Peanut has her nickname because she is a tiny little thing. Like all toddlers, there are days she eats nonstop and days she barely has a crumb. When she hadn’t gained any weight in several months, I was concerned. Overall she is healthy, eats well over time, and certainly doesn’t look like she is starving. I want my children to eat well balanced, healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. I also want them to gain weight and grow. It’s tempting to go out and get whatever processed food she will eat and just let her chow in order to pack on some pounds, but that is clearly not the long term answer. Something I struggle with is that she is a snacker, and there are days she will snack nonstop (mainly food that I’m totally fine with her eating – not junk at all) and not eat her meals. She will open the fridge or pantry and look in saying she wants something to eat, but being unhappy about her choices.
On Monday, we stumbled upon a solution to our ongoing food problem. I had packed a lunch for preschool, and when we decided she was too sick to go, I brought her lunchbox downstairs with us to the playroom. We parked her on the couch and soon heard, “I want something to eat”. I excitedly said – “oh, let’s see what’s in your lunchbox!” and told her she could have anything that was in there. So she nibbled… and a little bit later “I want something to eat!”. I directed her back to the lunchbox. By the afternoon, she was happily saying – “hmmm, I wonder what is in here?” as she unzipped the box and pulled everything out. Although it was the same options all day, she could choose what and when she would eat, and I was happy to have her eat everything in there.
We’ve done this every day this week, and it has been fantastic. She had a small slice of pizza at 9:30 yesterday morning, and had to deal with the consequences of having no pizza for lunch later on. She had to choose from the many other healthy options in the box, and I just had to chill out about pizza in the morning. I can’t say it will make her put on weight, but it definitely eases the food issues we were having around here!