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I'm starving my 16 mo old... - Page 2

post #21 of 73
Check your local restaurant school, community college or even restaurants. Cooking classes are all the rage. If you happen to be in NYC - I have a good friend who will come to your house and teach you to cook (she's an author of a cookbook and gives cooking lessons). It's fun and it's a skill you can pass to your child and your DH. It doesn't have to be something elaborate. DH and I both work - DS is in day care and we don't get home till 6:00 p.m. every night (at the earliest) and we still cook practically every night.

Soup with a cheese quesadilla with veggies is a favorite in our house. Open can, dump contents into pan (add water if required) set to low. Put out flour tortillas and put shredded cheese and whatever veggies you have available and sprinkle them on (not too much or it will fall apart). Fold over. I use a piece of veggie on the outside edge to keep it closed and bake till the cheese melts. Serve.

You can do this.
post #22 of 73
Your post caught my eye. You can feed avacado a lot, if that's what your child will eat. It has great fat in it. Annie's organic shells and cheddar/mac and cheese is not too bad-many kids love it, and it only requires boiling water. You can throw in a handful of baby peas for a good meal. I think one of my kids lived on this for about 6 mos.

There are lots of fun noodle and pasta shapes, in a variety of grains as well as rice pastas, that are good with a cheese sauce or cheesy tomato sauce-again-just boil water and throw some cubed cheese into tom. sauce, or grate over the pasts. make sure to use a good butter on the noodles!

Dips are good too, and fun for toddlers-hummus, etc. A cheese omlet, or scrambled eggs and cheese, with leftover salmon (that dried out salmon you cooked would work great here!) or lox is good.

Take it one meal at a time. Dinner food can be breakfast. Breakfast food 3x/day-fine! Don't stress about what's "right", because only you know what's right for your family.

We always did full fat raw cows milk and goats milk, as well-not sure if that's an option for you?
post #23 of 73
Everyone has already had some great ideas. Cooking can be a lot of fun. It sounds to me like you are just stuck in a rut and being haunted by the same old stuff you already/always do. Use up that stuff in your freezer and make a commitment to change your purchasing habits so that your fridge isn't full of stuff you won't use. I like the "shelf a day" idea. It will be far less discouraging to try something new if the old duds are out of the way.

Like so many have said, there are tons of nutrient dense(that is so important!) foods that don't require a lot of prep. I don't know which vegetarian credo your family sticks to, but I see seafood and dairy in your post. Cheese, cream and butter... Use the best quality you can get, raw is best! Full-fat Greek-style yogurt... You can stir any number of things, sweet or savory, into that to make a variety of dips. Have you tried canned fish? My kids absolutely LOVE canned salmon, sardines, smoked herring, mackerel and the like. Think of all the protein and omega-3s, and you don't even have to heat that stuff up if you don't want to.

I don't know if you do eggs... But eggs are one of THE most nutrient dense foods out there. And for the most part they are very easy to fix. Even if YOU don't eat them, I'd certainly consider them for your son. It might sound like a treat, but sweet potato or pumpkin pie have the possibility of being super healthy. Vitamin A rich veggie plus protein rich eggs with high quality cream with some maple syrup and spices? Find a good recipe... You just whisk it up, pour it in an organic ready-crust and throw it in the oven.

I've not seen anyone say anything about potatoes yet. Both sweet potatoes and white potatoes make excellent kid-friendly foils for all kind of nutrient dense toppings. Cheese, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, sour cream, guacamole. Just bake the potatoes(throw 'em in the oven at 350 until you can poke them easily with a fork), split them open, and use your imagination!

ETA: Don't be afraid to use salt. I know from my vegan days that salt is one of those things painted evil by the health crowd. So not true. Very little will taste good if it isn't seasoned properly. Using a quality natural salt to season foods you put in front of our son might make them more appealing. Of course, you might be using salt... I just wanted to out that in there, as a lot of people overlook that.
post #24 of 73
If you want to learn, you could try posting in the nutrition forum for quick and simple recipes.

