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What to do about an overweight two year old?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
We just got back from my 2 year olds well child check up. She's always been a big girl (9lb 5oz at birth) and has stayed well in the 90-95th percentile for height by age and weight by age and was at the 75 percentile for weight by height at her 18 month checkup.

Now she is 35lbs, making her in the 97th percentile for her weight-by-age and (this is the part that worries me) off the charts of weight-by-height. We don't eat a lot of junk (although probably more than we realize). We do let her watch to much TV, but thats something that we're working on. Her father is heavy, partially due to some bad habits, partially because its just hard for him to lose and keep off weight in general even when he's trying. I, on the other hand, have the kind of metabolism where I could eat whatever I want without gaining, so she obviously got his part of the gene pool in this area.

Anyway, I need some suggestions for healthier eating and I also just want to gauge how much of a problem some of you think this is. Her dr. wants us back in 6 months for a weight check instead of waiting the usual full year.

She's willing to eat vegetables and fruit and we make them frequently (though I know I should offer fruit more often probably--it spoils so quickly in the summer that I don't buy it as often). She does like goldfish,etc., so i know that we need to get better about not buying so many crackers, pretzels and that sort of thing. The only sweets that she really eats are popsicles at MIL's house (not my suggestion--I already plan on being more firm with the grandparents on 'spoiling with sugar' for DD2).

Basically I need better suggestions for snacks--yogurt? nuts? cheese? are these good alternatives?

Additionally, (and some what unrelated) we tend to do a lot of pasta based dishes for dinner. In an effort to help my husband lose weight, would it be helpful to cut out pasta? Does using whole grain/whole wheat pasta make a difference? Is rice any better or should I just stick to veggies, etc. as a side?
post #2 of 23
I wouldn't worry about it in a 2 year old. My dd was a sliver from 10 pounds at birth. She was in the 95+ percentile until she hit about 5 then she hit a growth spurt and I was buying her slims in pants for years until she hit about 16 and became average weight for her height.
post #3 of 23
My ds was/is always at the top of those charts. He's a head taller than his same-age peers. Some kids are bigger, some are smaller. I wouldn't worry about the weight limits just yet. I think focusing on a healthy diet is a much better use of your time and energy, which you obviously are

I felt my kids were snacking on too many empty calories this year, so we cut out the pretzels and crackers. Snacks now are usually yogurt, peanut butter and apples, fresh fruit or turkey/ham.

I also have to be careful about my kids' grazing constantly. Especially in the summer when our days aren't as structured, some days I feel like there is no end to one meal and beginning of another. This is something we're working on. Though I know that toddlers have high metabolism and need to eat more often, I think confining eating to the table is a good way to make sure that eating doesn't become just a mindless time filler. Sitting down, eating, cleaning up, moving on to another activity, makes it more mindful, imo.

If rice/pasta is making up the bulk of your meal, maybe just reduce it to make it a 1/4 of your meal. Fill the rest with lean protein and produce. Though whole grain pastas and brown rice don't have fewer calories than the white versions, I find them more filling so I eat less of them. Maybe you will, too.

Good luck! I can hear/feel the stress in your post, but it sounds like you're a loving and concerned mama. Your dd will be fine
post #4 of 23
I don't think it is nessicarily a problem. Look at your daughter. Does she look really solid (muscle and bone, sort of a dense toddler?) or does she look on the fat/chubbier than she should be side?

That said, it could be a great time to improve your diet.

It looks like she's eating a lot of white flour. Honestly, white flour isn't that different than white sugar. Maybe not quite as bad, but it's a pretty close second.

I would definitely cut down on the pasta, and use whole wheat pasta (brown rice pasta is more digestible if you can get it) for the rare occasions you eat it. I would make/buy crackers with very simple ingredients (including only whole grain flour), no "processed" ingrediants.

Brown rice is definitely better than pasta, but if your daughter and husband had a hard time keeping weight off, I'd try reduceing the amount of grains you eat. A lot of folks find that that helps immensely. I'd try increasing healthy fats, eliminating refined sugars and grains, and reducing grains in general.

