Morgan is at the age where playing with her food is sometimes the only way to get her excited about eating it. So I have had to start getting really creative when packing her a lunch. It is moments like this that I really appreciate Pintrest. These little sushi sandwiches actually didn’t go down great the first time I made it but I made it again for her the other day and she loved them. That is the frustrating thing about 2 year olds, one second they love something and the next second they refuse to even try it.
What kinds of lunch box ideas have you come up for your kids?
Ham Sushi Roll Sandwich
White bread with the crust removed
Soft Cheese (Cream Cheese)
Ham, cut into long, thin stripes
Carrot, sliced into long, thin strips
Cucumber, sliced into long, thin strips
Food life with a toddler is a much different experience then it was with a baby. We had such an amazing experience with baby-led weaning it was full of fun learning experiences and messy but fun play. But life with a toddler eater is proving more difficult. We can only assume that she is wanting to gain some sense of control. To say she is being picky about food feels like an understatement. She went from having one of the most sophisticated taste pallets of any child I have ever met to being one of the pickiest. While what she will eat is very healthy it is still very frustrating for me as a parent who just can’t seem to follow her eating needs. There have been times when she has gone for 3 days in a row without eating a proper meal. This child could seriously live off Wheetabix, fruit and raw peas. It is very hard to know how to deal with it. Some people say be firm and not let her “get away” with it and others say don’t put pressure on her because that will only make things worse. I would say I fluctuate back and forth between the two like a bi-polar manic. Well that is at least how it feels. I do find it hard to relax about food with her sometimes because I am so determined to not live with a child that is picky. But I do have to remind myself that she is just 2.
The only thing I can do is offer her food and if she refuses just move on. Often what she won’t eat one night she will eat another so meals that are easy to reheat are a must. I was so happy when I threw this together for her, half expecting it to be yet again a failed dinner attempt, and she actually loved it.
Has anyone else experienced this phase with their toddler? What did you do to get through it and how long did it last for you?
When I first started Morgan on solids the most difficult meal was breakfast. At first she absolutely refused to allow us to come any where near her mouth with a spoon so the usual items that I would think to serve her didn’t work. I resorted to just giving her things like strips of banana or avocado. But after browsing some Baby-Led Weaning forums I read one mother’s solution was making quick microwave oat cakes. I loved the idea and gave it a try the next day, the result was perfect. Morgan loved it and it was easy for her to pick up and hold on her own. I have played around with the ingredient each time I make it and more often then not just eyeball the amounts so feel free to have a play with it yourself. You can add sugar but I say why give them sugar when they are perfectly happy to have it without. I sometimes make it with just oats a little bit of milk and Morgan still loves it. Don’t just assume that babies and toddlers need things to be sweetened with sugar in order for them to like it. Also don’t think that you need to go out and buy a baby porridge (oatmeal). For the most part it is just the regular oats pulsed down to smaller pieces. If you feel that your baby needs the oats broke down then just pulse them in a blender yourself. There is no need to buy a separate oats for your baby and the rest of the family. Also be wary of the flavoured porridge (oatmeal) if you don’t want to give your baby sugar in those early months as they have added sugars. This is not only great for babies but for toddlers and with some alterations even adults.
Microwave Raspberry Oat Cakes
1/2 medium banana
20g (1/4 c.) rolled oats
pinch of cinnamon
a couple of frozen raspberries
Even before I had my daughter people use to tell me that babies and toddlers can eat what you eat but that they just need it blander. Now if people were only talking about sodium levels in their food then they could be correct. But sadly many people have come to believe that young children and babies won’t like a lot of herbs and spices. I feel that this only makes the problem of picky eaters worse for later on in their lives. Introducing babies and toddlers to a wide range of spices helps open up the pallet especially during the early years of their lives as their taste buds are just developing. Ever since Morgan was 9 months old her food has been well seasoned and spiced we just closely monitor the salt. If you are nervous about what kinds of herbs and spices you can introduce when they are young take a look at this great article for a little more in depth guidance.
Now this week for Sunday Supper we are celebrating the changing of the season with all things orange. My original plan had been to share sweet potato and chicken patties but with a much different taste pallet then the ones I am sharing. But my first attempt was a disaster, the texture and the flavour just didn’t work. So I had to go back to the drawing board. But I couldn’t find a recipe that was what I wanted so I decided to just put together something on my own. I felt inspired to give them an Indian twist, I wanted them to have enough flavour so that they could stand on their own without needing a sauce like my first attempt did. Sadly before I had a chance to make attempt number two my sweet baby girl came down with the worse cold she has ever had. It was Saturday afternoon before I even had a chance to attempt it and I was nervous at cutting it so close. But somehow I managed to throw it together and thankfully the nerves didn’t effect my performance of this recipe because it was so delicious. It isn’t spicy hot, just full of flavour so it is perfect for people both big and little who don’t like spicy foods.
Chicken and Sweet Potato Fritters
500g (1 lb) Sweet potato,peeled and chopped
250g (1/2 lb) cooked chicken, chopped (I used leftovers)
1 large onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 mild chili, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp curry powder
salt to taste (I didn’t add any)
2 egg whites
Oil for frying
One major issue I have people tell me about their picky kids is that if it isn’t in the ‘shape’ of their favourite foods then they don’t want to try it. So in other words if the fish fingers don’t look like fingers then good luck getting them to try it. I am not at that stage of picky eating yet with my 14 month old but it did get me thinking. First of all where do our kids get this? Is it because most kids are only given quick and easy frozen fish fingers or is there just something about the shape that appeals. I am often trying to find easy, wholesome finger food ideas for my daughter to eat is that what later on causes this need for finger shaped food? I have no idea but as parents all we can do is try. I often make a breaded baked fish as a substitute for us getting fish from a chippy, which my husband has decided is too greasy for his taste. But I had never thought to try to make the fish into finger sizes. It really wasn’t that bad as far as being more time consuming then breading the fish whole, but it would be just as easy to bread the whole fish for those less pick and then making the finger size for the pickier members of our family. And the nice thing about this size for the smaller members of the family is it is really simple to pick up. Usually I just give Morgan cut off pieces of our fish to eat, which she eats happily, but because these were made to fit in her hand I noticed she found them easier to eat and she actually ate more of her meal then what ended up on the floor. Which makes me happier because less mess to tidy up after dinner.
What are your thoughts about this picky stage for toddlers? Is it inevitable, something that all toddlers go through? Or do we as parents accidentally cause them?
Baked Fish Fingers
500g (1 lb) skinless fish fillets (such as sole, flounder, tilapia or other firm white fish)
120g (1 c.) plain flour
2 large egg, beaten
60g fresh breadcrumbs*
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper