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What is your feeding schedule for your toddler?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

What is your feeding schedule for your toddler?  Is it successful or do you feel like they aren't eating well?


I have a toddler I feel I am chasing in circles to get to eat.  I think I am trying to feed him too often.  Also, he doesn't eat breakfast unless it's sweet, unless I make him wait about 45 minutes after waking.  I hate making him that hungry that he only eats his eggs and toast because he is famished, but I am starting to wonder if that is the only way to feed a toddler healthy food without having to spend a lot of extra time a day and wasting lots of food?



post #2 of 13
Haha! Laughing because my kid sounds similar. I entice him with fruit first thing in the morning and then about an hour later I can get him to eat his eggs and pancakes. Also, nothing wrong with a bit of syrup/fruit on homemade pancakes IMO. As long they eat it!

We have a snack a couple hours later, usually plain yogurt with a dab of honey and some granola. Lunch is 1-2 hours later, some sort of sandwich and veggies and fruit. Generally nuts, cheese, or whatever as an afternoon snack, then dinner around 5-6 pm.

Fwiw, I have to snack often due to health reasons so DS just joins me for it wink1.gif
post #3 of 13
Since you asked:

Breakfast usually oatmeal or yogurt with fruit

Snack/lunch. Crackers, some form of protein

Snack #2. A fruit, usually

Dinner: usually a veg/protein /starch combo of some kind

This kid likes to eat. He'd eat all day if I let him.
post #4 of 13
Hi there ... Yes... Breakfast isn't easy here at all either. I think it's because my DS is too busy exploring and playing after the night. He also nurses A LOT at night so he doesn't wake up famished like his mother :-)

I try to offer him something similiar to what I'm eating ... e.g. Greek yoghurt with berries but it's hit or miss. But I don't stress about it as I've found that he'll always eat what I pass him back when he's in his car seat on route to our morning outing (usually cheese like unpasterised Brie or goats cheese). The rest of the day goes ok.

I really try to keep mealtimes pressure free and lighthearted as I fear the opposite could back fire. My son is 17 months and enjoys the following foods best: salmon, chicken, turkey, avacados, peas, broccoli, cucumber, cream, cheese, yoghurt.

We usually have breakfast (on the move as described above), then a snack or light lunch at about 12 before nap, then a snack or late lunch at 3ish, then dinner at 6ish. At dinner and lunch he doesn't stay in his high chair long enough to finish his meal as he'd get bored so I don't force him to. I usually expect him to remain in the kitchen though and i often feed him his remaining food while he plays on the floor with his toys etc.

I just wanted to share how we do it.
post #5 of 13
Is your LO on the younger end of toddlerhood? If so, it sounds really normal and will probably sort itself out. At that stage I generally offered food every 2 - 3 hours, alternating meals and snacks, with meals having at least 3 foods and snacks having 2. At 3 years old, that's still working pretty well, with normal "meal" foods instead of the more separate foods you might give a younger toddler. I think it's common for toddlers to have one good meal in a day, and just nibble the rest.
post #6 of 13

DD is 18 mos and a grazer.  She eats a LOT throughout the day, but not all at once.  Mornings usually begin with a snack cup filled with frozen peas/frozen or fresh blueberries/frozen or fresh raspberries...or somme other form of small fruit or veggie, and generally a combo.  It takes her some time to wake up and work up an appetite for a "meal" but she does tell me what she wants most days, be it more fruit/veggies, eggs, toast, etc.  I've always offered healthy stuff so that's all she knows to ask for. I myself tend to snack alot between meals otherwise I notice my blood sugar drop and I start to feel crappy and DD seems to be following that which I'm fine with.  DH and his fam are more "meal" oriented and want her to stuff her face all at once and I try to explain that she's got a tiny stomache and it's better she learn to listen to her own appetite and eat only when hungry.

post #7 of 13

My son will eat organic flax cereal with milk and a banana and strawberries for breakfast.

Then, he helps me eat my oatmeal and hour later..I guess mama's food always tastes better.

Then I always leave snack for him on his table like cranberries,cheese,juice,or organic rice milk.

He always eats fruit apples and oranges  and/or apple sauce and plain yogurt

Well, he just about loves to snack throughout the day and eats small meals during dinner and lunch.

post #8 of 13

My son has always had a pretty good appetite, but it is only now (that I am pregnant and starving in the mornings and he is 3yo) that we eat immediately after waking.  Our mornings used to be a lot slower.  We would wake and snuggle in bed for a bit, then get up and make the bed (which always takes at least 10 minutes with a toddler winky.gif), do a bathroom routine and change clothes.  Then we would go outside and check the water and food in the barn for the animals.  By the time we got back in he was usually getting hungry so I would cut him some cheese or give him some dried fruit while I made breakfast.  Other days he would help me make breakfast and just snack on the ingredients.  I tried to make sure food was always available to him by having dried/fresh fruit or veg out and within reach and just trusted that he would not let himself go hungry.  If I knew that we would be eating a meal in the near future I would pick up the snacks so he might have an appetite to eat with us.  But we also have tried to be casual with food.  He eats what we eat (minus the really spicy stuff) and often, especially when he was younger, we shared plates.  That saved a lot of food from being wasted.  Also, we came up with creative ways to use leftovers and saved nearly everything off our plates, because sometimes he was hungry again but really only needed a toddler sized portion (a bite or two more) of pasta/veg/chicken/whatever.  So, we started using tiny tupperware!


