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Based on the most current nutritional information available, this accessible reference offers new mothers a fresh approach to feeding a toddler. More than a how-to guide, this unique handbook offers innovative elementsfrom whimsical illustrations to clever recipe names. Colorful devices and asides“foolish fats,” “funky fruits,” and “meat monsters”call attention to special topics, making them easy to remember. Assisting parents in developing an approach to food that is easy, organized, and fun, this study offers helpful tips through entertaining features such as “Bistro Basics” and “Chef’s Secrets.” Focusing on the age range of one to three yearswhen new foods and tastes are typically introducedthis survey also includes tips and tricks for quick shopping, easy recipes, and nutrient and supplement needs. Blending the basics of good nutrition with expert advice and guidance, this comprehensive manual is ideal for both the working and stay-at-home mom.
|Publisher:||Bull Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.80(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Christina Schmidt, MS, is a nutritionist and a certified nutrition educator who has been featured on NBC’s Today show and has written nutrition articles for The Bump magazine. She is the author of The Baby Bistro, Baby Bistro Box, and Toddler Bistro Box. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Read an Excerpt
The Toddler Bistro
Child-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice for the Toddler Years
By Christina E. Schmidt, Steve Veach, Peter McQuarry
Bull Publishing CompanyCopyright © 2009 Christina E. Schmidt
All rights reserved.
Toddler eating tends and tips for dealing with them
Yes, for some parents of toddlers those honeymoon days, when their sweet babies smile and happily swallow whatever baby food is waved in front of them, are now over. Toddlers will demand any food at the store that is brightly packaged with toys inside, whether or not it's good for them. Some toddlers actually eat their fruits and vegetables enthusiastically while parents of less complaisant eaters stand by in amazement. What's going on? Maybe your challenging toddler is karmic payback for your own stubbornness as a child, but more realistically, your toddler's approach to food follows some general trends after the first birthday.
It's a good idea to know a bit about the character and taste of your clientele before opening your Toddler Bistro!
A big new world of discovery surrounds toddlers every day, and they need to feel in control of some part of it. They love things their size: tables, chairs, utensils, plates, and food servings.
You'll discover some or all of these personality traits evolving in your toddler. They may bewilder you, but these traits signify a positive stage of development that you can still use to your advantage when it comes to introducing healthy foods.
 Declaring independence!
Toddlers like their own space and may eat more of your lovingly prepared meals if they have their own toddler-sized eating area for some meals or snacks.
 Saying lots of "no's," whether or not they make sense!
Turn away from tantrums. Attention only guarantees more. "No" is the name of the game, so offering limited choices of foods and activities can help you outsmart your little rebel. Tantrums are just a toddler's way of testing your limits. You can lose it later, when you're alone, but keep your composure and ignore the tirade. It will pass!
 Understanding one point of view — theirs!
It's terrific that your toddler asserts an opinion, as long as it is within your set of rules. Your toddler's outlook will change if yours stays consistent.
 Having a short attention span.
Focusing on food is sometimes an insurmountable task for toddlers. They may be "grazers" who rarely sit and finish a meal and would rather snack throughout the day. Don't worry: If you make progress with one out of three meals and some snacks, you are doing very well. Keep up a consistent mealtime and snack routine despite your little one's obliviousness to the plate.
 Being highly unpredictable — expect the unexpected!
One day it's "I don't want it," and the next week they can't get enough of it, or vice versa. Whatever it is, as long as you keep offering healthy options to your toddler, it's a win/win situation.
 Wanting to please their peers.
Hopefully your toddler has playmates who love vegetables and detest fried potatoes, never play roughly, and always say thank you. However, if that's not the case, keep in mind that your child's actions among playmates are more about socialization than food — or play styles or manners. Encourage the positive behaviors they display in groups and maintain your stand on the negative ones.
 Mimicking both parents and peers.
Be a role model for healthy eating and manners in front of your toddler. Even if the results are not immediate, being a role model will pay off in the long run!
Are there ways to prepare food that are appealing to toddler tastes? Below are some general features of food that most young diners seem to prefer.
 Food temperature — Not too hot, not too cold, but just right, which is warm or close to room temperature.
