Getting your child to eat is one battle, but getting your child to eat healthily is another one that moms in NOLA are fighting daily. There are several challenges that we experience from what to cook, where to buy our groceries to where our kids eat their meals.
In our house, my daughter is an excellent eater; you can hate me for this. But, our challenge is that she does not sit down to eat. She roams around the house returning to the table for bites until she has a “happy plate.” For us this is not a problem, but I am sure her teacher at school would prefer if we made her sit.
Like any house, we have our rules when it comes to meals. Some of ours are a fruit or vegetable with every meal, no “kiddy canned” foods like Spaghetti O’s, and everyone has to eat together.
Sometimes these rules get a little confused, like when Annelise asks for peas with her pancakes in the morning, but as long as it is going in her tummy, I don’t care what time of day it is.
The kiddy food rule came about when my hubby and I decided that we wanted to keep her from being a picky eater by excluding the “kiddy” foods from her diet. For the large majority of the time, she eats what we eat. Of course there are those nights when chaos is in full swing that she gets chicken nuggets that I keep as an emergency back up in the freezer.
Since she is a roam-while-she-eats kid, the things I make for her have to be pretty portable. Rice is a complete mess, and we try to avoid that with her.
A great resource that I use to help with meal ideas is the Baby& Toddler On the Go Cookbook. It was created by a real mom with recipes that are healthy and simple to make.
She wrote the book because, as a new mom, she was looking for healthy meals she could feed her toddler daughter when out and about: going to the park, traveling on a plane, going to her share-care, or even just heading over to a friend’s house. Her goal was to inspire parents to cook for their kids and to be able offer them a variety of healthy snacks and meals no matter where they are.
My two favorite things about this cookbook are that the recipes are flexible. By flexible I mean that it gives you a base and then offers several suggestions of how to swap out the ingredients to introduce something new to your little one or simply use what you have on hand.
My second favorite is that all of these recipes freeze really well, so if you make a batch put it in the freezer and just pull it out as you need them.
Also, several of these recipes can be made in adult size for appetizers such as the mac-and-cheese bites or the egg frittatas. They go over great at parties. I also make the egg frittatas in the standard size muffin pans for hubby and I for breakfast.
If you are looking for additional meal ideas check out my Toddler Meal Ideas blog post on my personal blog, Crawfish Tales.