How to Feed a Four Year Old

Being a mother is not easy. Trying to get your child to eat is a challenge I deal with almost every day. My four year old son is in that stage where he would rather play than eat. The only things he wants to eat is sugar.  He loves ice cream, marshmallows, waffles, pancakes, cookies, chocolate, peanut butter & jelly and grilled cheese. Anything else, is a battle of wills.  My child is stubborn. Very stubborn. He tests my will, which by the end of a long work day, I’m exhausted. I get frustrated and he knows it.  So how do you get your child to eat all the right foods and not feel guilty?

Ian

I pick and choose my battles. If you play food enforcer — saying things like “Eat your vegetables” — your child will only resist. For breakfast he will eat relatively healthy. Cheerios with a banana or a waffle with strawberries. He does like fruit, which I try to get in when I can. Lunch is either organic peanut butter and jelly with no sugar on whole wheat bread, apple sauce and some gold fish. I check to make sure that most of everything he eats is low in sugar.  His milk and juice has enough sugar to provide him energy throughout the day.  Getting him to eat dinner is the challenge. Trying new foods or anything that I have cooked for dinner, he will refuse to eat. He shakes his head and won’t even try it. He goes almost into a gagging fit if I even bring the fork to his mouth.  How do I get him to at least try new foods?

One way that seems to work is giving him choices.  I give him the choice to either eat one item on his plate or he doesn’t get to play a game he likes for that day.  I give him choices and he gets to choose wether or not he will at least try a bite.  I don’t force feed him or punish him for not eating. I want him to enjoy food. Suggest this:  If he eats all of his nuggets, he can have a cookie. My thought on this is he’s eating one healthy item in exchange for one unhealthy item. The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods my kid eat. Talking to your kids and explaining why you want them to eat is a good way to teach them the importance of good food. Tell them how eating healthy dinners will help them to grow up healthy. Tell them that, when they eat dinner, they will have more energy to play.Ian 2

Anyone who has a four year old knows that getting them to try foods is tough. Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters.Try to be consistent but remember that you never will be. Finally, and above all, it’s only food. Once he starts eating more foods and becomes a teenager, then trying to get him to stop eating everything in the house will be the new challenge!

 

Jennifer

Mixed Nuts Mommy

mixednutsmommy.com

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