Friday, April 8, 2011

Tips from a Toddler Foodie

Piper’s a pretty good little eater.  She tries anything, and really only has a few things that she does not like.  I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot in a lot of ways, because I was (and my husband would argue still AM) a terrible eater. 

The only thing that’s a little hit-or-miss are vegetables.  She really does well, and I can’t complain, but sometimes it gets hard to keep variety in this arena.  So I thought I’d share some of our tricks.   

Her go-to veggie is frozen peas (thank you, Costco, for selling them in giant bags).  They’re quick and easy, which suits me just fine.  Problem is, she gets tired of them quickly.  Or she likes to play dancing-fingers in the bowl and I soon have a floor scattered in little green balls (which my dogs are terribly inept at picking up).  This may sound gross to some (including me, I might admit), but our solution to peas? 

I get a can of Campbell’s cheddar soup and freeze in on parchment in tablespoon-ish heaps.  Then put them in a ziplock so when we need one, I just have to grab one out.  She LOVES cheesy peas.  And chicken, if we’re desperate.  Or any other kind of vegetable.  And it has the added benefit of a few more calories.  Score.

Her FAVORITE way to eat veggies, though, is having them roasted in the oven.  It’s MY favorite way, too, so this works well for us.  Carrots and parsnips are absolute favorites (she even looked in the oven the other night and said “’snip ‘snip ‘snip”).  That’s right- my kid eats parsnips.  Go figure.  A little bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper, roast until they’re a little browned (convection works wonders) and you’re good to go.  Asparagus, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, broccoli, essentially any veggie works here.  YUM.

On the non-veggie front, we also started something new for breakfast this last week.  Piper usually gets fruit, some kind of starch, and yogurt for breakfast.  We found whole-grain pancake mix (again, thank you Costco, even though you don’t sell this  any more) which she l-o-v-e-s.  I make a batch, freeze two-thirds of it, and keep the others in the fridge to microwave in the morning.  Works great.  Her favorite part of breakfast, though, is yogurt.  Last week, our local grocery store had Kefir on sale.  It’s a drinkable yogurt, essentially, but has a higher protein content.  I’ve gotten it for Luke and I lots of times, but decided to let Piper give it a try.  SHE LOOOOVES IT!  I can put it in her cup and it’s GONE without a break to breath.  She downs it.  IT has the added benefit of being super fast for first thing in the morning.  Piper often wakes up starving, and I frequently get yelled at until she gets to eat.  By giving her her yogurt first, I can actually go potty.  A big plus when you’re pregnant, lol. 

I’m always up for new ideas of how to get good food into the squirt.  Anyone have any fun food tips?  Please share!!! 


  1. I LOVE vegetables and have NEVER consumed a parsnip. I shall put it on my "Recommended by Piper and Therefore Must Be Attempted" list. Hmmmm...I'm afraid I'm in the group that NEEDS suggestions for food offerings. Biggs eats two things. Warm yogurt or oatmeal with peanut butter stirred in. And THAT, my dear, is IT. LC's a GREAT eater (Thank you, Jesus) but won't eat cheese or eggs. Those are her only two STAUNCH "no's". So proteins are a bit tricky, I'm afraid...

    Way to go, Piper. You and your clever mama are ALWAYS good for helpful tips. xoxox

  2. ch- tell biggs that oatmeal and PB are one of the only ways to eat oatmeal. :) i like mine with jelly and PB. do you do fish for LC? rachel loves fish.

    rachel has been boycotting veggies lately. i haven't really roasted any because that means i have to think ahead and do it before she starts freaking out for lunch/dinner. once the farmers market gets full of good stuff i'll try it. tomatoes sound good. rachel also hasn't been feeling breakfast lately. i've tried different stuff lately thinking she's just tired of what i've been giving her. nope. but she eats great the rest of the day so i can't complain.

  3. Big fish eaters here too (favorite recipe: cook any white fish filet with some tomatoes until things start to brown, add in a cup of broth, season, deglaze the pan and eat).

    Nava is a great eater, including vegetables. Dad made her parsnips for the first time last week and she loves them (I've never had one). Her all time favorite is broccoli. So I've just learned to make cream of broccoli soup to use up the stems--she eats the flowers steamed or simmered in broth so they are soft enough to eat w/o teeth.

    We love oatmeal. Loved learning that you can make a large amount and put the leftovers in the fridge for next couple of mornings. I didn't know about PB! I also make baked oatmeal and we eat it over multiple days. It can be eaten cold with yogurt (a no-cook ready-in-an-instant breakfast).

    Nava mostly eats western-style stuff but when her dad is home she gets more local: rice soup. He cooks a little white rice with a lot of water (preferably broth) and puts in garlic, tomatoes, fresh greens (like spinach), even ginger and just cooks it until the rice is totally soft and the water is starchy. She LOVES it and it is ridiculously good for her.

    Sorry to write a novel!

  4. Claire loves veggies, it's the fruits we have a hard time with (because they are slimy?). Green beans, corn and sweet potatoes are staples. I'll also roast her a squash and then cut it into chunks and freeze it. It can be a little watery when thawed, but she really likes it. I'll have to try the cheesey pea trick!

    Claire LOVES meat, and I think she'd be a carnivore if we let her. We always start her meal with veggies, because if we start with meat she won't eat anything else! Fish is quick, easy and yummy. We throw a piece in some in foil and bake it.

    Another quick staple is beef ravioli. I freeze tomato sauce in ice cube trays so I can take out just a little at a time. Pour over a few ravioli, add green beans and Claire is happy. Claire loves tomato sauce so much I think she'd be happy to just eat that for dinner sometimes.