 Consistency — Smooth, not lumpy.
 Texture — Raw to slightly cooked rather than fully cooked vegetables. Toddler texture preferences will also depend on whether they have enough teeth to chew raw foods.
In general, your toddler's growth rate slows in comparison to the first year, so don't be alarmed if the insatiable hunger of infancy fades into a more casual interest in food. Appetite busters common to toddlers are grazing, teething, colds, ear infections, fatigue, stress, inactivity, filling up on fluids like milk or juice before a meal, or short attention spans. On the other hand, your toddler may wolf down everything in sight during a growth spurt or when coming off a two-meal food fast. Due to toddlers' fluctuating appetites, skipping a meal or two is normal, but check with your health care provider if the food fast is unusual and excessive.
Picky palates ... They like it how they like it!
Assuming that certain foods are the enemy is a normal way for toddlers to initiate their independence and need for control. One theory suggests that pickiness is an instinct that evolved to prevent Stone Age babies from sticking poisonous prehistoric bugs or plants in their mouths.
The Chef suggests these strategies to improve your toddler's eating during a "selective eating" stage:
 Avoid stereotyping your toddler as picky and make a mental note to not be a role model for finicky eating in front of your toddler.
 Don't overreact, scold, bribe, beg, or reward with a treat to get your toddler to eat. Overcontrolling your toddler's eating behavior turns down the volume of the natural internal cues for hunger and fullness. Studies show that unpressured children will instinctively balance their diet!
 Prevent your toddler from filling up on excessive fluids before meals. Offering sips of water or milk to quench thirst is fine. Two full sippy cups before a meal, however, may be the reason the plate goes back to the kitchen untouched.
 Allow your little purists their eccentricities, such as not wanting foods to touch each other, but avoid the short- order chef syndrome. Catering to special requests at each meal will reinforce finicky behavior. Offer limited choices (broccoli or carrots?), and serve one sure winner with each meal. Try this trick: Offer a tablespoon of the suspect food with an old reliable favorite when your toddler is hungriest. It works!
 Don't obsess about getting all of the food groups into your toddler daily; think weekly instead. Toddlers' diets magically tend to balance out nutritionally over a few days to a week (see Expanding the Palate, page 7, and Toddler Tasting Tricks, page 9).
 Pack each bite with nutrition, because you never know if it will be the last of that meal or day. Your goal is to maximize the opportunity for your toddler to eat healthy foods!
The love of ritual may provoke your toddler to take the term "comfort food" to the extreme. If your toddler turns type A on you and only certain foods such as white foods are in, it's okay — you can handle it.
Try subtle variations of the original dish your toddler has elected as the best and only edible food of all time. For example, serve other white foods from the Toddler Bistro's White Foods Menu:
 Flour tortillas
 Cottage cheese
 Eggs, hard-boiled*
 White bean purée
* See First Course, Allergy Alert, page 18, and Beverage Briefs, page 21.
If the food of the moment that your toddler worships is nutritious, let it go! Ride out the fixation for a few weeks, then try the old "Oops, it's all gone and I forgot to buy it" line and substitute a similar dish.
If the phase lasts more than a couple of months, call your health care provider.
Expanding the palate
Learning about new foods is an important part of childhood. Toddlers are naturally curious and want to eat, so here are some ways to extend their dietary horizons.
 Serve new foods casually, "grandfathering" them in with the old. Making a big deal out of a new food may provoke your toddler to instantly reject it. Every few days to few weeks, introduce an unfamiliar food to a meal with an old reliable and let your toddler get used to the look and taste of the new offering.
 Tasting needs the test of time. Most parents only reintroduce a food three to five times, while studies show that it takes eight to fifteen times for new foods to get a green light from toddlers. Don't give up: Keep reintroducing the food every few days.
 Be the role model for tasting and liking the food! You truly are the primary influencer of how your toddler relates to and accepts various foods. Your toddler's food preferences directly relate to what you like, as well as to the variety of choices you offer on the menu.
 If you grow it, they will eat it. Toddlers love to eat foods that they have witnessed from seed to plate.
 Take a trip to your local farm. Some farms offer tours for kids to help them connect to their natural environment and learn how food is grown and harvested.
