I frequently, well lately it's sometimes, read this blog. Which recently pointed me to a nutritionist who says we should not be forcing our toddlers to clean their plates or to eat food in a certain order (IE good foods first and treats after).
Okay, firstly let me admit that I pretty much browsed through the second post very quickly because my kids are napping and will wake up any minute now, so I may have missed a pertinent point or two.
Regardless, I'll say that in theory I wholeheartedly agree with her.
When it comes to what our kids eat, it's usually pretty healthy food because that's 98% of what we buy, and when we do buy junk food, it's usually the "healthier" or more natural version, like real ice cream or potato chips that have ingredients that you can actually pronounce and spell unassisted. So to us it doesn't really matter what order the kids eat in, but usually because we eat dinner first before we even offer dessert, that's usually the order it goes in.
When it comes to our toddler, we've learned that sometimes he eats non-stop all day and therefore all it feels like I do all day is to get him meals and snacks. Usually, though, he eats some crackers. And by some, I mean two. Sometimes "two" means two halves of a stoned wheat thin, and sometimes it means two whole stoned wheat thins. Whatever. It's two. We've been okay with that. Because, in the grand scheme of things, sometimes all he eats is vegetables (raw; heaven help us if we cook his!) or fruit.
And, usually, when he's done eating, he's done, and it's all good.
Recently, though, I've been ready to force-feed him the last of his plate. We've had a few late suppers (as in, eat supper and go to bed), but when they've been early or on time, a snack before bed is provided. Lately supper has gone unfinished and/or the snacks have remained uneaten. No big deal, and this should be a non-issue according to Maryann.
I am, however, getting really tired of someone pounding on his door with his little fists while crying about how hungry he is within a five minutes of going to bed, which is within half an hour of the last offering of food (he gets to eat some crackers). And being woken up in the wee hours (read 04:00--a.m.) of the morning for the same reason got old the first time (he gets to eat more crackers).
So, generally, we're happy if he eats. Anything. And however much he wants. But he's either going to be force-fed before bed or ignored all night (but only if I can find my earplugs).
Maybe I should just feed him those magical crackers before bed/at supper. . . . Good thing that they sell them at Costco.