The Food Pyramid According To Toddlers


This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.

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. Didn’t touch the waffle. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Every day fixing food for my toddler to eat causes me to be 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 3 kids, I’m just happy when he eats something.

But, his beige array of foods today 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 Toddler Food Pyramid

  1. The “Never Gonna Happen” Group — This is the food group that involves anything questionable in a toddler’s mind. Which could be literally A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. The other day my three 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.
  2. 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 digging through a random person’s diaper bag at the park.
  3. The “Because I Didn’t Eat a Meal” Group — This will be a large source of calories for a toddler — SNACKS. Because let’s face it, how else would they stay alive eating half a piece of pasta because it “looks weird”?
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Waffle company for keeping your child alive during his 2nd year of life. But, at least he’s eating is 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.” But, even if he was starving, I’m still not sure he’d eat them.

Read more from Meredith Ethington here on her Facebook page Perfection Pending. Meredith Ethington is a writer and a mom to three, trying to help her kids understand sarcasm and her need for personal space. Meredith’s debut parenting book, Mom Life: Perfection Pending, provides an uplifting yet realistic look at all that is expected of moms in the 21st century. 



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