quick and simple recipes for toddlers?

Diane - posted on 05/10/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )

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hi Ladies,

my 17 month old has gone from having a healthy appetite (loving veggies and fruit) to now refusing to eat most vegetables i feed her. Do any of you have any simple recipes that i can whip up (and maybe even freeze) to ensure she gets a veg, carb and protein and dinner times?

thank you,
Di

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Lisa - posted on 05/22/2010

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as far as food suggestions go.
my daughter, 18mo, loves gnocchi w pesto. easy finger food. she LOVES those bagel thins.. w a slice of cheddar. you know those little glass pyrex bowls? make shephards pie and fill them up.
or those chicken thingies shaped like dinosaurs. make a mashed potato mountain w gravy 'lava'.. & take some steamed broccoli or asparagus (trees) and stand them up in some melted cheese.

Bethany - posted on 05/14/2010

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My daughter isn't thrilled about eating fruits and veggies...especially veggies but what i found that she will eat are the yo baby meals. Its yogurt with apple and sweet potato puree at the bottom. She also likes the freeze dried fruit slices that you can buy at walmart in the fruit snack isle. And, for a drink if she likes juice, try the v8 fusion. It has one serving of fruit and 1 serving of veggies in it. Hope this helps!

Brandee - posted on 05/13/2010

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I use a couple of tricks to sneak in protein and vegetables with the carbs. If I make rice, I cook it in chicken broth instead of plain water and add minced bell pepper or even throw in a few lentils. I'll also make mac and cheese with diced broccoli. In general if I chop the vegetables small enough she rarely spits them out.

Brandi - posted on 05/11/2010

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My daughter will go through periods of likes and dislikes, but I can almost always guarantee that she eat something that has an interesting flavor to her. She likes mexican, italian, and really loves asian flavors. A little bit of sesame oil on her vegetables and they're gone like lightning. I use lots of fresh garlic too - cooked though, its too harsh raw - and I add it to just about any veggie you can name. Garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper, olive oil - add this mix to any veggie you can think of and let its sit for a little while to absorb the flavors - you can grill or roast veggies - we do squash, potatoes, sweet peppers, zucchini mostly, but you can do any firm vegetable grilled, and all vegetables roasted. Try fritters of corn, squash or spinach. You can add veggies to meatloaf, puree carrots into spaghetti sauce. I make alfredo pasta stuff with broccoli ans finely chopped spinach mixed in. A little bacon adds interest. When she is fussy, a "pick plate" might be the way to go. I'll cube cheese and avocados, dice a fruit like mango, strawberries or, banana, add a few slices of meat from last nights dinner, put a few crackers on, toss in a few black olives and maybe a dip - and she eats and eats. When she's done, she's done. I also addspinach to just about everything I can, but is goes easiest into italian and asian, I think. My dd will eat korean bean sprouts, and I'll do her broccoli with sesame oil and seeds with a touch of garlic. Curry makes an interesting indian flavored sweet potato, and my DD can't lay off the guacamole. Sometimes when I am being lazy, I will make a batch of homemade mac n cheese, and let her have that with a side of veggies. She won't always eat the meat. But she LOVES scrambles eggs, so if I am getting concerned about her protein, I'll scramble one with cheese for her. Also - easy to make a little omelet for her with a little diced onion and spinach. My dd is not into carbs too much - not that they are good for you anyway - but I do pasta dishes (which are easy to dress up with well cooked veggies) and roast potatos all the time. And if she doesn't want to eat - I don't make her another meal because babies really won't eat if they are not hungry. If she becomes hungry later on, I might do a bowl of oatmeal, or morel likely, a banana. If nothing else, try mixing up your spices. there are lots of spices that are healthful and safe to give babies - my dd adores cinnamon. Hope this helps.

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Fezeka - posted on 06/02/2010

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THank You Diane coz I have been struggling with this for months now, My 18 month year old does not want want to eat anything except yoghurt. KFC mash or oatmeal and I know I lack in the creative side coz I have no Ideas whatsoever, Even when hungry she would rather not eat anything she doesn't like. I have even tried soups but she hates them!!! I am really fustrated and confused on what to give her.

