Friday, January 31, 2014

lazy lunches / 002

 photo lazylunches_zpse638e3b0.jpg Pre-toddlers and toddlers can sometimes be super hard to feed. Amiright? I mean, they are picky for sure, they can't quite feed themselves with a spoon and like anyone else they get tired of eating the same thing every single day.

When I say pre-toddler, I'm referring to that age in between goopy baby food-eaters and serious toddlers. They are stumbling around, getting better at walking, definitely gaining independence but aren't quite there yet. Let's call this age 10 months to 18 months. I feel like this is the hardest age to feed.

I wrote a post a while back about Isaac's favorite meals and snacks at the age of 16 months. You can read that post here. I noticed that it is by far my most pinned blog post on Pinterest and it occurred to me that this is an area where moms are looking for ideas. So, the idea of regularly posting our pre-toddler and toddler meals on the blog was born. We're calling it "lazy lunches" because that was the title of that very first post.

I'm going to try my darnedest to post every week about what Eli is eating and hopefully give you some new ideas. I'll also be posting pictures of these meals on Instagram (you can follow me @jessibridges) with the hashtag #lazylunches. Will you join me? Please post photos of your kiddo's meals and snacks so we can all get ideas from each other. Because let's face it, we all get into a rut time and again.

I must first warn you that if I'm going to be sharing what my son is eating in photos, you are going to get a glimpse at his dirty high chair tray. I mean, it just doesn't always get cleaned.

Eli is currently 14 months old. He had his first food, avocado, at 5 mos. He wasn't as interested as he'd led us to believe. He didn't really begin eating solids until almost 8 mos. I attribute why he loves food so much to him starting to eat at his own pace. Because, from the moment he started eating, he could.not.get.enough. And the kid, seriously prefers veggies to fruit. But don't worry, Isaac (my 3 year old) was a super picky eater, so I'll definitely be sharing meal ideas that will hopefully appease even the picky eaters! Also, I have to note that he does have a few food allergies: egg, yogurt, milk and some cheeses.

Breakfast
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Cut up fresh fruit is always a winner. Eli has to have a banana every single morning. Or else I think he might die. With his fruit he's eating homemade granola. It's grain-free for you Paleo people and made entirely from nuts and flax seed. The recipe is here. It's fantastic. Every morning, he also gets a cup of Vanilla Almond Milk. If he wasn't allergic to it, I would add some yogurt to this meal.

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Hello pancake breakfast!! As I noted above, food allergies. Bummer for this kid.

Pancakes in our house look like this:
1 cup Bisquick
1 egg yolk
1 heaping spoonful of ground flax seed
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

He gets powdered sugar on top because it's not messy like syrup (we only use real maple syrup. If you don't, seriously switch. It's so much better and my oldest, who has a crazy reaction to high-fructose corn syrup and sugar in general, handles it just fine). Recently a friend suggested I try making a glaze for his pancakes mixing together coconut oil and mashed banana. Sounds amazing right? Haven't tried it yet, but will next time and let you know the verdict.

Lunch
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Avocado is his favorite. Plus, since he can't eat a whole lot of dairy it's a good source of fat. 

Also, a really good food for babies is cooked beans. We eat a lot of pinto beans in our house. It's so easy to just throw a huge pot on the stove and let it simmer all day long. You can either use the beans to make re-fried beans for burritos or just serve them as is. Finger foods are an absolute must in our house. Other beans to use: garbanzo, navy, black eyed-peas, and lima beans. He also likes edamame. 

My go-to lunch or snack food if I'm out of ideas or food is cream cheese on crackers. The ones pictured are whole wheat crackers from Trader Joes. They're the kids' favorite. But saltines or ritz would work too! 

And a side of fruit with every meal. Here he's eating dried cranberries, another favorite in our house. 

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This is a leftover dinner lunch. Pasta with kale and spinach pesto. I make my own pesto and the recipe varies each time but here is the gist.

Throw it all into the food processor:
Equal parts fresh kale and spinach
A handful of almonds (or could be cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, really any nut of your choice!)
A handful of shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Turn on the food processor and drizzle in olive oil until the pesto is combined and sauce-like. But, you don't want it mealy and you don't want it runny.

Cook your favorite pasta: tortellini, ravioli, shells, spaghetti, whatever! And pour pesto over hot pasta. Sprinkle parmesan on top if you'd like.

With it he's eating cornbread and he most likely ate a mandarin orange before I snapped the photo.

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This is the easiest go-to meal for my particular pre-toddler. I buy the bags of frozen Vegetable Soup Mix from Kroger. It's basically a bunch of cut-up veggies (easy for me!). I throw half a bag into a vegetable steamer over simmering water. Season the veggies with a little salt, pepper and paprika, put the lid on and cook for 5 or so minutes. It's great as a side to go with something, or I serve it over a grain. Here he's eating it with barley, a fantastic source of protein!

