FEEDING HELL: AGES 3 TO 8

 fussy eater 

Quick question, what is one of the hardest things you will do as a parent. Answer: feed a child between the ages of 3 and 8 years old. Survive those 5 years and you will have learned a lot about yourself. You see at age 3 they are starting to understand free will and the power of ‘No’.  By age 8 they understand the power of wearing down mommy and daddy and the joy of watching you supress anger.

These are the years of no sauce/gravy touching other foods, no vegetables touching anything else on the plate and no texture changes like fruit chunks in yogurt. What parent has not watched while their child carefully separated the corn from the rice and the chicken from the mashed potatoes or seen them throw a fit because the gravy touched the carrots. Were you a parent who wondered how long can a child live on pasta with a little butter and cheese or plain boiled rice or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Well if you made it through that stage of development congratulations but for those who are just currently walking this road let me offer a little advice:

  1. Nothing they do will last forever, one day they will laugh when you tell them about the year they ate almost nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and rice.
  2. Don’t waste your time trying to argue with them except to make an agreement that while they are eating the same things every day a couple of fruits and vegetables have to be added in daily. There are usually one or two of these that they are willing to eat, bananas, clementines, apple chunks, carrot sticks and broccoli with a dip being among the more popular.
  3. If you try to force them to eat more variety or try something new, You Will Lose! Children that age do not have jobs; they have nowhere they need to be in a hurry. The offending bit of meat, fish or vegetable that they do not want to eat can sit inside their jaw for 4 hours or more, un-chewed, un-swallowed, just parked, believe me I have seen it.
  4. One day around 9 or 10 years old they will suddenly reach for a new food either from your plate or from the plate of a friend. A harp will play, a halo will appear above their heads and after that they will offer to help pack their own lunches and help you cook dinner! Make no comment; just accept that you passed out of purgatory and into the light.

Next: Packing Lunches

Published by maisievanriel

Welcome to my website. My name is Maisie Vanriel and I am a Registered Dietitian. I am a graduate of The University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutritional Science and a Diploma in Food Safety from the Guelph Food Technology Centre. I realized a few years ago that some of the best times I have had in my career as a Dietitian have been those times when I was writing. For many years I was part of the Editorial Advisory Board of Diabetes Dialogue Magazine (The Canadian Diabetes Association) which afforded me the opportunity to write articles and editorials on diabetes. I contributed to the first Ontario Healthy Eating Manual and recently reviewed the lesson plans in the updated version launched this March 2012. In May of 2011, I won the Toronto Star’s MoneyVille section Next Blogger’s contest beating out 265 other contestants for the chance to write on nutrition and sensible shopping. My winning Blog was entitled: 5 things your grocery store won’t tell you. Writing is one of my favourite ways of communicating and like cooking it relaxes me; so in some ways your allowing me to communicate with you will contribute to my health and I hope in return I can contribute to your health and wellbeing. The inspiration for this website is my grandmother who lived 97 years and enjoyed excellent health for almost all of those 97 years. She believed in healing power of herbs, a plant-based diet and in paying attention to the type of fuel (food) that she put in her body. So my postings will be less about the constant stream of research and studies around what and how to eat and more about reminding us that we have always known how to eat. We just need to get back in tune with our bodies and focus on providing it with the best possible fuel, quality foods.

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