I know for my little guy, breakfast is a scrambled egg almost every morning. Lunch is whatever i can grab from the fridge while he's climbing my leg - cheese cubes/slices, grapes, he'll eat hummus off a spoon, since he hasnt figured out dipping... Banana, avocado, a few pieces of last night's chicken or beans, Pickles, broccoli, etc. He loves corn on the cob, when i can find it.

And dinner is usually more of the same for him. If i have red or white beans, he'll eat quite a bit (but he doesnt like garbanzos). He's a cheese hound, and he'll eat all sorts of fresh fruit/veg, so thats what i feed him. Je loves salmon, but only gets it maybe once a month... I only cooked salmon for the first time a few months ago, and i'll tell you it does take a little practice, but it's better to undercook than overcook if your fish is fresh. By the time it's flaking, it's overcooked, it really does only take a few minutes.
post #25 of 73
do you have a slow cooker? are you ok with using a microwave? If so I can post some no thought recipes for you.
post #26 of 73
the thing about learning to cook is that at the beginning, everyone stinks at it! and when you are constantly making food that doesn't turn out so great, your confidence sinks, and that doesn't really help the situation.

but cooking is not rocket science, and eventually, if you keep working at it, one day, it will click and you will totally get it! it's like anything else, practice makes perfect.

so start with salmon. find the easiest recipe you can. maybe a recipe where it's cooked wrapped in foil, so that it won't dry out. and with it, do a simple side, like baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. you and DH can have them as-is - DS can have it smushed. then, pick a veggie. simply steam it (keep tasting until it's as soft as you all like) and add a little butter and salt when it's done. voila, easy meal with little prep! then, once you master the salmon, pick another simple one and master that, too. the more you cook, the more little things you learn, and it starts to get fun (seriously!).

while you're learning, there are so many easy, quick things you can make for DS. there were many great suggestions given here. some of my go-tos:

- quesadillas (heat a pan, throw tortilla on pan, throw cheese on half of tortilla, add a little chopped spinach, or some leftover beans, more cheese, fold, cook until done, serve with some avocado and yogurt or sour cream for dipping!)
- grilled cheese
- pizza whatevers... throw sauce and cheese on an english muffin, a pita, a bagel, a slice of bread, a tortilla, anything... and bake @ 350 until done
- crackers w/nut butter, maybe a smidge of honey to sweeten
- whole-wheat pancakes, these are really easy to make from scratch!! serve any time of day, i give my boys some yogurt w/a drip of maple syrup to dip
- french toast (beat an egg, add a splash of milk, soak bread, cook on medium in a little butter, cut into strips or squares)
- roasted chickpeas - add olive oil, salt, pepper, bake @ 400 until a little brown but not hard

you can do it!!!
post #27 of 73
Originally Posted by dividedsky View Post
the thing about learning to cook is that at the beginning, everyone stinks at it! and when you are constantly making food that doesn't turn out so great, your confidence sinks, and that doesn't really help the situation.

but cooking is not rocket science, and eventually, if you keep working at it, one day, it will click and you will totally get it! it's like anything else, practice makes perfect.
I agree! And even though I think I'm a pretty experienced cook and I cook a lot and have enjoyed cooking since I was a kid, I still find that it takes me about three tries to get a recipe to finally come out right. The first time I make something I totally mess some part up, the second time it's better but there's still something eh, and the third time I think "wow, this is really good! I wonder why I didn't really like it the past two times." So don't get discouraged just because something doesn't come out right... cooking is, imo, mostly practice and patience.
post #28 of 73
Originally Posted by lkmiscnet View Post

Our 16 mo old is still on homemade pureed food and store bought organic jarred stage 2 because he won't eat most other things I make for DH and me and I just don't know what to make for him. However, when we eat out, he eats quite a bit off my fork, particularly salmon, since that is usually what I order when eating out. When I try to make salmon at home, it never turns out like at the restaurant. It's overcooked and dry no matter how I make it.

