How to Deal with Throwing Food (and Cups, Plates, Utensils, etc) on the Floor

Happy child.{Guest post on the Love Child Organics blog: http://www.lovechildorganics.com/blog/ } A parent asked the following question: “How to deal with throwing food and cups on the floor”.  Almost every child goes through a stage where they throw onto the floor anything within reach from their highchair – food, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc.

The good news is that you can nip this behaviour in the bud and make it disappear from your mealtime and snacktime routines.

The bad news is that sometimes, inadvertently, you (and other adults) can be fuelling this behaviour.

The secret is to figure out what’s causing your little one to throw food and address the root cause.

Kids throw food for a number of reasons. Here are the 3 most common that I’ve experienced in my years of working with families. And, here’s how to get your child to stop:

[Note that the following are all assuming that your child is intentionally throwing items on the floor. Unintentionally knocking things over as a result of being clumsy and inefficient at self-feeding is normal and expected. Accept your child’s messiness as a part of learning the tricky skills of self-feeding.]

  1.  Cause: It creates a strong reaction from you. Toddlers LOVE to cause something to happen. I could go as far as saying that they’re obsessed with creating a reaction. This is why it’s so exciting to push the elevator button – because little ol’ me made the elevator move! If throwing food causes you to react – whether it’s to pick their cup back up off the floor, scold your child, etc, they’re relishing their power to make you do something. As the saying goes, negative attention is still attention. Solution: Ignore the behaviour. Respond with a simple: “we don’t throw food on the floor.” And, don’t give them back their items that they’ve dropped. They may respond with a tantrum or meltdown this time. But they’ll quickly learn to keep things that they want to eat on their tray and the throwing food on the floor will stop.
  2.  Cause: The dog eats it. This is similar to #1. Toddlers find it hilarious to feed the dog. Solution: Keep your dog out of the eating area. Either train your dog to lie outside the room during meal and snack times, or use a baby gate to block their access. Keeping the dog out of the room is the only solution that I’ve ever found to this problem. I’ve never found a way to get kids to stop enjoying “sharing” their food with their canine partners in crime J
  3.  Cause: It’s the only way that you’ll “hear” them say “I’m full”. I see this again and again. Well-meaning parents won’t accept that their child has eaten enough at a particular meal or snack. They feel that their child needs to eat more (usually due to concern that they aren’t meeting their nutrition needs). So even though their child is giving clear signals, either using words, sign language, or body signals, parents keep pushing their child to eat more. Kids keep escalate their “I’m full” signals until they throw the food on the floor. Throwing food on the floor usually causes their parents to finally allow them to stop eating. As a result the meal is now over and both adults and kids are equally upset. Solution: Trust your child to know when they’re satisfied. Babies are born knowing when they’re hungry and when they’re satisfied.  Allow your child to choose how much to eat at each occasion.  It’s normal for kids to eat a lot some days and very little on other days. You’ll make sure that your child is getting the nutrition that they need by offering foods at about 5 – 6 meals and snacks each day. And, watching their progress on their growth charts. Respect and trust your child in this way. The result is that meals will end with everyone in a good mood (and with less mess to clean up).

Check out my picky eating book for more successful toddler nutrition tips.

SaveSave

Can I give finger foods if my baby doesn’t have teeth yet?

finger foods baby doesn’t have teethThank you to the parent who asked me this week’s question: "My baby doesn’t have any teeth yet. Can I give her finger foods?" The short answer is: yes! You don’t need to wait until a baby has teeth before giving finger foods.

Babies are ready for finger foods by 7 months, if not before.

Many babies won’t have teeth (or very many teeth) by this age.

It’s amazing to watch what they can handle with their gums. So go ahead and offer finger food versions of a wide variety of foods that your family eats.

Enjoy watching your little one discover the amazing variety of tastes and textures that food comes in!

Check out this video for iron-rich finger foods for babies.

Take the Opportunity to Learn from me In-Person

mom & daughter eatingFrom workshops to the Vancouver Island Baby Fair, there are lots of upcoming opportunities to learn in-person and have me answer your questions. Workshops If you live in Vancouver or the North Shore and your little one is anywhere from 4 months to 5 years old, there's a workshop coming up for you. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee and some goodies, meet other parents, and learn how to meet your child’s nutrition needs today and instill a life-long love of healthy eating (and there’ll be lots of time for questions).

