Clare went through a picky phase the past two weeks. I think it is over and now is eating anything I offer. (Her "picky phase" may have preceded a growth spurt. So that would mean she was not being picky; she is just really hungry right now.) But anyway, I started to worry that she wasn't eating enough. So I took two actions. I offered her a protein (with a fat), a whole grain, a fruit and a veggie every time I fed her (so three meals and two snacks) and I kept a food journal. Actually, three actions, I referred back to all my baby books for sample toddler menus.
I let her choose what and how much of each food group each time I fed her. One day at lunch she would eat nothing but peas and the next day she was throwing the peas on the floor for the dog. I just didn't want to go there with her: you know that dark place where I am pleading a one-year old to eat and in frustration I give her those two or three things I can guarantee she will eat. I feel that my daily job performance as a mom is directly tied to 1) whether I can get her to nap and 2) eat "good" food. Otherwise, I have failed that day and have to 1) go for a run and/or 2) online shopping. But if I offer her those four food groups then I feel like I have done my part and we can enjoy the meal together. I know she likes routine and if she thinks she can get those two or three favorite foods at every meal, she will try her hardest and that involves screaming. Ugh. I hate screaming; that causing nightly online window shopping too.
So I thought I would post a day in the life of Clare's appetite as well as some sample menus I found. By the way, Dr. Sears has a wonderful, amazing chapter in his book (The Baby Book) titled "Ten Tips for Becoming Your Family's Nutritionist". Check it out.
Clare's Appetite October 9, 2009 (remember I offered all four food groups at each feeding, this is just what she consumed!)
Breakfast: 4 oz whole-milk yogurt; 1/2 slice whole-grain toast with unsalted butter; water
Snack: 10 baby goldfish; water
Lunch: 1/8 cup black beans; 1/8 cup butternut squash with unsalted butter; 1/4 cup wheat crackers; 1/4 cup applesauce; water
(She slept through her afternoon nap and woke up in time for dinner)
Dinner: 3/4 of a veggie burger; 2 Tablespoons of brussels sprouts; water
Bedtime: 6 oz whole milk
Toddler Menu 1 (from Dr. Sears The Baby Book)
Breakfast: 1 egg or 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal; 1/2 slice of toast with butter or margarine; 1 cup milk
Snack: 1/2 orange
Lunch: 1 slice cheese pizza or 1/2 peanut butter sandwich; 1 broccoli tree; 1 cup milk
Snack: 10 green grapes; 1/2 oz cheese
Dinner: 2 fish sticks; 1/2 biscuit (two inch); 10 green beans; 1 cup pasta; 1/3 cup rice-and-raisin pudding
Toddler Menu 2 (from WIC Supplemental Nutrition Branch: California Department of Health Services)
Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg; 1/2 slice toast; 1/2 cup milk
Snack: 1/4 apple, peeled and slice; 3/4 oz small cheese pieces; water
Lunch: 1/2 peanut butter sandwich; 2 tablespoons peas; 1/2 cup milk
Snack: 1/2 cup dry WIC cereal; 1/2 cup WIC juice
Dinner: 2 tablespoons baked chicken; 2 tablespoons mashed potatoes; 2 tablespoons broccoli; 2 tablespoons applesauce; water
Snack: 2 graham cracker squares; 1/2 cup milk
Toddler Menu 3 (from WIC Supplemental Nutrition Branch: California Department of Health Services)
Breakfast: 1/4 cup WIC cereal; 1/4 banana; 1/2 cup milk
Snack: 1/2 cup yogurt; 2 crackers; water
Lunch: 1/2 cup vegetable beef soup; 1/2 tortilla or 2 crackers; 1/2 cup milk
Snack: 1/2 slice toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter; water
Dinner: soft taco with beans and meat; 1/4 cup rice; 2 tablespoons cooked carrots; 1/2 orange, sliced; water
Snack: 4 animal crackers, 1/2 cup milk
I used these menus as a guide to prepare the same amount of food for Clare. I substituted hummus/black beans/tofu for the peanut butter and whole-grains for the crackers.