tackling the topic of re-presenting foods to your toddler
Re-presenting food can be a great way to avoid food waste, but there’s a way to go about in order to ensure it’s a positive experience for your toddler.
No one likes food waste. However, when we re-present the same plate of food over and over to our toddlers until they’ve finished it, this can lead to a negative mealtime experience for them (and for us as likely, tantrums will ensue!)
The unspoken message is “you have to get through this meal before you’ll be allowed to eat anything else.” Suddenly, the meal becomes a barrier to ever being presented with another dish. As parents & caregivers we may be thinking about avoiding food waste, but toddlers don’t have that understanding.
To work on avoiding food waste AND make it a pleasant experience, here are a few rules I like to live by when re-presenting food:
👉🏼DO re-present the same plate in the same manner if your child never made it to the table.
👉🏼DON’T re-present the same plate of food until your toddler has eaten every last bite. this adds stress to mealtime & makes your toddler feel pressure to eat this food in order to move on from the experience. we don’t know why certain foods appeal to our toddlers from one moment to the next. it’s okay to trust their judgement as they’re living the experience in their bodies.
👉🏼DO re-present foods untouched in a different manner (served on a different plate, as part of an entirely new meal or snack, etc.). when you’re re-presenting the whole food, remember it’s their choice whether or not they eat it. usually after one re-presentation, I stop.
Times are crazy right now and I totally get it. whether you’re in a situation where you absolutely cannot waste food or just really do not want to throw things out your toddler hasn’t touched, just getting creative about how you’re re-presenting helps. Different plates or bowls, serving up uneaten meat on skewers versus on the plate or chopped and thrown into grilled cheese, or pasta etc.
I labeled these ‘dos’ and don’ts’ to make the distinction, but as parents & caregivers, you know your kids best and can trust your instincts! I offer this as helpful guidance for making mealtime positive, not hard and fast rules you HAVE to follow (even I myself don’t always!). hope this helps!
disclaimer: The above assumes no medical issues or concerns. The content that I share in this space should be used for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for medical advice and does not constitute a client/practitioner relationship.0