Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What Do You Feed Your Toddler?

I think I've mentioned before that Andrew has, um, I guess you'd call them "food issues."  Maybe "texture issues" is more accurate.  He has strict guidelines, the violation of which result in immediate food ejection.

No lumps in purees.  That's the biggest one.  That means no stage 3 baby foods.  No yogurt with fruit chunks.  Et cetera. 

He also won't eat any meat in table food form.  I've tried it all shapes and forms.  No dice. 

And then there's the slimy factor.  He spits things out faster than lightning if they hit the tongue feeling slimy.  This rules out most fruits, pastas, and so on. 

So we still serve a good bit of baby food around here and s-l-o-w-l-y work to introduce new table foods.

What table food will he eat?  Peas, corn, pancakes, vanilla yogurt, mozzarella cheese, almost any breads or crackers, Cheerios, applesauce (if it's smooth enough), french fries, and raviolis that are cut in half to diminish the sliminess.   That's about it.  Not exactly the height of nutrition.

Obviously, this won't do.  So, I'm asking for your input, oh great citizens of the blogosphere.  What do you feed your toddler?  I need ideas!

When we got back from Boston, I was so inspired by our friend, the stay-at-home dad, that I batch cooked a bunch of butternut squash and zucchini, just knowing that Andrew would gobble up his little frozen portions just like their daughter did.  Think again!  Now, I have a bunch of tiny servings of frozen veggies taking up my freezer space.

But I'm willing to give it another shot.  Especially you moms of picky eaters, please let me know what has worked for you.  We need to expand our menu!

And remember, no nuts or seafood for this little allergic one!

Thank you!!!


Anonymous said...

You are alot nicer of a mommy than I am so I doubt you will try my method. If Lily didn't want what was to eat at that meal-- too bad! And eventually she would get hungry and eat what was available. If she cried... Easier to get it in! Then she usually went right along with eating it after she tasted it! Or... I let her play with it or set out where he could graze over it and investigate it for a while... then eventually she put it in her mouth just like everything else! I'm not a cooker... So I don't have any magic recipes-- sorry! Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

After I read my post, it sound kinda bad but it really wasn't! Overall it took about three times to introduce a new food and not offer an alternative before she commits to it! And letting her get to it at her own time on her own terms (making it available to graze over and manipulate) usually did the trick!! Fast forward10 years and he won't be leaving any crumbs behind!!

aunt Betty said...

Banana bread, zuchini bread, carrot bread etc. Also chicken, boiled, picked with a little salt! You know your cousins Joseph and Barbara are the pickiest eaters ever and they did not starve to death so don't loose to much sleep about it. Also will he eat a jelly sandwich? Rice is good as are beans. If he soes not like bananas texture try cutting it in cubes and freezing them, then they are not muchy. Will he eat tuna barbara loved that straight out of the can no mayo, plain!

The Welden Family said...

Hey Elizabeth- What is your email address? This sounds EXACTLY like Ward!! He struggled so much with textured foods. . . so much that he would MAKE himself throw up if he did not like the texture of the food. But, I feel like we have turned a corner recently. We are still very picky and eat a lot of baby foods, but we are getting there! I will email you more details.

Family Snodgrass said...

Thank y'all for the advice!

Amanda, my email is I would LOVE to hear how you turned that corner!

Emily said...

Hey Elizabeth! This sounds exactly like Ethan. He has always had texture issues and used to have a very strong gag reflex. We just (as in two nights ago) stopped feeding him stage 2 purees. He still doesn't eat a lot of variety, he is just now regularly eating small (like very small) amounts of meat. I think for him it's really just that he needs to get accustomed to things in his own time. So I just keep trying and trying and eventually he eats stuff. Things have gotten better since we moved him to a booster seat - he thinks he's one of us. My doctor assured me that he wouldn't starve to death, even if he just ate a few bites. Sorry I don't have any magical recipes - unless you count patience, perserverance and a sense of humor as some sort of recipe. You aren't alone in the land of picky eaters though! Oh, I also try to sneak pureed veggies in wherever I can - pancakes, bread, pasta (that's only if it's a really good day in his world). One last thing - ketchup or some type of sauce has worked wonders in the world of meat and anything that might be questionable. It just takes a lot and some overdramatic words to make it sound yummy and magical and all the sudden - he's eating chicken! Anyways, good luck!

Kelly said...

Hey Elizabeth! Anna Reese is some what of a food snob, but I have gotten some great recipes off of this site:

You can basically pick your veggie or meat and there are a ton of recipes that pop up!

Another thing I have been doing lately is making faces, animals, or trains with food. I will spread a little cheese on a cracker and make all kinds of faces out of veggies (frozen bag of peas, carrots, green beans.) It is the only way I can get her to eat plain ole' veggies. Hope this helps.

J said...

I asked my children what they suggest. The answers were as follows:

Sister: "Shark meat, no, DEER meat! & pickles & cheese!"

Little Man: "Puppy water & ice cream...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..." he's still jumping up and down laughing at himself. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha...."