Avie - posted on 05/25/2010

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My son goes through numerous spells where he won't eat anything all day. He's nor a "picky" eater, he'll try almost anything and we haven't found anything yet that he really doesn't like. However, he's in the small side (19m and 23 pounds), so I worry when he doesn't eat. We, too, have had to cut out snacks. We treat him with a Popsicle or half a cookie when he does eat well. His pediatrician has recommended we give him pediasure (banana, strawberry, chocolate & vanilla) and also told us to start him on a multivitamin gummy. It's hard not to worry, but they WILL go through several spells of not eating. As long as they're not losing weight or lethargic, try not to worry too much

Mary - posted on 05/24/2010

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Try to remember that children go through stages and asking your pedi Dr. is good thing to do and also the weather is warming up. and their are many studies that show most people eat less in warmer weather than in colder weather. So as long as their getting some of everything during the day that's ok. Just relax and see what they are eating . if their eating what they need they will keep gaining weight which is probably the most important thing at this age. So keep them away from junk.And this is also the stage of grazing so if your child is a grazer like my 18and half month old just let them graze on what you want them to eat.

Amanda - posted on 05/24/2010

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I really think texture plays a big role, they've gone from eating jarred baby vege's to regular ones and aren't sure what to make of it. Sneak them in, cut them up small and act like they aren't even there!!!! For a bit at least until they can understand and get curious enough to try eating what mom and dad are eating!!

Lisa - posted on 05/22/2010

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reading up a few posts.. cookie cutters make awesome sandwich shape cutters. i use the little heart ones and we do pbj

Lisa - posted on 05/22/2010

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try adding babyfood (jars) to their foods. like pasta and sauce, you can add mild veggies, like squash.. they wont know its in there!

Sarah - posted on 05/22/2010

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mine likes things put on crackers: egg salad, tuna salad, pureed veggies. also, lucky for us, she steals everyone else's veggies off of all our plates. my oldest, who is now 6, used to be that way, but now says they make her "puke". lol, i just try to take it all in stride. all four of them LOVE fruit, though, so we make sure they get plenty of that for their nutrients.

Tine - posted on 05/22/2010

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Hi,
Toddlers are really good at knowing what they need! I offer my daughter lots of healthy options through the day and trust her to choose what shew needs - it always evens out over a day or at least week, which is how you should judge, not per meal.
Fruit is a more natural choice in warmer weather, and with winter starting here in Australia, my daughter has naturally gone from a fruit focus to liking veggies more. The best thing to do is relax - stressing about food will create problems that arent there! :-)

Rachael - posted on 05/21/2010

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Does she like sgetti? Sounds gross BUT we have a 4yr and an 18mth old and I actually add veggies to mine and they have no clue! I pretty much mush up whatever I have a dump it in! Our fav is frozen spiniach (finaly chopped) and carrots (tiny chopped pieces) but I have been known to chop up whatever leftover veggies I have and throw them in! You honestly can hardly taste them!

Blu - posted on 05/21/2010

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We tend to eat breakfast type foods for lunch, and even dinner sometimes! Here are some that are easy for me to get ready for the day when we have to head off to daycare. Take 5 or so eggs in a bowl and stir them up (you can also sneak in some cheese for dairy and tomatoes for vitamins). Toss the bowl in the microwave (cover with a paper towel to avoid a mess) for 1 minute, then stir. You will repeat this for 3-4 minutes until you have healthy scrambled eggs. Oatmeal can also be cooked in the microwave. Use 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not the instant ones because they are not nearly as nutritious) and 1 cup of water- I also throw in a bunch of raisins or apple chunks, because my son LOVES them- and microwave at 50% power for 5 minutes. I like to cook it long enough that it won't be watery, because then it is less messy for my 18 month old. I never add any sugar, so he doesn't know he is missing it- the fruit is usually sweet enough.
Anyways, both of these are very healthy, don't require a bunch of pots and pans to make, are quick, AND I can make a big batch on Sunday and it will last all week. Hope this is helpful, and would love to hear other tried and true ideas =)

Mary - posted on 05/20/2010

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My daughter has her eating moments as well, and to ensure she gets both the fruits and vegetables, I juice a mix of fresh fruits and add in some baby carrots, and spinash plus a spoon or so of organic honey. I make a whole pitcher and freeze some in ready to drink cups. She loves the "fruitable" drink.