Baby Meets Broccoli (4-9 months): Introducing Solid Foods. Wed October 9th, 9:30-11:30am. Cactus Club Park Royal (West Van) Register at: Modern Mama North Shore's website

Taste and Texture Transition (9-18 months): Transitioning From Baby Food to Big Kid Food and Prevening Picky Eating. Tues November 5th, 10am-12noon. Broadway + Granville (Vancouver) Register at: Modern Mama Vancouver's website

Taste and Texture Transition (9-18 months): Transitioning From Baby Food to Big Kid Food and Prevening Picky Eating. Wed November 6th, 9:30-11:30am. Cactus Club Park Royal (West Van) Register at: Modern Mama North Shore's website

Toddler at the Table (19-36 months): 3 Most Common Causes for Picky Eating and How to Minimize It. Tues October 8th, 10am-12noon. Broadway + Granville (Vancouver) Register at: Modern Mama Vancouver's website

Picky Preschooler (3-5 years): 3 Most Common Causes for Picky Eating and How to Minimize It. Tues December 3rd, 9am-11am. Broadway + Granville (Vancouver) Register at: Modern Mama Vancouver's website

Vancouver Island Baby Fair The Baby Fair is this weekend! I'll be joined by lots of great exhibitors and fun entertainment. Catch me on the Main Stage at 11:30am-12noon on Saturday where I'll be talking about Beyond Mush: Introducing Solid Foods

Stop by my booth to say Hi. I'd love to meet you!

Here's all the Fair details: http://www.vancouverislandbabyfair.com/index1.cfm

Homemade Baby Food - Egg Yolk

Egg Yolk contains the easiest form of iron for our bodies to absorb (called heme iron). This makes it a great first food. And, the new recommendations are to offer your baby egg from about 6 months onwards, there's no need to wait until after 12 months to prevent food allergy.

Check out this video for how to prepare it (it's super easy):

Register NOW for the Best Price Ever

intro solids spaghetti baby onlyI'm working away behind the scenes to bring to you my popular Baby Meets Broccoli: Introducing Solid Foods workshop - ONLINE! Now you'll get everything that you need to safely meet your baby's rapidly changing nutrition needs. And start in the right direction to instill in your baby a lifelong love of healthy eating.

All without you having to get dressed and out the door!

The workshop will be launched on September 23rd.

STARTING TODAY, when you pre-register before the launch, you'll get the workshop for the best price that I'll ever offer.

The workshop's regular price will be $37.

Register before September 23rd and you'll get access for only $19!

I encourage you to act quickly because I won't offer this low a regstration fee ever again.

Ooh, and please share this news with your friends!

Register here: www.vitaminkconsulting.com/introducingsolids

Homemade Baby Food Beans

I've added a new "how-to" video for homemade baby food. This time it's for homemade baby food beans. Beans and lentils are good sources of iron. And, it's recommended that you offer your baby iron-rich foods at least twice a day, from about 6 months onwards. Check out more iron-rich baby food videos on Youtube.

 

Thank You, Contest, & Workshop

Just a short message this week with three topics: First:

A BIG THANK YOU to each of you who became a Small Bite VIP during August. And, to everyone who shared news of Small Bite and my Facebook page.

Because of you we raised $50 for Breakfast for Learning!

Second:

Do you live on Southern Vancouver Island? Want to come to the Vancouver Island Baby Fair? It’s the weekend of September 28 and 29th.

I’ll have a booth there. And, I’ll be speaking on the main stage on Saturday.

Want to come for free? I have a pair of weekend passes to give away!

Send me a photo of your little one learning eating skills by midnight Tuesday (September 10th) and you’ll be entered in a draw for the pair of full-weekend passes.

Everyone’s photos will be posted on the Wall of Fame photo album on my Facebook page. Check out the cuties there now: www.facebook.com/VitaminKNutritionConsulting

For more info on the Vancouver Island Baby Fair: http://www.vancouverislandbabyfair.com/index1.cfm

Third:

There’s still room in my Introducing Solid Foods workshop in Vancouver on Tuesday. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee and some goodies, meet other parents, and learn everything you need to know to safely meet your baby’s rapidly changing nutrition needs. We’ll be covering (and there’ll be lots of time for questions): What age to start solid foods (and busting myths about starting early) What foods are best What textures to provide – diving into the pureed vs. baby-led finger food debate. The latest scientific research regarding food allergy prevention How to prepare foods to minimize the risk of choking.

Register at Modern Mama Vancouver's website

Homemade Baby Food Fish

Did you know that it's recommended that you offer your baby iron-rich foods at least twice a day from 6 months onwards? Many parents are surprized when I share about a great source of iron - fish! And they can't imagine how to prepare them for their babies. So, I've created some videos showing how to prepare iron-rich foods - both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Over the next few weeks I'll be releasing them on Youtube. This week I'm showing you how to prepare both meat and fish. Here's the video on how to prepare homemade baby food fish:

Homemade Baby Food Meat

Did you know that it's recommended that you offer your baby iron-rich foods at least twice a day from 6 months onwards? Many parents are surprized when I share about a great source of iron - meat! And they can't imagine how to prepare them for their babies. No - I'm not recommending giving your baby a great big steak to chew on! So, I've created some videos showing how to prepare iron-rich foods - both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Over the next few weeks I'll be releasing them on Youtube. This week I'm showing you how to prepare both meat and fish. Here's the video on how to prepare homemade baby food meat:

How Much is Enough Food for My Baby?

