My 2.5 year old is an all-day grazer. This maybe wouldn't bother me if he had several healthy snacks throughout the day in addition to eating substantial food, but more often than not, he will have a few bites (on a good night) of the healthy homemade meal I prepared...and then is asking for something to eat 10 min. later..cereal, crackers, etc. This is the pattern for most meals, but dinner is especially the problem. I'm wondering how to improve this so that he can get the most out of the food I'm making vs. having a diet shaped around the quickie stuff I'm grabbing on the fly to satisfy him every 30 min.
The obvious answer would be to not let him graze and make him wait until we eat our next meal...but I'm not sure how to do this (DS has an iron will and it would turn into an all-day fight) nor how to ascertain whether he is genuinely hungry when asking to eat since he won't eat much "real" food.
I have a newborn so the "snacks" he is getting are as healthy as I can manage right now, but they are things I can grab- a cheese stick, fruit, crackers...he'll eat some veggies very occasionally. My mother, who he sees every week, packs snacks for him even if she's coming to my house to see him, and they are the processed kind, so I often feel I'm swimming against the current here.
I do think it has to do with his short attention-span, in that he doesn't sit long enough at the dinner table to get or stay interested in the food he's eating and he wants to get down from his chair.