My 2 year old has begun battling at mealtime. We’ve never made food a big issue and have never insisted she eat all her food. But now she doesn’t want to eat breakfast, yet she’s hungry 1/2 hour later and only wants cheese and crackers. I’m tempted to let her go hungry, but honestly, she’s on the very bottom of the weight chart and if she keeps this up much longer will fall off the chart completely.

—Food Fighting Mom

Dear Food Fighting Mom,

The first thing that comes to mind is, why not schedule breakfast a half hour later? It could be a simple seasonal change having affect on her appetite, I see that in lots of children and myself too. If you are in transit during that time, take finger food to go. The second thing that comes to mind is, so what if all she wants is cheese and crackers, that is two food groups with protein to boot, so I advise to go with it. Offer some fruit later.

The goal with nutrition is to view you child’s diet over a period of a week or even a month. If it’s balanced over that period, you are doing great. Children often go through phases of wanting particular foods and disliking others. The way I see it is who are we to judge what their bodies need. Instead it is our job to offer nutritional choices, teach and let the child serve herself and make mealtime a shared caring, social experience, that’s just as important as the actual food. Make sure to sit and dine together either at her child sized chair and table or at the adult table with her in a booster, in other words, get rid of the high chair.