I am probably not your role model mom when it comes to cooking gourmet toddler food. I love cooking and can whip up some pretty exotic meals, but with Dilan, I’ve been keeping things simple. He’s been eating finger foods since he was about 10 months old and we love it. We decided to raise him as independently as possible, very much in line with the Montessori education he gets at school. We don’t spoon feed him much, if it all. He’s just now learning how to use utensils. Slow, but steady progress on that one.
I normally have less than 20 minutes to get dinner on the table from the time I park the car in the garage until Dilan is practically melting from hunger. Lately, he’s been extra clingy and I am hardly able to complete a single task without picking him up. It’s probably a developmental stage he’s going through, which means more hugs for Dilan, but less food prep time for me. It usually also translates into cutting fruits and veggies the night before. Another big reason why I don’t sweat it too much in the kitchen: though our boy is a great eater, his food consumption ebbs and flows, like any toddler’s. If he’s teething, he’ll devour his fruits, but not much else. During growth spurts, the carbs and meats go down first and he may even “ask” for seconds. On average, he eats really well… ::hides food on floor under the table::
I do find it challenging to get toddler dinners consisting of REAL and healthy food on the table FAST. It’s so easy to get into a food rut and run out of ideas. If you haven’t yet, check out mannlymamma’s blog, especially her section about toddler dinners. She’s an amazing blogger and provides some great inspiration for fast toddler meals. So for my future self and for those of you out there who are in a toddler dinner rut right now, here’s what we’ve been doing lately:
Organic chicken nuggets (I like the Applegate brand), blueberries, peas and carrots, sliced avocado, sweet potatoes. Dilan devoured this. Down to the last crumb and pea. Daddy stole a chicken nugget.
Northern bean salad with chopped cherry tomatoes, oregano, and fresh basil. I know that sounds fancy, but the beans were canned, so this took 10 minutes to put together the night before. Veggie pasta (none was eaten, he didn’t like the texture). Bananas in TWO compartments. Yeah, this rookie mom didn’t realize that the round section is for the sippy cup…
I tried to be slightly fancier here, but this back fired big time. Brussel sprouts with red onions – none were eaten. Whole wheat rotini sprinkled with Parmesan, and organic chicken nuggets again. What the heck was I thinking?! I LOVE Brussel sprouts, though. Two glasses of wine were consumed after this meal. Not by the toddler.
Avocado, cinnamon pears leftover from breakfast (I basically do the same thing that I do with bananas), diced organic turkey breast, and sweet potatoes. Everything was gone in minutes.
See? For a big time foodie who eats everything, these are pretty basic. I’m not a fancy gourmet mom. Just a practical one with very limited time after work. Feel free to send me your favorites! I can always use new ideas. And a glass of wine.