Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's on Your Child's Lunch Plate?: Montessori Edition

I have a toddler.  He is extremely picky.  I also have a baby.  So between the two our lunches have to be 1) somewhat nutritious 2) something the toddler will eat and 3) something that I can fix in about 15 minutes.  It's a tall order. 

So far our lunches have been boring.  I'm getting tired of the frozen food and sandwiches.  Maybe you are also facing this problem.  Maybe you've got a few tricks up your sleeve.  Maybe we can help each other.

I figure on every Tuesday I will feature what he ate.  Maybe it will be whole bunch of pictures.  Maybe it will be only one.  And then I'll tell you (or if it's not too disgusting show you) what and how much of it he ate.

I need your help.  Please comment or upload something.  I'm desperate.

Today on the menu was assorted citrus fruit in water (light syrup being not a WIC friendly item), kettle chips (yeah, the extra fried variety), and a corn dog minus the stick and split long ways.

He ate the chips and the corn part of the corn dog.  That was it.  And he likes oranges...usually.  He rarely eats meat and it's completely dumb of me to even try for a vegetable. 

Tonight it was much the same:  chicken, watermelon, and green beans.  He ate the watermelon. 

I also plan on featuring a topic during the "What's on you child's plate?" Tuesdays.  This week I picked the following...

The Montessori Kitchen

Montessori, for those who may not know, is a teaching technique.  The idea is that children learn things better on their own at their own paces.  This applies to real life too.  Montessori parents teach their child age appropriate life skills and try to get their children to be more autonomous.  Rather than getting out dishes for their child, for example, Montessori parents bring the dishes down to the child's level and the child picks their dishes.  Montessori stresses natural dishes like ceramic or glass wear.  But I'm not completely a Montessori parent (I like the concepts) so my dishes are made from recycled milk jugs.  The silverware is a combo of plastic and metal.  His cups are also plastic.  

I recently re-did my kitchen to be more toddler-friendly.  My toddler has a special set of cabinets all his own.  They have his plate and his cups.  He knows that they are there, but usually he doesn't mess with them.  He also has his own drawer for his forks and spoons.  He can't really see into it, unfortunately.  Most kitchens aren't made with toddler heights in mind.  If my kitchen was big enough, I might set up some sort of low shelves and have a basket for napkins and silver ware.  But I don't.

We also started the "open cabinet" policy.  HB has long since stopped removing every item out of the pantry and shaking it's contents.  We may have to go back to a closed cabinet if Knee decides to do this.

What's the open cabinet?  My parents believed in whatever you find, you can eat it.  I don't remember a time when I wasn't allowed into a cabinet.  I'm sure there was a time, but I don't remember it.  It leave the decision of what to eat and when to eat it up to the child.  I would have an open fridge policy too, but 1) HB can't open the fridge on his own and 2) he likes to pull stuff out that are much too heavy for him like the milk jugs.

HB usually doesn't try and eat out of the cabinet all the time.  Normally I have to prod him with food and call him up to the dinner table to eat.  Occasionally, though he will request things.  Tonight he walked over to the pantry and brought out the bunch of bananas and asked for one.

Bananas are better than chips.

We also have a "kids can eat what the adults are eating" policy.  Basically this means if I'm eating a candy bar, so can HB if he asks for it.  Obviously Knee doesn't apply since he's too young, and there are exceptions.  HB can't eat hard candy or nuts since they are choking hazards so we don't keep those around.  And HB can't have anything alcoholic.  Usually that isn't around either. 

The whole policy makes it less of a tug-of-war, short order cooking thing around here.  Whatever I put on his plate is what everyone else gets too.  And believe me, he looks.  Tonight for example, he noticed my glass had some green liquid caffeinated substance that he calls "soba."  He kept saying it was green and I kept saying that yes, it was.  It wasn't until he walked over to his cabinet, got out a cup, and set it down next to mine and once again declared that it was green that I got the hint.  He wanted some.  So I put a little in and that was that.

If it's unhealthy for HB to be drinking soda on a regular basis, then it's also unhealthy for me.  Parents need to model good eating habits if they want their children to eat healthy too.  But I've also read that a little indulgence is actually healthy too.  Some link that Hubby sent to me.

Next week's topic:  The USDA guidelines for children age 2.

1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna keep this post up I think lol... I've been working on making the kids room montessori style (mostly winning that one, but slowly) and kitchen is next.


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