Most recipes I try to follow don't turn out well. I couldn't even cook a pancake from a mix this morning as the whole thing stuck to the pan when I tried to use coconut oil and it fell apart in crumbs (as did I after yet another meal didn't turn out)...


On weekends, we are so busy running around doing errands or I'm working on house projects and I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. And, we have a lousy fridge that doesn't have much room and I have to strategically stack and balance things in there just to get them to fit. Our freezer is filled with bags of frozen veggies and everytime I open the door, something falls out. So, I am not motivated to cook either because there is no room for anything. I throw away so much food that has rotted because it's hidden in the fridge, which makes buying ingredients for cooking a struggle.
He will eat avocado, but I can't feed that to him for every meal. I've tried oatmeal, yogurt with applesauce...He just doesn't like them, so I don't know what to feed him for breakfast. For lunch, I've been giving him bites of my almond butter and jam toast, but that is not great nutritionally for a baby. I also cannot get his liquid vitamin/iron supplement in him when he won't eat things I can't squirt the dosage in, so I'm worried that he's going to be impacted by that as well, particularly his iron level.
toddlers don't need complicated food, and if you can make the homemade stuff you can certainly make other things. So....for example...if you're making homemade sweet potatoes (and he likes them) just stop smushing them and feed the soft chunks.

Dd2 (18 months, BTW) hasn't met a bean she doesn't like. Find a brand that works for you--they do seem to have highly variable amounts of salt--and try that. I rinse them off and sometimes heat slightly, sometimes not. Black beans are probably more nutritious than pinto, but I do serve both. Dd1 wouldn't ever eat beans, so it's possible your child won't, but it's worth a shot.

Pasta tossed with olive oil and cheese. Or just olive oil (or butter) if he won't eat the cheese.

Cheese is good, as others have said.

Dd2 hardly touches fruit (watermelon is about the only one she'll eat) but loves broccoli. I'll serve her broccoli at every meal, including breakfast, if need be. So if your child likes avocado, let him eat it. It's healthy.

Fish always takes a lot less time than you'd think to cook. Something like 10-15 minutes per inch of thickness, at a fairly high oven temp. If I hated to cook as much as you do, I'd make something like that in larger quantities, so that I'd get more mileage out of the cooking effort. And leftover salmon is divine.

Don't worry about food categories. Anything can be a breakfast food or a lunch food or a dinner food.

Sounds like until you get a better fridge, it would be good to just have less on hand. Not as overwhelming. I do a major purge every week--all the leftovers and "off" produce gets tossed. Been meaning to tackle the freezer as well. FWIW, my SIL is even more, um, proactive than that. If something hasn't been finished off within 48 hours, she tosses it.

Do you have room for a small chest freezer in your home?
post #29 of 73
Everyone has given you some really great ideas. My daughter, 5 years old, barely eats anything. So I have to just give her whatever to get her to eat something. She hasn't gained any weight in 2 years.

She eats a lot of pastas and fruits. My 16 month old tho, is something else altogether. He loves solids. Your baby may be ready to try all those new textures. Fruits: Bananas, grapes, apples, star fruit, pineapples, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries (Minus pits) and others are great. Just cut them into bite size chunks! Crackers and cheese, oh cheese! my baby boy looooves cheese.

I get the impression that you don't eat a lot of meats (just fish?) but if you do, sloppy joes (just strip him and toss him in the bath afterwards) turkey burger works just as well as ground chuck and is healthier. And oh! He adored chicken and steak fajitas. Any of these things are easy as pie to cook. Feel free to PM me, and I can suggest a ton of things. Another huge hit, and easier than anything else, really. American Chop Suey, saute a lb of burger, toss a jar of pasta sauce over it. Boil some elbows, combine it all together, then put shredded cheese or grated cheese over it. 4 food groups in one quick and easy meal.
post #30 of 73
can you hire someone to do some cooking for you? There are some ethinic foods that I just don't make well-- roti's for example. My mom makes them for my son in return for verbal confirmaiton that she's the best grandmother that ever walked the earth.

