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October 18, 2005



It sounds like you're doing a pretty good job to me - there's nothing wrong with a McChicken sandwich if it's just once in a while. Obsessing over what you're feeding him will probably do as much harm as anything! I am a big believer in cooking for your family, though, in whatever manner works for you (Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade, Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals, etc.). My hope is that if I cook for my 7-month-old from the time he's a baby, he'll grow up preferring home-cooked meals to processed and fast foods, and that's the best way to keep him healthy.


My thought has always been to keep things pretty natural. Forget all of the unatural low fat and low sugar junk that's out there. Feed your child basically natural foods and you'll be giving them a balanced and healthy diet. Whole milk is natural, it is normal, and as long as kids are getting enough exercise and not eating too much sugary food, the extra fat will do them good. In Britain, we were given quite different advice to that offered in the US, and taught about the ways that fat actually helps to develop the brain and that it is a necessary part of a growing child's diet. We feed Kellan whole yogurt, whole milk, and lots of other good fatty foods. We keep his diet pretty balanced, though he's not a huge vegetable fan yet. And quite frankly, he would prefer to live on Cheerios and Graham sticks, but hey, we do our best.


I agree with Andrea and Norman; don't stress over it and just offer healthy and fresh foods. L (17 months old) eats fresh fruit everyday although she tends to only like one or two fruits at a time, this week it is grapes, last week watermelon...I offer her veggies at least once a day...sometimes she'll eat them sometimes not. She also gets lots of whole grain bread. She has had sugery snacks---but usually other people give them to her, not us and we don't keep them at home. Graham crackers are about as sugery as we get but yes, she loves those goldfish, too! I just offer her healthy stuff and whatever it is we are eating and occasionally make funny shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I can't force her to eat but can make sure that when she is hungry what is available is good for her!


Overall - just keep them balanced. I agree that the media has totally tried to freak out the nation. What once was healthy is now the worst thing you could possible have, and vice versa (I'm just waiting for the day that chocolate becomes a vegetable and then I will become a vegetarian).

Meredith - My children do the same and I used to be the same way. I offered choices, separate meals for each kid, LOTS of wasted food and stressful meals. Finally, my husband and I sucked it up and just said fine, this is for dinner. Eat it or don't. Mind you we didn't start with something disgusting like creamed spinach, but we did start including vegetables in the dishes that we made - cooked with the meat or mixed into the pasta. Sometimes, if they were being served on the side we'd be very bad and slather them in butter and garlic (Yes, Amy, it's ok)...but they're learning that they won't be poisoned by things they thought would strike them dead upon fork entering mouth.

It's not easy to do and takes a lot of patience on your part - it was even harder for me because I cannot stand vegetables and I had to lead by example...so trust me, it can be done. I wish you lots of luck, but you can do it.


I am sticking to the old rule of thumb. A balanced diet (including carbs, veggies and meat) with exercise. I do the whole plate separation thing - Half the dinner plate is veggies, the other half is split equally between meat and carbs. No piling high, either.

But I don't eat a lot of what other people can due to the very strong possibility of becoming a full-blown type 2 diabetic. I can't eat corn as my veggie since it is high in carbohydrates/sugars.

I have always believed that each person is different. What I can eat vs. my family varies regularly.


We're just getting to the point where we're worrying about this, too. There is a lot of anxiety-inducing nutritional information and guidlines out there. And Ella's just started on table foods. The only "processed" sweet she's had is her birthday cake, but she does love those Goldfish! (I buy the kind with extra Calcium added). Fortunately, she loves fresh fruit like grapes and bananas, and I only give her milk or water to drink. Veggies are fine with her, too, as is a little meat. I know she'll get pickier as she gets older, but it's a challenge right now figuring out what she CAN eat as opposed to what she CAN'T eat.


For my 2-year-old, any calorie is a good calorie! He's a skinny little guy, but full of energy and I swear he could move the sofa by himself. I decided not to stress or make an issue out of food but just try to set a good example by eating a little bit of everything and most importantly enjoy it!


I was looking at the nutritional guidelines for 2-4 year olds on Babycenter recently. I don't think I could eat the total quantities they were recommending. I've also read that a preschooler's stomach is only about the size of a tennis ball. I think the idea of small meals all day is a good one, although I often don't do it that way. I feel like our two year-old is getting a pretty balanced diet, but he will only eat about one selection from each category. Every time I set something new in front of him he recoils in disgust. So we're still making him separate food from ours, something I was determined not to do. It will put me over the edge if Trader Joe's stops carrying their meatballs and spinach nuggets.


I think if you don't serve your kid pop, sweets, junk food or a lot of processed foods you should consider yourself ahead of the game and not worry about things like carbs and fat in milk!

Sounds like you're doing just fine. :)

Norman Lorrain

Relax, stop listening to the media, which exaggerates everything.

Stick to fresh fruit and veggies, just cut them in to small pieces and put a toothpick or cocktail fork in their bowl so they can have fun spearing the pieces. Have a dish of that on the table in addition to whatever main course you're having.

Stay away from sugar drinks. Water is fine.

My biggest challenge is staying away from spices (which I love). My kids like plain-tasting food. They like stir-frys, but otherwise I can't mix the veggies with the meat.


My children have, in essence, sucked all the joy out of cooking and eating in my house. No matter what I'm making, there's a 33 percent chance that one of my three kids will recoil in horror, label the meal (either one dish or the entire ensemble) inedible, thereby tainting the meal for the other children. I cannot win. This morning I nearly had a meltdown trying to figure out what to pack for my twins for lunch for school (they said, "Ewww" to the school lunch menu for the day). Does this eating thing get any better, or do I (and my husband) have to just get tougher and stop offering so many choices? (For some reason, I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer is the latter.)


Ibelle eats really well for me but sometimes I have to bribe her with butter. I know I know..God strike me dead...but the girl likes butter...so sometimes if I take a little sliver...I can make it so that she eats 4 or 5 more bites of whatever it is that she's eating.

Eek...is that BAD?

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