I hope you didn’t come here looking for a solution to your toddler’s eating strike or expecting step-by-step instructions for baby-led weaning. I’m sure there are super helpful articles on this blog about both of those topics from other moms who actually have a clue what they’re doing, but this ain’t it.
The following is basically a list of all the meals I hide vegetables (or avocado) in, attempting to outsmart the refined palate of my toddler, who I regularly find chewing on rocks.
I promise the links below are to real recipes for toddler cooking or products you might find useful, even if the commentary would lead you to assume otherwise:
- Turkey meatballs – Who wouldn’t want to spend a solid hour and a half of their Sunday grating zucchini and mushing raw meat into balls with their bare hands?
- Veggie muffins – Ah, yes. Another time-consuming activity with little to no payoff. At least my husband or dogs will usually eat some of the these.
- Veggie burgers (Dr. Praeger’s)- I mean, you can make your own if you want but I’m not going for sainthood over here.
- Quesadillas – Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. One or two nuggets of a vegetable that she picks out and throws on the floor. More cheese. Butter.
- Oatmeal – I mix in avocado when the kid isn’t looking. It typically works, given that the rest of the mixture is amped with so much honey and cinnamon that the car ride to school becomes a game of dodge the flying shoe.
- Smoothies – Messy AND a total waste of entire portions of fresh produce. A real double whammy.
Then, when all else fails, I whip up a box of Annie’s mac and cheese. Because, you know, its total lack of nutritional value is organic, so I’m still nailing this whole mom thing.
I joke, but we’re all really doing the best we can when it comes to what our kiddos consume. Some kids are just better eaters than others. Overall, I only have two pieces of real (albeit obvious) advice:
- Upon little Susie’s positive reaction to her first veggie burger, do not stock up as if preparing for an apocalypse. Chances are, two hours later she will decide that their contents are so offensive a physical reaction is necessary to communicate her disgust.
- It’s OK to serve air for dinner. Children, unlike adults, are pretty good at eating based on need rather than feelings. If Johnny doesn’t want dinner, sometimes that’s OK. Offer veggies first the next day and if he’s hungry, he might surprise you. (Or, he will be unable to identify the cause of his discomfort as hunger and will fight you harder. This is when I wave the white flag, plug the screaming hole with a cereal bar and move on.)
Remember when the word “dinner” conjured up more anticipation than anxiety? Yeah, me neither.