I don't have any great suggestions. :(

Malacy said...

All of my "organic toddler cookbooks" are on the shelf after lots of cooking and no eating. Gus will eat muffins pretty well, so I sneak whatever I can in them...fruit, veggies, cheese, wheat germ... He also likes Craisins. There are also these frozen puffets by Peas of Mind that he will eat (Target carries them.) He's just started eating Banana Cheerios and milk, too. Loves homemade French Toast. I also hide meat in bread or mix it with rice...but Gus really only likes salmon and Hebrew National hot dogs. What is not a suprise, knowing his father, is that he will eat whatever is in front of him if he is at a nice restaurant! Good both will get through it just fine!

Holland said...

i have one meat suggestion.
i made a "mini meatloaf" for chappell last night (since we were eating hamburgers) and she went crazy.
i don't have a scientific recipe, but mix ground beef, italian bread crumbs, a little milk, some white onion (chopped), tiny bit of garlic and onion powder and ketchup together. mold into a little meatloaf and bake at 350, with some more ketchup on top.
i think she liked it since it was kind of soft (and less "meaty")...
it was super easy! good luck! feeding issues can be so frustrating!

Aunt Betty said...

make a bunch of mini meatloafs in muffin pans freeze them for easy storage. Wowo's meatloaf is very good. in a large bowl mix together 2 eggs, 2 T. ketchup, 1/2 onion chopped, 1/2 green pepper chopped (I would leave the onion and pepper out of Andrews)salt and pepper 2 T. Worchestershire, 2 slices toast (whatever kind of bread you have) cut into little dime size cubes, Mix that all together add one pound ground beef and one pound ground pork. Mix together just enought o get well combined. Put in a loaf pan (do not press down too much) and cook at 350 for one hour. Pour off excess fat and top with brown sugar mixed with ketchup (thick as molassas) put under broiler and watch carefully. Once mixture is caramelized (bubbling and clear) remove from oven. this is one of your Uncle Joes absolute favorite things I make....can you believe that!

Elissa said...

Bummer that he didn't go for the squashes! Did you try pureeing the butternut squash? Amelia loves it that way, too, and then you could at least get it used up. And you could make the zucchini into zucchini bread. Wonder if he'd go for chopped up green beans or asparagus? Those aren't slimy... Sorry you're still not having much luck with getting Andrew to eat! I'm sure he'll get there one of these days.

Rhonda Hennessy said...

I've been thinking about this to try to give you some infinite wisdom. I don't have any :( One piece of advice I've gotten is to puree fruits or veggies (the ONLY one ML will eat is sweet potatoes) and put them in everything possible. Waffles or pancakes can be a good option. I'm so sorry - I know it's so frustrating. Mary Lynne's food reportoire is extremely limited as well. Everyone keeps saying that she'll eat when she gets hungry...maybe they don't know how determined a toddler can be? Good luck!

BettieBoyd said...

I think you'd better go with Jennifer's idea from the mouths of babes: shark meat and ice cream. They probably have shark meat at the Chinese grocery. At least he hasn't already rejected it! Love, Mama

Anonymous said...


There is a great book called "Just Take a Bite," that I use all the time in my line of work. It covers a variety of topics and should give you some ideas. You can get it on Amazon.

One thing you can try as far as getting used to "lumps" is crumbling cheerios or graham cracker crumbs into things like yogurt and applesauce. Im talking grinding it into a powder almost and only putting a tiny pinch to start with. As he tolerates it, increase the amount you put in and then crumble it less and less. It is a good way to slowly progress the texture.

Hope this helps some! He is handsome!

-Anna Ruth

Sarah Rose said...

My brain cells are pretty limited these days, but I will tell you that a great resource for some creative toddler recipes is Annabel Karmel's "First Meals". I've checked it out from the library more times than I can count. I also recently stumbled on this website,, and it seems to have some similar recipes and ideas.

And I'll tell you, he WILL eventually eat! Keep offering him the foods you hope he'll eat, celebrate your successes, and know that he won't go to kindergarten eating only string cheese and applesauce.

Whitney said...

Hey Elizabeth,
Obviously I'm not a mom, but I did have some suggestions. Growing up, my mom would either put ketchup or honey on certain foods to "spark" my taste. Eventually I grew to love them without the sauce. Sweet potatoes usually mash pretty easily - add butter, brown sugar, or marshmallows? I also learned to love any kind of bean growing up - butter beans can be cooked to mush (and I learned to eat them with cornbread and ketchup - sounds awful, but it's soooo good!). Last thoughts for protein - have you tried ricotta cheese, vienna sausages (or regular sausage patties), or the little chicken nuggets shaped like letters or circus animals? Meatballs with veggies? Another thought would be to make a macaroni and cheese with pureed cauliflower and maybe some cottage cheese (again, pureed) - great source of protein. You could bake it in little muffin tins to make it a little more dry - less slimy. Good luck, and keep us updated! He is precious!!!!