The Food Pyramid According To Toddlers

by Meredith Ethington
Originally Published: 

For lunch today, my toddler asked for a frozen waffle with peanut butter on it, chicken nuggets and a bowl of granola. I thought to myself, Huh. He must be into beige foods today. He ate every bite of the granola and chicken nuggets. He didn’t touch the waffle. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Every day, fixing food for my toddler to eat puts me a little on edge. What will he find wrong with it today? I’m going to avoid eye contact while I hand this over. Maybe he won’t notice that stringy piece of cheese on the end of his pizza. Crap. He noticed.

It’s a straight-up guessing game every single day. Will he like it or won’t he? The truth is, at this point, after three kids, I’m just happy when he eats something.

But, his beige array of foods got me thinking about what the food pyramid would look like to a toddler. Because, when you think about it, picky toddlers have their own food group rules that have absolutely no scientific findings or logic.

The ‘Never Gonna Happen’ Group

This is the food group that involves anything questionable in a toddler’s mind. Which could be literally anything. The other day my 3-year-old freaked out because his pizza had stringy cheese on it. Go figure, stringy cheese on pizza! No amount of coaxing will convince the toddler this food group is edible.

The ‘Let’s Keep Mom Guessing’ Group

This food group is designed to mess with a mom’s head. For example, a toddler may eat something at Costco out of a tiny cup and claim they love it, and then never eat it again after you buy it in mass quantities. This food group also includes eating things they would never eat with you, but because a stranger gives it to them, it must be OK. Other foods in this group could be something they find on the floor at a mall play area or something they find when digging through a random person’s diaper bag at the park.

The ‘Because I Didn’t Eat a Meal’ Group

Snacks will be a large source of calories for a toddler. Let’s face it—how else would they stay alive eating only half a piece of pasta because it “looks weird”?

The ‘How Am I Still Alive When I Never Eat?’ Group

We’re not sure what goes on in this group. But, he keeps growing, so you try not to worry about it.

The ‘Mom Gives Up’ Group

Last but not least, this is where our dreams of having a toddler eat all organic, or heaven forbid something green, goes to die. We frankly give up the fighting and give in to the hot dogs. It’s a sad group, especially when you consider writing a thank-you letter to the Eggo waffles company for keeping your child alive during his second year of life. At least he’s eating something, you tell yourself multiple times a day while serving a food from this group.

The struggle is real. I have lots of Costco-sized boxes of Annie’s crackers that no one is going to eat to prove it. I now lovingly refer to those boxes as my “food storage.” Even if he was starving, I’m still not sure he’d eat them.

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