Toddler Mealtimes


Check out the recipes from day 1 here, day 2 here & day 3 here!


Husby wasn’t home last night, so it seemed like a good time to put together a post about Adelyn’s current meal trends. This is partially in sequel to my Baby Food Basics: Eat the Rainbow post because (of course) as her first birthday came and went I realized I didn’t really know what the next steps should be.


Ah yes, 13 months later and I’m still just stumbling my way through being a first time mom. Will I ever feel like I actually know what I’m doing? Doubtful, I know.


I was pretty fortunate with my breastmilk supply, so I didn’t need to figure out how to supplement all those big kid meals right away. In fact, Adelyn will be 14 months before she’s even fully transitioned to cow’s milk {yay!}. Even so this little girl loves her food, and I figure if I don’t like eating the same thing every.single.day, why should she have to? And those prepackaged meals in grocery…


…they’re so.much.money.


You obviously don’t need recipes for how to cook for a one-year-old; it’s nothing complicated. And dinners for some people could be even simpler because (assuming your diet is relatively healthy), these kids can now eat with us! As you all know from previous posts, our family doesn’t live in a life with the little luxury of family dinners. Husby’s schedule is nothing like mine. Wait.


<<BREAKING NEWS>>


Husby accepted a new position! Yes, this is some of the most exciting news I’ve had to share in a long time. Starting next Monday he’ll be working Monday through Friday, 9-5:30! He’ll still have his studio work as well, but the fact that it will be possible for us to have family dinners most nights puts quite the skip in my step.


Ok, back to the topic at hand. Even though they can eat table foods for primary nutrition right now, not all one-year-olds have a mouth full of teeth yet. Some do, but my one-year-old doesn’t, making things like various meats still a little harder to just pass over across the dinner table for her to gnaw on.


So instead of giving you recipes today I’m going to list off items I use or meals I put together for Adelyn.


I was going to break them apart by meal, but in all seriousness a lot can be interchanged so I'm just providing a general list that are {somewhat} out of the ordinary. I tend to do things like add her fresh fruit to her oatmeal in the morning, or add avocado chunks to breakfast when she has scrambled eggs here and there, but I pick a different side when she has pancakes. That’s all personal preference though, probably because that’s just how I like my food paired!


Primary "New" Foods Since Moving to Full Meals

Oatmeal (see Tip)

Whole wheat pancakes

Scrambled eggs

Fruit (Anything at this point! I buy all fresh fruit in the summer)

Frozen mini ravioli (see Tip)

Homemade mac & cheese with vegetable & whole wheat noodles

Cheese (see Tip)

Cottage Cheese

PLAIN yogurt

Vegetables (I still buy most frozen for ease of preparation)


Ok, so the food above is a nice list but not really that helpful if you feel lost. So here are my tricks:


Processed Cheese is not the same as a standard Kraft single.

For homemade mac & cheese I use only vegetable and whole noodles, then add in some peas, carrots, corn or any other “small” vegetable. Then I take a slice of processed cheese and melt it over top. Processed cheese melts better than cheeses like cheddar, swiss, etc. and create a more attractive mouth feel for kids. Who am I kidding, it tastes better in applications like this to adults, too.


But.


KRAFT SINGLES ARE NOT PROCESSED CHEESE. Unless you buy the “Deluxe” Kraft singles, you’re buying processed cheese PRODUCT.


I know my fair share about cheese (I work in the foodservice redistribution industry), and processed cheese product has no federal standard of identity. This means that manufacturers can literally put just about anything into it as long as a certain percent remains real cheese. You may not notice a huge taste difference, but there is a HUGE health difference.


Processed cheese is simply giant (like 500-lb) cheddar blocks that are melted down to a liquid then run in ribbons on a machine to create the pretty little shiny slice you eat. So take your pick, but real cheese is always going to be worth the extra couple dollars to me to avoid filling my child with oils and fillers.


Oatmeal

If you’re still using that baby oatmeal you have to mix with milk or water, stop. I’m talking the real oatmeal now. If you add fresh fruit to the PLAIN oatmeal it’s very tasty and a great way to avoid adding refined sugars and/or butter for flavor. Try it. Even my husband and I choose to eat our oatmeal this way now! Our favorite fruits to add to it are bananas, strawberries and blueberries.


Frozen Mini Ravioli

So I priced out the Gerber ravioli the other day and holy buckets I could believe the price and the sodium content. Their food is shelf stable, so they need to add a broth to preserve the delicate little pasta pieces. Ew. Have you tasted those? I did the other day and it’s just not for me. I try to live by the idea that if I won’t eat it I shouldn’t give it to my daughter, so I buy a much cheaper, much healthier option!


Mini frozen ravioli can be found in the freezer section of virtually any grocery store. Around here I can buy a 1-lb bag of quite a few varieties (i.e., cheese and spinach filled) for just over $4.00. I boil a batch at the beginning of the week and send a small cup of them, without broth or sauce, for lunch with her. She loves them, I spent less than 1/8 ofthe baby food version and saved her almost 250mg of sodium. Win.


Cheese

Easy cheese choices are things like fresh mozzarella pearls (also what I used on the Margherita pizza in this recipe). I cut them in half and she devours them!


What Makes a Meal?

As far as compiling a full meal from everything available to your not-so-little one’s pallet, I still stick with the eat the rainbow policy. Here’s an example of what Adelyn’s meals were today:


Breakfast

1 scrambled egg

1 whole wheat pancake (4-in diameter)

2 strawberries cut up

6-oz. milk


Lunch

Spinach & cheese ravioli

1/2 cup green beans

1/2 cup blueberries

2-oz cottage cheese

6-oz. milk


Dinner

1 cup loosely packed vegetable/wheat noodles with 1/2 cup tightly packed peas and corn with 1 processed cheese slice melted and mixed in

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 banana

6-oz milk



I could probably write a book about meals, ideas and combinations for Adelyn, but I doubt the rest of the world is quite as interested in her nutrition as I am. So for now I'll leave you with this. :)


Do you have any good ideas on toddler foods when all they're teeth aren't in yet? Or even when they do come in? Because heaven knows I'll probably need some guidance again when that milestone hits! Leave a comment or send me an email via the contact page!

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© 2013 by Heather Anders : Meet Me on the Intersection of Richmond & Style.