I'm starving my 16 mo old... - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-30-2010, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He has nothing to eat. I just can't cook. I was always timid of being a mom because I was afraid of what I was going to feed a child and now that has come to pass.

I have a handful of rotating meals that I cook (frozen stir fry, pasta, frozen organic pizza) for DH and me and many nights either DH doesn't eat, saying he's not hungry, or I eat a bowl of cereal. We also go out to eat maybe twice a week because DH coerces me. I am also a vegetarian, but eat seafood. Also, DH doesn't know how to cook AT ALL, so he is of no help in the kitchen.

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)...

And, I don't even know where I would find the time to cook. I use naptime to either nap myself or to take a shower, check e-mail or do housework (which I'm also failing at).

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.

The ped says that our DS is on the verge of failure to thrive (that's on another older post). He had not lost weight previously (was in the 3rd percentile), but I think he's lost weight in the past couple of months. He wears 9 mo old pants. The 12 mo size slides off him. He's probably just under 19 lbs now, but I'll wait to worry until his check up in a month. We are still BFing, but he can't be getting enough calories from BM.

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.

He drinks only 4 oz of coconut or cow's milk per day. And that's with me offering it throughout the day.

We are finally going to a feeding clinic next week just to rule out any physiological causes.

But, I'm still getting very depressed over my lack of being able to provide nutritionally for our DS and have little patience for meal times when DS won't eat.

I feel like a failure as a mom. For various other reasons, I just don't think I'm doing a good job with him, even though I'm a SAHM and have no excuse.

Guess I am just really feeling low after yet another unsuccessful feeding attempt and just needed a safe place to vent.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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Well, i see nothing insurmountable here!

You need to get motivated, get organised and get creative.

You already feel bad about this so there is your motivation right there. You ALL need to eat well for health. It's all very well feeling bad about the baby not eating well, is it ok if his mom gets colon cancer from a lifelong poor diet? No, of course not, so NOW is when you learn to cook!

Get organised. Go on YouTube, or google for "easy recipes" or "quick recipes" or whatever takes your fancy, then plan a weeks worth of meals and only buy what you need for them. You need to make time to cook. Sorry. It's a necessity and you can't say "can't" any more. You find time to pee, this is as necessary and you get ill if you don't.

Get creative - almond butter on wholemeal toast is absolutely fine for a kid, and jam never killed anyone. Feed what he will eat, within reason. Experiment. I'm a pretty good cook and i still have massive disasters sometimes, ah well, that's life. I too have a really hard time with pancakes - i blame the pan Do you eat eggs? Scramble eggs with some cream (if you eat dairy). Try him with anything YOU eat, and anything you find a recipe for that you fancy. My DD, at that age, inexplicably loved fish curry. She ate it about twice a week at least and i just rotated the fish and veggies in it. Cook your salmon for less time and keep it covered/wrapped in foil and it won't dry out. Experiment and Practice. Tell yourself "i'm going to get good at this" and keep on keeping on until you are. I left home just about able to boil an egg and now, 13 years later, i am happiest in the kitchen.

It can happen, you can make it happen.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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Would you like suggestions on things that are easy to put together for your toddler or just some s: and support?

FWIW, my sister in law can't boil water. Her kids are just fine - healthy, happy kids. She's found some things that work well for her, they eat out a couple of times a week and she buys a lot of pre-made stuff.

Don't beat yourself up - we've all got our own strengths and weaknesses!

Meaghan (29)  Torq's wife (34); Niall's SAHM (9/09); Rivka's birthmom (6/03)
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:15 PM
 
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Oh, it'll be OK! You sound so stressed and unhappy.

At 16 months he doesn't need purees or baby food -- delaying too long on "real" food can make it hard for kids to learn to eat comfortably, so I'd stop with that stuff now. Even the "solids' you're offering, like yogurt and applesauce, are baby-food texture. Will he not take anything more solid? The toast and the salmon he eats when you go out has much more texture than a puree, so I assume he won't totally refuse "real" foods.

