Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zoe vs. the USDA Food Pyramid

Zoe fights a well-balanced meal at times. Breakfast time, lunchtime, and dinnertime. 
It wasn't always like this. It's true that I experienced the "latching on" problem and had to alternate breast milk and formula, but she had no difficulty switching between the two, and she guzzled like a champ. Raised no objections to whatever bottle we used. When it came time for regular milk, no problem. Solids? Sure, why not. Vegetables first since there were suggestions that this would make her more amenable to them in the future than if I started with the sweet stuff. This went smoothly albeit messily. Finally came real food, and though she liked to play with it, throw it on the floor or at the cat, some of it also got in her mouth, where it was gummed and swallowed. 
Until somehow it all fell apart. I think it was when she discovered she had a will of her own. Which meant she didn't have to eat the icky stuff and could wait me out till I eventually capitulated and doled out the cheese and carbs. She couldn't count, yet somehow she had my number. 
Dinnertime remains the biggest problem because that's the one we're always responsible for. Zoe goes to day care, so lunchtime is taken care of except on weekends. Breakfast is also served at day care, but Zoe gets up so early we usually try to get something in her or we're courting a bad mood, or, I should say, a badder mood, since she doesn't wake up at all well. You'd think she'd just sleep longer but that's another subject (see here). In any case, if she won't eat breakfast, we can always strap her into the stroller and hand her a bag of cheerios on the way out the door.
Which brings us back to dinner, aka, the main event, boxing reference intended, where Mommy's on the ropes. 
Acceptable meals: pasta, grilled cheese with fries, chicken nuggets (sometimes), ketchup (always). Perhaps a piece of bread used as a conduit for butter. 
Occasionally I've been able to fool her into having a bite of a vegetable if I act like it's my own dinner. Because then she just has to have it for two reasons: 1. It's not hers. 2. It's mine. 
Just whine no.
Zoe does not officially recognize the food pyramid developed by the USDA. Her pyramid looks a bit different. It's basically a large pile of bagels, crackers, cheerios, goldfish, and cookies, and at the top sit two chicken nuggets with one bite taken out of each one, and a mummified piece of cheddar cheese.
The other night I tried making my own chicken nuggets instead of the processed ones. Same thing, right? Only made with love? Zoe's past throwing her meals, which was more about "fun" than rejection anyway, so instead she handed me back her plate without even attempting to take a bite, whining, "No waaaant it." It was hard not to be insulted. I mean, this is a person I've seen eat her own snot.
And even though I didn't have time to make another meal---as former governor of Minnesota Jesse "The Body" Ventura said in Predator: "Ain't got time to bleed"---that's what I ended up doing. You see, since Zoe's birth, I've started to view time differently. I've decided sometimes it's easier to give in and take the time now instead of fighting and cajoling and begging, since that takes years off my life that I can enjoy later, at the end, when I'm in my wheelchair, wrapped in blankets, breathing apparatus attached, blissfully catching up on sleep and looking forward to being finicky about whatever meal they serve me in the home just to make those whippersnappers jump.
Ain't got time to make more
chicken nuggets.
But for now back to the present, where I apparently consult the Internet just to get myself aggravated. For example, recently I read that if your toddler refuses to eat the dinner you made and then gets hungry when they're going to bed, which is Zoe all over, you're supposed to keep presenting the same healthy meal they refused until they eat it. The problem with this strategy is I already ate her dinner. Yes, I know, but I spend so much time making hers, and then fighting her on eating it, I don't have time to make my own dinner. And yes, I also know, I'm not supposed to be making her special meals; she's supposed to be eating the same thing as the rest of the family, but you need to read the other entries in this blog. If you do, you'll see why eating dinner as a family is not a mountain I'm prepared to climb. Or pyramid. And you better bring extra ketchup.
Zoe: 10; Universe: 0


  1. Blerg. What age did this start? I'm worried.... ;-)

  2. Zoe and I could totally eat every meal food pyramid looks very similar! ;)-Ashley

  3. Ha, I agree. I may be part of the problem.

  4. Our first was an excellent eater until about the age of 2.5 - 3, and then she started to fuss about proteins and any kind of squash/potato (even to the point where she would gag & throw up after eating it). I'm with you on picking battles. We haven't yet forced the "eating the same food at every meal" thing yet. It's just not worth it. But I do keep introducing foods she doesn't like and forcing just a bite or two. And she's already come around on one or two foods that used to make her gag! That said, the 14 month old is already rejecting chicken and veggies for pasta and bread. I

    1. I hear your struggle. And you have two of the little picky eaters! Checked out your site. I admire your patience and skill with DIY. I have neither! Thanks for commenting.