Nicole - posted on 05/19/2010

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Oops one more thing, I found this idea awhile back on a blog, they call it Muffin Tin Monday and if you go there and check it out they have done this for over a year ( not sure how long but a long time ) every week so there is LOTS of ideas for what to serve there http://michellesjournalcorner.blogspot.c...

Nicole - posted on 05/19/2010

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Joann that is Great, I need to try making a bunch ahead like that and freezing it, Thanks So Much!!

All great tips!! My little guy isn't picky, he will eat anything ( lol ) but sometimes he will eat a lot and sometimes he won't eat anything it's worrisome but totally normal I know. I don't have any great recipes for toddlers but my little guy likes scrambled eggs, and toast with some fruit in the morning.

For Lunch it's always a variety ( small portions ) of different things and I serve them in silicone cupcake liners, regular ones, or a small muffin tin as it makes it fun and he always seems more willing to try something, I usually give him a fruit, cheese, mini pizzas made on english muffins or biscuits, graham crackers, turkey, ham, hard boiled eggs, dinosaur shaped pb&js, tuna ( he loves tuna ), any sandwich in a fun shape, veggies cut in strips or shapes with a little bit of ranch, etc. At lunch I give him 4 or 5 different things ( again small portions so they will try it all ) served in the muffin tin. He Loves it! I try to do themes with it to make it fun, one week Dr. Suess, One Week animals, letters, numbers, etc.

Hope that helps!! Good Luck!!

Sheena - posted on 05/19/2010

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My little boy is no a big mac and cheese kick where he wants it all the time..so to get him to eat other stuff..I will put some type of small meat pieces (chicken or hamburger) in it as well as chopped up veggies! He loves its, its easy to make, and pretty cheap. We can eat on it for a couple days!

Chelsie - posted on 05/19/2010

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My 17/mo is the same, I have been putting fresh spinach in yoplait light fruited yogurt or vanilla yogurt, instead of mashed potatoes i have been mashing cawliflour like mashed potatoes with a little salt, pepper and butter or top it with melted cheese. He used to eat everything but peas and now I have to hide it lol. Thick soups with noodles and veggies has worked well too

Kerri - posted on 05/18/2010

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my daughter loves rice and corn so i like to make her chicken fried rice to sneak some carrots, peas, and chicken in there.
I also sneak small pieces of vegetables in her pasta

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An easy meal that I make and my daughter LOVES is turkey chili. I'm pretty sure that you can freeze it and it makes many servings. I use lean ground turkey, garlic, onion, zucchini, red/orange/yellow bell pepper, 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or 2 diced), mushrooms, beans (I use 2 cans Ranch Style chili beans but you can use any), chili powder, salt & pepper. I can give you a more exact recipe if you want.

I didn't think my daughter would like it so much and it has lots or veggies and good turkey in it.

Good luck! I never knew feeding our children would be one of the most trying tasks of being a mother but it seems to be much of the time!

Jessica - posted on 05/14/2010

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I am going through the same thing right now. I have found that offering a "dip" with the veggies has seemed to help her eat her veggies. The dip is just plain full fat yogurt. Sometimes I make an avocado and yogurt dip. She actually ate steamed carrots and broccoli today with her "dip."

Yolanda - posted on 05/14/2010

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recently, the appetites of my kiddos has decreased so much that for a few nights they only had milk and cheerios, no matter what was offered. Even chicken 'reemerged', and that was always a winner before. Doc said they aren't growing as much at this stage, so a change in appetite is ok, just make sure they get in their milk. Is anyone on vitamins yet? I've been wondering if that's what we should do, but forgot to ask.

