17 month old is a picky eater. Any suggestions??

Jamie - posted on 06/08/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 17 month old is very picky when it comes to food. Her main staples are Mac and cheese with chicken, grilled cheese, eggs, toast with butter or jelly (haven't tried peanut butter yet), cottage cheese, graham crackers, goldfish crackers, yogurt, watermelon, kiwi, banana, cereal bars, waffles, french toast, green beans, carrots. She doesn't really seem to like ravioli, spaghettii, and other pasta, I've tried chicken nuggets and fish sticks, and she'll eat a few bites and then throw it on the floor. She doesn't have any teeth except her top and bottom 2, so it makes me nervous to feed her some things. I'm worried her diet doesn't haev enough variety! Plus I'm worried because she doesn't get much meat in her diet. She's not even crazy about deli meat and I've tried those Gerber meat sticks and she hates those. She actually cried when I gave her that! The only meat she really gets is when I give her that mac and cheese with chicken by Gerber. But pretty much all the other gerber graduates she won't eat. Does anyone have any advice? Do you think she needs to be on vitamins since she's not eating a lot of meat?

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Jamie - posted on 06/09/2010

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Thank you so much, that was very informative and helpful!! I was wonderng if I should get a food processor, but I was thinking since she's already a ayear and a half maybe she didn't need it. Do you use yours a lot? The almond butter is a great idea too, I'm going to get some of that today. Is it really thick? That's one of the reasons I was wonrried about peanut butter, it seems thick and like it would get stuck in their throats. I'm kind of worried about her choking on things :) Those are great ideas though, I'm going to go get some of that Greek yogurt and Quinoa too. Quinoa isn't rice is it? She has neevr liked rice much either. Oh, you said you put honey in the yogurt, right? So you don't think honey is too thick or sticky for them at 17 months? I supposes if it's mixed in with yogurt that helps with that. Also, I'll admit I'm not really the best cook, so how do you homemake your own fish and chicken nuggets? Do you just cut up little pieces of each and bake them? Or do you actually put some type of bread coating on them? Hopefully I don't sound too clueless, but I'm just not a chef :) Thanks again, this was so helpful!!

Bethanie - posted on 06/08/2010

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First, I'd say nix the gerber meals....full of sodium. I'd say to do a vitamin anyways (not just because of meat, but she is lacking vitamins from veggies and iron). My son eats everything and I still give him a half dropper of liquid Enfamil Poly Vi Sol w/iron in his morning milk. Here are some suggestions of mine:

If she likes Mac N Cheese, switch to Annies brand. It's all natural, doesn't have the artificial stuff in it and is made with whole grain pasta. Add some cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken to it in smallish chucks. You can also add some pureed or small chunked cooked broccoli to this, too. Switch her bread to whole grain and instead of PB, (which I know you haven't tried yet) which is a high allergen food and not that nutritious, try almond butter instead. A good balance of healthy fats and good source of protein. My son loves grilled almond butter and banana sandwiches. Since she doesn't have many teeth yet, don't grill the bread for too long so it's still a little soft, slice the banana thin and cut the sandwich into bite sized pieces. Try homemaking your own fish and chicken nuggets....my son loves fish nuggets and both are baked not fried. Another great protein sources (and something to try since you said she doesn't like pasta) is Quinoa (keen-wah). It's found in the natural foods section in either flaked or whole form. The flaked kind, my son loves as a hot cereal for breakfast and I mix in some fruit, a little honey or brown sugar and a touch or butter. You could also mix in yogurt (my son LOVES the plain FAGE (Fah-yeh) 2% greek yogurt with some fruit and honey) or a little bit of whole fruit preserves. The whole variety, you can cook up and serve as a rice substitute. Quinoa is a "complete protein" because it contains all the essential amino acids, unlike meat. My son also loves the Kashi toaster waffles for breakfast....loaded with fiber! Very good for even toddlers to get a good dose of fiber in their daily diet. If your daughter likes mashed potatoes, you can throw a chopped parsnip in with potatoes and cook and mash or even try mashed sweet potatoes with carrots. This afternoon, I made my son a spinach pesto pasta and he loved it! It does contain walnuts in it, so watch for any reaction. 5oz of fresh spinach (I use Organic), a few good handfuls of walnuts, a few handfuls of shredded parmesean cheese, a garlic clove, a few tbsps of lemon juice put into the food processor. Blend together. Once blended, add 1/4-1/3cup of olive oil until smooth and slightly saucy. Add a pinch of salt. Toss some of the pesto together (just enough to coat) with cooked whole grain or Quinoa (yes, they make it in pasta form, too) pasta. Add a bit more parmesean, a squirt of lemon and salt to taste. Thin out with some reserved pasta water, if needed.

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