Sunday, November 8, 2009

Toddler food

When Peanut was an infant, I used to think that it would be "so easy" to feed her once she could eat "real" food and I could finally put away my blender and stop pureeing fruits and veggies.

Boy, was I wrong.

Feeding a toddler is very tricky. Some days they love a certain food and other days they act like it's poison. Some days they ravenously eat everything you offer and other days they throw all their food on the floor push their food around their tray and won't eat a solitary pea. The only thing that Peanut will always eat and never turn down is junk food. Of course. So to keep her eating right, I have to plan ahead and try to keep plenty of options on hand. The key for us is variety. I try to offer her several small portions of different foods at each meal in the hope that she'll eat at least one of them. I'm not talking about a three course menu, I'm just talking basic foods. For example, tonight she had a spinach salad, a chicken tender and a cheese stick. She actually ate all three of those things and for her - that's a huge meal. My little 19 pound 20 month old is not a big eater.

Anyway, it occurred to me that their might be other moms of toddlers that could give me some fresh ideas. I'll kick us off by sharing some of the things that Peanut will usually eat for me.

PB and J. Yup, the old stand-by. I make Peanut's with organic peanut butter and a all fruit jelly.

Guacamole. Yeah, not a conventional toddler food - especially with all the onions and garlic I put in mine, but she will literally eat this with her hands a spoon. Avocados are super high in nutrients, so I have no problem with that.

Oatmeal. This is one of the only foods that she never tires of. She has it for breakfast at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Sometimes I jazz it up with cinnamon, honey and raisins. She'll eat it any way I fix it.

Carrots and Hummus. Okay, this is more of a snack, but she still loves it. Hummus is another staple that I almost always have on hand.

Salad. Believe it or not, she really loves salad. Sometimes she just picks out the cucumbers and carrots, but most of the time she'll at least take a stab at the lettuce. If we're eating it, I always offer it to her

Rice and Green Beans. I always keep brown minute rice in my cupboard. It's cooks up in less than 10 minutes and works well with fresh green beans. Peanut likes flavor, so I add olive oil and garlic to the green beans and honey to the rice. Yes, honey! I used to do that when I was a kid, and whadayaknow, she likes it too! Just a little drizzle gives it some pizazz.

Pasta. Not exactly the healthiest of dinners, but she always gobbles up pasta like it is going out of style. Ziti, spaghetti, macaroni...she loves it all. I buy the Healthy Harvest variety, which is at least slightly better than white pasta!

I've learned to offer her foods that I think she definitely won't like (guacamole, for example) and she has surprised me on a number of occasions. Secondly, I've learned not to sweat it when she goes on a food strike and eats nothing but a handful of cheerios all day. She'll eat when she's hungry - shoveling food down her throat when she's not interested is just going to make both of us cranky and upset.

What are your toddlers favorite foods? What are some of your mommy tricks for getting good foods into your picky eaters? Please share!


  1. Owen loves homemade almond butter (made with coconut oil, honey, and a little salt), and if I pair it with jam, he *really* digs it. He never gets tired of fruit, especially bananas.

    And he adores meatloaf! I was so surprised. He would eat meatloaf all day long. There have been lots of surprises like that: he also likes chili. Who knew?

    Unfortunately, getting him to eat vegetables is like pulling teeth.

  2. My toddler likes: avocado slices, peanut butter on bananas, cheese, cooked broccoli florets (she leaves the stems), eating a tomato like an apple (messy yes!), bell peppers, homemade granola, and yogurt. She will also eat almost anything out of a mini wrap. We also flatten bread with a rolling pin add pb/jelly/bananas or ham then roll it back up and slice it into pinwheels. She also likes to eat beans with her fingers, but not rice. The thing that surprises me the most is steak, she loves it!

  3. Well, what you mentioned are what my toddler will eat too. On a good day. Scrambled eggs with toast is his meal choice at present. My little guy loves salads too, especially lettuce.

  4. I love reading your blog, even though my youngest is 4, I still get great nutritional advice and inspiration from you.

  5. Hi, It's been awhile since I have been over here. Jakob likes cashews. He would eat them all day. He's allergic to peanuts, so we don't do peanut butter. He also likes cheese and bread. I do whole grain bread.

    Anyway, it was good catching up with you.