Feeding a picky child
My children have all gone through a phase where they want to eat on the run. It usually occurs around 3-5 years of age. They don't have time to stop and eat. They're hungry before mealtime and not hungry at meal time. When they eat during mealtime they eat like a bird. They are distracted by their toys, drawings, TV shows they want to watch, or games they want to play.
My 5th child and first daughter is in this phase currently. It's frustrating and there are always lots of tears and screaming on her part. She wants what she wants when she wants it. And sometimes that just doesn't work with a normal, heatlhy routine. The last few nights she has asked for "cut-up apples" at about 9pm. Once she eats a few she zonks out!
This morning I remembered something a friend of mine suggested with another of my children. She cuts a bunch of different kinds of food in the morning and creates a plate or container with all these items in it. She has it easily accessible to the child throughout the day. This way the child is eating something healthy, and tasty during the times when they are really hungry. I have found that the times when they are screaming and wanting sweets or other items, the cause is, they have waited too long to eat. For my daughter, waiting too long causes her to become very grouchy. If I avoid feeding her late, she usually stays pretty happy.
a stack of cheese and crackers
rolls of sandwich meat
sliced hard-boiled eggs
sliced veggies and fruit
pb&j sandwich cutouts (use small cookie cutters to make them fun!)
tortilla rolled up with peanut butter in it, or cream cheese and jelly
celery with peanut butter, with raisins on top OR celery with cream cheese
salad dressing for dipping veggies
Use healthy items that your child likes. If you find they don't like a food, simply eliminate that from the list of items and pick something new. Try to avoid things like fruit snacks and other items filled with food coloring and high fructose corn syrup. Where possible, make treats from scratch. Make the cookies mini size for fun and freeze them to be used when you need them. Adding a cookie or two to the plate can be fun for them. But, if your child is like mine, you may have to leave the cookies off the plate until after supper time, or that's all they will want to eat.