There is nothing wrong at all with toast, jam, and almond butter. that's a great meal for a toddler! Fat, carbs, protein. You don't have to cook elaborate meals to feed him -- try him on chunks of fruit, soft-cooked noodles with butter, cubes of cheese or string cheese, scrambled egg, crackers, canned beans and chickpeas. If he likes salmon, and you're not confident cooking it, you can buy canned salmon. None of this requires fancy cooking.

I'm trying to think what my daughter especially liked at that age ... cheese was very popular, she liked flaked cooked fish (and meat of all kinds, but since you don't eat it that's out), noodles, beans. She strongly preferred pieces of food she could feed herself with her fingers -- I think the only thing we still spoon-fed was yogurt because she couldn't quite manage a spoon and she did love yogurt. She especially loved melon. Lots of kids like "dips," like ranch dressing or hummus -- he might go for that, plus veggies or bread cubes to dip in it.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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Do you have any friends or family members who know how to cook? If someone I knew, or even barely knew, was in your situation I would be happy to help them. Just ask. Throw it out there on facebook or something. Send an email to everyone you know.

Quesadillas are easy to make, and my boys love them. I just use refried beans and nutritional yeast because they are allergic to dairy. Spread beans on half a tortilla, or you could use cheese and black beans. Keep it simple. Fold the tortilla in half. Heat a frying pan on a medium-low heat (my stove has numbers, I usually turn the dial to 3 or 4). Put a tiny pat of butter or maybe 1/2 tsp of coconut oil, any fat will do, in the pan and let it get hot. Put your folded tortilla in the pan. Let it get brownish on one side, then flip it. Cut in wedges or strips. You could mash up some avocado and let him dip the pieces in it. The only thing that could go wrong is if you get the pan too hot and let it burn.

If you mess something up once, try again. Keep trying until you get it right. There is nothing wrong with that! Even if you waste food, you are doing it in order to feed your family in the long run, that is okay if you ask me.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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"Yeah that" on what everyone said already. Meals don't necessarily have to be COOKED. A PBJ (we use all-natural peanut butter and all-fruit spread) and some cut-up veggies or fruit is a TOTALLY appropriate meal for a toddler. DS would tell you that it ought to be a staple for human life. And at this point, if he's really that close to a FTT diagnosis, if he enjoys something as nutritionally dense as almond butter... go with it.

He likes toast and avocado? How about making avocado dip (mix up smooshed avocado with a little yogurt, a weeeeeeeeeee bit of lime juice to keep it from going brown) and either spreading it on the toast or letting him dip (I know many toddlers like to dip, DS never loved it).

Cheese square/sticks... great idea as well. And portable.

We have had a similar issue with our fridge (things getting pushed back and forgotten), and one thing that has helped us (though we've gotten away from it... and let's be honest, I was never GREAT at it to start with ) is to designate a shelf per day. Monday, clean off the top shelf. Tuesdays, the middle shelf, Wednesdays, the bottom, Thursdays, the crisper, and Fridays, the door. Dig through the freezer on the weekend.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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I can cook and 9 times of 10 my dd is getting slices of cheese, pieces of fruit, crackers and nutbutters. A lot of stuff she'll only eat if it's off my plate so I don't bother making it for her, I make it for me and plan to share.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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Poor mama, you sound so stressed and unhappy. Don't beat yourself up--just vow to work through this and figure out a solution you can live with.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant (tomorrow!) and keeping my 22-month-old eating well has been hugely challenging the entire pregnancy. But I manage to do it because I know that nutrition is perhaps the most important thing when it comes to our health. Like brushing his teeth or changing his diapers, feeding him good whole foods throughout the day is just not optional. But it's SO HARD some days and I completely know where you're coming from.

