My food obsessed toddler

photo(9)My almost-three-year-old, Curly-locks, seems to have a bottomless pit for a stomach. She is always hungry.

She will follow me around the house chanting, ‘Summat to eat, Mummy,’ ‘Summat in the cupboard, Mummy’.

This can start a mere half hour after she’s had a gigantic bowl of porridge.

I have no idea where she puts it either. She is an absolute string bean.

I started to wonder whether she had worms, or whether we had allowed her to get into a bad habit of snacking.

Other friends are experiencing the same problem with their kids though, so I’m thinking/hoping/praying it’s just a growth spurt and she needs the extra energy to burn. Her activity levels have soared in the past few months. She’s constantly jumping around doing her ‘ballet’ or running around pretending to be a dinosaur. Maybe she just needs the extra food to keep up with her Energizer bunny level of activity.

I would prefer to have a ravenous toddler rather than one who refuses to eat, but to be honest, I just don’t know how much food my toddler should be eating. How much is too much or too little?

Lucky for me, I managed to overhear a seminar on healthy eating habits for toddlers while I was working at the Brisbane Pregnancy Babies & Children’s Expo last weekend. I was working on the stand right next to the Education Centre and when I heard someone talking about toddlers and food my ears pricked up.

Dietician and Adult and Infant Nutritionist Kate Di Prima was running the seminar and had me almost falling over craning my neck to hear what she was saying.

In her seminar, Kate discussed the importance of finding the right balance between food intake and physical activity to support the growth and development of our toddlers. She went on to say food habits learned in childhood can last a lifetime, so we need to ensure these habits are good ones. We need to get it right, and right now.

Kate said the typical age of food fussiness is between the ages of 18 months to three years. I found myself asking myself, does that include food obsession too?

When Kate said we should aim for our toddlers to eat around 15 foods a day, I was shocked. When I came home and had a think about what Curly-locks ate in any given day though, I realised it wasn’t that hard to achieve.

Curly-locks’ average daily intake:

  • Porridge
  • Small Milo
  • Apple
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Vegemite or ham sandwich
  • Nutella
  • Nuts
  • One serve of meat and three veg
  • Yoghurt

I’m not sure if you can count Milo or Nutella as food, but we’re fairly close to 15 foods a day. Here I was thinking she was eating too much and maybe she’s doing okay after all.

I did learn though, that a toddler’s tummy is the size of their fist, so I will definitely be keeping an eye on portion sizes from now on.

Kate also provided some great tips on setting up good eating habits for our children:

  • Maintain regular meal times
  • Minimise or avoid non nutritious foods
  • Don’t bribe with food especially dessert
  • Encourage to try foods – don’t distract
  • Be a healthy role model
  • Offer realistic portion sizes
  • Increase variety
  • Encourage healthy snacking

Armoured with this new information, I feel more confident in instilling healthy eating habits in my children. Next time Curly-locks asks for ‘summat in the cupboard’, I will ensure I reach for something nutritional.

Do you have a fussy toddler or a hungry one like me?

Follow Kate on Twitter @katediprimadiet

For everyone in Perth, Kate will be speaking at the Perth Pregnancy Babies & Children’s Expo coming up in August.


18 comments on My food obsessed toddler

    • mummywifeme
      June 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks very much for your compliments. I will be sure to check out your blog.

  1. Lydia C. Lee
    June 28, 2013 at 7:01 am (6 years ago)

    Not always hungry but always angling for junk….but arguments at the moment bevcause I keep telling her to get a mandarin…

    • mummywifeme
      June 28, 2013 at 10:50 am (6 years ago)

      Yes, it’s so tough to try to get them to snack on healthy food. I remember I used to hate it when mum said have a piece of fruit if you’re hungry!

  2. Josefa @always Josefa
    June 28, 2013 at 7:08 am (6 years ago)

    I have one of each – super fussy eater, who prefers to eat nothing and Mr I can’t stop eating! I prefer the second one! I keep his tummy satisfied with lots of little snacks/meals throughout the day – including nutella! I find that he is growing all the time – so must need to food intake to keep that going xx

    • mummywifeme
      June 28, 2013 at 10:51 am (6 years ago)

      Sounds like lots of fun for you experiencing the two extremes πŸ™‚ I remember my brother used to be such a skinny kid. Mum would fret that he never ate anything. You should see him now. He’s far from that skinny kid now x

  3. Emily @ Have a laugh on me
    June 28, 2013 at 10:19 am (6 years ago)

    Wow that is a lot of food, my boys 21 months and 3.5 are ALWAYS asking for food – thanks for sharing this info! Em

  4. mummywifeme
    June 28, 2013 at 10:52 am (6 years ago)

    No worries. I’m glad you found it helpful. I know, 15 food seems nuts. I’m going to add up how much food I eat in a day now, or maybe that’s not a good idea πŸ˜‰ …

  5. Lisa
    June 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm (6 years ago)

    Some good advice here! I don’t have toddler, but I do have a 12 year old who never outgrew his toddler feeding fussiness and has only recently stopped having a naso-gastric tube for extra feedings. Parenting worry never ever ends…!

    • mummywifeme
      June 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm (6 years ago)

      Oh my goodness, Lisa. It sure doesn’t. I hope things start to look up for you now!

  6. Judy @Australian Inspirational Women
    June 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm (6 years ago)

    Yes…Mr S is always hungary! As soon as he wakes up he says, “I’m still hungary”!
    He regularly looks in the cupboard too to find his favourite snacks. Thanks for the tips. At least I know Mr S is not the only one.

    • mummywifeme
      June 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm (6 years ago)

      No, he surely isn’t, Judy! I’m glad you found the tips useful πŸ™‚

  7. Neets
    June 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm (6 years ago)

    Ha ha loved reading this Renee. My daughter is exactly the same. I was exactly the same as a toddler. So much so that mum took me to the doctors for fear of worms too. Apparently they grow out of it. I never did. :0)

    • mummywifeme
      June 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm (6 years ago)

      Lol πŸ™‚ Yes, well I guess her Daddy and I love our food too and she does have such an active life πŸ™‚ Thanks for dropping in!

  8. [email protected]
    June 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm (6 years ago)

    Renee, when Bell was a toddler she never stopped eating, but she also never stopped moving! I think, like you said, they go through growth spurts, and need that energy.
    How wonderful that you were right next door to the seminar xx

    • mummywifeme
      June 29, 2013 at 10:00 am (6 years ago)

      I know, Lisa! It really was a stroke of luck x

  9. Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy
    June 29, 2013 at 9:13 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for this post. My son is at the 18 month mark and is VERY fussy, I’m having a hard time getting him to eat his dinner, I’ve tried so many things so I’ll just have to keep persisiting. He does however absolutely love his huge bowl of porridge in the morning.

    Found you at FYBF!

    • mummywifeme
      June 29, 2013 at 10:03 am (6 years ago)

      Well at least he’s getting a good start to the day. You should contact Kate Di Prima if you have some questions. She is very approachable and a wealth of knowledge.

      I’m glad you found me over at FYBF, I’ve been following you on FB for awhile and have wanted to join in on your Monday link up, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Will do soon πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *