Tag Archives: getting a toddler to eat

The sneaky meat

24 Jan

I’m sure you’re all aware that Hannah refuses to eat anything that remotely resembles meat.  Or fish.  Or eggs.  Anything protein really.  I’ve tried different tactics, some of which have worked for a little bit, some that have failed miserably.

Yesterday, I had a brainwave (what, someone with baby brain can have brainwaves?).  Hannah LOVES those little kids yogurts that come in squeezey packs.  But what if I gave her a squeezey pack that contained not yogurt, but meat.  Of course there are other things in there too, like vegetables, but what ever, there’s meat in there!  Usually when I slave over the stove, making her healthy wonderful home made food, she takes one look at it, turns her nose up and says “Done!”  Or, to add more insult to injury, she looks at it, refuses to sit in her chair, flaps her arms and legs, makes like a wiggle worm, and starts yelling “NO!!” as if I’m about to put her in a pool full of sharks.

I couldn't find a photo of the meat ones, but this is a squeezey pack. Photo courtesy of Rafferty's Garden

So what if she can’t see the meaty goop she is about to ingest?  Sure those wonderful, foul smelling squeezey packs of baby food are for babies from 6 months old (due to being pureed…), and not really for toddlers, but who cares, they contain MEAT!  She could actually get some protein into her diet.

As I arrived in the baby aisle at Coles, I found that the meaty squeezey packs were on sale.  Score!  I grabbed 4 different packs (beef and something, chicken and apricot, chicken and something else, and tuna and something.  Seriously, you can’t expect me to remember all of them, I have baby brain).  Hannah, cheeky monkey that she is, saw me put her beloved squeezey packs in the trolley (cart) and yelled “yogurt, yogurt!”

Ok, what the heck, I gave her one then and there.  She seemed to want it more than anything else in the entire world at that moment in time, so why not go for it?  When I handed her the opened squeezey pack of wonder, she started making her over-excited giggle noise that pretty much sounds like a nanny goat and is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

She went at that squeezey pack with vigor, squeezing and sucking its guts out.  She didn’t take a sip and then pull that this-is-the-most-disgusting-thing-i’ve-ever-had face and say done, or no.  Quite the contrary, she had some, made the nanny goat noise, then had some more.  She ate nearly the entire pack.  She probably would have eaten all of it if she hadn’t had breakfast (with seconds, she loves breakfast.  This morning, she had Special K for breakfast) only 2 hours earlier.

When we got home and she found the other squeezey packs of wonder in the shopping bags, she wanted more.  Hopefully this trend will continue, and she will eat whatever I give her out of a squeezey pack.  In a week or so, when she is used to the taste of the meat, I will try putting the contents of a squeezey pack on some pasta, or some rice.  If she eats that, I will put some little chunks of meat on it too.  If she eats that, I will make everything from scratch again, in hope that she will be used to the taste, smell, texture, and whatnot of the meat, and actually devour it happily.

This is the plan.  Wish me luck.

When blueberries backfire

6 Jan

I have been taking the patient approach in getting Hannah to eat her dinner; putting it in front of her and if she wants it, she eats, if she says “done” and tries to get down, I put her down.  Without dinner.  She does get milk before bed time though.  I don’t want to force her to eat because, well, let’s face it, you can’t actually force someone to eat something unless you shove a tube down their throat and then throw the food in, I don’t want her to develop a bad relationship to food, or use food to gain control (or think she is in control), and I don’t want her to dread meal time.  I read a book that said toddlers will never starve themselves, usually they are eating a lot more than we realise as they are constant grazers, and they don’t need as much food as they did before because they grow a lot less.  Fair enough.

The other day, Hannah wanted me to put together the wooden train set she got for Christmas.  “Train!” she told me.  I, on the other hand, was trying to get her to put her pants on.

“Put your pants on, and then I’ll make the train for you.”  I told her.

“NO!”  “Train!”

“No train until you put your pants on.”  I calmly told her.


This went around a few times and then something amazing happened:  She came over to me, sat in my lap and stuck her foot in the air so I could put a pant leg on it.  Just like that, she let me put her pants on.  Then I put the train track together.  Everyone was happy.

And I got an idea….

I made Hannah hokkien noodles with vegetables, egg, and a little bit of honey soy sauce for dinner (which is delicious by the way, thanks Romana for the idea).  I put it in front of her.

“Done!”  She exclaimed while trying to get out of her high chair, without so much as smelling the delicious dinner I slaved over the stove to make for her.

“Do you want a blueberry?”  I asked her.


“Ok, I’ll give you a blueberry if you eat one bite of dinner.”


“Do you want a blueberry?”  I asked her again.

Photo courtesy of bewellbuzz.com

“Please.” She said with her cute little face.

“First eat one bite of food, then you can have a blueberry.”

She opened her mouth, and ate a bite of dinner.  I gave her a blueberry.  I gave her another bite of food, then a blueberry.  Soon, she had eaten her entire dinner.  I was ecstatic.  I’m pretty sure she was too, blueberries are her favourite.  That was the first time in her entire life that she has actually eaten egg.  She doesn’t like egg.  She doesn’t like chicken.  Or beef, or fish.  She pretty much doesn’t like any sort of protein unless it’s hidden in pancakes in the form of wheat germ.

We did the same thing the next night, and she ate all of her dinner.  I’m really onto something.

Or so I thought.

I tried to give her something other than the noodles the night after that.  I made her some Vietnamese rice paper rolls with a tiny bit of  teriyaki chicken, grated carrot, grated cucumber, some sort of little noodle that looks like glass, and avocado.  She took a bite, then promptly spit it out while making a face that conveyed grossness.  She wouldn’t eat it anymore.  I wouldn’t give her a blueberry.  She got really upset.  I made her some more noodles like she had eaten the previous 2 nights.  Nope, didn’t want that either.  Wouldn’t eat anything (except for blueberries, which I wasn’t going to give her if she didn’t first take a bite of dinner).  Stalemate.  She got down with no dinner.

Sigh.  Now I’ll have to think of another way to get her to eat her food.  Any ideas?  Or maybe she will go back to bribery as long as it’s something she doesn’t hate.  At least she drinks V8 juice (watered down of course).

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