Here are some things I feed my toddler that are easy, nutritious, fun, and generally well-received:

-almond or peanut butter on whole wheat bread or crackers
-plain yogurt that I sweeten with honey (tends to be less sugary than store-bought flavored yogurt)
-raw fruit slices of all kinds--apples, pears, berries, grapes, bananas, avocado. Slice them small but there's no need to mash at his age. Toddlers love to eat chunks of food with varying textures and colors. Fruit is great for this!
-lightly steamed carrots--he won't eat them raw but if I steam them just enough to make them a little softer and sweeter, he digs them. Steaming veggies is about as easy as it gets and doesn't degrade the nutrients too much.
-steamed broccoli, chopped and topped with shredded cheese (melted in)
-eggs! Eggs with cheese, eggs without cheese, eggs with chicken sausage scrambled in, eggs on toast, hardboiled eggs (can be prepared in advance--easy!), whatever strikes my fancy. Eggs are a wonderful food and toddlers usually like them. You can cook them in olive oil if you'd rather avoid butter--but butter is good too.
-string cheese. Yeah, it's processed but it's mozzarella and hey, protein and calcium
-whole grain dry cereal (for first breakfast and car trips)

You don't need to really "cook" for a toddler. You just need to find foods that have a high nutritional value, are minimally processed, and are prepared in such a way that they aren't a choking hazard. Don't worry about making restaurant-quality salmon for your little one; almond butter is totally fine at this stage. The important thing is that he's eating. I used to worry that there wasn't enough variety in my kid's diet--he eats yogurt every day, nut butter most days, cheese and eggs most days, etc. But it really doesn't matter as long as he's getting good calories and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

You can do this, mama. Just make feeding him well a major priority and the rest will fall into place. Go through your refrigerator every day--get into the habit of regularly rummaging through it to see what's there. Make shopping lists based on what you actually eat, not on what you think you should be eating or what you may feel like cooking the day after tomorrow. Keep it simple! You don't have to like cooking--plenty of people don't. And you don't even have to be a good cook to be able to provide a healthy meal for your family. There's nothing wrong with simple steamed, seasoned vegetables, rice and beans, and a whole grain bread or grain or starch (couscous, brown rice, quinoa, wheat pasta) on the side. Okay, I'm making myself hungry now...

You can do this!

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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You've gotten some good suggestions so far. So I just wanted to add in some sympathy. I'm not a very good cook myself. I've always thought about taking a cooking class but haven't had the opportunity. I also definitely hear you about housework. Cooking and housework are some of my least favorite things to do. Sometimes makes me wonder why I'm a SAHM. But then I remind myself that being a mom isn't about those things! I would rather spend time reading to my son than sweeping the floor.

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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Let's see...dd2 is 15 months. She still nurses a lot, but what else does she eat....

Cheese...just cubes/small pieces of cheddar. Chop off the block and feed.

Plain yogurt.

Plain oatmeal.

Butter (when I'm cutting butter for something, I always give her a small piece).

Fruit - all berries (esp. blueberries), grapes, chunks of mango or peach, apples (we give her the whole thing, and she eats however much she wants - but she also has lots of teeth), grapefruit/orange segments without the membranes, chunks of banana...i know there are some others she likes, but I can't think of them right now.

Veggies - raw sugar snap peas, cucumber slices and carrots, some cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes. hmm...I know she eats some others, but I'm drawing a blank again.

Cheerios, puffed wheat, shredded wheat and Special K.

Cheddar bunnnies or goldfish crackers (I use them and the dry cereal for "on the go" snacks a fair bit).

Scrambled eggs, or the whites from hard boiled eggs...she doesn't usually eat large portions of these, but she likes them.

Salmon, white fish (she's had halibut, sole, cod & tilapia, I think), shrimp (just remembered - ds1 used to snack on those tiny little cooked shrimp from the grocery store - I'd just thaw them under hot water).

Raisins and dried cranberries, although I try to limit those.

Lentils and beans, esp. kidney beans and chickpeas. We'll pick them out of things and wipe/lick (yeah, I know - ick) them off, or she likes them if they're just cooked along. Lentils stewed with a bit of basil or oregano or something was a favourite for a while.

Bread. She doesn't like loaf bread that much so far, but loves naan, tortillas, pizza crusts, etc.

Noodles.

Oh - I mostly use peanut butter right now (the other nut butters are really expensive). I'm comfortable with peanuts at this age, and dd2 likes peanut butter,too.


I don't know if there's anything in there you can use, and I certainly don't guarantee nutritional balance.

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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Hugs! At 16 months, none of my four boys ate a lot. Mostly they grazed here and there, and nursed a lot. Don't underestimate the importance and caloric intake from bm for toddlers! It's more than you'd think.

Also, I agree w/the others. Feed him what he wants, and make it table food when at all possible. If he wants avocados for every meal, great! They're easy and portable, and very, very nutrient and FAT rich (which he definitely needs). Have you tried smoothies? Very easy for you, and you can experiment with adding nut butters or coconut oil to "fatten" it up. Good food doesn't have to be cooked, and many would argue that the best food isn't.

At his age, my boys adored salmon and mahi mahi. Many people are intimidated by cooking fish, and overcook it. It isn't hard -- wrap it in foil with some butter and/or olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice, and cook it until it flakes apart (but no longer). If it's an especially large piece, you can cut it into chunks to cook everything evenly.

Don't beat yourself up! Your son doesn't have to be eating what you're eating, or a huge variety of cooked foods to be healthy and gain weight. I suggest cleaning out your fridge and simplifying everything. If in the end you have 15 avocados and nothing else, but everyone is happily eating, well that's a start! ;-)

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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For cooking, the best way to learn is to make mistakes. And for every new recipe that goes on my repertoire, there are two or three that I made that didn't make the cut. Sometimes it's because they're just bad recipes, and sometimes it's because they were so frustrating or not worth it! But I've tried so many new recipes over the years, that I now I have running list of nearly 100 recipes that I pick and choose from for our dinners.

(Aside: When I was first learning to cook, I was graduating from college and I was determined to throw myself a grad party, including cooking a small spread for my guests. I burned the BBQ beef, the stuffed mushrooms were underdone, and the potato salad! The potatoes were underdone and I had to send my poor boyfriend (now dh) to the store to get more eggs because I couldn't hard boil them properly! What a disaster! My family still loves me and now I can make BBQ beef and potato salad pretty well after making them over and over, but I'm not attempting those stupid mushrooms again. )

You said he doesn't eat the same things you and your husband eat. Do you offer them over and over, and seriously? (Like, do you make a plate just for him?) Or do you wave a forkfull in front of him, and when he doesn't bite, you give him one of "his" foods? You may need to be gently insistent that he "graduate" to adult food. (Please excuse me if you really have worked hard on this, please disregard.) ETA: if he really doesn't want your food though, just feed him what he'll eat, since he's close to being dx'ed with FTT. you gotta do what you gotta do!

If he's only really had smooth, pureed foods, he may need some time to adjust to different textures and consistencies. You could put him in his high chair with a variety of different foods, and just leave him alone and watch what he does. Maybe some small pieces of pita bread, Veggie Booty, rice, beans, etc.

As far as his size, are you and your husband small? My daughter is (and has been since 6 months) been below the 3rd percentile for height and under 10th for weight. But we are a small family. As long as I put out foods for her to eat (which were/are foods that we eat as a family), and she was nursing well, and seemed healthy, I didn't worry. My ds is 8 months and I feed him bits of what we eat, so long as they don't require teeth to eat or contain common allergens (which we hold off on until 12 months). He eats rice, beans, salmon, oatmeal, many types of fruit and cooked veggies, egg yolks, curry, hummus (well he WAS but he had a reaction to it), whole wheat breads with jam, mashed potatoes.

I know some people just aren't interested in cooking, and that's cool, everyone is different. But it is an incredibly useful skill to develop, that will serve you for the rest of your life.

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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Like others have said, you don't have to cook to provide a meal. Our lunches here, for myself and a 22 month old, are often just a bunch of stuff on a plate-an assortment of cheese cubes, sliced/cut up banana, diced tomatos, a slice of bread, left over chicken, etc etc.

As for things that stick to the pan, a la your pancakes, do you use non-stick pans? Really though, whether you do or not, try coating the pan with butter, a bit of grease, or some cooking spray like PAM. Just a thin coat, that should help.

