This picky eating phase won’t last forever | Mums Orchard House

So my normally great eater who’s almost 4 years old has been giving us a run for our money. Lately it seems like every time we put something in front of him it’s, “I don’t like that!” or “I’m not hungry”, only to ask for a snack 2 minutes later… I’ve never been one to stress much over his diet. Kids taste buds change by the minute at this age and they go through phases that always seem to be changing. In fact, the best piece of advice that I received when my son was first getting into solid foods was,


“Try not to focus so much on the day to day eating and rather look at what he’s eaten over the whole week to get the bigger picture.”

This was incredibly reassuring for me because it seems near impossible some days to make sure I am meeting all his needed food groups. You hear me talk a lot about balance within our home. Striving for perfection is a lost cause but trying to have “balance” is a much more realistic goal and allows me to have grace when we fall short.

What I mean is that we try to eat well as much as we can. If we have a treat here & there, go to a party or fall back on processed frozen chicken for dinner after an exceptionally long day, I’m okay with that. I don’t feel an ounce of guilt because I know that the latter won’t set us too far back when we’ve done well throughout the week.

A mum reached out to me this week looking for some insight on healthy eating for her little one. She said she’s always fed him healthy foods but all he wants is the sweet stuff lately. This reminded me that I’m clearly not the only one who has been a bit stressed about my tots eating habits so, there must be others out there who have felt this way too. I would share the same piece of advice with you that I got not too long ago about looking at the bigger picture.

When they are super little, food is more of a game for them. They say no for so many different reasons and it may have nothing to do with not actually liking the food you put in front of them. I personally don’t think kids in the toddler/preschool age even know what they like but they depend on us to give them the opportunity to explore what’s available to them. More often than not, I have found that no usually just means, “not right now…” I continue to offer a variety of foods regardless of him saying no because the same food I offered him a few days ago, could very well be a huge hit at dinner tonight or he may eat it happily in a different form the next time I offer.

One of our favorite little girls was staying at our house recently and I gave the kids beets at snack time. She immediately said, “I don’t like jelly beans!” And I laughed because she just didn’t know what this new food was so, I said “these are beets and I’d really like for you to give them a try.” She hesitantly took a little nibble before I encouraged her to take a real bite and she said, “Oh, these are good!”

About a year ago I started snack prepping and shared a post about keeping it simple and easy so that you don’t get overwhelmed. We still snack prep every week and it has become a crucial part of our routine. We have learned to incorporate even more healthy foods and switch it up here and there. My son has taught us that he thrives on feeling in control of his snack choices. For his sake and frankly our own, it is important that we fill our snack basket with foods that are high in protein, good fats and calories, nutrition not just fillers, convenient to grab and more importantly, diverse options.

When P helps me pack his lunch box for the day he gets to pick 3 healthy snacks and I provide his lunch serving (usually leftovers) which includes protein. I love seeing his colorful spread and come dinner time, if he’s not that into the meal this time around, I can relax a little knowing he ate great throughout the day. When I feel he needs a little extra boost, I try to focus on things that hide extra nutrients, make sure he’s getting probiotics and at times, he takes a plant based multi-vitamin.

 Some of our favorite snacks :

+ Fresh Fruit {Bananas, apples, pears, berries, melon, grapes}

+ Fresh Veggies {Carrots, green peppers, green beans, beets, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers}

+ Proteins {Nuts, eggs, hummus, nut butter}

+ Trail Mix, granola, oatmeal

+ Crackers with cheese or cheese sticks

+ Yogurt

+ Smoothies or smoothie popsicles

+ Guacamole w/ veggies or corn chips

+ Trying new foods that we pick out at the store

+ Preparing foods together

This picky eating phase won't last forever }

If you’re feeling discouraged or worried that your little one has become too accustomed to the sweet flavors, I would tell you not to give up and just continue to offer a variety of healthy foods. Just because the strawberries packed with natural sugars are a winner, it doesn’t mean that you should only offer strawberries. It just means you need to get a little creative; mix in some spinach, throw them on top of some protein pancakes or put some dehydrated fruits in a trail mix with nuts and seeds. Lead with an open mind always willing to learn and try something new and your little ones will follow!

» Tell me friends, what are some of your little one’s favorite foods? What kind of snacks « or meals do you prepare that hide/pack in a lot of nutrients? What does having a balanced diet look like in your home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!



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