.
    Piper, 4/10/10
    Connor, 3/16/15
    Morgan, EDD 9/22/16

  • Agree with all the PP about phase and also to keep offering.  A suggestion Dr. Praeger's (freezer section of most supermarkets either in organic or vegetarian section) has a line of products called "littles" which are vegetable based nugget like things.  My daughter loves the broccoli one and kale ones.  They are soft and I just throw in toaster or microwave in a bind.  She actually prefers them to her chicken sometimes because they are super flavorful.  Good luck! 
  • My 18 month old is doing the same thing! FrOm not eating his veggies to squishing  what he doesn't want to eat. I'm so happy to see other people going through this and That he's not weird! Haha! One thing he does though, is he will put it in his mouth and then spit it out or will brush it off his tongue with his fingers spreading the food everywhere!! Not my favorite!
  • I try to trick my son into eating whatever he is protesting. Don't want eggs, but want cinnamon raisin bread? Then you get cinnamon raisin french toast with extra egg. Don't want chicken but want orange slices? You get chicken sandwiched between orange bits... Etc.  When totally desperate, I make smoothies with healthy stuff plus a yogurt I know he loves.  My son is in the 25 percentile for weight and 75th for height, so I do worry about this too. Good luck!
  • My kids are SUPER messy, but I find that a good bib really helps. Check out my review of my favorite bibs! :)

  • When I don't feel like DD has had enough fruit/veggies for a day, I get out a puree packet and this straw attachment I got from amazon - it screws right on and she drinks the packet like it's a smoothie.  I know it's preferable for her to get her food in whole pieces, but I figure this is better than nothing.
    Me: 36 DH: 36
    Married 5-31-14
    DD1 born 6-21-15
    DD2 born 6-11-17
    DS born 9-5-18

  • Thanks, all.  Not as much squishing now, more like...swishing things over the side.  Still having trouble getting her to eat anything other than chicken (protein-wise), but she's big into green beans and peas.  Trying to diversify her meals can be difficult - she pretty much refuses anything with cheese, egg, or beef.  Fish is okay, and so is chicken, but no potatoes, no sauces (cream sauce or otherwise), and she's not very big on anything that takes more than a few seconds to shove in.  The pouches really helped get a bit of weight back on her, but she's hit a weight plateau for a while since she runs everywhere and only wants to eat a few bites before going to play again.  Gotta keep plugging along!  

    Any favorite sure-fire recipes you love?  I'd be happy to try out some new things!  
  • My 14 month old LOVES to eat and is not picky at all, but she is very messy. We try to let her feed herself as much as possible, but she literally shoves the food in her mouth like she hasn't eaten in months! We try to teach her to go slow, but she just gets so mad and starts throwing a fit.
    She started a new daycare last week where she is now with the 1yr olds and they do more things on their "own", i.e. eating, so I am just worried she is behind some of the other kids her age.  Am I over thinking this??
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