Sunday, December 30, 2012

Toddler Meal Idea

You know all those books and articles that tell you if you just feed your child plenty of vegetables when they are a baby they will develop a taste for them and want to eat them all the time? Well, I am convinced the authors of these pieces are not parents of toddlers, and might not have ever spent much time around children. They may not understand the fact that children seem to have a mind of their own. Although I have met a few children who prefer to snack on broccoli and carrots over anything else, the majority of children I have spent any time around do not share this sentiment. 

I began babysitting at the age of 12 and continued to do it off and on until the age of 28 (just before giving birth to my own son). I also spent three years as a teacher. Plus I have four nephews. And now I have a 22 month old child of my own. So, needless to say, I know my fair share of children. Although, before having Jack, I only knew children that were not my own. Some of these kids were fed fresh, healthy, all organic foods and some ate fast food almost everyday and most were somewhere in between.

So naturally, when I became a mom I thought I knew everything about children. And I believed all these people who wrote articles telling me if I fed my children chicken nuggets I was a bad mom and that if I would just start them early on fresh, healthy veggies they would be hooked for life. So I tried this. When Jack was a baby I made all of his baby food with fresh produce. It actually was much easier than I thought it would be, and was very inexpensive (you can read more about that here). For the most part, Jack liked the veggies, and I secretly was proud of myself for being such a good mom.

As Jack got older and began moving away from baby foods, he was less and less interested in vegetables. I tried feeding him different veggies and he usually just spit them out (sweet potatoes are the only vegetable I know he will always eat). He loves fruit, and would live on a diet of fruit alone if allowed. So when he is not eating fruit, we fill in with grilled cheese, mac and cheese, quesadillas, pizza, and chicken nuggets (I guess it was my turn to eat some humble pie). 

So I finally let go of my mama pride, and I have to admit, it was very freeing. But I am still trying to work in veggies when I can. I know that they are good for him, and I am hopeful that someday he will like them (and I must admit, I hated veggies as a child and did not chose to eat any of my own free will until the age of 20). And I know that the older he gets, the more I can make him eat them. It's hard when they are young and cannot understand you very well. 

Tonight was one of those nights when I made an attempt to get those veggies in. I had some russet baking potatoes, so I took one and microwaved it. I poked holes in it with a fork, used the baked potato button on my microwave. If you don't have a baked potato button it should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Just cook until the potato is soft. 

Once it was cooked, I cut it in half and scooped out the flesh with a large spoon. Then I put it in my mini food processor. I also had some leftover broccoli, so I reheated that for 25 seconds and added it to the food processor as well (you could also just heat up some frozen broccoli). I threw in a little butter (about 1/2 tablespoon), a little shredded cheese, and a little olive oil and salt.

Jack helped me push the button on the food processor and also helped stir it around. It's good to have such an experienced sous chef in the kitchen with me. As you'll notice in the picture of him, he has a spatula in one hand and a train in the other.

Blend them until they are smooth and serve. This was very easy. And I thought this would be a good option for Jack because I think his issue with many vegetables might be the texture. So making the food smooth rather than crunchy might help. The only problem was my broccoli did not blend all the way. I think next time I will steam it longer so that it is very soft or try frozen broccoli. So he didn't seem to like them too much, but I think it was for that reason. I was able to get him a little, then got a slice of bread, spread the potatoes across it, and folded it in half. He seemed to do okay with that.

Although this meal wasn't a complete home run, I will definitely try it again and continue to think of creative ways to feed him more veggies during these toddler years.

If your son is obsessed with trains like mine is, he might eat his potatoes with a Thomas the Train spoon.

And he might also try to play with his train in his potatoes.

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