For many people, a low fat, high carb (particularly refined carb) diet makes it almost impossible to maintain a healthy weight. It helps in several ways. The fat makes you feel fuller faster, so you aren't as likely to overeat, and you need less food (vs. too much food eating lean food and carbs). IIRC, having a lean diet full of carbs slows down one's metabolism, because traditional carb heavy diets would be the last foods that would keep, and would be the last foods left, whereas having plenty of fat in your diet tells your body that it's a plentiful season, and to increase your metabolism.

That said, not all fats are equal. vegetable oils, margerine hydrogenated fats, and the like are not healthy at all. Butter, natural lard, beef and chicken fat, coconut oil, olive oil, whole fat dairy, fattier meat, eggs, all are very healthy fats. They all have specific health benefits, and many of them have plenty of fat soluble vitamins in them. they all will help you digest fat soluble vitamins in veggies and other foods.


As for good snacks, I like snacks that have some healthy fat in them, because it helps fill you up faster, and healthy fats are really rich in vitamins. I try to make sure snacks have some fat and some protein, and then whole grain/veggie based carbs are optional, but the fat and protein are needed. some good, pretty easy snacks are veggies with peanut butter (sometimes with butter or coconut oil as well. coconut oil makes it taste sweet with pb) or homemade ranch/green goddess, whole fat yogurt, whole fat (real) cheese, nuts, meat (not deli meats but leftovers), hard boiled eggs, whole wheat bread and butter and cheese, leftovers. fruit I don't think is a very good snack by itself, because the sugar makes one crash just like with refined sugar, it's just not quite as dramatic. having some fat and protein with sugar though helps prevent the crash. so say apples with pb or cheese and grapes is a lot better.
post #5 of 23
Adding greens (spinach, kale, lettuce etc.) to fruit smoothies a very healthy yummy snack or meal.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magelet View Post
I don't think it is nessicarily a problem. Look at your daughter. Does she look really solid (muscle and bone, sort of a dense toddler?) or does she look on the fat/chubbier than she should be side?

That said, it could be a great time to improve your diet.

It looks like she's eating a lot of white flour. Honestly, white flour isn't that different than white sugar. Maybe not quite as bad, but it's a pretty close second.

I would definitely cut down on the pasta, and use whole wheat pasta (brown rice pasta is more digestible if you can get it) for the rare occasions you eat it. I would make/buy crackers with very simple ingredients (including only whole grain flour), no "processed" ingrediants.

Brown rice is definitely better than pasta, but if your daughter and husband had a hard time keeping weight off, I'd try reduceing the amount of grains you eat. A lot of folks find that that helps immensely. I'd try increasing healthy fats, eliminating refined sugars and grains, and reducing grains in general.

For many people, a low fat, high carb (particularly refined carb) diet makes it almost impossible to maintain a healthy weight. It helps in several ways. The fat makes you feel fuller faster, so you aren't as likely to overeat, and you need less food (vs. too much food eating lean food and carbs). IIRC, having a lean diet full of carbs slows down one's metabolism, because traditional carb heavy diets would be the last foods that would keep, and would be the last foods left, whereas having plenty of fat in your diet tells your body that it's a plentiful season, and to increase your metabolism.

That said, not all fats are equal. vegetable oils, margerine hydrogenated fats, and the like are not healthy at all. Butter, natural lard, beef and chicken fat, coconut oil, olive oil, whole fat dairy, fattier meat, eggs, all are very healthy fats. They all have specific health benefits, and many of them have plenty of fat soluble vitamins in them. they all will help you digest fat soluble vitamins in veggies and other foods.


As for good snacks, I like snacks that have some healthy fat in them, because it helps fill you up faster, and healthy fats are really rich in vitamins. I try to make sure snacks have some fat and some protein, and then whole grain/veggie based carbs are optional, but the fat and protein are needed. some good, pretty easy snacks are veggies with peanut butter (sometimes with butter or coconut oil as well. coconut oil makes it taste sweet with pb) or homemade ranch/green goddess, whole fat yogurt, whole fat (real) cheese, nuts, meat (not deli meats but leftovers), hard boiled eggs, whole wheat bread and butter and cheese, leftovers. fruit I don't think is a very good snack by itself, because the sugar makes one crash just like with refined sugar, it's just not quite as dramatic. having some fat and protein with sugar though helps prevent the crash. so say apples with pb or cheese and grapes is a lot better.

