Moms with picky eaters, raise your hands, please! If you don't have your hands up, please come over to my house and teach me your ways. My son, Major, like many other toddlers, loves a food one day and loathes it the next. I'm constantly looking for new ways to get him excited about eating. It seems like after finding something he will eat up like an NFL lineman, he moves on. The only food that he hasn't grown weary of is Cheetos. Great for potty training, by the way.
Not only do I have to adapt to his ever-changing food preferences but also to his ever-increasing caloric needs. Because of Major's cystic fibrosis, his body doesn't absorb nutrients in his food as well as other kids. We give him enzymes to help with that, but he still requires the kind of fat and calories I could only dream of eating. Not only that but, as he grows, Major needs even more calories and fat.
The pat of butter in his veggies that helped his weight skyrocket as a baby doesn't cut it anymore. These days, it's layer upon layer of extra calories -- and then add something else just in case. Some time after Major started eating solid foods, butter crackers became our go-to base for a meal.
I didn't grow up as a member of the clean plate club, and I don't want Major to be one. Because there are so many potential issues associated with weight gain for those with CF, I'm very cognizant of creating healthy eating habits for him. It is important to have a healthy relationship with food. I certainly encourage him to put a dent in his meals, but I don't scold or punish him for not doing so. I don't hound him for every bite. I do offer new foods frequently, as well as empower him to choose some of his meals.
To be so relaxed about our mealtime attitude, I have to maximize each bite. And so, the butter cracker stacker was born.
Butter crackers started on the side of chicken nuggets, with either butter or cream cheese.
As Major's need for calories increased, I put canned chicken on top of the butter.
When he grew again, I buttered the cracker, mixed the canned chicken with avocado, and spread that over the cracker.
After many dinners of the “'cado salad” (as Major calls it) variety, I could see boredom beginning to set in. I needed something heartier, as did his waistline. Time for butter, avocado and chicken, and mayo.
Of course, mayo! Why didn't I think of this sooner? Upon realizing my brilliance, Major did me one better and discovered canned cheese. Rather than allowing him to spray it straight into his mouth, it now resides safely on top of his buttered, avocado-mayo and chicken topped cracker.