Terra - posted on 05/14/2010

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I have a picky 18 month old and the hard part is one time she eats something and the next time she wont. i also agree with nettia that its not true that kids will eat whatever if hungry, a picky eater will just not eat! I don't really have advice here just joining in with the i know how you feel.

Nettia - posted on 05/14/2010

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Thank you ladies for your tips. My son is so finicky I don't know what he will like from week to week. He is just starting to dabble with meats, but he will not even pick up a vegetable now.
By the way, the idea that a child will eat what you give them when they're hungry enough is not always true.

Sue - posted on 05/10/2010

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And not that I want to Argue with a person I dont know...We are all on here to help eachother..and "Di" did mention how her baby ate certain foods then stopped ..So in a way yes they did get a bit fussy in what the eat Joanne!!!!

Joanne - posted on 05/10/2010

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Sue, Di didnt' ask for meals for fussy eaters she asked for simple meals. If your kids arn't eating then they're probably not hungry. I tend to think fussy parents make fussy eaters. If their hungry enough they'll eat whatever you put in front of them.

The meals I make my son cost me $20 a month for 2 different types for variety so it's not exactly breaking the bank. I'm sick of someone having a go at me everytime I try and help here. It's just plain rude.

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Sometimes they won't eat because too much food is being offered, also they need to be hungry to want to eat... My mom used to feed my son lots of fruits inbetween meals... so if lunch was to be served at 12:30-1pm, she would be giving him an apple or orange around 10:30am. Guess what? He would not eat his lunch because he was not hungry One or two spoons and he'd spit it out... So, we stopped with these snacks and let him wait for lunch. If he is too hungry then we feed him lunch food earlier maybe around 11:30am... but never snacks. The same about dinner time. Since then he has been eating pretty well whatever we feed him. Then afterwords he gets his fruits/ juices... but not before the meal. If he is thirsty, he gets water and not juices... even natural ones because of the sugars... it has worked for me so far. Not to mention that he eats a pretty good breakfast with smashed bananas, oatmeal, other cereals and lots of milk. The only way I can get him to have milk is with his cereals in am... he refuses to drink whole milk no matter what...even mixed with chocolate...

Sue - posted on 05/10/2010

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And just to add..Joanne thats a GREAT idea..but Liam my son..sometimes I have to make 2-3 meals to try and get him to eat something...Im a single Mom..on a tight budget.....I knwo you dont have an answer..Its just scary and hard for me to make things like that...at the risk he will say NO!!!!! and close his eyes..and mouth and push it away!!!!!! LOLOLOL

Sue - posted on 05/10/2010

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Iam in the same Boat..My son is a fruit-O-holic..meant and veggies..unless its corn..and peas..he chews...and spits out...he doesnt even eat mashed potatoes...mixed with sweet potatoe..Im really worried..he is getting all he needs...he is healthy..and not showing signs of missing out..but it doesn worry me!!! So what Diane asked...HELP WITH MEALS FOR THESE FUSSY EATERS..or is this 100% normal???

Joanne - posted on 05/10/2010

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Hi Di,

About once a month I make up a big batch of things like chow mein, meat balls, satay chicken and freeze in little portions. Pretty much anything that you can make the sauce out of vegies cut up really fine with a little tomato paste or something and add some noodles or pasta to.

I usually just cut up heaps of vegies (about enough to feed a family of 4 x 2) then divide in two and put beef/hokein noodles with one lot and chicken/pasta with the other or vise versa for a bit of variety. It makes up about 25 serves (although big serves as my boy eats heaps) gives me peace of mind and saves my sanity at 6pm every night.

My bub loves corn so I always make sure there's plenty of that in there.

If I get stuck for ideas I go and have a look at the packets of favours in the supermarket (don't usually use them but just good to get an idea).

Hope that helps.

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