So the idea for this session of Munchkin Meals is challenges that you face with your little one, and how you’ve overcome them (or haven’t). When Brittany first posted this idea, I thought, Hmmm, I don’t really have any challenges. Sure, I wish we had a bit more variety in our meals, but eh, he’s not eating chicken nuggets every day (or ever), so it could be worse. Then, Matty decided to cut 2 molars at once. So, yeah. Teething. Teething is our challenge. More specifically, getting Matty to eat anything while teething.
We have had a few days over the past couple of weeks where he hasn’t eaten anything. Maybe a Puff here, or a pretzel stick there, but no real sustenance. This would freak me out, but he’s still nursing like a mad-man, so I don’t feel that stressed. I almost wrote this entire post about how this kid Will. Not. Wean. Not even a little. Ahhh! But now, I’m thanking God that he is still nursing because I don’t have to stress about his nutrition (too much) and it really does help him ride the wave of teething pain.
I found one way to overcome his lack of appetite is to allow him access to snacks all day. I found, like most toddlers I’m sure, that he’ll eat a few bites at breakfast, then whine 30 minutes later because he’s hungry. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think having multiple small snacks throughout the day keeps blood-sugar levels stable, reducing tantrums. On the other hand, I fear that too many snacks leads to not eating enough wholesome food at mealtimes. But, I’m a strong proponent of fostering independence by allowing kids to make their own choices, so I ultimately decided to implement a snack station.
A snack station is mostly attributed to the Montessori school of thought, mostly because it teaches essential life skills, fosters independence, and allows kids to manipulate real-life materials. But many-a-mom has used this idea in some ways for years and years.
For some really good examples of modern snack stations, check out these links:
Most days, I leave any non-perishable foods from breakfast that were leftover, and add a few other items that I’m sure he can handle independently. So far, this has worked wonderfully. The biggest challenge so far has been Matty trying to feed his snacks to the cats…
Of course, our little space will change and grow as Matty does. I have plans to add a drinking station and a place for his plates and silverware (he’s already started to help unload the dishwasher, so I think we’ll be at this stage sooner than I thought, too!).
In addition to snacks, I also leave a sippy cup of water. This was part of the reason I decided to go ahead with the snack station–I was sick of wondering around the house looking for his cup. Now, I’m working on teaching him to place his drink back on the table when he’s finished. It’s going pretty good.
More please, Mom!
Here’s a list of some of the foods I put on his snack tray:
Snack Tray Options for Young Toddlers
- Cremes–(Dairy free “yogurt drops” made with rice milk–these will go stale after a few hours)
- Thin apple slices (peeled)
- Chex Cereal (Gluten Free)
- Cut Strawberries
- Shredded Carrots or Baby Carrots (He eats these all the time, so I’m comfortable with this)
- Shredded Cheese
- Pretzel Sticks
- Diced Tomatoes
- Cooked and Rinsed Beans
- Goldfish (or Annies Cheddar Bunnies for a more organic option)
- Frozen Mini-Blueberries
- Graham Crackers (I made this recipe two weeks ago and he LOVED them.)
It’s usually just a mishmash of what I have leftover in the fridge. Of course, I know that Matty can handle these foods somewhat independently (I’m never more than a room away from him at any given time), so it’s important to choose foods with low choking hazards. For instance, Matty likes raisins, but I’m not comfortable with him eating them unsupervised yet. It really just depends on the kid!
I still offer him a more nutritious snack in the morning and afternoon (when he’s feeling well and actually eating). His favorite lately is a
spoonful handful of peanut butter.
Or dipping anything into peanut butter. Bear with me for a Mom-Gush–whenever he dips anything he says “dip, dip, dip” and it cracks me up. Ok, thanks, Anyway, this past week he tried some celery and peanut butter with Grandma. I think he was a fan.