21 comments:

  1. oh this is wonderful! I'm in such a rut of giving my 12 month old the same things every day. I've got to branch out!

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  2. Thank you for the ideas!
    Does he not just throw the food around (or shove it all in his mouth at the same time)?

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  3. Can't believe you actually add salt to a recipe for a baby!!!!

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    1. I appreciate your concern but I guarantee my children get less salt in their diet than most kids because I make everything from scratch and don't feed them packaged foods full of preservatives. Also, the recipe is not for a baby. It's for people. My babies and my children just happen to eat what we eat. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And to reiterate, he's 14 months old not an infant.

      I assume you make sure every single item you feed your child has zero sodium? That would be near impossible.

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  4. These are awesome ideas...thanks for the inspiration, I have been stumped on what to feed my 11 month old. He is over the purees and not quite there for full on toddler food seeing as he only has 5-6 teeth haha. Thanks again, and kudos to making everything homemade, wish I could do that too. P.S. I add a lil dash of salt from time to time, there's no harm in that =) Keep up the good work!

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  5. Great ideas! My kid has to be completely dairy free right now. It's really hard to find foods that he can eat

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    1. It definitely can be hard! Can I suggest a friend's blog? She is completely dairy free in her house (3 kids) and has several recipes on her blog plus a great ebook with good suggestions. www.forthisseason.com Hope that helps!

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  6. How do you know when your baby (12 mo in my case!) is ready to eat crackers and not choke?

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    1. The only way to find out is to give it to them and see! Crackers are pretty safe because they dissolve so easy. I start giving mine saltines and plain graham crackers around 8-9 mos. If they choke, I wait a few days or weeks and try again. As some say, choking is part of eating ;)

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  7. Yes, I just read that when they choke they are learning how to eat. And that when they "gag" themselves its on purpose to help them learn not to choke lol my 12 month old ears everything but most of it is mashed and we need to branch out. Also, I'm a huge coconut oil fan and that banana recipe sounds delish :) Can't wait to try these ideas! Thanks!

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  8. Thanks for the ideas, I am in the same boat as these other readers! My 15 month old is such a picky eatter! I think I've created a monster by not offering more variety earlier! You know it's tough though, some times we're away from the house at a meal time and she just snacks or doesn't eat good for me and then I slid into the idea that I have to make sure she eats really good her next meal so she's getting what she needs and end up making a cheese sauce or adding cheese to things pretty much every day because she'll eat anything with cheese sauce or cheese but throw it out or push it off or fuss at the same items otherwise...
    You share some great ideas, maybe I'll try some pesto sauce instead of always cheese or marinara. And we'll try beans again and more dried fruits (less juice=less mess-I like it!)

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  9. where did you get the turquoise and green plate dividers??? It looks like it holds a lot.

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    1. Walmart! They have a set of green ones and pink/purple ones. We love them.

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  10. Does your son have any teeth? And how old is he? I have an 11 month old and he's still eating purees because...I'm lazy. He would rather have real food but...anyways. Do you think an 11 month old with only two front teeth can eat some of these things? He eats meats, cut up fruits and veggies (steamed), pizza, steak, etc.

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    1. Yes, I would say an 11 month old could eat all of the foods in this post. I know some are hesitant about crackers but they dissolve really fast when they suck on them. I usually give my kiddos graham crackers at 9-10 months. Just steer clear of any of the potential allergy-causing foods until 1 year old: egg whites, peanut butter, strawberries, etc. A baby food book I highly recommend is from Williams Sonoma called Cooking for Baby. Lots of great ideas!

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  11. Great ideas, these look super simple and healthy!

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  12. Curiosity. If he's dairy free because of allergies, how are you giving him cheese?
    Or are you using a vegan cheese?
    My daughter is dairy/soy free

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    1. Yes good question!! For some reason there were certain cheeses that didn't bother him, specifically cream cheese and Parmesan. Everything else gave him hives immediately. So I fed those to him but still in moderation. (I should note that he grew out of his allergy at the age of 2 and can now eat any kind of dairy without any reaction).

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  13. Hi, my son is coming up on a year old with no teeth. I started giving him finger foods and he was receptive, but all of the sudden he took a huge step backwards and refused to eat anything solid. We're back on pureed foods. I've been slowly introducing soft foods back and he's accepting some of it, but do you have any other suggestions?

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  14. I always read about making sure the food is cut up into tiny pieces. I have a 12 month old. If I give her those tiny pieces, she just plays with them. But when I give her bigger pieces, she eats them, but puts the whole thing in sometimes :) I noticed the sizes on your ideas were a bit bigger too. At 12 months, were they that big? My daughter is refusing purees and these are great ideas!! Just curious about over stuffing her mouth??

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    1. I don't worry too much about the size of the pieces. I make sure I'm there watching in case something happens. But as soon as they are interested in food, I pretty much start giving them actual food!

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