Some other suggestions...pasta with veggies makes a great meal too. You said you have lots bags of frozen veggies-cook up some pasta, heat up the veggies, then toss them in the pasta. You can eat it like that or season it up with some salt, pepper, butter, garlic etc. Or, if that's too much, just toss some salad dressing on it. That can be served warm or cold. You could also do the same with rice instead of pasta if you want. If you have a microwave, you can cook just about anything in it...you can take your salmon and heat it up in the microwave-if you cover it up, it won't be dry at all. Chicken breasts (if you are comfortable preparing and serving them) can be cooked in the microwave, as can eggs and fish.

As for learning to cook...when I moved out of my parents house and had to cook for dd and I, I suscribed to a magazine called Quick Cooking. It's by Taste of Home, and I think they actually call it Simple and Delicious now. The majority of the meals in it require very few and pretty basic ingredients, and usually take around 30 minutes to fix (some do take longer, but plenty take less time also.) Working from a recipe is so much easier than trying to create one yourself.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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Oh - if it's in your comfort zone re: choking (it's in mine, but wouldn't have been with my first), there's also popcorn. DD2 loves home popped popcorn. I cook it in a little bit of coconut oil, then put melted butter on it.

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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First step- learn to cook. I will never be able to thank my mom enough (and my dad as well!) for making it a point to cook meals at home the vast majority of the time. It taught me a lot about how to exist as an adult, and it provided me a decent side income in college when everyone was tired of cafeteria food (hosting 'real food' dinners in your dorm once a week at 'whatever you can afford' prices was a HUGE hit.) However, imo- that's a skill you might want for yourself. You can still be an amazing parent (you wouldn't care about this if you weren't a good mom) without turning on the stove.

Still, my daughter lived on cheese sandwiches for AGES as a young toddler. Not even the 'good' bread or cheese- the squishy nutritionally vacant white bread and plasticized cheese 'product'. I tried to sneak in a few other things here and there, but it didn't always work as she was (and still is, though it has improved a lot) food avoidant.

Staples that work but don't take a lot of cooking
*Hummus and Pita Crisps
*Fresh fruit slices and a yogurt/cream cheese dip
*Quesadillas
*Lightly steamed baby carrots
*Pancakes (try again, with oil or butter instead of coconut oil. I find coconut oil can be tricky to work with where I live- when I lived elsewhere it was easier. Weirdness.)
*Any-butter and jam sandwich- you can even make your own fresh freezer jam (no cooking required!)
*Sheets of nori cut in triangles
*Pasta with butter and parmesean (and garlic around here- my kids LOVE garlic)
*French bread pizzas- cut a loaf of french bread in half lengthwise and top with whatever you like for toddlers it also works with smaller slices
* Scrambled eggs, quiche, hard boiled eggs- any manner of eggs if you can find these from a local free-range grower they are a lot better.
*Garden burgers
*Granola
*Banana bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, etc
*Guacamole and tortilla chips

Also, for my super skinny kid, carnation instant breakfasts, milkshakes, smoothies etc helped a lot. She's still super-skinny, but it's better now that she's almost 9 and I can reason with her.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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Our almost 15 month old DD eats:
grapes cut in half
wedges of cucumber
apple, pear, peach, nectarine slices
blueberries
avocado cubes
cheese cubes
bread with cream cheese or PB
steamed or stir fried veg - broccoli, zucchini, green beans, carrots, sweet peppers, peas, whatever

One thing she loves is fish. We made mac&cheese and put frozen peas and canned tuna in it. Sometimes we make the mac&cheese from scratch...but often from a box. We put the peas in with the noodles for the last 2 minutes and then drain the tuna water and add the tuna after mixing in the cheese sauce.

For cooking fish:
We sometimes buy frozen fillets and sometimes fresh. For frozen, just read the back of the package. For salmon or Talapia, drizzle a bit of veg. oil in a pan, put the fillets (still frozen) in, add a bit of pepper if you like, or some dried dill, cook for 6-10 minutes.
For fresh fish, I broil it. I drizzle some oil in a pan. I lay the fresh fillets in. I put my oven rack to the second from the top spot in the oven. Turn the oven on broil (turn the knob as far as it will go) and broil for 4-6 minutes depending on how thick the fish is. I check after 4 minutes. For salmon, it should be turned lighter pink and not still dark pink or reddish.
For whiter fish, you know it is done when it is a white colour and not still a translucent white. As someone else said, it flakes with a fork. Just stick a fork in it and pull it apart. If it flakes easily it is done, if it doesn't flake easily then put it back in for another 1-2 minutes.