There are also quite a few ladies in our area that make ethinic food at home to sell. They may pour a little heavier on the oil than I would like, but it is good, fresh, homemade, unprocessed, preservative free food.
post #31 of 73
So many good suggestions here!

I second the slow cooker: you can get yourself a book like this one and make a ton of things. Some recipes are more annoying in that they may require meat browning, etc. ahead of time - skip them and use the ones where you can just throw everything in the pot and leave it be.

I realize everyone frowns on processed foods, but if this is survival mode, you do what you have to do, and there are many options out there that are healthier and will tide you over until you figure out what stuff you like and can make by yourself. Annie's Homegrown has better options for mac & cheese than Kraft - and like a pp said, you can add veggies, meat, fish, etc. Dr. Praeger's makes veggie pancakes and nuggets. You just stick them in the oven. Some of the Happy Bites frozen items may work for you too. There's lots of stuff like that. Just look out for best sodium contents, etc.

If you don't want to deal with buying raw veggies, buy them frozen. All you need is water and a microwave to lightly steam.

You can make rice or quinoa in a rice cooker. I use 1 1/2 cups of water for each cup of grain. You can add applesauce or cheese, etc. to the quinoa after it's cooked. It's a great food and so easy to make! I coat the pot with some olive oil to prevent sticking.

Make grilled cheese sandwiches in a pan on the stove - or even easier still maybe, get a George Foreman. You can add turkey, too, tomatoes, etc. and cut up into little bites. You can find antibiotic free turkey, like Applegate Farm brand.

For breakfasts, try Revolution Foods Grammy or Jammy Sammies. Each one has 8 g of whole grains. Earth's Best make some whole grain bars too, but not all their cereal bars are made with whole grains. Our DS often just has whole grain toast with butter and a yogurt with some fruit for breakfast. I try to strike a balance between having some protein, fats, and whole grains at each meal, as well as veggies/fruits. If your LO doesn't like veggies as much, don't despair. Many prefer fruit, and some have great nutritional value. A single kiwi supposedly has all the vitamin C you need in a day!

Don't be too afraid to move beyond purees with your little one - you'd be amazed at what they can handle at that age! But you can move slowly into that. Your purees don't have to go to waste. You can use them as sauces for plain pasta. And you if have a blender, you can make your own shakes/smoothies with some milk, yogurt, a banana, some peanut butter for protein or a million other things.

Good luck mama!
post #32 of 73
As an 'Insurance' policy, get a good chewable vitamin and fish oil supplement (I give my lil guy Animal Parade and Omega fishies from vitacost.com)

When you shop and feed foods to your kid, make sure they are nutrient dense, that means choose good foods to eat, raw, frozen, canned, cooked fruits and veggies, real meat and fish patties or filets, fresh or frozen (not fried fishsticks or anything) cooked beans, refried beans, real butter, whole milk, cream, not fake margerines.

If it will help, get a couple 'convenience' appliances if you have room, like a steamer (add water to bottom well and turn it on, and the food is cooked!) and or a rice maker (add rice and water and turn it on.) Get a two teired steamer, then you can do fish on one level and veggies or rice bowl on the other. Or a crockpot, there is a great blog 365crockpot that has tons of recipies that are simply made on the crockpot.

I always offer a fruit and a veggie at each meal (well, veggies aren't often at breakfast) bananas, applesauce, canned or fresh pears, peaches, plums, dried fruits like rasins, blueberries, crasins, apricots, etc. Kids can eat dried fruit! Get the minced mixed dried fruit bag from Sunmaid, or rasins, prunes and apricots do need to be cut into smaller peices though! For snacks on the go, I get Revolution Kids or Plumtots mashups from BabiesRUs.
post #33 of 73
Had another thought - Monkey platters! My go-to when i'm feeling lazy and DD LOVES them, and her little friends all love coming over because E's mommy makes you a monkey platter.
post #34 of 73
Cooking definitely takes practice! And it gets more fun once you get the hang of things. . .but even someone who loves to cook and has been for a long time (me) finds it hard to make the time or energy to cook with a toddler underfoot.

