Toddler food is always being discussed in my mom’s group, so I thought I would share a sample of what Elise eats. It can be hard to come up with different ideas and not get stuck into easy (and often unhealthy) foods and snacks.
I work on the weekends, so I’m not with E and not the one preparing her food on those days, so I am including all of her food for Monday through Friday this week.
Breakfast – Mommy was at work, so daddy fed her. She had a banana, Cheerios, and milk.
Snack – Animal cracker cookie and part of a cutie (those little oranges) and milk
Lunch – honey breaded chicken finger, Mac and cheese, steamed veggies with water
Snacks – apple slices, 1/2 a graham cracker, milk
Dinner – French toast (I gave her a tiny amount of syrup) and pineapple chunks, water.
Bedtime – Milk
Here she is enjoying her lunch!
I still have to cut up her food pretty small for her. Poor baby still only has two teeth (two bottom ones). However, we have 6 top teeth poking through all at the same time!
Tuesday was a sleepy day with lots of naps because the princess was up most of the night.
Breakfast – peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk
Snack – she partied all night and woke up late, so breakfast was later than normal. She did have an animal cracker and a couple yogurt melts though, milk with nap time.
Lunch – She insisted on having a Gerber pouch. It was sweet potatoes mixed with some fruit, so to add something a little heavier with it, she had one of her favorite snacks for lunch, what I call snack pizzas. Crackers, a stick of cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), and pepperoni. She had water to drink.
Snack – Milk (Snack idea to make up for her lack of snack though – YOGURT!)
Dinner – Alfredo bow tie pasta with ham and broccoli with water.
Bedtime – milk
Breakfast – grapefruit and Cheerios, milk
Snack – chocolate chip cookie (this was a big treat), milk
Lunch – fruit plate (bananas and blueberries), water.
Snack – 1/2 graham cracker, milk
Dinner – Pork chops, steamed carrots and potatoes, and water
Another snack – part of a cutie, yogurt melts
Bedtime – milk
Breakfast – Blueberry muffin with fresh blueberries, water.
Snack – animal cracker cookie, milk.
Lunch – a banana, rotini pasta, 1/4 a cheesy breadstick (we were out to eat), water
Snack – frozen yogurt with assorted fruit as toppings (on her play date with Miss Kylie!), milk.
Dinner – baked chicken, garlic rice, corn, peas, water.
Bedtime – milk
Breakfast – Fruit plate (banana and apple slices), milk.
Snack – milk (took an early nap, but she was going to have fresh kiwi).
Lunch – turkey and cheese sandwich, peas, fresh pineapple, water.
Snack – apple cinnamon oatmeal, milk
Dinner – roast beef and scalloped potatoes.
Bedtime – milk
Another fun lunchtime:
Bonus! Saturday – (I’m including even though I wasn’t there)
Breakfast – mini pancakes, apple slices, water.
Snack – Gerber fruit pouch, milk
Lunch – meatloaf and carrots, water
Snack – banana, milk
Dinner – grilled cheese and diced strawberries, water
Bedtime – milk
Sunday– I was at work and she was with her Grammie. I’m not sure what her meals consisted of, but I know that she did have pineapple, grilled cheese, peas, and shredded cheese.
My child LOVES to eat. Here are a couple of photos of her enjoying a few favorites, even though they aren’t from this week!
Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza with spinach! YUM!
Honey breaded chicken finger with broccoli! Baby likes her veggies!
Elise loves it when I give her baby trail mix as a snack!
Spaghetti is always a fun and very messy dinner!
As soon as you open the refrigerator, she is climbing in it and pulling whatever looks yummy (or colorful) out. She currently has a obsession with getting the mustard bottle out and carrying it around the house. I let her taste it once. She wasn’t a fan!
Other ideas and tips to promote healthy toddler eating:
- Eggs – This is such a great breakfast for a toddler and it is packed with protein. You can make an omelet and add veggies to get in more nutrition! Unfortunately, Elise will not touch eggs with a ten foot pole no matter how much I try to disguise them!