Agreed.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magelet View Post
I don't think it is nessicarily a problem. Look at your daughter. Does she look really solid (muscle and bone, sort of a dense toddler?) or does she look on the fat/chubbier than she should be side?

That said, it could be a great time to improve your diet.

It looks like she's eating a lot of white flour. Honestly, white flour isn't that different than white sugar. Maybe not quite as bad, but it's a pretty close second.

I would definitely cut down on the pasta, and use whole wheat pasta (brown rice pasta is more digestible if you can get it) for the rare occasions you eat it. I would make/buy crackers with very simple ingredients (including only whole grain flour), no "processed" ingrediants.

Brown rice is definitely better than pasta, but if your daughter and husband had a hard time keeping weight off, I'd try reduceing the amount of grains you eat. A lot of folks find that that helps immensely. I'd try increasing healthy fats, eliminating refined sugars and grains, and reducing grains in general.

For many people, a low fat, high carb (particularly refined carb) diet makes it almost impossible to maintain a healthy weight. It helps in several ways. The fat makes you feel fuller faster, so you aren't as likely to overeat, and you need less food (vs. too much food eating lean food and carbs). IIRC, having a lean diet full of carbs slows down one's metabolism, because traditional carb heavy diets would be the last foods that would keep, and would be the last foods left, whereas having plenty of fat in your diet tells your body that it's a plentiful season, and to increase your metabolism.

That said, not all fats are equal. vegetable oils, margerine hydrogenated fats, and the like are not healthy at all. Butter, natural lard, beef and chicken fat, coconut oil, olive oil, whole fat dairy, fattier meat, eggs, all are very healthy fats. They all have specific health benefits, and many of them have plenty of fat soluble vitamins in them. they all will help you digest fat soluble vitamins in veggies and other foods.


As for good snacks, I like snacks that have some healthy fat in them, because it helps fill you up faster, and healthy fats are really rich in vitamins. I try to make sure snacks have some fat and some protein, and then whole grain/veggie based carbs are optional, but the fat and protein are needed. some good, pretty easy snacks are veggies with peanut butter (sometimes with butter or coconut oil as well. coconut oil makes it taste sweet with pb) or homemade ranch/green goddess, whole fat yogurt, whole fat (real) cheese, nuts, meat (not deli meats but leftovers), hard boiled eggs, whole wheat bread and butter and cheese, leftovers. fruit I don't think is a very good snack by itself, because the sugar makes one crash just like with refined sugar, it's just not quite as dramatic. having some fat and protein with sugar though helps prevent the crash. so say apples with pb or cheese and grapes is a lot better.
Also, as pps said, I wouldn't worry about it. She's two years old, and I personally watching a VERY young child's weight is absolutely ridiculous (unless he/she is wayyyy overweight or it's obviously affecting their health). As long as you make sure she's staying active, sleeping well, and getting calories from GOOD, nutritious foods, there should be no worries. I def recommend cutting out the tv though.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magelet View Post
I don't think it is nessicarily a problem. Look at your daughter. Does she look really solid (muscle and bone, sort of a dense toddler?) or does she look on the fat/chubbier than she should be side?

That said, it could be a great time to improve your diet.

It looks like she's eating a lot of white flour. Honestly, white flour isn't that different than white sugar. Maybe not quite as bad, but it's a pretty close second.

I would definitely cut down on the pasta, and use whole wheat pasta (brown rice pasta is more digestible if you can get it) for the rare occasions you eat it. I would make/buy crackers with very simple ingredients (including only whole grain flour), no "processed" ingrediants.

Brown rice is definitely better than pasta, but if your daughter and husband had a hard time keeping weight off, I'd try reduceing the amount of grains you eat. A lot of folks find that that helps immensely. I'd try increasing healthy fats, eliminating refined sugars and grains, and reducing grains in general.

For many people, a low fat, high carb (particularly refined carb) diet makes it almost impossible to maintain a healthy weight. It helps in several ways. The fat makes you feel fuller faster, so you aren't as likely to overeat, and you need less food (vs. too much food eating lean food and carbs). IIRC, having a lean diet full of carbs slows down one's metabolism, because traditional carb heavy diets would be the last foods that would keep, and would be the last foods left, whereas having plenty of fat in your diet tells your body that it's a plentiful season, and to increase your metabolism.

