Dinner (or meal time in general) can be stressful with a toddler. You come home from work tired and probably hungry, your toddler is hungry and cranky, you aren’t sure what to make or what they will eat. You give them some snacks to keep them busy and quiet while you get dinner ready. You finally get on the dinner table and your toddler refuses to touch anything on their plate. You try to get them to take “one bite” of everything before they can get up from the table but they continue refuse. You are now thinking you don’t want to have them go to bed hungry so you ask what they want, you either end up cooking something new or relying on more “snacky” foods like crackers or chips. Sound about right? Well.. you are not alone! I hear this from parents all the time. It’s something I have struggled with from time to time. The constant battle at dinner and stress that leads to an unpleasant family dinner. But it doesn’t have to be that way!!…
Often our relationship with food is largely impacted by how we are raised around food as a kid. I see this more and more working with adults. Many of their eating habits steam back from experiences (positive or negative) as a child.
Involving your toddler in the kitchen is a great way to help them learn new skills and be more adventurous eaters. Here are 12 ways you can involve your toddler in the kitchen!
This past Saturday September 23rd was National Cook with your Kids Day. So I thought it was appropriate to talk a little bit about how I have been getting my almost 18 month old involved with helping me cook and prepare meals in the kitchen. As well as give you some tips on how to get your toddler involved in the kitchen….
These 10 Easy Toddler Friendly Make Ahead Recipes are great to prepare early in the week and will help make meal and snack time less stressful!
Prepping foods ahead of time can make meal and snack time stress free and much less time consuming. As my toddler has gotten older he has been eating more and more of the same foods that we do but there are definitely times when ingredients need to be adjusted a bit or I need quick easy snacks or additions to his meals. So I’ve rounded up a few recipes off my blog and from other family/kid friendly blogs that you can make ahead of time and have ready for your kids(or anyone in your family)!
These muffins from the Foodie Physicians’ Natural Baby Food book are made with all natural ingredients and are great to add to breakfast or snacks. I often make a batch to enjoy with the little guy or freeze some for later.
These egg cups are great to make ahead to have with breakfast, lunch or dinner. My little guy is a big fan of eggs so I find this to be an easy go-to meal idea which saves me time from having to make an egg from scratch. I’ll make a batch at the beginning of the week and then freeze some for later. When ready to serve I will pop one out the the freezer and microwave it for 30-50 seconds, then serve along with some fruit and toast!
Overnight oats are a go-to in my house for breakfast. I’ll make a big batch for my son using whole milk and whole milk yogurt and some for myself with low fat milk. Let it sit overnight and then nut butter and fresh fruit in the morning. Breakfast done in 2 minutes!
My little guy loves pancakes for breakfast, but there is no way I’m making a batch every morning. These sheet pan pancakes are a great idea for an easy make ahead breakfast. I just love that they have both fruits and vegetables added to them. When ready to serve I pop one into the microwave for 15-20 seconds then top with yogurt and/or nut butter and serve!
Trail mix is a great snack idea for toddlers but given the risk of chocking with nuts, seeds are a great alternative to add to trail mix instead!
These parmesan zucchini sticks are a great make ahead snack or meal addition to give your little one an extra boost of veggies at meals. Especially if they are a bit pickier when it comes to eating vegetables, I mean parmesan cheese makes everything taste better!
This slow cooker meatball dish is a great go to make ahead meal that the whole family can enjoy. Serve up on their own or with some cooked pasta or zucchini noodles! Have left overs? Freeze in serving size zip lock bags and pull out when you need them.
My little guy loves roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, beets you name it. I’ll roast a sheet pan full of veggies at the beginning of the week and add it to his meals (and my meals) throughout the week.
Cut Fruit: cut fruit into bite sized pieces, make sure to cut grapes into quarters lengthwise.
Roasted/Steamed/Sauteed Vegetables: certain vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and carrots are much easier to chew and swallowing when cooked. Cook up some veggies either by roasting, steaming or sauteing ahead of time then serve cold or warm up just before serving. Also try switching up how you cook a vegetable. For example your little one might not like steamed broccoli but may like it roasted.
Iron is another important nutrient for your growing and developing toddler. Iron is part of hemoglobin (a.k.a red blood cells), which helps transport oxygen to muscles and vital organs. Your little one is born with enough iron stores but around 6 months these stores slowly get depleted and need to be replaced by food, formula or supplementation. From 6-12 months you may have given your infant formula or cereal fortified with iron. But now that they are eating more solid foods getting iron from food is even more important….
Calcium and Vitamin D are both essential nutrients your little one needs to develop and grow healthy strong bones. Dairy is the most common way to get in adequate calcium and vitamin D, but if your son or daughter is allergic or intolerant to dairy products there are other ways to meet the calcium and vitamin D needs….
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Warning! This is messy but worth it!
Self feeding with a spoon is just one of the many feeding skills a child will develop and improve upon over time. Before the age of one, usually around 8 months, infants are able to hold a spoon with one hand but don’t quite have the ability to bring it to their mouths. Even at this stage its great to introduce a spoon and have them play, the more practice they get the more quickly they will learn.
