Could My Preschooler Really Be So Hungry If He Refuses To Eat Dinner?
Short answer. Yes.
But, read on to see what nutrition requirements that actually need.
One of my biggest dreams I had before becoming a mom, was that I would be a healthy mom. The mom who feeds all organic. (We’re actually like 75% organic, most of the time, praise hands!) The mom who makes creative and healthy meals. With a pantry full of homemade snacks. And, whose children actually eat their fruits and veggies with no fuss. I even dreamt of being a Pediatric dietician for a minute. And, then my sweet oldest gained some independence. The pressure of running a household of 3+ while working sunk in. The need for quick and easy grew… became absolutely necessary. And, boxed foods and quick processed snacks took over.
Truthfully, I spend most of my time going back and forth, about how I really feel about our eating habits. On good days I tell myself that E is great about eating anything protein. Chicken, jerky, yogurt, PB, cheese – he’ll always eat. He is okay in the fruit department, as he still likes apples, bananas, and oranges. And, well, probably most kids don’t like veggies. I justify the goldfish, mac and cheese, and animal cookies, because we are feeding four people: two growing boys, a grown man, and an exhausted mom, on a budget. Gotta do what ya gotta do.
On bad days I kick myself that my three year old hasn’t had a full serving of veggies in over a year. That we have to bribe him with gummies to take three bites of corn or carrots. I beat myself up over how much processed food we eat, because I know if I can’t pronounce it, it’s garbage in our bodies. I want better for all of us.
But, every day I hear I’m hungry about 50 times. Offer snacks literally every other hour. And, wonder oh my goodness how much do these little tanks actually need. Because, I know it is normal. That every other mom feels the “I’m hungry. I need a snack” pain. I’ve seen the memes and read the social media posts to prove it. So, I took to Mr Google to research how much little preschool boys actually need. And, I was shocked.
Move over repeat cereal and goldfish cups, you’re actual not enough!
I was expecting to see that these little snack monsters were not getting enough protein, but that wasn’t really the missing piece. I was surprised to see that dairy is still meant to be such a big piece of their diet. And, every sample meal plan I saw had a breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack. Sorry mamas this really is our life.
I was surprised that most sites I went to mentioned grains first. Personally, I’m not much of a grainy person. So, I never really thought much of the importance they’d play for our kiddos. Children ages 2 and 3 are recommended to have 3 ounces daily. While, 4 and 5 year olds jump up to 5 ounces.
Before I decided to do hard-core research, I told myself I would just add in more protein to take place of the processed snacks I was giving on repeat. All. Day. Long. But, turns out protein was a smaller number than grains! For two and three-year olds 2 ounces of protein is recommend. And, 4 ounces for ages 4 and 5.
Here’s where I know we’re lacking. But, also the section I’ve questioned the most. Am I really failing my child’s health because HE refuses to eat his vegetables. MyPlate is telling me, that I’m not failing as hard as I thought. Children ages 2 and 3 are recommended to have 1 cup of veggies a day. While, 4 and 5 year olds should be having 1.5.
Some fruit is still hard to get my son to try. He used to eat berries by the handful as we scoured the Costco aisles. Now he won’t even put them near his mouth because of the seeds. Grapes he likes in phases. But, thankfully I can always get him to eat apple slices no skin, bananas, and Cutie oranges. So, it was encouraging that fruit is the same requirements as veggies.
I know that dairy is so vital for babes the first two years of life. You hear that on repeat. But, once they turn two and you switch off of whole I wasn’t sure the importance that it held. MyPlate and Best Start were telling me it’s still pretty important. As it was included with half of all meals in every sample meal I saw. Children ages 2 and 3 should be getting 2 cups a day. And, older preschoolers, 4 and 5, should be getting 2.5 cups.
So yup. Our active darling and ever starving preschoolers really do need all the snacks they ask for. Now, that I have hard evidence that they are not just exaggerating. And, once it soaks in, and I’ve come to terms. I will be putting together sample meal plans to share with you. Then, together we can feel more put together than our Avenger cups of Captain Crunch on repeat.