That said, not all fats are equal. vegetable oils, margerine hydrogenated fats, and the like are not healthy at all. Butter, natural lard, beef and chicken fat, coconut oil, olive oil, whole fat dairy, fattier meat, eggs, all are very healthy fats. They all have specific health benefits, and many of them have plenty of fat soluble vitamins in them. they all will help you digest fat soluble vitamins in veggies and other foods.


As for good snacks, I like snacks that have some healthy fat in them, because it helps fill you up faster, and healthy fats are really rich in vitamins. I try to make sure snacks have some fat and some protein, and then whole grain/veggie based carbs are optional, but the fat and protein are needed. some good, pretty easy snacks are veggies with peanut butter (sometimes with butter or coconut oil as well. coconut oil makes it taste sweet with pb) or homemade ranch/green goddess, whole fat yogurt, whole fat (real) cheese, nuts, meat (not deli meats but leftovers), hard boiled eggs, whole wheat bread and butter and cheese, leftovers. fruit I don't think is a very good snack by itself, because the sugar makes one crash just like with refined sugar, it's just not quite as dramatic. having some fat and protein with sugar though helps prevent the crash. so say apples with pb or cheese and grapes is a lot better.
These were all great suggestions, as well as what the other posters said.

I like to hear more from all of you about healthy fats. I'm really going to try to make it a goal to eat some better foods and plan better meals
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Her father is heavy, partially due to some bad habits, partially because its just hard for him to lose and keep off weight in general even when he's trying.
I am going to dissent here- I do see it an issue about her weight. You state there is a family history (be it genes or environment or both) so I would not brush it off and just take the wait and see everything will be fine.

You must in someway trust that your Dr. also feels this is an issue so I would deal with it now rather than down the road.

Heathy food eating starts at an early age not later when there is a real problem-IMO



I seems like this is a family issue not just the child that needs addressing so to start, the Traditional Food section may have more right now information for you to start learning about healthy fats not to mention a different direction in diet.

we do eat pasta (not a favorite) but WW is far better than not, but it's really what you put on it (sauce) that is the FAT issue
post #10 of 23
I'm going to disagree that there is never anything to worry about because a child is very young. There is more and more evidence that lifelong habits and bodies' "set points" are established extremely young, perhaps even in utero. Especially considering the family history, there is no time like the present to improve habits. One thing I would do ASAP is ditch and/or reduce the use of the stroller, if you use one now. It's amazing how much more active they are once they're out of the stroller! More work for you, yes, but better for them, as soon as is feasible.

I would honestly do away with goldfish and any other empty calories. My DS will gorge himself (eat beyond satiation) with certain carb-heavy foods that he just loves - pasta, for instance. And he tends to carry a belly and a double chin. Over the past several months, I put limits on the volumes of carbs the kids can eat. A couple of basic house rules that keep their diets in check. If there is a protein with the meal, they must eat some of that before they can have starch. So, they must eat some of the fish before they can have rice. And actually, they have to eat some veggie before the starch as well.

I will also not give endless servings of starch. If we're having pasta, DS can have maybe two modest servings, and then if he's still hungry, he can have veg or a protein (boiled egg, some cheese, beans, etc.) If he's truly hungry, he'll take the protein/veg option. They can have one small bowl of cereal (whole grain, no added sugar) with milk for breakfast, after that, it's plain yogurt with homemade granola, a protein bar, etc.

We don't do processed carb snacks. No chips, goldfish, pretzels, etc. Empty calories as far as I'm concerned, and conducive to overeating. Crackers are only eaten with a protein/fat (cheese, peanut butter, etc.). Pasta must be eaten with a substantial sauce. All grains are whole grains - whole wheat pasta & bread, brown rice, etc. Desserts are for special occasions.

I also keep an eye on fruit intake. My kids would eat nothing but fruit all day, and though it has fiber, vitamins, etc., it also has a lot of sugar and no protein or fat. My kids can eat fruit, but again, not unlimited quantities.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosehip View Post
We don't do processed carb snacks. No chips, goldfish, pretzels, etc. Empty calories as far as I'm concerned, and conducive to overeating. Crackers are only eaten with a protein/fat (cheese, peanut butter, etc.). Pasta must be eaten with a substantial sauce. All grains are whole grains - whole wheat pasta & bread, brown rice, etc. Desserts are for special occasions.

