Remember the days when you had a baby and they would eat EVERYTHING? Maybe you smiled to yourself and gave yourself a pat on the back thinking how wonderful it is that your child is such a great eater...And then they become a toddler and it seems like overnight their whole appetite changes. Making food becomes a challenging task and you find yourself not knowing what to make for meals anymore. I put together a week of toddler meals in hopes to spark some new ideas, provide different combinations, or just show some easy ways to mix things up.
A few notes:
My kids do not eat everything on these plates every single time so don't be fooled. As far as veggies go, I continue to serve the ones they don’t necessarily like because with more exposure, there may be/usually is a day when they will try it and will like it. (I’ve seen this happen over and over again).
If I am serving something they have never had before, I make sure that there is at least one “safe” food (something that I know they like). That way if they don’t like the new food, I know there is at least one thing they will eat.
My daughter has a few allergies- nuts, eggs, and bananas. So all of these recipes will exclude those ingredients. HOWEVER, there is one product that my daughter tolerates that DOES contain egg which is Earth's Best organic mini pancakes. I want to make note of that in case there are any other egg allergy parents following along. (Please still check ingredients for yourself). I was serving these to my kids somehow not realizing they contain eggs. My daughter has never reacted to the pancakes so our allergist gave us the okay to continue serving them for now.
Waffles and pancakes are popular items for breakfast in our household so I try to mix up how they are served. I'll use cream cheese, thinly spread yogurt, fruit, real maple syrup, sunflower butter, or simply plain.
Vans frozen waffles come in many flavors and are dairy free, egg free and gluten free.
I love serving all different types of pasta. It is a great way to mix up such a common staple for my kids. We go through red lentil, green lentil, chickpea, brown rice, whole wheat, etc. The novelty of different shapes of pasta is always appealing as well.
Daves's Killer White Bread is my absolute favorite! It is hard to find a "healthy" white bread that also tastes good. Dave's is organic, low in sugar, packed with whole grains and super grains AND tastes like your typical white bread (which is what I personally like!).
With veggies that toddlers are reluctant to try, dips are a great way to make it interesting. Even if they initially just lick off the dip on the veggie, it is a great first step in experimenting with something they otherwise wouldn't have.
Another tip is to cut veggies up in a different way. I found my son is more likely to eat broccoli if it is "big" (not cut up at all). Or if the string cheese is in stringy pieces rather than in chunks my daughter eats more of it. Toddlers are strange.
Use frozen fruit and frozen veggies to your advantage! Don't get me wrong, I love fresh veggies but it is so great to have a bunch of frozen ones on hand when you are in a hurry or when you realize your fresh ones have already gone bad. Frozen fruit can be a bit more messy since it creates a juice once thawed but they are great for mixing in things and certain fruits aren't as messy as others (mangos, pineapples, peaches).
I love to add chia seeds to sauces, muffins, inside sandwiches, yogurt, oatmeal, etc. as a way to add extra fiber and nutrients. Chia seeds provide many health benefits and your kids won't even taste them!
*Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites recipe
Using frozen fruit to create a "syrup" is a great change-up to regular syrup. You can do this for waffles, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.