Preschoolers and their Food

Feeding preschoolers can be a frustrating endeavor, especially when they dislike specific textures (think anything puréed).  My preschooler goes in cycles – some weeks, he is on a protein strike (save the protein found in milk), other times he’s on a veggie strike.  Although rare, he will even occasionally strike against eating carbs or fruit.

He is living proof that man, or preschooler, can subsist on carbs alone – specifically, french fries or rice.

M has been getting over a cold.  His eating habits take an even worse turn when sick, as he refuses all food until he can taste again.

Tonight, I was washing the dishes from dinner, mentally checking off his list of food he’d consumed today.

Meat?  Check.

Fruit?  No.

Veggies?  Wait – is a potato a vegetable?  If so, french fries, to coin a new phrase of my son’s, “totally,” count… Right?!

As I was doing this checklist, M came running in, saying, “Mom, I’m hungry.”  I figured it was a win for me, and although he refused my offer of chicken, he agreed to eat plain noodles and carrots.

Veggies?  Check!

Later on, I overheard him running water in the bathroom sink.  I sighed as I approached the door, expecting him to be playing, spreading water everywhere.  When I entered the bathroom, he looked at me and said, as he washed a yellow pepper, “I needed a pepper.”

I ushered him out as he took a bite from his pepper.  I figured he would eat a bite or two and then return the pepper to me, and started mentally coming up with ideas for cooking the pepper for a meal tomorrow.

About 30 minutes later, as I cleaned up the kitchen table, I noticed he had truly returned the pepper to me…

I guess this pepper is off the menu for tomorrow…

I could think of a host of worse things he could eat (and probably did eat today), and I am so happy to be able to check off veggies for today.

I get so frustrated when he is on a food group strike, or when he’s not feeling well and refusing all food.  At the peak of my frustration, he usually does something like this, where he will eat something healthy on his own accord, and it makes my heart melt.

Somehow, I need to keep the perspective that, given his age, the food group strikes are age appropriate.  I also need to remember to be thankful when he does eat a balanced diet during a day.

Now, off to see if I can check off a fruit serving for him before putting him to bed!

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