Toddler food and eating is HARD WORK. Especially when your toddler loves Mac N’ Cheese one day, and maliciously despises it the next. It is all we can do as parents not to reach for that ever faithful chicken nugget bag in the freezer to avoid the tantrum for another meal. And hey, there is nothing wrong with that. Some days you just gotta do what you gotta do to get food in that toddler’s belly. But sometimes involving your little guy in the meal making process can get them more excited about eating toddler food…well, at least some of it!
Toddler Food Chef
I have learned a lot from a very special Chef (yeah. A real life professional CHEF.) in my life, my sister-in-law Hollie, about feeding our little toddlers. Teaching our kids about food is not about making some elaborate meal for them every day or wishing they would desire healthier foods. It’s about enjoying food together and including our kids in the meal making process as much as we can (or as much as WE can handle…for that day. haha!) Introducing new toddler foods in small ways; peas in their Mac N’ Cheese, black beans in their cheese quesadilla, granola in their favorite yogurt…and then enjoying it together can build healthy love for food, even if our toddlers don’t like everything they try right away.
I asked Hollie to share with me some special foods she makes with her toddler, and have slowly become successes in their home. Whatever food you make may not be a hit right away, but have patience and keep trying! Toddlers grab hold of our enthusiasm for things, and what better thing to be excited about with them- FOOD!!
Breakfast Maple Almond Granola
How your toddler can help! -gathering ingredients -pouring measured oats and slivered almonds into a mixing bowl -scooping cooked granola into storage container
- 4 cups oats
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (or any kind of nuts you love!)
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 2 TBSP canola oil or veggie oil Cooking spray
- 1 cup minced dried apricots
- 1 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 2. Combine first 4 ingredients into a large mixing bowl. 3. Combine water and next 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour over oat mixture; toss to coat. Spread oat mixture on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray (cookie sheet would work just fine!). Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. Place in a large bowl; stir in apricots and raisins. Cool completely. Note: Store in airtight container for up to a week!
Lunchtime Black Bean Quesadillas
How your toddler can help! -helping rinse beans in colander -placing tortillas on baking sheet -sprinkling cheese on tortillas and bean mixture
- 1 TBSP canola or veggie oil
- 2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 6 medium)
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups bagged spinach leaves
- 4 (8 inch) flour tortillas
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Garnish: salsa, sour cream, and avocado
1. Preheat broiler. 2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tomato and beans; sauté for 3 minutes. Add spinach; sauté for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mash beans slightly. 3. Place tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup bean mixture and 1/4 cup cheese; fold in half. Lightly coat tips with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and tortillas begin to brown. Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and avocado!
Snack time Peanut Butter-Banana Spirals
How your toddler can help! -arranging the banana slices on top of the peanut butter mixture -sprinkling the wheat germ over banana slices
- 3 TBSP vanilla yogurt
- 2 TBSP peanut butter
- 1.5 tsp orange juice
- 1 small banana, sliced
- 1 (8 in.) flour tortillas
- 1.5 tsp honey-crunch wheat germ (optional)
- Dash of ground cinnamon
1. Combine yogurt and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Drizzle orange juice over banana slices, tossing gently to coat. 2. Spread peanut butter mixture over tortilla, leaving a half inch border. Arrange banana slices, in a single layer, over peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle wheat germ and cinnamon over banana slices. Roll up tortilla; cut into three pieces. This is an easy, protein packed toddler food to bring on the road in a Tupperware!
Supper time Taco Hot dish
How your toddler can help! -straining black beans in colander -add toppings
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni noodles
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
- 1 cup canned whole kernel corn
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Garnish: Shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and avocado
1. Boil noodles until al dente and drain. Brown ground beef. 2. Rinse black beans and combine in large sauce pan with noodles and all ingredients except for cheese. Simmer with cover on, occasionally stirring for 5 minutes. 3. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and cover to melt. Serve with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and avocado.
Look at this Chef’s little family!! We love living so close to them and eating all Hollie’s yummy snacks for our large family meals!
Hollie Edlund is a proud wife, mother of 2 girls (one in the womb!), and Jesus follower. After graduating with her B.A. in Dance, she decided to receive her Certificate in Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu in 2015; one of the best and most fun decisions she’s ever made. After becoming a mom, Hollie quickly realized meal planning/prep is a very time consuming part of being a parent. She created a meal planning business to help alleviate stress on parents; Mama Eats. Presently, Hollie’s business is a very casual blog; check her out at @mama.eats16 and her Facebook page. Her passions are cooking for her family and teaching kiddos the foundation of dance! Hollie enjoys lazy days at home, spending time with family, Minnesota summers, and ministering to mama’s like you!
What about you? What is a smashing toddler food in your home? Comment below with your favorite kid recipes with us so we can all fill our toddlers bellies and enjoy good food together!!