I was very, very happy to find this little clip on the Wholesome Toddler Food Web site.
Toddlers Do Not Eat 3 Full Meals!
My Toddler does not eat at Dinner!
You will notice as the day progresses that your toddler becomes less and less hungry. Rest assured, it is common for toddlers to eat great at breakfast, eat "ok" at lunch and come dinner time, your toddler may eat either miniscule bites or leave behind a 99% full plate.
Good, because that adequately describes my nightly experience with dinner. Claire and I get home from daycare/work, and I immediately begin preparing her dinner. Let's take last night for example. I'm trying to give her a variety, but I have trouble thinking of different things that she would actually eat. Last evening I decided on tuna fish. I was going to mix in some peas and a bit of mayo, little cheese. I forgot I used the last of the peas last week. Hmm. OK, I'll give her broccoli then, but on the side. So here I went. Steamed some broccoli. Then melted bit of cheese on broccoli. Mixed a little mayo and cheese in w/some tuna. Let broccoli adequately cool and then got Claire in her seat w/her watered down apple juice, bibbed her up, locked her in, and served her dinner. Fast forward two minutes. Claire has sucked down her juice, and thrown her entire dinner on the floor except for two bites. She then eats the two bites and claps for herself.
Every night. EVERY night. The night before...baked chicken and cauliflower. Ten minutes later, I'm kneeling on the floor picking up mashed up chicken and cauliflower to throw in the garbage. GRRRR. Night before that..scrambled eggs. Eggs all over the floor. I think you get the drift by now. The only thing that ever gets more than two bites is mac and cheese, and I refuse to serve her that every single night. So basically what it comes down to is I cook dinner, I pick it up off of the floor, then I give Claire fruit or applesauce, which she eats all of, followed by milk, which she drinks all of.
I considered just not cooking dinner for her at all, but I just can't do that. There's the very rare night when she'll actually eat...spaghetti, fish...although the next time I serve the same foods, they will find their way to Floorsville.
Guess I'll just keep trying. I have learned at least to really limit the portion size so I'm not wasting too much. And Claire has gained about one half to one pound each month and is in the 50%-75% percentile for weight in her age bracket, so obviously she's not malnourished.
Mommy is just sick of scooping her grocery list off the floor.