Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feeding a Toddler

Oh the many joys of toddler-hood.  Some of them really are joys:  watching him learn new things, master new skills, and peeks of his personality.  Others... not so much.  New-found independence.  Temper tantrums.  Picky diets.

One of my biggest stressors as of late has been feeding Henry.

It's a constant, never-ending question in our house... what is Henry going to eat?

I should start by saying a couple of things... I loathe picky eaters, therefore I know I am destined to have one.  Secondly, I am really hard on myself when it comes to the foods that Henry eats.  I struggle immensely with feeding him anything processed or anything with a lot of sodium/sugar in it.  I am constantly talking to myself about lightening up a bit.  I want him to be a kid, after all.  And I don't want him to be one of those kids that has such a restricted diet at home than they go crazy at their friends' house, eating junk food and LITERALLY digging through the garbage for cookies (a true story a friend has told me happened at her house).

Daycare only feeds the stress.  According to the daycare rules, Henry's lunch MUST contain four of the five food groups.  It sounds like a great idea, but sometimes it can be really tricky.  Especially when you figure in that he 1) doesn't like much meat and 2) only eats sweet potatoes for veggies.

They say that you need to introduce a baby to a given food 12 times before they will develop a taste for it, but honestly that is SO FRUSTRATING!!  Who wants to spend 12 meals having their toddler refuse their food?

We never had this problem with baby food.  Henry would eat ANYTHING if it was pureed.  So I know he doesn't mind the taste.  It's a texture thing.

Anyway... enough of my complaining.  Let's get to the point here.

Henry and I had a play date with the mom's and babies from our Bradley birthing class last past weekend.  We discussed our picky eaters and I took comfort in that we were NOT alone.  So I started thinking about all of my options for what Henry will eat.

Black beans
Black bean burritos
(do we see a trend here?)
Most soups
Chili (both regular and white bean)
Sweet Potatoes
Pickled beets (he is part Russian, so it fits)
Black Olives
Grilled Cheese
Chicken Nuggets
Annie's Mac and Cheese with baked Chicken Thigh fillets cut very small and snuck in there
Maybe PB&J
Turkey (as long as it is covered in cranberry sauce)
Green Bean Casserole

The list isn't super long.

So imagine my joy when I made THIS last night:

{Quinoa Enchilada Casserole.  Recipe from Damn Delicious}

I put some in a bowl for him, thinking "yeah right...".  But Phil and I were shocked when he started shoveling it into his mouth.

It was super easy and quick to make.  It's healthy.  And it's the perfect daycare meal with beans (protein), quinoa (grain), corn (veggie), and cheese (dairy).  Four whole food groups in one dish!  If I had given him the tomato and avocado (which he wouldn't have eaten) it was have had all 5 food groups in there.

The even better news about this dish... Phil and I both thought it was delicous, it's meatless and gluten free, and SUPER inexpensive.

Basically it is my favorite meal of all time right now.

We have also resorted to sending baby food pouches to daycare that have fruits and veggies in them (mostly green veggies).  But I don't like do that all of the time because they are spendy.  But I just figured out that with Amazon Subscribe and Save, I can get pouches for basically $1 a piece.  With a mixture of brands and veggie/fruit blends, I am excited that he will be getting a variety of veggies, it won't be too expensive, and it will be delivered to my door every 3 months.

If you have any more ideas of toddler foods, I am ALL EARS.  I have tried pretty much anything I can think of (including spaghetti with every type of noodle and other forms of pasta) but I am willing to try it again.  Hit me with it!


  1. I've got a 16 month and I'm constantly wondering how something like feeding a toddler can be SO complicated?! So I can totally relate, although knock on wood so far my little guy has not been too picky (although in the last week he has turned his nose up to foods that he use to love--so not sure where this may lead to!) However, I am constantly trying to figure out what to feed him and trying to make it healthy. Here are a few things that my little guy gobbles up:
    *Tofu (totally odd I know!) we put some red squash sauce on it that we found at Costcos (it looks and taste similiar to spaghetti sauce) with some shredded cheese
    *Whole wheat english muffin pizzas
    *lentils (the easy just throw the bag in the microwave to steam kind)
    *veggie burgers
    *cottage cheese
    I'm constantly looking for new ideas and the dish you tried looks scrumptious! May have to give it a go!

  2. oh gosh, I feel ya on the picky eater. At least your kid eats all those food, mine not so much and he's almost 4! I figure you never see a high schooler eating baby whatever. haha, I try not to stress too much about it, it is what it is. But yes those pouches get expensive! I think I would have a hard time sending food to daycare, knowing he might not/probably won't eat it, and then it going to waste...that's where I would have the issue. I think that intention is good, but wastes a lot of food? Or maybe it doesn't...with my kid it would. Our preschool used to let the kids bring their own lunches, but she realized that some kids were not getting a balanced lunch, so she started making their lunches. It's done wonders for getting my picky eater to eat, when everyone else is eating it, he joins in too...most times. Wow that was a long response, and totally not helpful to your picky eater situation. Sorry!

  3. All three of our kids have been served what we're eating from day one. At 2, 7, and almost 9, if you don't like dinner, it's a loooong time till breakfast. We've never had to deal with day care food, so that's uncharted territory, but as long as they're at home, they eat what we eat. Obviously they each have things they don't like, but in that case, they load up on what they do. Their tastes constantly change, so there's no steadfast rule. You've just gotta roll with the popular items that week. I wouldn't stress over it. As long as he sees you eating a variety of things, he'll eventually grow into a healthy eater.


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