This picture below is our son around 10 months. At this point he was still figuring out which end of the spoon to use!
Again closer to one he still wasn’t quite sure what to do with the spoon and most of the food ended up in his lap, on the tray, in the dogs mouth, or on his hands and face 🙂 But it was oh so much fun to watch!…
Ever wondered what feeding a 1-year old looks like? Check out a recap of my experience plus a sample of what the little guy has been eating recently below!
During the first year of feeding my little one, especially month 5-12, I felt like feedings changed on a daily basis. Check out my post on feeding my little one during the first year for more details. Since 12 months to now things have continued to change. Not only is the little guy getting better at feeding himself but he is also trying new foods and textures.
One of my favorite foods is peanut butter. I probably go through a jar (at least) a week. I ate it through my entire pregnancy, and when I was breast feeding. So there was no doubt I was going to be introducing it to my little guy as soon as possible. Given the concern for allergies I of course wanted to make sure I was doing it right and to reduce my sons risk of getting an allergy. A recent clinical research study, Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) Study, compared early and late introduction of peanut containing foods among high risk peanut allergy infants (those diagnosed with severe eczema, egg allergy or both). The study found an association between early introduction and consistent intake of peanut containing foods with a significant decreased risk of developing a peanut allergy among high-risk infants.
Given these findings the National Institute of Health recently updated their guidelines, recommending parents with high risk infants introduce peanut containing products as early as 4-months. Of course, any infant who is at high risk, should talk with their physician before starting any peanut containing foods. For infants with moderate eczema it’s recommended to start introducing peanut containing foods around 6 months and all other infants to introduce peanuts freely into diet at home along with other foods.
We started introducing peanut butter around 6 months. I first added powdered peanut butter to his oat cereal and mashed bananas. Once he was about 8 months and eating finger foods I started topping sliced banana, pancakes and pieces of bread with peanut butter. Now it goes on and in just about everything and he loves it!
Here are some other great ways to start introducing peanuts and other nuts to your infants foods!
Early (4-8 months):
- Thin out 2 teaspoons of peanut butter with 2 teaspoons of water, breastmilk or formula.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of peanut butter into oat cereal, yogurt, mashed banana or other tolerated food.
- Mix powdered peanut butter into tolerated pureed fruit.
Here is a great video from the National Peanut Board
- Bake into baked goods
- Top slices of banana, pancakes, or bread.
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes!
I can not believe it’s been almost a year since our little man entered our lives! Where has the time gone??! So much has changed over the past year, especially when it comes to feeding our son. I have enjoyed every moment and have found a new love for food. There is nothing like watching your little one experience new foods for the first time! It has also given me another reason to cook and experiment with foods. So, I’ve decided to add on to my current blog by sharing tips, tricks and recipes all focused on feeding your child. Don’t worry I will still be sharing my easy and healthy recipes you all know and love, but may be adding in ways to make them kid friendly!
To start I wanted to give you a glimpse into my first year. One thing I have learned is no mom or child is the same. So this post is by no means the way “it should be” but how things worked and went for me!
Here it goes..
0-4 Months: They say breast is best…and I 100% agree. But after a difficult first month I totally get why some women decide to stop or supplement. Breastfeeding is tough but also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. What kept me going in the beginning was seeing a lactation consultant and attending a breastfeeding support each week. I could go and do weighed feedings to see how much he was actually taking and get the support of other moms who were going through the same thing. It was also a great excuse to get out of the house!!
4-5 Months: My pediatrician recommended starting solids. I was not ready! First off by this point breastfeeding was easier and I was on some sort of a “schedule”. And if you are a mom you totally get how important a schedule can be for your sanity! So I decided to hold off for a bit.
5-6 Months: I finally decided to start solids. I started with one food a day around lunchtime then introduced a new food every 3-4 days. Some of his first foods were avocado, banana, oat cereal, sweet potato, and lentils.
6-8 Months: I increased to two “meals” per day around lunch and dinnertime. When I say meals he really wasn’t eating much so I continued to breast feed about 5 times a day. I also started introducing combination foods ( i.e avocado and zucchini or sweet potato and apples) and adding in more flavors like cinnamon and other herbs and spices. Around 7 months I also started whole milk yogurt. He’s a huge fan of siggis 4% whole milk yogurts, just like his mom 😉
8-10 Months: I increased to three meals a day and cut back to nursing 4 times a day. I started giving him finger foods like rice puffs, small pieces of banana and avocado. Basically any food that he could pick up and easily mash in his mouth. Over the next month or two I started adding in more foods like well cooked vegetables, other fruits, pieces of bread, soft meats like ground meat and fish and eggs.
10-12 Months: At this point he was getting really good at eating just about anything and I started experimenting with new foods and giving him foods were eating at meals.
Let’s just say it’s been messy but a fun journey so far! I look forward to sharing more of our feeding adventures and recipes with you soon ?