 Go shopping together at farmers' markets or grocery stores. Allow your toddler to see, feel, and touch produce. Use this time to teach about healthy foods. Talk about all of the different kinds of fruits and vegetables — about their flavors, colors, shapes, seasons, and how they grow.
 Cultivate a culinary kid! Think about it: Your skills in the kitchen, or lack thereof, influence your food choices. Toddlers love to help out and to create and therefore might be inclined to eat! You can enlist your toddler, starting at around two years of age, to wash produce, peel bananas, stir and mix, sprinkle spices, help measure and pour ingredients, tell you when the timer goes off, hand you ingredients, decorate and arrange dishes, and help clean up. Try creating a menu together!
 Keep your sous-chef away from the stove and electric appliances. Make sure that your little chef doesn't handle raw meats or raw eggs.
Toddler tasting tricks
It's time to get creative in inspiring your toddler to get excited about eating! Remember those Mickey Mouse pancakes you loved? Here are some more ways to make food fun and enticing.
 Become a food artist. Design and use colorful foods on the plate. Arrange green beans into a pine tree or a spider, or make a fruit or vegetable rainbow.
 Name it something new! Broccoli can be trees, peas can be baseballs, oatmeal raisin cereal can be ant cereal, spaghetti and cheese can be slimy worms, tomato slices can be hot-rod wheels, and colorful fruit slices or chopped veggies can be rainbows. If your toddler loves fries or cookies, try cutting veggies and other less-favored foods into that shape and calling them "veggie fries" or "carrot cookies."
 Shape and sculpt. Use a fun cookie cutter for cheese, sandwiches, or fruit slices. Make teddy bear–shaped pancakes. Swirl mashed sweet potato with yogurt. Buy fun pasta shapes (stars, suns, moons, animals). Make a "mini" version. Silver-dollar- sized pancakes, mini-muffins, and mini-pizzas appeal to those little hands!
 Offer two to three choices from a certain food group. Let your toddler choose between red pepper strips or carrot sticks. Tey love to have an option.
 Tell a tale. "Once upon a time, a big bird dropped a very tiny seed ..." In this way, your toddler's bite of food becomes an important chapter in the story.
Struggling with food group frustrations? Sneak in a few of these techniques.
Dip raw to slightly cooked colorful veggies in sauces or yogurts. Hide veggie purées in mashes, sandwiches, pita pockets, sauces, or soups. Cover veggies with sauces or grated cheese, or flavor them with dill, lemon, honey, olive oil, orange zest, or basil. Grill or roast them to eat alone or on mini-pizzas. Grate them into muffins, pancakes, breads, meatloaves, or salads. (Remember, though — no honey for children less than one year of age.)
Dip fruit shapes in yogurt. Purée fruits to use as dips or spreads or to blend into yogurt smoothies. Bake into muffins, breads, pancakes, meat dishes, or cobblers, or bake them alone. Mix chopped fruit into oatmeal or use it on top of cold cereal. Soften sliced dried fruit in a cup of hot water for fruit stew.
Substitute wheat flour for half of the white flour in recipes for baked foods. Add two tablespoons of wheat germ, bran, or oat bran into cereals or baked food recipes. Choose wheat pastas, brown rice, and other whole-grain products. Great grains that cook quickly are oats, hominy grits, amaranth, oat bran, quinoa, short grain rice, and bulgur.
Meats and protein
Slice roasted meat or poultry or bake fish sticks for dipping. Chop meats, poultry, or eggs into salads or mixes for sandwiches. Try bean dips, hummus (mashed chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans), tofu pudding, or nut butters. Use ground beef, poultry, or tempeh (soy-based crumbles) in sauces, quesadillas, soups, or on mini-pizzas.
If your toddler is allergic to wheat, fish, or nuts, see First Course, Allergy Alert, page 18.
Milk and dairy
Milk is an important source of calcium (see First Course, Allergy Alert, page 18; Beverage Briefs, page 21; and Á la Carte, Notable Nutrients, page 112). If your toddler goes on a milk strike, try alternate calcium sources.
