Tuesday 17 November 2015

Eating Habits of a Toddler...

Bert, tucking into an ice cream! 

Bert is now 2 years and 3 months old - he's growing into a super cheeky lad who makes us smile every single day. He loves to make animal noises, jump around like a frog, sing and dance. He's a very happy chap and is extremely loving. He loves dinosaurs, small animal figures, and soft toys, as well as all types of transport toys. He is obsessed with Peppa Pig, Bing Bunny and so many Disney films I can't name them all, every day with Bert is filled with so much happiness. 

On the whole, he is a good eater - he likes many foods and is slowly getting better at trying new foods - we try not to stress too much and believe his eating habits will naturally continue to improve and his tastebuds broaden as he ages. 

Sometimes though, mealtimes can be frustrating - to cook a meal that he refuses to touch, or to witness the tears (drama queen!) when we ask him to try something new wears very thin after a while, and Liam and I sometimes struggle to keep our cool. We love our food and hate waste, so it can be really hard to embark on a battle of wills with a stubborn toddler, especially after a long day.

I always vowed I'd never be the type of parent that cooks a different evening meal for their children - but more often than not Bert does eat a different dinner to the one Liam and I eat. I want to see he is full/nourished and don't want to keep serving up meals that he won't touch, but Liam and I are adventurous eaters and we don't want to give up our exciting evening meals either. So I tend to cook Bert's dinner early at around 6pm, followed by the adult meal later in the evening usually around 7pm. 

Bert is a snacky eater, he loves platters and finger food, lots of choice, so we tend to serve him meals like this while we eat the more conventional hot dinners. Part of me thinks this is down to his fierce independence - he gets frustrated when he can't manoeuvre his cutlery perfectly, so finger foods provide him with far less stress. Saying that, we do ensure he has cutlery with his evening meal and we encourage him to use it. He can stab with a fork, spoon a yoghurt and has even begun being able to cut with a knife...this doesn't always result in him eating the food on the end of cutlery though - it is more food-exploration that ingestion. I usually try to give Bert a taste of elements of the grown up dinner, in the hope that I will discover something new he likes, and to slowly introduce new flavours to him. 

That being said, I think that sometimes his eating choices are very much determined by his stubborn mind rather than picky taste-buds, it absolutely depends on what mood he's in and how you approach the meal time as to whether or not he will co-operate and eat the food that's offered. 

Bert's favourite sort of meals...

We have a rule that he has to try at least one mouthful of everything that is on his plate at dinner time, sometimes it can lead to a battle of wills, but we're hoping that this rule will lead to him developing his tastes (you have to taste something multiple times to know whether you like it or not, apparently). We always give him some sort of vegetable with his hot dinners...pretty much 100% in vain, as he doesn't seem to have gotten the taste for his veggies yet. He calls all vegetables 'cabbage' and although we insist he tries a mouthful (peas, sweetcorn, green beans etc...) this is usually met with quite a battle and a fair amount of gagging on his part (bless him!). 

The sort of drama we encounter when he doesn't like something...

In terms of the amount Bert eats, this can vary hugely day to day - sometimes I genuinely cannot seem to fill him up - he's even been known to eat 3 bananas for breakfast, no joke! On other days he grazes eating little and often and doesn't seem as enthused by the food he's offered. 

Breakfast and lunch are very easy meals to feed Bert - he loves fruit, yoghurt, toast, spreads, cornflakes and milk - so combinations of these always make for a harmonious breakfast. Lunch, much the same is very easy - cold snacky platters full of fruit, sandwiches and snack foods are a winner. It is the evening meal times where I am running out of ideas and enthusiasm...I need some inspiration of dinners I can try with him. At the moment we're stuck in a rut preparing the same largely processed foods because we know he'll eat them happily and clear his plate - but I know they're not ideal dinners (think chicken nuggets/sausage with oven chips and peas/sweetcorn) and I want him to have healthy eating habits, not unhealthy ones like I did as a child. 

Today I wanted to share some of his culinary likes/dislikes...I'd love to know what your toddlers eating habits are like - do they have any funny habits or strong dislikes? Do they eat the same meal as you each evening, or do you prepare them something different?

Bert's Food List 


raisins/yoghurt covered raisins 
yoghurt/fromage frais
potato croquettes
bread of all kinds
hot cross buns
fruit loaf
peanut butter
chocolate spread
chicken nuggets
hot dogs
fish fingers
corned beef
tomato ketchup
biscuits, cakes, sweets, ice cream... (naturally!!)

As you can see, it's pretty obvious when he likes something! 


vegetables :-(
unprocessed meat
spicy food
mashed potato 
baked beans
wet food with sauces


egg (boiled, scrambled, omlette etc) as his dad had a severe allergy as a child


We will push on and keep encouraging him to try new foods and re-try old foods he still hasn't got the taste for. We will continue to lead by example, eating a varied and interesting diet, offering him the foods we eat, as well as ones we know he loves. I hope by seeing us eating a healthy, balanced diet this will encourage Bert to become braver with food.

Liam and I talk a fair amount about food, it is a bit of a hobby...we also watch cooking shows and like to eat out in restaurants with Bert - we hope that all of this combined will help add to Bert's culinary education. In fact, we even read books about food - only last week we were bought the most wonderful book for Bert by my lovely friend Emma called '1000 Things To Eat' by Usborne - a beautifully illustrated book full of pages and pages of every food stuff you could think of. Bert already loves going through the pages and naming all the food he already knows and hopefully it will help to introduce him to new foods as well. 

Here are some snaps of the adult meals we get Bert to try tastes of... 

A selection of some of the grown up meals in our house

One day we live in hope that Bert might eat his vegetables! #toddlerlife 

I'd love to hear all about your toddlers eating habits....

Mrs B