Eating with a toddler seems like an enigma sometimes. One day this little tyke will eat just about anything. The next day, they don’t want anything to do with the same food you put in front of them 24 hours earlier. This little human is so picky. However, can you blame them? They are growing at such a fast pace at this point in their life. Their world is constantly changing. To us parents, though, it can be a journey. Sometimes, a very tedious journey.
When my son went for his 9 month check up, the pediatrician that I normally see was on vacation so we saw a different doctor in the practice. She went through the normal routine of asking questions. One of these questions was about his eating habits. I hadn’t really given my son any whole foods at this point except bananas, avocados, and other mushy foods. When the doctor had heard this she said that I should start giving him the foods that my husband and I ate all the time (except for the normal food restrictions of a child this age). She said I could supplement with pureed foods, however, I needed to start introducing regular food cut up really small so that I wouldn’t have a picky eater. As soon as I left the office, I went right into giving him our food for all meals. It took a good 2 months for him to get the hang of meat and just about any type of food that wasn’t pureed. It was definitely an uphill battle. On the upside, my son is a pretty good eater. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where he wants nothing to do with food. Or the only thing he wants is pasta or bread. But the good days outweigh the bad, so I’m pretty content. ( And what did my son want above all else for lunch today? Kalamata olives! Oh yes, he is definitely my son!)
I do like to try to give my son foods from all food groups every day. It is definitely a challenge but it makes me feel better knowing he is getting the nutrients he needs. I find this site to be very helpful. It breaks the recipes up into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and making your own “fast food”.
I also use a recipe book from the Cooking Light writers. It has over 700 recipes that take either 15, 20, or 30 minutes. I beg to differ on the time it takes to make certain recipes. However, there are so many great ideas! My sister got this cookbook for me 3 or 4 years ago and I have used it nonstop since. Thanks!! She is also the one who gave me the idea for this post as well. You’re the best ;).
One of my all time favorites from this cookbook is the Quick Vegetarian Paella. It calls for artichoke hearts and olives. If your kiddies don’t like these you can also substitute a favorite vegetable. Or you can add in a meat to bulk it up a little bit. Just a warning: It does take a while to get all of the ingredients prepared. This may not be an ideal recipe to use on a night where you are short on time.
I also like to cook ahead so that I have food already prepared in the freezer for those “oh man, time has flown by” moments. Once every two or three months months I make two dozen beef, two dozen chicken, and two dozen turkey meatballs. I usually chop up some type of vegetable and include that in the meatball mixture before I bake them. I then freeze them. I also make about two dozen pancakes. I always try to keep the freezer stocked with different frozen vegetables. Fairway sells a large bag of organic vegetables for a pretty decent price.
I hope some of these ideas were helpful. Remember: eating is tricky business when it comes to children. Let eating take its course. Just keep exposing them to different foods and textures. Your child will get there. (It’s funny. Tonight when I was serving dinner, my son didn’t want any of it. Go figure!)
If you have a recipe that is super kid friendly and your child/children love it, please share with us! Or any tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your kids to eat.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!