Today as I was fixing my now-just-turned-3-year-old son, Alexander's dinner, I reflect back from when he was a little baby and instead of cooking and "tupperwaring" my meals on Sundays, I spent half the day steaming fresh vegetables and then putting it all in my food processor so Alexander can have his healthy and fresh baby foods for the week. How time flies! He wasn't even 1 year old then and now I have this little man who eats like a champ =) ...
This blogpost is all about Alexander and how truly blessed I am that he eats, for the most part, everything I make for him. One thing I have learned as a parent is that a child (at least my child) absorbs everything a parent does. Granted his Mommy wasn't always healthy, let alone made "clean" food decisions. Thank goodness he wasn't even a year old when his Mom still weighed over 170lbs at a 5'1 frame. I definitely was not a good example. I don't think he would have tried eating eggwhites, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brocolli, tilapia, squash as he got older ... you get the point, but rather junk food; junk food that I ate all the time when at my unhealthiest (Starbucks everyday, McDonald's breakfast, or just simply eating out all the time). Now, I am really grateful that when my son finally developed more of an awareness at age 3 vs 6 months, his Mom had already made the switch from unhealthy eating to clean eating. And now, I can proudly say that my son eats majority clean for the week and gets his happy meal on the weekend. I do not like to think my son is deprived, not at all. He is still your normal toddler who enjoys lollipops, popcorn or candy. I just choose to not keep sweets in the house so it has taught him that these "treats" are to be consumed in moderation and not our everyday staple. What is staple in our house is our vegetables, fruits, oatmeal, etc and that restaurant dining is typically saved on the weekend. I hope as he grows, he appreciates his Mom's (and Dad's) efforts of cooking and making his meals with tons of love =) ....
I always tell Alexander that Mommy likes lots of color on our plates. Then I ask him what colors are the vegetables he is about to eat and make his muscles grow. For dinner tonight, I made him grilled cheese on wheat with steamed squash/zuchini, steamed brocolli and steamed sweet potatoes. I like to steam those 3 easy vegetables on Sundays and tupperware for the entire week. This way, on every dinner plate I make for Alexander, there is always a vegetable. It's become so routine that he actually will ask on some days if we have brocolli or sweet potatoes. It helps to also see Daddy and Mommy eat the same foods we serve him.
Of course, he likes his dinner served on his dinosaur plate! Parents, just make sure to microwave first on a dinner plate and then transfer. It is not recommended to heat foods on children's plates.
Don't give up if he/she refuses at first. Work it in the menu slowly and make sure you are also setting a good example by eating "clean." I am not 100% sure if steaming and preparing Alexander's baby foods at an early age helped, but I'd like to think that it played at least a tiny part, if not more, on his eating habits.
Pictures from top: Alexander fix'n to chow, my dinner of 1/2 cup brown rice, tilapia, zuchini/squash topped with fresh salsa/pico de gallo, my lunch today of 1/2 cup quinoa, ground bison, zuchini/squash (yes, again; I have a batch in my fridge!), Alexander's dinner plate of grilled cheese, zuchini/squash, sweet potatoes and brocolli and Alexander snacking on grilled chicken breasts and brocolli.