What I Feed My Toddler for Foodie Friday
Today I wanted to do something a little bit different for Foodie Friday. I am going to walk you through what I feed my toddler. As many of you already know I am a Registered Dietitian. I get questions quite often about what exactly I feed my daughter. These are my opinions and may or may not be what is best for your family. I hope I can provide some help to new moms who are looking for ideas on what to feed their toddler.
When Amelia was six months old we introduced solids. Our first food was avocado. We chose this due to the fact that it was soft and not sweet. Ill let you take a look at the pictures below to see if you think she liked it or not.
As you can tell she was not a fan of avocado and still isn’t to this day. We stuck with a rule of one new food per three days. This was in order to determine if any allergies or intolerance may have occurred. This is such an important step when introducing foods. It can take a few days before you notice any changes in diapers, skin, etc. I kept a log so that I knew which foods we tried and the days in which we tried them. Needless to say she wasn’t too happy for a few days with just plain avocado. We decided to add in banana and mix it with the avocado and she loved it! Every few days we would add in a new food and continued with the old.
There are many different ways to start solids with little ones. This can include purees, baby led weaning or a little bit of both. Amelia did not do well with chunky textures at first. Gagging is unfortunately a normal part of learning to eat. It helps babies learn to move food back up to be further manipulated into more manageable pieces to swallow. We stuck with mostly smooth consistencies because along with the gagging she also vomited several times (TMI I know). I don’t know about you all but I HATE getting sick. Above all I wanted her to have association with food.
As she progressed and learned more about gumming her foods we attempted a thicker chunkier texture. If this lead to her getting sick we would not make a big deal about it and would try again later. As she reached around nine months she really wanted to hold onto her food. We introduced teething crackers which helped her learn how to chew and swallow even further. Amelia could feel them better in her mouth and learned what was too big of a bite. We continued with purees and slowly but surely went from puree to finger foods. By the end of her first year she could eat pretty much anything even without teeth!
To Make or Not to Make
It can be a tough decision when deciding exactly how to approach feeding your toddler. We made 99% of our baby food. It is cheaper, we had control of the ingredients, and we wanted to feed her what we ate. For example if were having Mexican sweet potatoes we would puree her up some sweet potatoes, and avocado. If chicken and broccoli are for dinner, broccoli puree it was.
I did some batch cooking for her to make it even easier. I would purchase the organic vegetables that were on sale. Bulk cook them and freeze them for later. I cooked grass fed ground beef added a little bit of broth and pureed that and froze it. This is a great way to make sure your little one is getting adequate iron. As we added in more food groups I made sure to provide more variety for optimal nutrients.
Spices, Garlic, and Fats Oh My
I was careful to be sure to include good fats like coconut oil and olive oil in my cooking. When she was still getting puree foods I mixed coconut oil in with her foods. She would sometimes take it straight off the spoon! Fat is excellent for brain development and I wanted to be sure she was getting enough of it. Currently we continue with healthy fats in addition to herbs, garlic, onions, spicy stuff and she typically gobbles it up.
We have been very careful to try and feed Amelia exactly as we eat. For this reason I believe we are blessed with a pretty good eater. There are times when some items are a little too spicy, tough, to chew etc. However for the most part she eats what we do.
I believe kids are picky in part because we allow them to be. Kids watch us and anticipate how to react even as young babies. If a parent doesn’t like a particular food and they make that known their children pick up on it. Now, I’m not saying you or your kid has to like broccoli. However I think its important to let our children decide for themselves if they like it or not. A prime example is grape tomatoes and black olives which I don’t care for. I am proud to say those are two of my kiddos favorite foods. I put my own bias aside and this has allowed her to develop her own opinion.
Clean your Plate
This is a controversial topic but I am going to give my opinion. A large reason why many people today have a problem with being overweight is due to being forced to clean our plates. Yes it is not good to waste but unless you are planning to donate your food it isn’t going to end up on the plate of those less fortunate anyway.
In my house we put an amount that we think Amelia will eat on her tray. She eats what she eats and we save the rest for later. It is as simple as that. In order to tell if your kiddo is full or not look to see if they are getting distracted. They tend to turn away and loose interest when they are done. As she has gotten older she will say “up”, or sometimes the food gets thrown on the ground. The biggest thing is to learn and pay attention to their cues.
I believe we are born with the innate ability to control what our body needs. If we are mindful we eat when we are hungry and stop when we are is full. Obviously you don’t want your kiddo going several meals without eating. If your child has skipped several meals, and you are worried please contact your pediatrician.
Links to some of the food items we used.
We bought a baby blender but found we didn’t like it as much as our regular blender. I know this is rather pricey but let me tell you its worth it! We have a Blendtec and I would repurchase again and again. If you are not looking to spend this much I have heard great things about the Ninja blender too.
Once we blended the food we would place in these silicone one ounce molds and freeze.
I purchased these reusable pouches which I still use today. We use them for smoothies and apple sauce. I also purchased these silicone toppers. I find they are more gentle on your little ones mouth and keep the food from getting everywhere.
We used this brand baby food if we needed to purchase in a pinch. I always choose organic and tried to stick with glass, and bpa free. Earth’s Best and Happy baby both make some great pouches and even Aldi has some good options.
These Creamies are awesome and they are full of really clean ingredients. They are also diary free for those babies who might not be able to tolerate diary.
These are my favorite teething “cookies” they are very clean and have very little sugar. They have a few different flavors and we like them all. I love that they are organic also.
Amelia loves freeze dried fruit. It can be hard to find organic but when you do its an awesome snack.
Here is a link to the divided plate pictured above
Food is For Fun
Remember the saying that before one food is just for fun. I tried to remind myself this on days where she didn’t eat as much. Remember to keep trying as tastes change, try and cook the item in different ways. I continue to offer the items that my daughter doesn’t like without force. One day I hope she will try it and decide she likes it. Take comfort in knowing that food is just for fun until one. Since you are breastfeeding or formula feeding for the first year its ok if a large amount is not consumed. Take this time to really experience flavors, textures and have fun with it!
If you have left over burgers from your fourth festivities and are looking for a delicious sauce try my tzatziki recipe. Add a little feta cheese and red onion and you have yourself a Greek burger.
Whats up with you
I hope you all have had a great fourth. Let’s keep the conversation going. Let me know what you feed your little ones.
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