How Much is Enough Food for My BabyA big thank you to the parent who shared this question: "How much is enough food for my baby? Tonight I thought I would give in and see how it went. He polished off……. While she was specifically talking about how much food to provide at bedtime snack, I’m asked this question a lot, in fact I’m asked it at almost every workshop.

It’s quite an easy one to answer. And, the answer of how much food to give your baby applies to any meal or snack:

As much as they are hungry for.

Now at my workshops, this answer usually is met with confused faces. So, let me expand.

As the adult, it’s your role to provide opportunities to eat 5 or 6 times a day. It’s your child’s role to choose how much to eat.

I recognize that it’s difficult to trust them to know how much to eat. But it really is best to do so.

We’re born being able to know when we are hungry and when we are satisfied. Over time, through social pressures, we learn to not listen to our bodies and instead look to external cues for how much to eat. This is a contributor to eating disorders and obesity.

Studies show that when kids are raised in households where they’re told to stop eating before they’re satisfied (i.e. because the adult believes that their child has “had enough”), they learn to sneak food and gorge on food when they get the opportunity.

On the flip side, when kids are forced to eat more than they are hungry for, they learn to over-ride their bodies’ signals and they learn to overeat.

Instead, trust your child to listen to their bodies and eat as much as their bodies tell them. How much is enough food for your baby will vary from day-to-day. Some days they’ll eat so much that you don’t know where they’re putting it all. Other days they’ll eat so little that you won’t know where they’re getting their energy from.

You’ll know that your baby is getting enough to eat when they have lots of energy and their growth is tracking along their curve on their growth chart.

So, while the VIP who shared this question thought that she was “giving in”, she was actually doing the best thing for her child – teaching him to listen to and respect his own body. Great job Mom!

Check out my picky eating kids book for more tips on feeding your child to meet their nutrition needs.

Introducing Solid Foods - Preventing Food Allergy

A number of parents have been asking me about food allergy prevention and how to introduce solid foods to their babies. In this video I describe the current scientific evidence for food allergies. And I share what foods to introduce to your baby. ENJOY!

What's Up with Quinoa for Baby Food?

quinoa for baby food{Update on a guest post on the Love Child Organics blog: http://www.lovechildorganics.com/blog/} Today’s post answers two questions about quinoa for baby food asked by parents on the Love Child Facebook page. In my next post I'll respond to parents questions about toddler eating. “Rice baby cereal vs quinoa baby cereal, why is rice so popular?”

Baby Cereal: Rice, Quinoa, and More

Using rice cereal as a first food is a hold-over from the old advice for introducing solid foods that recommended starting with rice and moving on to other foods in a particular order in an effort to prevent food allergies. The recommendations have changed and now the current recommendations are to introduce foods in no particular order. Now I could go on about the theories behind food allergy prevention and what foods to introduce at what times, but that’s a whole other blog post. Today I’ll stay focused on this question.

The one advantage that the infant cereals have is that they’re fortified with iron, meaning that they’ve had iron added to them. Grains, including quinoa, have many nutrients but they’re naturally low in iron. Babies have an important need for iron-rich foods. This is why they add iron to baby cereals. Quinoa baby cereal is now available.

Other fantastic first foods that (naturally) are a good source of iron are meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, beans and lentils, and nuts & seeds (and their butters).

Once your baby is eating iron-rich foods at least twice per day, introduce a wide variety of other foods, such as quinoa.

Preparing Quinoa for a New Eater

“What's the best way to prepare quinoa for a new eater? Boiling and puréed is not cutting it.”

Now I’m not quite sure what the parent meant by “not cutting it”, but I’m assuming that she means that her child won’t eat pureed quinoa.

Quinoa is small in size. It won’t block a child’s airway so choking risk is very small. Feel free to serve it whole – no need to puree it. Here are a few ideas:

  • Serve it on it’s own. Quinoa’s small size is an excellent challenge for babies to practice their dexterity.
  • Stir cooked quinoa into other fork-mashed texture or pureed foods, such as mashed bananas or avocados. Or try out some of the baby food recipes with quinoa on the Love Child Blog. For these recipes you can either blend the quinoa right in or stir it in whole after the other ingredients have been pureed or fork mashed.Combined textures (i.e. the mashed/pureed with the whole quinoa) are a great practice for little ones.
  • Combine quinoa with egg (an iron-rich food), and other optional ingredients, to make quinoa patties (similar to a burger or fish cake), then break it into finger food size pieces. There are hundreds of recipes on the internet. Chatelaine Magazine featured one in April and the Love Child Blog has a great baked quinoa and egg recipe too. Once you’ve introduced each of these ingredients as single foods, give a burger recipe a try.

Looking for more info? Sign-up to get baby nutrition tips and recipes right in your email inbox.