Kids usually prefer simple food though. Boil noodles and put olive oil or butter on them. Scramble an egg. Nut butter on toast. Avocado with everything Open a can of beans (I know there are "issues" with canned goods, but beans are important for a veg diet and if you just can't manage to cook them yourself, I wouldn't hesitate to used canned). At Trader Joe's you can buy precooked, frozen, organic brown rice--great for adding to soups, stir-fries, etc. My 12 month old will eat tons of rice and beans. He also loves, loves hummus, also a quick and easy buy at someplace like TJs. I just cube up bread and dip each cube in hummus and put those on his tray. Will your LO eat banana?

Anyway, you've had a lot of good suggestions, I just wanted to tell you that even mamas who can cook find it daunting to always have to find things to feed their LOs. Wander the store and look for things that you think your LO would eat. Browse through some cookbooks just for ideas/inspiration. And mostly, keep it simple!
post #35 of 73
I agree with everything posted already -great advice!! Almost everything I was going to say has already been said. I just wanted to add a couple things I didn't see.

Since your LO may be FTT - I agree 100% that you should go for some store-bought convenience foods. Go for the ones already mentioned, plus, get some store-bought marinara. There are lots of good natural/organic ones, even ones with veggies in them. Cook some pasta, sprinkle on some cheese, & you've got dinner. If you have a good natural foods store or deli in your area, go there & see if they have healthy pasta salad, muffins, soups, etc.

I also agree that you may want to invest in some helpful appliances. I was going to second the rice steamer & say that a lot of them come with inserts so you can steam veggies & even fish & other things. Also, for pancakes, our counter-top griddle is a must-have; you can also french toast on it & lots of other stuff. No need to use any oil.

As for the oil & your pancakes sticking - I would recommend spray oil. It comes in lots of different types, even organic. I find it coats pans better & really helps things not stick & crumble.

My DS eats quite a variety of food, but a lot of it is not elaborate or even cooked. Finger foods are definitely the way to go.

& good luck!!
post #36 of 73
I didn't read all the other responses...

I CAN cook, but my DS refuses to try any new foods. We rotate Chicken Nuggets, Grilled Cheese, popcorn shrimp and PBJ. He loves fruit and will eat french frries, potato fries and yogurt.

So...while not great, I just go with what he likes. I do try other things, but he ALWAYS refuses to even try them. Oh well...won't last forever.
post #37 of 73


One website that has helped me is weelicious.com.

Like everyone else said, avacados and almondbutter and jelly are great kid foods. If you wanted to learn to cook a little better and add to what you can already make, see if your community offers a cooking class. You could also look in books or online for easy recipes and try out one or two each month.
post #38 of 73
"hen I try to make salmon at home, it never turns out like at the restaurant. It's overcooked and dry no matter how I make it."

Salmon only really has to cook for a few minutes. Really, ANY seafood only has to cook for a few minutes. I make seafood on nights we need a very quick dinner.

The one thing to remember is that they're also probably using a marinade with some pretty icky stuff in it to make the salmon so moist and flavorful at restaurants. At home, brush it with oil, sprinkle it with some spices maybe, and stick it under the broiler, watching it very closely. 3-4 minutes each side, at MOST, if it doesn't have any frozen areas.
post #39 of 73
Originally Posted by lkmiscnet View Post
I also cannot get his liquid vitamin/iron supplement in him when he won't eat things I can't squirt the dosage in, so I'm worried that he's going to be impacted by that as well, particularly his iron level.
I haven't read the thread but...you don't need to put his liquid vitamin into anything. You can squirt it into his mouth; I used to tell DS "Vitamins!" in a bright, cheery voice and use a dropper to squirt it into his mouth. They don't taste too bad.
post #40 of 73
Mac and cheese tends to be a favorite of mine from an early age. I make it homemade and its really simple to make. I add some tuna sometimes for some added nutrients when my girls are being picky for one reason or another.
PB&J is a good meal with some cut up fruit and veggies on the side.
Cheese cubes and crackers are another favorite of my girls from an early age.
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