To boil noodles. Boil the water first. When the water is boiling add the noodles to the pot. When the water starts to boil, turn the temp down a bit (to medium) so it doesn't boil over. Test a noodle after about 6-8 minutes. I just stick a spoon in and dig out a noodle and then eat it. If it is still a bit chewy I cook a bit longer.

You can do it. Cooking is intimidating. But once you learn to cook a few things, you will start to feel more confident.
Check at local grocery stores or community centres. I know some in my area have cooking classes.
There are also services here where you can go in, learn to cook a few recipes and you get to take the dinners home with you. You go on a Sunday and cook a weeks worth of food to take home and freeze or refrigerate.

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Old 09-30-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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There's been a recent spate of toddler-specific cookbooks being published. It's all marketing (really, what's the difference?) but the recipes are usually pretty simple and easy and don't use a ton of ingredients. You might want to check out the childcare section in a bookstore for one and some ideas. I really like the Annabel Karmel cookbooks. There really isn't anything toddler-specific about most of them (sometimes she makes a face with olives or something), but they are all good, basic recipes that shouldn't be too complicated.

It was a big transition for me too. It's always been a pet peeve when people say "the baby just ate what we ate!" when someone posts about what do you feed the baby. I'm glad you're not getting that in this thread, because I always found it soooo unhelpful. Obviously if I ate a diet that was acceptable for a baby/toddler, I wouldn't have been asking! Because before we had a baby, DH and I worked long hours, came home and either ordered takeout or made a sandwich or ate cereal. Hopefully with milk, if we actually happened to have any. Sure we cooked sometimes (we both enjoy cooking, and we do enjoy real meals), but who had the time or the energy to cook a real meal more than once a week or so? I guess I don't know if I'm jealous of or confused about childless couples or singles who cook healthy complete meals every night! I don't think that I knew any.

So I wouldn't be too discouraged. I think that this is a normal hump that many parents have to get over. I think it's awesome that you're trying to fix it, instead of just serving McDonald's for every meal!

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Old 10-01-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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You've gotten some really great advice and suggestions so they only thing I would add is that you can buy some good toddler friendly and healthy convenience foods at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, if you have one of those where you live and can afford it.

I encourage you to learn to cook some easy basic meals, but while you're learning, you can expand your child's palate for solid foods using the quick and and easy stuff that comes pre-made. For example, my son loves the Dr. Praeger's veggie patties (http://www.drpraegers.com/) and I don't feel too bad about feeding him those in combination with other veggies and meats I cook.

Good luck! You are a good momma and you CAN learn to cook.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:29 AM
 
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I thought of another toddler friendly, no-fail food. English muffin pizzas! I buy whole wheat/multi grain English muffins at trader joes. Top with sauce, veggies or just cheese. Toast in toaster oven, or in the oven on 350 or so until the cheese melts, just a few minutes. Cut into 1/4ths.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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Super easy meal:
Quiche -take packaged pie crust, unroll and place in pan. Cut up some veggies (tomoatoes or zuchinnis are good) or throw in some frozen peas, whatever you like. In a bowl beat 3 eggs with some milk or yogurt. Pour eggs over veggies (in pie crust). Sprinkle with some cheese. Bake (at temp listed on pie crust) for 30 minutes. Serve with salad.

You have a lot of other suggestions.

Relax and breathe. You don't have to be a master chef to feed your toddler. And FWIW I think PD, toast and jam is great for a lo.

Hang in there mama

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Old 10-01-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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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.

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Old 10-01-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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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?
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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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.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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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.

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Old 10-01-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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do you have a slow cooker? are you ok with using a microwave? If so I can post some no thought recipes for you.

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Old 10-01-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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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!!!
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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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.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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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?

Mom of two girls.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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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.

Jen - Mommy to 2 little heathens: Lexi (5 years old) and JJ (16 Months Old)
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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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.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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