I recently read somewhere that the things that drive us most crazy about our kids now will be the things we most value in them as adults. While this may be true in many respects (any other parents of strong-willed, world-changers will get me here), there are some things that this can not possibly hold true for. Case in point: my children are serial snackers. They can’t possibly be bothered to stop what they’re doing to sit down for a proper meal. Instead, they’d rather graze all the live long day, resulting in me basically feeding them from sun up to sun down.
…Someone stop me if there’s some magical adult trait that this correlated with that I’m just not seeing.
Sure, you could try to convince me that this translates to “eating small meals throughout the day,” which is apparently a legit eating-style (and is different than my eating large amounts of food all day). I’m going to go ahead and guess, however, that these people are not surviving solely on Nutri-Grain bars, goldfish crackers, and mandarin oranges.
It all started when my oldest became mobile. I am not a homebody, so we are always on the move. She got super used to “snack-type” foods. They were portable (or easily packed up) and didn’t require much in terms of a plate or utensils. It worked for us. This tradition seemed to just carry over when baby #2 came along and I didn’t really notice. At first, I was super proud of my baby-led weaning. Heck, the kid had tacos for his first birthday dinner! But once he entered the phase where he wanted to do everything exactly like big sister, he started refusing “real food” and meals. Instead, he was opting for whatever big sis was having. (Insert face-palm emoji here)
Is it exhausting at times? Yes. Is it totally frustrating at times? A million percent yes. But is it really that big of a deal? I’m starting to think no. For a while, I was super self-conscious that people would judge my parenting when they offered my kids food and they consistently refused it. But you know what I’ve learned over the last three years? Kids are RESILIENT AF. They will still grow, develop, and thrive on a pretty limited diet, even if it makes you feel like they haven’t eaten a vegetable in months (hypothetically, of course… sort of). I’ve also learned a few tricks to sneak healthy(ish) foods into their wheelhouse.
If you’re blessed with serial snackers like I am, here are a few tricks that are currently working (because Lord knows that every week is different):
-cheese and yogurt for dairy and protein
-whole-grain anything and everything (not be to confused with whole-wheat, which is apparently hit or miss around here)
-gummy vitamins as treats (no shame) and rewards
-anything paired with sprinkles or mini dark-chocolate chips will at least be tried, if not gobbled up
Are these the healthiest tricks? Of course not! But y’all, when your kid hasn’t eaten more than two bites of any “new food” you’ve tried to introduce, you just make it work. For those of you who were gifted one of those awesome eaters who loves veggies and green smoothies and will try anything, still buy the sprinkles. YOLO, mama.