So, I'm stuck in a rut with my DS. I end up feeding him the same things WAY too often because I know he'll eat them, but I know I should be trying new things to expand his little tastebuds! All he wants to eat is fruit. He's pretty picky about texture, and I have to hide his vegetables in things, (mostly in Daiya-cheese quesadillas! I know, I know!) He will eat chunky vegetable soups sometimes, but usually, veggies go in his mouth and come right back out. Some beans he'll eat, some he won't. He doesn't like spicy or too garlicky or too anything. Will he grow out of this? How much do I cater to his preferences and how much do I say "this is what's for dinner, eat it or go hungry?" He's healthy and growing, I'm not really worried about his weight or anything, he's still BFing once or twice a day. I just don't want to miss the opportunity to teach his tongue about the wonderful flavors in food! Not to mention, I know a wider variety of food is nutritionally superior. Any tried n true toddler recipes? Suggestions? Thanks!!
Oh also, what we do now is, DS can pick his snacks, but we pick his meals. So he usually picks things like fruit or hummus for his snack, but we provide more balance with the meals, which are whatever we're making for ourselves, often GF pasta with veggies, or rice & veggie curry, or homemade bean burgers and roasted potatoes with salad. He does love spicy food (as do I) so I'm not sure what I'd do if he didn't, maybe make a spicy sauce to serve on the side for those who want it...
We have been doing green smoothies for breakfast, and DS (almost 15 months) LOVES them! They are a great way to get some greens in the diet. You do 60% fruit, 40% greens, with 1-2 cups water per serving. A typical smoothie for two dults and the LO would be:
a few pineapple slices
5 or 6 strawberries
about 1 inch of ginger
some lemon juice
some mint leaves
two big handfuls spinach (or any green)
2-4 cups water
You don't have to make them so complicated, I sometimes just do something like:
two handfuls greens
2 cups water
Just remember: 60% fruit, 40% greens. Most kids eat them up and they are very nutritious! You can also make them into popcicles.
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
The green smoothies are really good with crushed ice too.
I gave my first two toddler foods rather than the meals we served to the rest of the family, and I'm regretting it now. They still aren't used to casserole type foods and have a hard time eating mixed flavors; they're 5 and 7. Now I'm trying to transition them into what everybody else eats, but it's hard. Right now, I put lots of different dishes on the table - some grownup and some more simple, and everybody just takes what they want. But I wish that my kids could eat the grownup stuff. It's not just a matter of going cold turkey and cooking whatever I want, and expecting them to eat it when hungry; my kids would literally throw up if made to eat vegan lasagna or a casserole. I usually ask them to try at least one bite, and they do it, but they do often gag.
To avoid this scenario with #3, we've been giving the baby tastes of whatever we're having for dinner (he's 10 months), and so far he likes it. But like your LO, he spits out a lot too. I wonder if mushing up regular family fare would work better. Then at least it wouldn't be spat out so much.
Anyway, you asked an innocent question. Sorry this answer is so rambling. Here are some of the toddler recipes that the kiddos love or used to eat:
quinoa with pureed tomato, basil, olive oil and a little garlic
shakes made with blended pumpkin seeds and almond milk (blend until creamy) then add flavorings (strawberries or chocolate chips or mint extract and chocolate chips - whatever sounds good to you). You can sweeten with stevia or sugar, or just fruit.
pasta with cashew butter, sauteed garlic and peas
roasted potatoes in olive oil
roasted sweet potatoes
Collard green or kale balls (ust boil the greens in lightly salted and oiled water, then make little balls once they are soft. The broth can be sipped too. I think greens are more digestable for little ones when they are well cooked.)
Peanut butter balls (mix peanut butter with a cocoa powder, stevia and ground flax seed. Make into balls)
The first solid my son ate was the potato and peas out of a samosa at an Indian Restaurant and he loved them.
My daughter had curry for her first birthday. Can't remember when she first ate curry.
We just go with the flow with food. We sit down as a family and eat what I made. Well, except our 5 year old. He asks for pasta if he thinks he won't like what we're eating. (I keep frozen pasta in freezer so it's no big deal.) Then out of the blue he'll ask to try a bite and will decide he loves whatever it is. That's how it was with my homemade mung bean tortillas and almond bread. He wouldn't try them and now he loves them.
If our daughter doesn't eat much, I offer her a rice cake with almond butter and all fruit jelly. I want to make sure she gets something.
I think the big deal is exposure and not forcing. If they always get a separate meal there can be problems, but if they don't like something, they don't like it. It's awful to be a kid who is forced to eat something that makes you gag. We tell our son it's okay if he doesn't like it because he will when he gets older.
Yours is still so little. I'd just set him at the table with a dish of whatever everyone is having. If he doesn't eat much offer him something nutritious that he likes after dinner. Really, that's all you can do. He'll either grow up to like lots of stuff or he'll grow up to be really picky. You can't control that. All you can do is offer variety and make sure he gets nutrition in some form.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
My guy is 12 months, but I am struggling with this too so I am happy to see what others are saying. With my older 2 boys I was always afraid of them choking so I avoided alot of foods for them but now they are very picky eaters and I don't want to do that this time.
Also, I am noticing several people saying they give things with peanut or other nut butters. I can't remember how long you are supposed to wait on those for allergies reasons. Is it just 1 year?
Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.
I think 1 year is the "official" line on nuts unless there's a history of nut allergies in the family, in which case the very cautious folks recommend 2 years. Plenty of people start on nuts before 1 year, though; I think DD had peanut butter by 10 months or so. We weren't too worried since we don't have any food allergies in our families.
I'd like to cast another vote for "give your LO whatever the family is eating." We've always done this with DD, and she's a pretty good eater at 2. In fact, at 12 months she ate nearly everything; she's actually a bit pickier now, but I suspect it's about being 2 more than it is about the food itself. She's always managed spicy food, veggies, etc. pretty well.
IME, a child that is hungry is going to eat, eventually, even if the food in front of her/him is not her/his preferred menu. I am NOT a fan of catering to a child's food preferences. I try to build a balance into our meals: I make sure there's plenty of something she'll eat, but I also make sure that she tries at least a taste of everything I make. I've already had some success with this -- she hated hummus from the first time she tried it, and consistently spat it out every time she tried it for a year and a half. The other day, I made hummus, and as usual, gave her some to taste, expecting the usual response. She tasted it, made a thoughtful face, then said, "Mama, I love it!"