If your child isn't eating well,
it's time to think about
Offer a small meal or snack every 3-4 hours
Parent puts 2-4 foods on the table and child chooses from what the parent puts out
Child cannot have a snack between the set meal/snack times (don’t allow grazing)
Child doesn’t get to choose what is served, but can choose from the options the parent serves
Parent encourages child to eat, but does not put pressure on child to eat in any way
If the child chooses not to eat, it’s okay! Another meal will be offered in 3-4 hours
Structure and Limits for mealtime
Kids do best with structure and limits. When they know what to expect, they do a better job of eating.
What Does this Look Like?
8 - BREAKFAST: oatmeal with milk and peanut butter
11 - LUNCH: mac and cheese + canned green beans + orange slices
2 - SNACK: applesauce + toast + milk
5 - DINNER: chicken + potatoes + peaches + roll
8 - BEDTIME SNACK toast + jam
10am - breakfast: cereal + milk + canned fruit
1pm - lunch: quesadilla + canned black beans + chopped mango
4pm - snack: toast + cheese slices
7pm - dinner: meat and veggie soup + roll + strawberries
9pm - bedtime snack: crackers + milk
6am - breakfast: eggs + toast
9am - snack: apples + peanut butter
12pm - lunch: leftovers from dinner, curry + rice + mango
3pm - snack: cottage cheese + pineapple
6pm - dinner: hummus + pita + cucumbers + bell pepper
Tips for success:
It doesn’t matter what time your meals are, as long as you routinely offer a meal every 3 to 4 hours.
Don’t ask your child if they are hungry. Just offer a sit down meal every 3 to 4 hours and eat with them!
Do not allow grazing. Make your child wait until the next meal/snack time to eat.
Don’t let your child have snacks, milk or juice between the meals you prepare every 3-4 hours.
Don’t ask your child what they want, you can let them choose between options, but don’t open up the battle of asking them what they want.
Always sit down and eat with your child, avoid eating on the run.
Avoid packaged snack foods, they are expensive and encourage a child’s preference for overly sweet and salty foods. Instead serve simple foods like fresh fruit, cheese, bread and nut butters as shown in the examples.