Monday, November 30, 2009

Good feeding promotes good eating

In the last few weeks (months) I've noticed that Dean's progressively gotten worse and worse at eating what is made for meals. He's turned into a wandering snacker and drinks the majority of his diet in the form of milk with a little isagenix mixed in to each cup. After reading a post by my friend Jeremy's wife, I decided his poor eating was at least partially due to my lax eating rules, and I decided to put my foot down. It really is amazing how quickly his eating has improved since implementing just a few rules.

I try and keep all meals and snacks "balanced" so he has a small amount of a few things on his plate. Like today at snack he had 3 triscuit crackers and fruit snacks (yesterday he had apples and 1/2 a cheese stick). At lunch he had pears, broccoli, carrots, and celery with ranch, and mac n' cheese. At afternoon snack he had a granola bar (which he asked for but didn't actually eat). At dinner he had soup, salad, and a biscuit. He didn't eat everything at every meal or snack, but he ate WAY more than he normally does.

Our new rules:
1. Stop letting him drink his appetite away!
  • At meals he would start with his milk or diluted juice and just chug away. He'd then ask for more and more and more and then wouldn't eat much.
2. Meals and snacks are served at the table in the kitchen. No wandering eating.
3. Set regular "times" for meals and snacks. If he chooses not to eat at the designated time, he doesn't get food (or milk) until the next designated time. He can have as much water as he wants throughout the day.
  • Sippy of "chocolate milk" (milk + a little isagenix) when he wakes up at 7.
  • Breakfast at 8.
  • Snack at 10. (At the table.)
  • Lunch at 11:45-12.
  • A sippy cup with milk at 12:30 in prep for his nap at 1.
  • Snack after his nap. (at the table)
  • Dinner at 5-5:30.
  • Sippy with milk at 6:30 in prep for bed at 7.
4. Only water with meals (so that he wouldn't drink his appetite away).
5. No leaving the table until mom or dad is finished eating and has gotten up. Even if he's done eating, he has to stay at the table till one of us is finished.

Seriously, he's eaten soooo much better at meals. And he really hasn't complained much about the new set up yet. I have to be way more organized and structured, but I think it will really help us in the long run.


-Laura- said...

Spencer is exactly the same way...he would probably be perfectly happy on a liquid diet if I let him. I pretty much have the same schedule with him too, otherwise he would NEVER eat meals...I like the no leaving the table until mom or dad is done rule. Think I'll try that one! Thanks!

FoxyJ said...

That's what I've done with both my kids and it really does help a lot with getting them to actually eat. And saves me money on milk too--otherwise they'd drink it all day! We have regular snack and meal times throughout the day; I'm a bit flexible on the actual time, but they're regularly scheduled. We generally have dinner when my husband is done with work at 6, so I cut off all food after 4:00. Lately my three-year-old has been asking for a cup of milk around 5 or so (I think he's hungry), but when I give in he doesn't eat as much dinner.

I've also found that it's better to start with smaller portions for kids. I've always had a hard time expecting them to clean their plate when the amount I serve them is fairly arbitrary. (this rule is still a bit of a controversy with my husband--he doesn't like wasting food) They do have to try everything at dinner; at lunch the grownups eat leftovers and I let the kids choose what they want so they usually end up with quesadilla or peanut butter sandwich. That way there is at least one meal a day that they can choose (we usually have cereal for breakfast).

Sorry this was so long--those are all good points. I figure that I'm in charge of what and when they eat, they're in charge of how much of it.

Amanda said...

I think that the drinking rule is the most important. Right when I start my babies on solid foods, I always feed them food before they can nurse or drink a bottle. It seems like they are always so hungry when they first wake up that they are pretty good eaters. If I didn't have that rule, I don't think that Boston would eat anything. He would be happy to just drink his bottle all day. But I have noticed that he is quite a bit fussier if he hasn't had some good solid food mixed in with the milk.

Good luck with the rules. It is hard enforcing rules when you're tired.

Juls said...

I love your rules. I really think that picky kids have parents who have lax boundries. My kids eat dinner much better when they know that there is no after dinner snack and breakfast is the next meal. I agree with limiting juice. We drink milk for breakfast and then water for lunch and dinner.

Lindsay said...

I've been doing similar things with Garrett for similar reasons. (My biggest beef with Garrett is that he is constantly begging for food when in fact he's just bored.) You have ideas here that I hadn't thought of, so I hope you don't mind but I'm going to just pluck some of those and adopt them myself. :) But quick question....we've tried a "no leaving the table" rule like your #5, but for the life of us can't get him to stay (well, at least not without throwing things, which is unacceptable). How do you enforce that one?

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

We just buckle him in his booster, but I remember you saying you have a cooshie and that doesn't have a buckle. Not sure what you'd do then...