I think if you just offer him what you would like for him to be eating, he will eat it.  It might take awhile, especially if he is used to getting sweet treats, but he will come around.  Just make the eggs and toast, and offer a little fruit maybe for something sweet if you want, put it on the table and don't make anything of it.  I know it can be frustrating!  Good luck Mama!

post #9 of 13
My DD is 2 and a good eater. Sure she asks for treats but I tend not to keep that stuff around (I'm a weak, weak mama) so usually it's "sorry honey we don't have any". She eats what we eat but isn't always thrilled and I don't push it. She will try ANYTHING once but knows she doesn't have to eat it if she doesn't like it. She has some staples she will almost always eat but will also randomly refuse them. When we leave the house, I try to pack a veggie, a fruit and a starch and offer them in that order. Sure, many times the broccoli comes home while the apple and crackers are eaten but my stance is that my job is to offer, hers is to choose.
post #10 of 13

We don't really do snacks.  We eat a lot of high protein, high fat, high satiety foods, so snacks aren't really necessary.  Lunch is typically a very light meal, which DS sometimes skips (opts to nurse instead).


Typical menu:


Eggs and liverwurst or a kefir + egg yolk + berry smoothie about an hour after waking (8am)


Noon: Cold lunch tray - cheese, olives, carrots, canned baby clams, leftovers


mid-afternoon (3-4) - what we call "yellow tea" which is bone broth with an egg yolk and high vitamin butter oil. This avoids him being desperately hungry before dinner is available. If we didn't have time constraints with DH's work schedule, we would eat dinner at 5 and do yellow tea before bed.


Dinner is some kind of seafood/meat, cooked veggie and a salad, around 6:30, and he goes to bed almost immediately after we're done cleaning up from dinner (7:30).


He also nurses at random times, maybe 4-6 times a day.  He's 2.5.

post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post
Also, he doesn't eat breakfast unless it's sweet, unless I make him wait about 45 minutes after waking.  I hate making him that hungry that he only eats his eggs and toast because he is famished, but I am starting to wonder if that is the only way to feed a toddler healthy food without having to spend a lot of extra time a day and wasting lots of food?



Very few people, big or small, can eat immediately after waking up. It's ok to be a little hungry when you sit at the table. You are not starving him. 45min seems like a reasonable time to wait before breakfast. Just follow his lead, as long as you provide some structure in his meals, he'll eat what and how much his body needs.


My dd is past the toddler years (she's 3), but besides breastmilk she doesn't eat anything in the morning. She wakes up around 7 and I drop her off at daycare at 8 and she has her breakfast then.

post #12 of 13

34 MO DD:


Wake up: 7am

Snack: 7:30

Breakfast: 9:00

Snack 11:00

Nap: 12:00

Wake up - anywhere from 1-3:00

Lunch: Immediately upon waking

Snack: 5:15pm

Dinner: 6:30pm

Bed: 7:30pm

post #13 of 13

DD is 26 months but this has been our eating pattern for the last 6 months or so. She wakes up around 7-8, sometimes earlier (gah!). We do diaper change, get dressed, fold some diapers or clothes depending on laundry from night before, DD plays a bit, we take the dogs outside, and there's usually another diaper change before breakfast. Normally we eat about an hour after getting up, depending on what's going on, often at 8:30-9 or so. Lunch is usually at noon-ish and in between breakfast and lunch DD will often eat a small snack. Then she naps and after a nap sometimes wants a snack (something simplecause I'm often busy with dinner prep). Then it's dinner time usually around 6 and she starts getting ready for bed around 8.


So she has 3 meals and one to two snacks. What she typically eats:

- breakfast: (one of) cream of wheat hot cereal, eggs, french toast, pancakes (we don't do syrup on anything); sometimes also a few strawberries, blueberries or an orange

- morning snack: a handful of crackers or an apple (always the latter if we're at the grocery store, lol)

- lunch: dinner leftovers, banana, greek yogurt, cut up cheese, hummus/pita, crackers - or some combination of these depending on how hungry she's feeling

- afternoon snack: avocado, banana, or whatever she nibbles while "helping" me make dinner

- dinner: depends on what we're eating; she will eat carb, egg, and cheese portions of the meal; the veggies and meat/seafood it depends; I offer cooked eggs and greek yogurt as a fallback if she doesn't like dinner


The morning and afternoon snacks are by request, she usually has something as a morning snack (90% of the time) but the afternoon one happens less than half the time and depends on when she wakes up from her nap, when dinner is, and how she's feeling.

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