Adventures in Toddler Food

One of my friends asked if I wouldn't mind writing a bit about what Lila is currently eating, so here we go!

Lila is an OKAY eater. She's not the pickiest kid ever, but she is also not the most adventurous. She goes through phases with food. One day she'll love something, the next day she's over it. Its an ongoing adventure, this feeding a kid thing.

Lila is also on the low end of the weight scale for her age, so I'm always looking for foods with calories to give to her. She is pretty good with all fruits and veggies - its the proteins we have trouble getting her to eat.

Lila went off oatmeal pretty early. It was the first food we gave her and she was all about it for about a month or so and then refused to eat it. So, breakfast usually looks like this - 4 oz of milk when she first wakes, and then either:
 - strawberry waffle
 - a cinnamon raisin mini bagel
AND either:
 - yogurt
 - applesauce pouch
AND either
 - a small bowl of blueberries
 - half a banana

If she's being picky that day and refusing the bagel or waffle, I fill up a snack cup with Cheerios for her. I also sometimes make muffins, specifically these strawberry muffins, which she also loves as an alternative to the waffle or bagel.

In the past, Lila also enjoyed mini pancakes as an alternative, but she's over them at the moment.

She's starting to warm up to scrambled eggs, which I am excited about, but she's not fully on board with them yet.

She usually gets a "toddler buffet plate" with 4 or 5 of the following items:
 - Grilled Cheese Sandwich
 - Cheese/Turkey Sandwich
 - Cheese Quesadilla
 - Turkey Hot Dog
 - Turkey Deli Meat
 - Cheddar Goldfish Crackers or Cheddar Bunnies
 - Veggie Booty
 - Yogurt Covered Raisins
 - Craisins
 - Cherry Tomatoes
 - Apple Slices
 - Cucumber
 - Strawberries
 - Blueberries
 - Cheese
 - Yogurt
She's starting to come around to quiche, too!

Lila generally has a snack after her afternoon nap. She has 4 oz of milk and one of the following:
 - Puffs
 - Cheddar Goldfish Crackers or Cheddar Bunnies
 - Applesauce Pouch
 - Bunny Grahams
 - Nilla Wafers

Dinner is the biggest challenge, because I work in the evenings, so I have to prepare Lila's dinner ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator for whoever her caregiver is that night. It has to be able to reheat easily. Unfortunately things like sweet potato fries, which Lila will eat if they are freshly cooked, do not reheat well in the microwave so those are out on days when I can't be there to cook for her. I also have real trouble coming up with ideas for "mains" at dinner time. Lila doesn't like anything breaded so she won't eat the normal "nugget" or "fritter" items that are so popular in kid food recipes.

Also, we are never home to eat dinner with her, so unfortunately the idea of "eating what we eat" doesn't really work. Its unfortunate, because when we are around, she does tend to pick stuff off our plates and try it.

So, Lila usually gets one MAIN - either:
 - Mac and Cheese (Annie's or Kraft)
 - Turkey Hot Dog
 - Pizza in a Sleeping Bag
 - Pizza
 - Pasta with Tomato Sauce (sometimes she eats this, sometimes not)

And TWO SIDES - either:
 - Peas
 - Corn
 - Mixed Veggies
 - Broccoli
 - Cauliflower
 - Roasted Sweet Potato/Squash
 - Green Beans
 - Rice (she likes chicken flavor, veggie or 4-cheese - both Uncle Ben's)
 - Fried Rice
 - Sweet Potato Fries or Tater Tots (if freshly cooked)
 - Bread and Butter
 - Risotto
 - Beans (only sometimes)

And a "DESSERT" - one of the following:
 - Strawberries
 - Diced Peaches
 - Mandarin Oranges
 - Diced Pears
 - Fruit Newton

I've gotten a lot of great ideas for food items to try with Lila from mama friends. I used to make one new recipe a week for her to try. I have very limited time for cooking, so I am leaning towards buying more ready-made items from the store for her to try these days, but some ideas I have been given or things I have tried in the past include:

 - Pita/hummus (I should try this again since Lila has recently discovered dips)
 - Ravioli
 - Shredded meats (chicken with applesauce, pulled pork)
 - Shepherd's pie
 - Spaghetti O's
 - English Muffin Pizza Fingers (I should try this again)
 - Baby Quiches
 - Beans mixed with Avocado
 - Deli Meat/Cheese Rolls
 - Fruit and Veggie Muffins
 - Zucchini Tots
 - Chicken Nuggets
 - Mini Pizza Meatloaves
 - Mini Chicken Pot Pies

The following websites have great ideas for Kid Foods:
 - Weelicious
 - Once A Month Mom
 - Money Saving Mom
 - Family Feedbag
 - Super Healthy Kids
 - Wholesome Baby Food

I also love the Weelicious cookbook and I get so many ideas from Pinterest. My "Food for the Kidlet" board can be found HERE.

I also love going to Trader Joe's and scouring their prepared foods for items that Lila might eat. She recently loved some taquitos I made for July 4th (from the Weelicious cookbook), so I picked up some ready-made ones for her to try from TJ's.

* * * 

A friend of mine on Twitter once posted that her pediatrician told her that toddlers: reject one meal, pick at one meal, and eat one meal. So, I try to remember that and not stress too much about Lila's eating habits (although its hard sometimes!). 

I hope this post inspires some ideas! I am always looking for new ideas, too, so feel free to leave them in the comments!