Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Feeding a Picky Eater

I have mentioned a few times recently about my 1 year old becoming a bit picky as an eater. I have some struggles with this, as I have often thought to myself that a kid will eat what you give him/her and if you don't try new things or always give them the animal crackers they ask for or give in too easily, then it becomes more of a parenting issue than a kid issue. At this stage, my son has to get his food from me (since he can't get it for himself yet) so it is up to me to get him a variety of healthy foods in his diet. And he was doing amazing at eating lots of variety and at trying new things, until about a month or so ago.
He started this thing where he would clinch his mouth as a new food was coming toward him, allow it to touch his lips, and then make a nasty face as if it was the worst thing in the world (even though it never made it into his mouth!). I think Thanksgiving was the first we tried some new foods, got this new response, but were determined to not let him make the decisions about what he was eating. We tried the same foods about three times throughout the day, never offering another option. He never took them. He had some milk, and went to bed fine that night. When he woke up the next day (hungry for sure) he ate all the same foods he had refused the day before.
This is when I decided I would try any new foods (and also foods he was not as excited about) first thing in the morning. This has worked great!
I have also decided that I am not giving up on getting new and different foods into his diet, but I have decided that I will make healthier versions of some of his favorite foods (like oatmeal) and will add ingredients he wouldn't normally eat into foods that look more familiar (like muffins and pancakes). In this way I still feel like I am the one in charge of what he is eating, I still do not offer alternatives if he refuses to try something, and I feel that he is getting a wider variety of foods without making every meal a fight.
So, the lessons I have learned and tips I would share (and I am happy to accept other tips and lessons learned):
1. Try the less exciting foods in the morning.
2. Hide the foods I want to save for later in the day or special occasions (he loves bananas SO much, but once he sees them he won't eat anything else!)
3. Add new and different fruits to yogurt since they become slightly hidden, but also get eaten in the mix with a favorite food.
4. Add more fruits, proteins and vegetables to foods that seem more familiar but include different ingredients: oatmeal from scratch, muffins with fruits/vegetables, pancakes with fruits/proteins, breads with fruits/grains, etc.
5. Don't give in and offer alternatives when he won't try something new or makes a face. I keep trying the same food at another time, but know that if I back down and offer a favorite after he rejects something, we will quickly learn this easy pattern in how to get what he wants and then he will be in charge.
This is what Works For Me. For more great ideas and posts, check out We Are That Family.
What have you learned in feeding a toddler? What other things can I try as my toddler continues to grow and as I am planning for my next son who will join us in a few short weeks?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

I wrote here about some of my struggles with finding healthy foods my baby will eat. Foods that may seem like ones he is used to and has become partial to, but ones that contain a healthier and wider variety of ingredients. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Excited for the challenge, nervous to make food that could possibly not be eaten. But alas, success!!

I found a recipe for apple and cheese pancakes. I knew my son would eat pancakes, and this version has main ingredients of apple and cottage cheese. A bit healthier and getting some fruit, calcium, and protein (and no sugar) at the same time! Unfortunately, I didn't write down where the recipe came from, but have it on hand if you are interested.

I found another recipe called "easy baked oatmeal" that I made today. Again, success! I have been using packaged oatmeal because it is quick and simple and fairly inexpensive, but wanted to find something similar that I could have on hand and would have better ingredients for my son. I was excited for the oats, wheat germ and flaxseed especially. It was thinner than I imagined, but turned out quite well when I reheated a little and then added some milk (for softness and for cooling it for son) and cinnamon.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - December 28

A little late with posting, but thankfully I did actually get up early yesterday to plan this week. Which made it possible for me to get to the store last night after my husband got home so I could purchase everything and be ready.
We just got back from a few days visiting relatives for the holidays and now it is time to get back on track with eating healthy, simple meals regularly.
My son recently turned 1 and with that is entering a picky eating stage. This makes it a little more challenging than just cooking for all of us, but has also been a fun challenge for me to find things he likes to eat (like pancakes) and find recipes that add main ingredients I would want him eating more of, like fruits, vegetables and proteins.
Although I am trying to "get us back on track" my husband is out a couple of evenings this week, we have a New Year's Day party to go to on Friday, and I still have a few random things in the freezer to eat before I can start, it is still a light week here for food planning.

Apple Cheese Pancakes: I made these for my son today and he tried to turn his nose up at first and spit it out, but once I let him feed himself, he made his "I love these" noises and ate 1 and a half! success!! Unfortunately I do not remember where I found the recipe (I need to get better at tracking this info) but I have the recipe and will post my success story soon.

Easy Baked Oatmeal: My son loooooves his oatmeal, and this will be my attempt at making a healthier, cheaper, more filling version of the dish. Fingers crossed...

Pear Oven Pancake: Making this one for a breakfast meeting.

Creamy Corn Chowder: It's been very cold lately and this will be a warm and comforting meal a couple of nights this week.

Cabbage Sloppy Joes: I like an easy lunch that is also healthy and I'm excited to try this version that has cabbage in it.

Thai Appetizer Pizza: This one is to take to the New Year's party.

Also bought extra fruits and vegetables that both looked good and were on special this week. Trying to make this a very healthy week going into the new year!

What's on your menu this week? Need even more ideas? Head over to orjunkie.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - December 14

I've got to get back on track!
We've been eating out of our freezer A LOT the past couple of weeks since our main freezer broke and we've needed to get the freezer cleaned out some to make room for normal everyday use...but now it's time to really start cooking again. And I am ready! I have a new desire and excitement when looking for recipes since I have a toddler who is starting to eat more of what we are eating and this makes cooking for all of us more fun. Also, my husband has been having a huge problem with heartburn and I know we could eat even healthier than we already do sometimes, but this makes it even more important that we are eating foods that are good for his stomach.

Spinach Tortellini Soup I've made this once before (it freezes great!) and it was delicious.
Making this Chicken Tortilla Bake when we have company over next weekend.
Cheese and Spinach Tart with Glazed Carrots (found this recipe in the January 2010 issue of Parents magazine, but can't seem to find it online to link to it)
A Pea and Potato Soup made similar to the recipes given here (to have some extra easy food on hand for my son).
Making this Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole for a meeting.
Trying out this Pumpkin Cake recipe on some company next weekend.
Some other snacks/breakfast foods I plan on making to have on hand for all of us, but mostly for my son: Lemon Yogurt Snack Cake, Banana Oat Muffins, and Applesauce Muffins.

For even more great menu ideas, head on over to