Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Feeding A Toddler by Allison Silver
This past week Charley turned eighteen months old and almost on cue has decided to no longer eat foods that she usually enjoys. This week she is refusing most fruit except for applesauce and pears but every other fruit be damned! She is not having it. In fact as I am writing this the child basically had Ketchup for dinner with a couple bites of fish stick. That’s a serving of veggies, right? It’s funny because I knew this stage was coming but I thought in some weird super mommy way that my child would be different.
I’m not exactly sure why I thought we would be different. Actually in all honesty I know exactly why I thought we would be different. Instead of taking the easy route and buying pre-made baby food I have spent many hours in the kitchen making many organic concoctions. Perhaps I wanted us to sail right through the picky toddler stage in a way to justify my choice to make all of her food and to show everyone that all of my hours in the kitchen were not for nothing. Deep down I know that all of the time I have committed over the past year making her food has not all been wasted. By exposing her to many different fruits and vegetables we have established a good foundation but it still drives you a bit mad when they push everything you offer away.
As a parent feeding and nourishing your child is a way we show our love and we tend to take it a bit personally when everything we spent our time making gets pushed away or thrown overboard. It’s hard to remember that our children are not rejecting us but they are asserting their independence and making their own choices. This is actually a good thing because we want our children to develop a healthy relationship with food.
One of my favorite parenting experts is Dr.Laura Markham. She clearly states that it is our job as parents to offer healthy food choices and it’s a toddler’s job to decide how much they eat. Toddlers are different from babies their rate of growth slows down and so does their food intake. It’s good to remember that toddlers don’t need much and will eat a lot one day and hardly anything the next. Regardless of what we have been told by well intentioned friends and family members your toddler will eat when they are hungry and will not starve!
I have learned that making a special concoction just for her is no longer needed and instead of putting my energy into making her meals I now spend my time making more meals for our family that we can all enjoy. I actually love making meals for our family and the one thing I have begun doing since we have entered the toddler stage is sneaking more vegetables into favorite foods. When we sit down to dinner as a family we always give her some of the meal that I made for us along with a few other options. If she doesn’t eat then no biggie and I don’t take it personally. Just like everything else we have encountered thus far it’s just another stage. This too shall pass.
Here is a recipe for Toddler approved Mac and Cheese
Makes 8 servings
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened,
plus additional for coating dish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni ( I use whole grain)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
8 ounces American cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 cup half-and-half
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz of puréed cauliflower (optional) ( This isn’t part of the original recipe. I add it to sneak in some veggies.)
1 cup breadcrumbs
2Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13×9-inch baking dish; set aside.
In a large pot of water, cook the macaroni according to package directions; drain. Return the macaroni to the pot. Add the cheeses to the hot macaroni and stir well; spread in the prepared dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup butter, the half-and-half, eggs, sour cream, salt, cauliflower, and black pepper. Pour over the macaroni. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni. Cut up 2 Tbsp butter and place on top of the crumb topping. Bake uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!