You’ll appreciate this article if you’ve ever spent time planning a meal, making the meal, getting it on the table and your child only eats one thing from what you have served. Very likely it’s something like fruit that you just threw on the table, and it didn’t even take any time to make. Does your child want what seems like unlimited amounts of clementines or maybe bread, milk? You get the idea!
This can be very concerning to parents, we all worry about our kids health, right? Is your child getting all the nutrients they need? Are they eating too much? Will it hurt their stomach if they eat so much? Are they going to become obsessed with this food?
My short answer is, “No!”
However, it is important to acknowledge that if your child is older and is ALWAYS asking for certain foods or the same foods it may be a bigger issue you want to look into.
Meet my friend Bryce. Bryce loves to eat and definitely gets fixated on one food at meals. Just tonight, he ate 4 kiwi and was pissed when there were no more in the house.
In the feeding world we call these food jags – food jags are when a child eats a food over and over again. Sometimes this just happens for one meal and sometimes this continues for a few days or a few meals. What is most important to focus on…food jags are completely normal!
If you missed the blog post about Raising an Intuitive Eater with All Foods, you can check this out because it’s important to look at the big picture. Children are very intuitive to what and how much they need. So while you may have spent the time and energy to get the food on the table, their body may only need one of the foods (or maybe two) of the foods you served.
My best advice, Roll with it!
However, if that isn’t specific enough for you, here are my best pieces of advice for handling food jags like a pro:
Serve a Variety of Food at Each Meal
Variety is really, really important! If all you serve is the food a child is obsessed with this week they will tire of the food, and then likely drop it for a very long time. I remember when my daughter seemed obsessed with fruit snacks. She was eating so many packages at a time that I went to BJ’s and bought the big box. You know what happened – she decided she didn’t want them anymore. That box sat in the cabinet for, no joke, 6 months before she started to eat them again.
This didn’t mean that I gave her fruit snacks at every meal and snack, but I did give her fruit snacks probably everyday and she got to eat as many packages as she wanted until she was satisfied. This is why variety is so important.
If you struggle with what variety looks like, download this free guide, 5 Foods To Serve at Meal Time.
When the day came that she no longer wanted the fruit snacks anymore, she filled up on the the other food on the table!
Serve Familiar Food with Unfamiliar Food
You will never know when the day comes that your child won’t want that food anymore so it’s REALLY important that you always serve a variety of food on the table, that way they can choose from other foods when they lose interest. This is how children learn to sneak up on new foods. When they tire of a food they will pick something new to fill up on.
Allow them Fill Up from What is Served
Once you serve the food on the table it will be beneficial to allow your child to tune into their body and eat what and how much they want from what is served on the table. This means avoiding the “No thank you bites” or “Eat More of This and Then You Can Have More of That.” They will do best getting the nutrients they need if you allow them to listen to their body and learn to be an intrusive eater.
It’s never easy to trust our children with their appetites, but I am here to tell you they are amazing at this as long as we step aside and trust them. I’ve learned so much about being an intuitive eater from my daughter. I challenge you to learn from your children by doing a great job at feeding them and trusting them to do a great job at eating.
Have you noticed your child gets caught on food jags? What is the one food they are food jagging (is that a word) this week?