I was trying to put a list of food, cookbooks and resources together for some ideas to inspire me to make fresh, healthy real food for my toddler. Hope this helps anyone out there needing some inspiration and help. All of these foods are great for the entire family. There may be a few things that are better for an older toddler. You know your child. Be sure to not leave your child unattended while eating.
How much should my toddler eat?
The AAP recommends children eat 5-6 times per day. 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. But, many toddlers are not eating this much and that’s ok!! It’s just a rough guideline and not a rule. If your child is not eating well at breakfast, lunch and dinner you can try removing some of the snacks to see if that helps. For instance, I typically do Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and One snack. Every blue moon 2 snacks. I noticed my kids eat better that way. So pay attention to your child and his needs. And be sure to keep snack time healthy. A fresh fruit, veggie sticks, raisins, nuts, seeds are all great choices. It’s best to avoid processed baby and toddler snacks that aren’t as nutritious as real food. This is especially important if they don’t eat a lot as it is. Their tummies may fill up on these types of snacks and you will notice that your child will begin to favor these types of snacks and may not want to eat his real food. Kids will eat what is in the house. If you keep a box of (insert favorite processed snack– cheddar bunnies, goldfish, chips, fruit snacks) in your house that is what they will want to eat! It’s best to save these things for special treats and hide these purchases so they can’t see them. Just offer them fresh whole foods, around the same time each day (to set a routine) and allow them to explore their food and eat as they please. Never force your child to eat. They will eat when they are hungry. Nursing and offering a wide variety of foods to your toddler will fulfill many of the nutrients and vitamins he needs.
What should my toddler drink?
Breastmilk if you are still nursing and water! It’s best to avoid store-bought juices as these are just filled with sugar and aren’t nutritious at all. If you are no longer nursing you can offer cow’s milk, goats milk (or dairy substitute) of no more then 16-20oz total per day if you’d like, but it’s not a requirement. You just need to make sure your toddler is getting his vitamins and nutrients from other foods. You can also read my post: Does my toddler need milk? for a comparison of milks as well as a list of food sources that your toddler can get the vitamins and nutrients if you are dairy free. If you do dairy and want to use milk it is recommended to buy whole fat milk, whole milk yogurt and grass fed real butter, preferably Organic and/or Raw & from Pasture Fed Cows. Organic Pastured Eggs are best. I like to use grass fed butter, olive oil (on medium heat), ghee and coconut oil to cook my little ones foods. Babies and young kids need fat in their diet so now is not the time to worry about that. It’s best to purchase organic to avoid pesticides and GMO’s. If you are not able to purchase organic check out the Dirty Dozen List for the foods highest in pesticides and try to purchase those organic.
Which kind of milk should I buy?
Helpful websites with Recipes:
Books: (Click on picture to view and purchase)
The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler
The Organic Family Cookbook
Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers
The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet
Start Fresh: Your Child’s Jump Start to Lifelong Healthy Eating
7-Day Green Smoothie Kickstart Guide
Ice Pop Joy
Fun in the kitchen:
Tovolo Ice Pop Molds
Orka Ice Pop Molds
Norpo Homemade Ice Pop/Yogurt Holders
Mini Homemade Ice Pop/Yogurt Holders
Sandwich Lunch Punch
Teach your baby shapes. Good for eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns
Egg Pancake Ring Set
- Breakfast Smoothie (This will be my go to meal because I can add fruits & veggies and it will be super healthy and delicious. Plus kids will love to drink it out of their straw sippy cup)
- Oat Flour Pancakes (You can do blueberry, banana or even sweet potatoes in the mix)
- Grain Free Coconut Flour Pancakes
- Sweet Potato/Apple/Carrot Pancakes
- Egg/Banana Pancakes
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Zucchini Hash Browns
- Oatmeal Porridge with Fruit (I like Bobs Red Mill)
- Yogurt with Fruit (You can add granola on top too)
- Scrambled Eggs (Optional:Add Spinach) with whole grain sprouted raisin toast & pat of butter and fresh fruit
- Bread in a Basket
- Sweet potato hash
- Omelet with veggies (Spinach, Red Bell Pepper Cheese)
- Whole Grain Waffles with fruit topping
- Kefir (can be mixed in oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes, eaten with fruit etc)
- Breakfast Sandwich (Eggs, Sourdough bread, avocado)
- Fruit Salad
- Millet Porridge Bowl
- Quoina Porridge Bowl
Fruit toppings for Porridge & Yogurt (Puree the fruit or cut it up really tiny, then mix it in):
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Goji Berries
- Roasted or Steamed veggies with fruit (Choose from lists)
- Nut/seed Butter & Banana Sandwich (Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Sunflower Butter, Pecan Butter etc)
- Fruit & Veggie Smoothie
- Banana “Milkshake” with Peanut Butter or Almond Butter with Whole Grain Toast
- Roasted or Steamed Veggies such as:
- Green Grilled Cheese: Sourdough bread with raw cheese and sautéed greens such as spinach, baby chard or baby kale finely chopped and placed inside
- Sweet potato fries
- Anything in a Slow Cooker (Perfect for those with little time)
- Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Carrots (Just throw in oven)
- Mini Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Sweet Potato Frosting
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese using Quoina or Rice Pasta.
- Quick Sourdough Pizza with veggie toppings & organic cheese
- Turkey Patty with Sweet Potato Fries
- Whole Grain Tiny Stars Pasta with Tomato Sauce and veggies.
- First Pasta Bolognese
- Quinoa with Chicken and Veggies (I like zucchini & yellow squash)C
- Shrimp and Veggies (Again I like it with zucchini & yellow squash. This can be a warm or cold salad)
- Chicken Soup
- Cauliflower Crust Pizza
- Coconut Lentil Rice with Roasted chicken and veggies
- Bananas dipped in yogurt and frozen (put stick in end)
- Whole Grain Sprouted Pita with Hummus
- Homemade Veggie Chips
- Homemade Kale Chips
- Little Duck Organics Tiny Fruits (At wholefoods)
- Celery with Nut Butter
- Whole Grain Bread with a Pat of Butter
- Fresh cut fruit
- Homemade Graham Crackers
- Fruit and or Veggie Ice Pop
- Prunes (my son loves these and pops them like candy!)
- “Guacamole”: Nico loves avocado so I am always trying to mix it up: You can puree fruit or cut into small bites and mix in.
- Raw Cheese Cubes
- Fresh Fruit
- Raw Veggie sticks or shredded
- Fruit Salad or Fruit Kabobs
- Sweet potato fries
- Homemade popcorn
- Trail Mix
- Homemade Fruit and Veggie Popsicles
I will add more as I continue to find new ideas, recipes and inspiration.
check out my Starting solids post for more tips and recommendations.