What would you consider a 'substantial sauce' or an appropriate one?
post #12 of 23
I agree with Rosehip. Caloric *restriction* is not appropriate for a young child but regular exercise and improvement of the quality of the diet is healthful for everyone in the family anyway. Cutting out goldfish and white pasta would be an improvement no matter what, and if it helps your DD reach a more 'average' height/weight ratio so much the better.

Re 'substantial' sauce, I'd guess that means one with some protein and fat (and veggies if they're not available as a side dish) - not just red sauce.
post #13 of 23
What's her percentile for height? Because if she's about the same for both, then I guess I don't see the issue weight-wise. My kids were always 90th/90th or more.

That being said, now would be a good time to have the whole family get better health habits. I do more fruit/veggies in the summer since it's so readily available. We use a lot of it in the summertime. Also you could do fruit smoothies (whole bananas, strawberries, peaches, some of it frozen) and then freeze that into popsicles for the summer. Some people do have an issue with pastas/white flour, and gain weight with it. Snacks here are raw veggies (if she likes to dip - it can be dipped in guacamole or hummus), lots of fruit, rice cakes with peanut butter.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
Re 'substantial' sauce, I'd guess that means one with some protein and fat (and veggies if they're not available as a side dish) - not just red sauce.
Yes, fat and protein. Some sauces I make are amatriciana, carbonara (and throw in frozen peas) and lemon with creme freche, spinach and cheese.
post #15 of 23
My son has always been at the top of the charts in both categories. That alone shouldn't be bothering you as long as it is somewhat proportional.

I'd limit regular pasta to once a week, choose whole wheat pasta another night if you can't give it up, and make sure that the amount of pasta is modest compared to the other (protein, bean, veg, etc.). I'd up the fruit if you can. My toddler will eat just about any veg as long as the form is pleasing and has a little soy sauce or other sauce.

You didn't mention breakfast. A healthy breakfast (we are big fans of steel cut oats, wheat bran, whole milk yogurt, and berries) goes a long way towards a healthy day and is awesome to help potty learning.

Popsicles are fine in moderation, but at the very least they should be fruit juice. And start now. You have no chance whatsover in changing their/your/her habits with the next one.

Snacks like goldfish are snacks, served in modest amounts, that don't interfere in meals. These are not the potty learning toddler's friend.

The problem with feeding a family is that a toddler should/need consume a lot of healthy fats and an overweight middleaged (I assume?) man does not. Your husband, my husband, needs refined pasta covered in cream pretty much never, although we still eat it sometime. =) Sometimes we adjust our toddlers food to include more fat (olive oil or whatever) to leaner versions.

Personally, with her genetic background, your husband's weight issues, your concerns over current weight, I think the best thing you could do is cut out the tv and attend something physical if you don't already. TV is really damaging to a 2 year old, even more scary research out this week. And it is everything imaginative play and outdoor play are not. Is there a city toddler program or "sports" or meetup group or playgroup you can joiin.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post


Personally, with her genetic background, your husband's weight issues, your concerns over current weight, I think the best thing you could do is cut out the tv and attend something physical if you don't already. TV is really damaging to a 2 year old, even more scary research out this week. And it is everything imaginative play and outdoor play are not. Is there a city toddler program or "sports" or meetup group or playgroup you can joiin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedmama59 View Post
I def recommend cutting out the tv though.
Yeah, it's something I'm working on. Again, it seems to be something that everyone else in our family thinks that I'm crazy to limit (or at least, to limit it to only an hour or so a day). She didn't watch any TV at all until DD2 was born. My husband had to go back to work 2 days after DD2 was born and so TV helped me recover from post partum stuff and kept everyone happy in the very rough early days.
But then once you start watching, its like pulling teeth to get her to stop. So at this point my goal is to limit it to an hour a day. If we can consistently get down to that, I'm going to try to move it to 30 minutes a day.

It's a work in progress...

