Saturday, June 23, 2012

Toddler Meal Ideas

My little girl is not a picky eater as I hear many parents describe their toddlers; she’s willing to try new things and eats a comparatively wide range of foods.  That being said, she still prefers rather simple foods, and prefers the contents of meals be separated instead of mixed together.  For instance, if we have pasta with meat sauce for dinner, she would probably rather have the noodles plain with the meat sauce in a little bowl on the side.  If we have pizza, she’ll pull the cheese and toppings off, eat those first, then go back to the bread.  You get the idea.

My main rules for feeding Bird are:
1. Offer something from each of the major food groups at each meal.

2. Be sensitive to her pallet and incorporate foods that I am sure will be a “win”, but also continue to offer her new or “disliked” foods so she has multiple opportunities to experiment
3. Don’t veer very far from our meal.  I do sometimes switch out our protein source as she is rather particular in this area, but other than that she pretty much eats what we do, I may just present it a bit differently or add some fruit to her plate for variety.
4. We decide what is served, Bird decides what and how much is eaten.  There is no forcing, guilting, or punishing at our table.  We present Bird with options and she can eat to her own appetite and liking.
I know I am always curious to know what people are feeding their little ones, so I thought I would give you an example of a day’s worth of toddler meals at the Old-Fashioned household.
Mom had: A Breakfast Burrito with eggs, salsa, and avocado
Bird had:
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Scrambled egg, diced tomatoes, half an avocado, and toast strips, with milk to drink

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She usually goes for the avocado first. Kid asks for “amoy” (her word for guacamole) at every meal!  So cute.  She finished nearly everything on her plate.
Mom and Dad had: Ham and cheese sandwiches, veggies and dip, and fresh strawberries
Bird had:
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Cut-up hamburgers with ketchup, cukes and red peppers, strawberries, cheese and crackers, with water to drink
One thing bird has not expressed any interest in thus far is deli meats of any kind, and aside from peanut butter and jellies, sandwiches arent really her thing.  As such, I warmed up half of a hamburger from our Barbq the night before, and rubbed a little ketchup on (I find this makes less mess than giving her a pile to dip into).  For some carbs I gave her some whole-grain crackers, which she likes more than bread.
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The lunch was a hit.  
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Notice she has this cute habit of taking a bite from her food and setting it to the side, and then coming back to it later.  Weird but cute.
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This was all that was left at the end of  lunch.  I’ll take that as a “win”.
Mom and Dad had:
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BarbQ Beef Roast, Roasted New Potatoes with Tarragon and Leeks, and green beans
Bird had:
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Small portion of meat in bite-size chunks, potatoes, green beans, and banana, with milk to drink
Bird is rather picky about meat and she usually only likes firmer-textured fare like burgers, sausages, the occasional pan-seared piece of chicken breast.  She’s not a fan of beef roasts, baked chicken, or ham.  As such, I didn’t figure she would eat much of this meat but, as I said above, I always offer a bit of everything so she can try if she’s feeling adventurous.  I didn’t offer an alternate protein because I knew she had eaten her eggs and her hamburger so well earlier in the day that she was just fine with fruit and veg.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas on how to approach mealtime with  your toddler.  I would LOVE to hear about how you feed your little ones, any tips or ideas you have, and if you’ve done a similar post on meal ideas for kids, please do share the link in the comments or on facebook, Id love to see them!
Proud to be linking up today with Tiny Tip Tuesdays at Nature's Nurture, Saturday Show and Tell at Cheerios and Lattes and Saturday Link and Greet at Country Mamma Cooks,  Makin’ You Crave Monday at Mrs. Happy Homemaker, The Gathering Spot at Mamal Diane, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays at Make Ahead Meals, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesdays and Mrs Dull’s, Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just a Housewife, Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace, Traditional Tuesdays at Delicious Obsessions,Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers, Healthy 2day Wednesdays at Day2Day Joys,Whats Cooking Wednesdays at Kings Court IV, Whole Food Wednesdays at This Chick Cooks,Works For Me Wednesdays at We Are That Family, Full Plate Thursdays at Miz Helen’s, Share Your Cup Thursdays at Jann Olson’s, and Foodie Friday with Diane Belch.


The Seasonal Family said...

Most of the time the kids eat the same meal as us, sometimes I'll make them brown rice while DH has white rice, or make their food less spicy. Little M. is more picky than little Man, he'll eat almost anything.

Great post! Not sure I could get my kids to eat raw peppers, they are not huge fans of them. Nor are they fans of avocado, unless it's blended up with some chocolate and honey!

theoldmilkcan said...

I am lucky as my kids eat pretty much anything - although the oldest dislikes potatoes....weird hey? I read a post the other day on Japanese Bento boxes for lunches and was very inspired by the presentation being such a big part of it being apettising, I am going to give it a try with my girl as she rarely finishes her school lunches.

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Kristin- Pepper and avacados are two of selah's favorite foods! Its funny how they just develop their own littl tastes, eh?

Mrs Milk Can- Bird isnt a big potato fan either. I think she had a few bites of these because the were baked n a bit close to fries, but she wont go near mashed. :)

Thanks for sharing, ladies!

E Dicks said...

We are Avacado and cheese fans over at our house too!

debra said...

I see that she likes alot of veggies and fruits. My little grandson does too. I think if you introduce those foods rather than sweets or chips etc the children get used to eating that way and are less inclined to be picky eaters. Looks like you are doing everything right! :)

Mackenzie said...

Great ideas! We offer our kids what we are eating too. I want your toddler's dinner though! YUM! haha Easy and simple; love it! Thanks for sharing on Saturday Show & Tell at Cheerios and Lattes this weekend!
If you're interested, we would love to invite you to also link this up to the Summer Activities for Toddlers Collection! Here's a quick link: This would be a perfect lunch ideas for parents to consider; healthy and delicious!
Have a great week and hope to see you again next weekend! :)

AsSnugAsABug said...

Love love love these ideas. I like your relaxed approach to how much she eats!

Sarah @ Natures Nurture said...

We offer Baby Y whatever we're eating too. But he does has an affinity for avocados (mashed with some spices), potatoes and sweet potatoes, and eggplant (what kind of kid like eggplant, seriously?). Oh and cheese!

I just LOVE your girl's adorable meals. Thanks for sharing with us, I really needed some new ideas :)