Toodler Food

15 Mar

My daughter loves to eat.  She will eat most anything–even if it comes off the floor!  It has been great seeing her try new foods and really start to develop some taste buds.  When she truly is enjoying her food she will smack her lips together and says MMMMMMM (her version of YUMMMMM at the moment!).  It was such a hard transition for our family to be on this routine of every 3 hours we feed her a bottle easy breezy don’t have to think about it food to OMG SHE IS EATING PEOPLE FOOD AND THIS IS WHERE HER NUTRIENTS ARE COMING FROM freak out??!! I wrote a blog post on making baby food, which we did until about 8 months.  Once we hit 8 months she was starting to not want to eat just from a spoon and she wanted to try for herself and pick up food on her plate and eat more chunkier foods.  We started to leave food in more its original state (like peas, beans, and cutting up bananas, avocados, etc) for her to test out the waters.  That went extremely well as I have heard small kids having aversions to textures in their mouth.  We were lucky and she loved being able to pick up (or try to pick up) her food and eat it herself.  By 10 months I was really looking to not only have her try foods in a chunkier state–but to start making well-balanced meals for her.  She was going to be 1 soon and I knew that the majority of her nutrients would be from food rather than formula at that point so it gave us a couple of months to work out the kinks to making her food.  Over the past 3 months we have found a groove that works for us and some staples in the household that really make having Lexi eat well-balanced meals at every meal possible.  I know I am not alone with worrying about what our kids are eating and it has been great leaning on the advice from other moms.  I know I would have loved a post to read about this when I was going through my mild freak outs when it came to food and so I thought I would share with anyone looking for options for their kids!  With our fast pace life I try not to adhere to too many rules when it comes to food, but my main rule is that Lexi has to get at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies during the day. (this can be harder than it looks!)  I also follow this as a guideline for other items just to check myself every once in a while.

Now at the beginning (probably months 4-9 months) Lexi didn’t really eat anything that we were eating for dinner.  We didn’t have a great routine and most nights we were eating crap we would never serve Lexi.  We kept saying we need to get better for our dinners because soon Lexi will be eating what we will be eating (as I am not cooking two separate meals every night for my family).  This kinda scared us as we couldn’t really fathom eating what Lexi was eating (I could barely get string beans on the table for us!).  So early on everything Lexi was eating I had to make and freeze separately for her.  Then around 9 months we started to think about Lexi when we were making dinner and what she could have/couldn’t have or what we wanted her to have.  Slowly we started to eat a little better and make some better choices for ourselves (and for Lexi).  It was slow at first with only 1-2 meals that Lexi could eat with us and now I would say that 90% of our meals for dinner coincide with what Lexi is eating (HUGE PROGRESS!)  I have to say that Fresh20 has a ton to do with that 90% number.  For instance–we have spaghetti as a family for dinner through Fresh20. Normally I would say that spaghetti is just one big carbo-loaded dinner, but one of the recipes from Fresh20 has a turkey meat to go into the spaghetti and within that turkey meat is veggies! We didn’t love the turkey recipe in the spaghetti (Lexi did!), but we loved the turkey in the chili I made with half of it and Lexi could eat that too! Two healthy dinner meals we could all eat and have leftovers! Not all days run this smoothly though and so for these days we have backups!

Daycare Disclaimer: Our daughter is in daycare so we don’t have total control over her food intake. Our daycare provide snacks and lunch for no extra cost (cost is in our monthly bill).  We really love the lunches that they provide as all meals have a great balance of protein, carbs, and fruit.  They have been great with substituting and allowing for us to manage her food even though they are making her lunches.  As far as the snacks go though they are quick and not very nutritious.  Since most of the daycare snacks we find are “fillers”  we bring her 2 snacks (1 being her breakfast) in everyday.  As Lexi has gotten older she is starting to realize that her snacks are different than her friend’s snack sitting next to her.  She has even stolen snacks off the other kid’s plate! (OMG! I DIE!) She continues to eat her fruits and healthy alternative snacks, but I also realize that kids will be kids and that she wants what the other kids have! So we have made a compromise that after she eats her home snack if others are having “seconds” and Lexi would like what they are having she can have a small portion of their daycare snack.  This compromise has helped out a great deal as now my child isn’t stealing or eating the crumbs off the floor after snack (OMG! I DIED AGAIN!). 

At 12 months Lexi eats Breakfast (snacktime at daycare), Lunch, Snack, and Dinner.  Most dinners are what we eat as a family–but normally Lexi has a different breakfast, lunch and snack than us.  The hubs and I for breakfast normally have a quick breakfast bar, lunches are sandwiches and salads which she can’t really eat well at the moment and then we normally don’t have snack when she has snack.  For those meals and any dinners we need to substitute we turn to these options below.  We are always adding to this list, but over the past 3 months this is what we have collected as options for Lexi.