ETA: JudiAU, The options for playgroups and such in our area are next to nothing, unless you have the money to sign up for expensive Gymboree classes and such (and even then, the selection is still really limited). I wish that were an option though.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsfrenchy View Post

ETA: JudiAU, The options for playgroups and such in our area are next to nothing, unless you have the money to sign up for expensive Gymboree classes and such (and even then, the selection is still really limited). I wish that were an option though.
We don't do much organized fitness classes, but there are some other creative options. Is there a mall? If you go right when it opens (less crowded), maybe you can push the baby in a stroller while she runs ahead. Avoid the food court. The playground! Do you have a yard with a sprinkler? Running through it is one of my kids' favorite summer activities. Invite a playmate over & they'll be entertained for quite a while. I would also scour local papers, libraries, etc. for free activities. Even if it's not strictly speaking "exercise," there might be options that get kids moving and not snacking - kids' concerts on the library lawn, nature activities/explorations led by a volunteer (a nature conservancy chapter near us does this). Put on music & dance around the living room. Just some ideas.

ETA: If you have a zoo, aquarium or children's museum near you, I would consider investing in a membership. While it may be a significant up front investment, it becomes very cost effective if you use it regularly. A lot of them have tumble/play areas for the little ones. Even if they don't, the kids run around, exploring and looking at things. Don't set a precedent of snacking as you walk, or during visits. You can take a picnic meal with you, and sit down to eat a nutritious lunch, or go right after breakfast or lunch.

I think that the very common American habits of snacking on the go, and eating all day are generally bad for health - particularly weight and oral health. Try to make eating a conscious act for the whole family - prepare minimally processed foods, sit down together (or as together as possible) to eat them using real plates and cutlery, generally make meals an event. Savor the food. For me, mindless snacking is a slippery slope.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post
What's her percentile for height? Because if she's about the same for both, then I guess I don't see the issue weight-wise. My kids were always 90th/90th or more.
I believe the OP said her DD weight-for-height was a high percentile. Meaning she's not particularly tall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsfrenchy View Post
ETA: JudiAU, The options for playgroups and such in our area are next to nothing, unless you have the money to sign up for expensive Gymboree classes and such (and even then, the selection is still really limited). I wish that were an option though.
If you have Gymboree in your area, I'd bet my money you have MOMS club. I'd check with them: http://www.momsclub.org/links.html

As for general advice, I'd switch your proportions of veggies and starch...in other words, make the starch the "side" and the veggie the "base" of each meal. Good luck.
post #19 of 23
Rather than worrying about her weight, I would worry about what you are teaching her to like to eat. This is where she will get in trouble as an adult in terms of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Lots of great suggestions here - all grains should be whole wheat/whole grains. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread. There should be lots of veggies, and proportionally less protein (lean meats, beans, some dairy), and whole grain sides like the brown rice mentioned above. No juice! Whole fruit provides the perfect serving size for fruit juice. It is very easy to overdo the consumption of fruit juice when you are drinking it.

ETA: also, I guess this is kind of controversial, but I require my child to sit down (no tv, etc) while eating. She sets a knife, fork, spoon, plate, placemat, napkin, and glass of water and at your dd's age was required to use a spoon or fork for most appropriate food items (although I was pretty flexible on what I permitted to be finger food). This helped her focus on the act of eating and not set her up for a habit of mindless eating.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artichokie View Post
Rather than worrying about her weight, I would worry about what you are teaching her to like to eat. This is where she will get in trouble as an adult in terms of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Lots of great suggestions here - all grains should be whole wheat/whole grains. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread. There should be lots of veggies, and proportionally less protein (lean meats, beans, some dairy), and whole grain sides like the brown rice mentioned above. No juice! Whole fruit provides the perfect serving size for fruit juice. It is very easy to overdo the consumption of fruit juice when you are drinking it.

ETA: also, I guess this is kind of controversial, but I require my child to sit down (no tv, etc) while eating. She sets a knife, fork, spoon, plate, placemat, napkin, and glass of water and at your dd's age was required to use a spoon or fork for most appropriate food items (although I was pretty flexible on what I permitted to be finger food). This helped her focus on the act of eating and not set her up for a habit of mindless eating.
I love that you said this! I think the RITUALS of eating are perhaps as important as WHAT we eat! I totally agree: have her eat AT the table, with utensils, and no distractions and eat together as a family as often as possible so that you a) get lots of beautiful quality time together and b) your daughter learns how to listen to her body and how to ENJOY food MINDFULLY...which will set her up for a lifetime of good habits and good associations with food!
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