Sunday, June 20, 2010
Grazing: It's Not Just for Cows
We know that one of the best ways to manage a healthy weight and sustain our energy throughout the day is by eating smaller meals more frequently. Grazing on healthy foods throughout the day stabilizes our blood sugar, keeps us satisfied and energizes us for whatever the day throws our way. It's the best way for us to eat but did you know it's also ideal for your toddler?
Being a picky eater is synonymous with being a toddler so how do you get your picky pint-sized person to eat a balanced diet? For starters we need to understand that toddlers are unlikely to sit still long enough to eat a full-blown feast. Snacking their way through the day is more compatible with their busy lifestyle and their tiny tummies.
Dr. Sears developed 17 tactics to tempt little taste buds and minimize mealtime hassles. When you get a chance read the article in its entirety, which also includes a list of wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that most toddlers enjoy.
The first tactic Dr Sears lists is to offer a nibble tray of healthy foods that your toddler can graze on throughout the day. I just purchased this one for the twins and they really love it. I put various fruits, vegetables and whole grain goodies in each compartment and plain yogurt and/or unsweetened applesauce in the dipping tray and then I let them go to town. Even my picky little peanut has been chowing down with her new tray. The tray, and assortment of foods I use, are fun and colorful but I think they mostly like the independence of feeding themselves and deciding which food to dip into which condiment.
Keep in mind that your toddler will still go on self-imposed hunger strikes or fixate on a singular food for what seems like days at a time. Fret not. Dr. Sears says to look at the entire week in determining if your kid has consumed a balanced diet, not a particular day.
He also reminds us that our job is simply to buy the right food, prepare it nutritiously (steamed rather than boiled, baked rather than fried), and serve it creatively. Leave the rest up to the kids. How much they eat, when they eat, and if they eat is mostly their responsibility so we should take neither the credit nor the blame.
Bon Appetite Tiny Tots!
p.s. For those interested in a personal update ... I don't really have one. We are in NoVa enjoying time with family while we *patiently* wait news regarding the status of the work visa. And so we wait. And wait. Our guess is we will still be *patiently* waiting for much of the summer :)
Tra la la.