It’s been quite a while since Annabelle and I started the toddler wars. We’ve since been on vacation to visit my parents in Casa de Campo in the Dominican. The beginning of the toddler wars was pretty brutal, trying to eliminate all signs of processed foods from Annabelle’s diet. On vacation it wasn’t much easier, especially with Nonno (grandpa) and Nonna (grandma) who as predicted gave in rather easily when Annabelle pointed at the cookie jar and screamed or repeatedly said “more” of something she really shouldn’t have had more of. We were there for almost 3 weeks and the first 2 weeks I spent a lot of time cooking and trying to prep food for Annabelle as usual. And then I gave it to vacation. When my husband came down to meet us for the last 4 days of our trip I decided to just go with the flow and we ate almost nothing but Dominican food. Some of it was fried (pastelitos, chicharon de pollo, batatas fritas) most of it wasn’t very healthy, but it was all delicious. Most of the things weren’t even touched by Annabelle’s picky little toddler finger. She did however enjoy her fried dough foods. Surprise surprise.
When we got back I only had a few days before I started working full time in the Fort Worth Independent School District and I forgot exactly how much prep work went into creating real, nourishing food. Actually, lunches weren’t the problem since her lunches are typically dinner leftovers. It’s the snacks. Yes there are the obvious choices, raisins and cheese are an Annabelle favorite but if you have a picky toddler you know that getting them to eat their fruits and veggies means using some creativity. Sadly that first week that she was back at daycare full time she ate some snacks that I’m not very proud of, including the spinach cakes and sweet potato fries that started the toddler wars in the first place.
Since starting the toddler wars again in full effect we have had some sleepless nights. Sometimes a stubborn toddler would rather not eat than eat something she doesn’t want. Which means waking up in the middle of the night starving and wanting to spend the night nursing or asking to eat. Top that off with not seeing mommy all day after almost 3 months of spending practically every second of every day with me. What better quality time than snuggling and nursing? In the middle of the night of course. When normal people like to sleep.
My first full week back at school I realized something really quickly. No matter how much healthy food is in your fridge or how much you think you’ll be able to figure out a quick dinner when you get home, if you don’t have a plan you’re done. By the end of the last school year I had gotten pretty good at meal planning. Meal planning makes life so much easier. If you feel scattered when it comes to preparing healthy meals and you’ve never meal planned I bet that once you start it’ll be an awesome feeling. The most important thing to meal plan: home-made snacks. I tend to not think about snacks until I’m packing Annabelles lunch box and realize she probably won’t eat any of the fresh fruit or veggies I can use as snacks and I don’t really want to give her something processed. The thing is, that making home made snacks like granola bars or spinach muffins takes some extra time and if you don’t plan for it you’ll find yourself in a pickle. So brainstorm, make a list and make sure you’re fully prepared for the week ahead.
And when worst comes to worst you can always whip up breakfast for dinner. Sneak some fruit into your pancakes, scramble up some cage free eggs and re-pakage it for tomorrows lunch.