- Shredded Cheese – Elise LOVES shredded cheese. It makes for such an easy addition to a snack!
- Any kind of fresh fruit – Kiwi, watermelon, berries (be careful with possible choking), grapes (always cut in half!), cantaloupe, mango, etc. Fruit is nature’s candy!
- PEAS. Elise loves peas. They are easy for her to pick up and healthy, so I love them for her! She eats peas a lot, so I have no idea how we made it through a week of meals without me serving them to her! They require no prep and can go great with dinner or be a great snack.
- Yogurt is packed full of nutrition and also satisfies a little sweet tooth in a healthy way! Elise loves yogurt, but is having an independent streak of not wanting mommy and daddy to feed her with a spoon, so she hasn’t been getting as much of it lately.
- Pasta is a great way to work on fine motor skills and great for little ones like Elise who are still lacking in the teeth department! Not to mention it is a family friendly dinner that takes minimal prep time!
- Oatmeal is your friend! Again, Elise isn’t in to being fed right now so we’ve held off on it for a couple of weeks, but it is such a healthy and easy breakfast. Try buying oats in bulk and making your own instant oatmeal in ziplock bags to quickly make! The flavor possibilities are endless and it is so much healthier and cheaper than buying premade instant oatmeal!
- Peanut butter! It goes great on everything! Toast, bananas, crackers, apples, and so much more! I recommend speaking with your pediatrician about when it is right to introduce it to your baby though. We gave it to Elise a couple of days before her one year birthday.
- Always make extra for dinner and save the left overs! They make for great toddler lunches the next day! Did you make baked chicken for dinner? Try revamping it tomorrow and making a yummy quesadilla with veggies insides as a toddler lunch!
- We always try to make things for dinner that are baby friendly. Elise seems to eat more of her food if we are eating the same thing. If we are eating something different, she is interested to know what we have!
- This is a given, but sit down at the table together and turn the TV off. I am always so tempted to do the dishes or wipe down the kitchen quickly while she is eating in the highchair. I have to stop and remind myself that meal time is family time!
- I try to offer water at meals instead of milk so that she doesn’t just fill up on milk. We do often allow her to have milk at breakfast though.
- We do not do juice at all. I know a lot of people have to use it for constipation issues once they switch to whole cow’s milk, but I would still encourage it to be with snacks and not meal time.
- We keep water available to Elise all day. She always has a sippy full of water close by.
- Don’t be afraid to give them a treat every now and then! No hiding in the kitchen eating cookies while they aren’t looking. Let them share in the snack, and teach them moderation and self control. Model good eating habits for them. I think it is absolutely okay for a toddler to have a cookie or other dessert/treat every now and then if they ate their healthy foods first.
- Keep healthy snacks with you. When we are going out with others, I will pack a banana or other easy fruit just in case there’s not a healthy option for her. We also keep yogurt melts, cheerios, and animal crackers in the diaper bag to help with those screaming fits in the car seat or while waiting on meals at restaurants!
- Depending on what Elise is having, I sometimes offer the healthiest option first. For example, if we are having steamed broccoli and mac and cheese for lunch (this is a common lunch for us), then I offer the broccoli first. Elise LOVES mac and cheese, so she will devour that and fill up if they are both offered together.
- Food is for eating, not for playing. I know a lot of people say that throwing food off the highchair is a learning process and to just ignore it, but we do not. If she starts throwing her food instead of eating, then we take it away. Normally by that point she is full anyway, but if it happens to be a time where she didn’t eat, I will save it and offer it again a little later.
- I very much believe that a baby with no underlying health problems will not let themselves starve. If they go a couple of days without really eating much food, don’t stress. Maybe they are teething or just more interested in exploring the world, but they will come around. Just keep offering and ensuring they are getting enough milk!
Do you have any other toddler meal or snack ideas? Any healthy eating tips? Please feel free to share!