Short-cuts that have helped us along the way: (we have these on hand in the fridge so that if we need something quick and easy since our daughter gets “hangry” from time to time)

  • Buying a whole rotisserie chicken/turkey from the supermarket and cutting up bite size portions for Lexi and storing them for the week
  • Buying string cheese and cutting them up
  • Avocado is an easy side to cut up–but doesn’t pack well for daycare snacks and it goes quickly.  We use some of the avocado to make guacamole for Lexi that we put on Quesadillas and her chicken.
  • Greek yogurt cups (Lexi loves the ones with the fruit at the bottom although it adds more sugar to the snack)
  • Buying easy to cut (that our soft fruits) to package up for snacks and for a side during lunches and dinner (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • For the harder fruits (apples, pears, etc) we buy fruit cups and then rinse off the juices from the fruit cup to give her less sugar in the fruit
  • Putting yogurt instead of syrup on her pancakes and french toast.  Makes it a little less dry for her without being unhealthy.
  • Steam veggies in the steam bags and cut up for sides
  • Beans! They are great to grasp with her little hands and great for protein. Quick and healthy!

Not short-cuts but make in large batches and freeze for quick meals: (usually I will make 1-2 of these items on the weekend and it will last in our rotation for about 2 weeks.  This really helps especially on weekends where we travel out-of-state and don’t get home until late Sunday)

  • Quesadilla–can put veggies, cheese and beans into them.  Well balanced meal all wrapped up in a quesadilla! With or without a quesadilla maker pretty quick.
  • Large batches of pancakes and adding fruit into the pancakes makes it healthy! (our recipe at bottom)
  • Sweet Potatoe & Apple Casserole-Lexi loves this and this makes for us about 6-8 sides for her lunch/dinner.  Freezes well.
  • Mac and Cheese Chicken Bites-Lexi loves these too.  We used some as mini muffins (for a snack alternative) and some in larger muffin trays (for lunch/dinner meal).  The mini ones felt dry and she didn’t love them as much as the larger muffin tray option as they were more moist and could taste cheese better.  Freezes well.
  • Banana Bread (recipe below)-Lexi loves bananas, but sometimes we can’t get through the bananas fast enough and so my mom made banana bread once and Lexi could have eaten the whole loaf in one sitting! The recipe was so easy! I’ve made it since then and it has been a great hit! Gives us about 10 slices a loaf for about 6-8 snacks. You do have to add sugar so we do this occasionally as a snack–it’s a nice treat for her.
  • All Things G&D blog really has some great toddler approved recipes!  We used the “cookies/bars” a ton when Lexi was first trying out foods as they broke apart really well for her as she was learning to grasp, made a ton at once, and super great to freeze.  Her favorites were harvest spice breakfast cookies, and oatmeal banana drops. (I really want to try these individual fruit cups  and veggie muffins next!)
  • We tried these early on, but I think they were hard for Lexi to grasp in the early stages as they were a bit mushier but I bet she would love them now! Apple Plum Bars

Our resources for recipes:

-Family recipes



All Things G&D (you have to do a little hunting for the recipes–go under category “I am not a chef” to find them)

Pinterest (I have some recipes pinned on my pinterest under my board “Kid Foodie”.  I haven’t actually tried any recipes yet, but I really want to try healthy fruit snacks and carrot chips!)

Here are the recipes I talked about earlier in the post:

Family Recipe Buttermilk pancakes

Serves: Approx 6 (depending on how large pancakes are)


2 Cups Flour (calls to be sifted but we have done un-sifted as well)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons Sugar

2 Eggs

2 cups of buttermilk

2 Tablespoons Oil (Vegetable or Coconut) OR Butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

(Add any fruit ingredients you want)


1. Mix together dry ingredients

2. Beat eggs and milk with Buttermilk and oil or butter and Vanilla

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until smooth

4. Combine any fruit ingredients you want to add at this point

5. Cook on griddle or skillet

6. Serve!


Family Recipe Banana Bread

(although similar to most banana bread recipes out there)

Serves: Approx 10 Slices


2-3 bananas (ripened)

1/3 cup of butter (we have our butter melted for ease)

3/4 cup -1 cup sugar (less sugar you need to use the better)

1 egg, beaten (we don’t beat it but the recipe calls for it)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt (I don’t use the salt but it recipe calls for it)

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (I have used wheat flour as well with this recipe


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F

2. Mash bananas in large mixing bowl (add melted butter to this.  If not melted then mash butter with bananas)

3. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture

4. Mix all ingredients.

5. Add the flour last, and mix.

6. Pour mixture into a buttered (or spray pan) 4×8 inch loaf pan.

7. Bake for 1 hour.

8. Cool and serve

Anyone have any go to recipes for their toddler? Quick solutions for meals? Any favorite cookbooks, blogs, resources they use? I am always looking for new things for Lexi so please share! 🙂


One Response to “Toodler Food”


  1. New on Blog: Review Series! | Sweet Sweet Nothings - March 19, 2013

    […] new for dinner I just never think to go to my Pinterest boards and check out a recipe.  The toddler post made me realize I wasn’t tapping into a great resource that I have at my fingertips and I […]

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