Add plain yogurt to muffins, breads, salads, dips, sauces, smoothies, and as a topping on cereals. Drinkable yogurts such as kefir are also easy options. Look for yogurts with the Live & Active Cultures seal to ensure a supply of friendly, protective bacteria. Some yogurts also contain prebiotics, indigestible fibers that feed the friendly bacteria. See Appendix 2, Shopping Simplicity, page 149.
Mix evaporated milk, condensed milk, or nonfat dry milk powder into soups and baked dishes. Cheesy sauces, low- fat cream cheese spreads, cheese strips, melts, or cheese sandwiches are great dairy sources, too!
For vegan toddlers, soy products and other milk substitutes fortified with calcium and vitamin D are good alternative sources of calcium (see Appendix 2, page 149).
If you only read the end of chapters, then you're in luck, because this section summarizes some important points to help you nurture your toddler's health with good nutrition.
Here are some examples of appropriate toddler-sized portions from the various food groups:
 Grains: ½ cup cereal; ½ slice bread
 Fruit and vegetables: 2 to 3 tablespoons veggies or fruit
 Protein: 1 to 2 ounces meat, poultry, fish, or meat substitutes; 1 egg; 2 tablespoons nut butter; ½ cup beans
 Dairy: ½ cup milk or yogurt; 1 ounce cheese
Remember to role model! Your own food preferences directly relate to those your toddler will acquire. You are creating the foundation for your toddler's eating habits in preschool and later in life. I definitely took a hiatus from my mother's healthy role modeling when I was a child to eat French fries and candy, but eventually those nutritious eating habits championed over my little junk food venture.
Communicate with your kitchen crew to establish eating rules for your toddler. Coordinating meals with your family, deciding what foods may enter the house and your toddler's mouth, and practicing mealtime manners send a clear message about acceptable food behaviors to your toddler.
Variety is the spice of life, and food is not excluded! Let your toddler choose from a wide variety, including favorites.
Beverages should follow the main course to prevent your toddler from filling up on fluids. Bistro Bests are water and milk.
Limit desserts and sweets (see First Course, Summing Up Salt, Sugar, and Spice, page 35). My grandfather loved to jokingly respond to our requests for dessert with his family- coined phrase, "Desert the table!"
Encourage self-feeding with fingers or toddler utensils. By two years of age, most toddlers can feed themselves with a spoon. You may need to stand by with a spoon handy to help some food get into the mouth!
Expect a mess! Poking, smelling, mashing, tossing, and spitting out your recipes are natural stages of development and food acceptance. It doesn't mean that they hate the food! Minimize messes with plastic floor mats, shirt bibs with pockets, plastic grip bowls and suction plates, handy wipes, and a sense of humor! Dogs are fabulous at making floor messes vanish, too!
Routines are reassuring for toddlers. Set regular dining hours for three meals a day (its okay if they only really devour one of them) and two to three snacks a day. At home, designate a specific dining area for snacks and meals. Try to space snacks an hour to an hour and a half before meals.
Bring the family together for meals as often as possible. Today's world of working parents makes it tough, but it's worth it to fit in at least one family meal a week; one a day is even better! Eating together at home provides a sense of structure and security for your toddler. Research shows that eating together leads to a healthier diet with less fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt, and soda, and more minerals, vitamins, and fiber. If the next available booking for a home family meal isn't until your toddler is a teenager, try picking up or packing a healthy dinner to go and meeting somewhere convenient to work, such as the beach, a park, or a lake for some fun variety.
Excerpted from The Toddler Bistro by Christina E. Schmidt, Steve Veach, Peter McQuarry. Copyright © 2009 Christina E. Schmidt. Excerpted by permission of Bull Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chef – Christina E. Schmidt, M.S., N.E.,
Acknowledgments á la Mode,
The birth of the Toddler Bistro,
Starters ... Toddler eating trends and tips for dealing with them,
First Course ... Food safety,
Second Course ... Family environmental health,
Entrées ... In the early years, from ages one to three,
Á la Carte ... Stand out nutrients and supplement suggestions,
Extras ... Taming today's trends,
Desserts ... Healthy habits for life,
1. A Spoonful of sources,
2. Shopping simplicity,
3. A blend of measurements,