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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!