The toddler series was an eye opener for me and having seen the results from this experiment I can now authoritatively say feeding a toddler though is a tedious challenge, is a doable one. While I had no sketch or plan when I embarked on this journey, an analysis of my recipes for the past 34 days tell me that I have hit bulls eye with Sarah. Every toddler has certain preferences when it comes to eating and only the parent can find it out. So what I suggest might not fit with your toddler’s preferences but, I firmly believe kids are neutral to tastes and we should try to initiate them into trying every possible food that is healthy for them. While doing this, there are small things to be remembered.
For instance, insisting the kid adapts to our spice levels or texture of food is not going to help because the tiny human has to learn to adapt to our levels. But it also does not mean that you omit spices. At times as mothers we fret over a lot of stuff we hear from friends, our mothers or the internet. I know parents who avoid cruciferous veggies, meats, spice, gluten but I have tried them in combinations only to realise it is not that bad for my kid. Sticking to a bland diet or one food alone might seem convenient but eating habits need to be cultivated right from the beginning.
The little humans living with us can eat messily and make us clean the floor umpteen times but I would still do that rather put them on a chair and spoon feed some gooey stuff to get my job done. I was happy to see my toddler sip through a straw at nine months and hold spoon and fork perfectly by 11 months. I don’t think she did it because she was super intelligent. People attribute such traits to me having done a PhD but I think that’s crap. She did it because I let her do it and also because I could not carry her around and feed her.
Despite all this, Sarah was not gaining weight until I started this experiment of toddler meal challenge. It worked both ways- introducing new stuff on her menu excited her and writing about it triggered by creative brain to try more recipes. What was even hilarious and motivating, was the negativity around me that constantly asked if 365 days was possible? The more people asked, the more recipes came to my mind. And the journey continues.
So back to the analysis the research phase doesn’t leave me so when I ended up analysing the recipes I do- which I am happy I did because it also tells me what styles I follow mostly and what styles am I missing out. But this analysis made my life so easy. I realised when Sarah did not eat something it was not meant to be thrown away rather it was to be presented in one of these styles.
So here’s 5 hacks to solve your toddler eating problems.
- Pancake it
If your kid refuses to eat a fruit or veggie or if you want to introduce some millet or grain, what works with Sarah is pancakes. I love them too. I can have them for breakfast with her. It is an easy recipe mostly and you can carry it with you on trips.
If you are looking for recipes in specific, I recommend the following.
2. Pudding it
Call it pudding, kheer or payasam this method never fails. Plus its so soft and mushy for them to swallow this option is a life saver when your little one is down with fever or cold. I don’t add a lot of sugar but I keep it mildly sweet to entice Sarah into having her pudding. I have discovered some of the most amazing recipes in this form and they are perfect for adults too. My personal favourite in this series is the amaranth chocolate pudding but I have a long list to share.
3. Fry it
By frying I also mean mince, mash and coat the veggie, meat and fruit with flour, egg wash and transform it to a different level that will make your kid want to try this at the first sight. Frying has always been a hit with kids and this is why they seem attracted to fry yums and fast food. Fries come in different forms, you can fry chips, cutlets, spring rolls, batter coated stuff or even pan sear stuff. If you have an appe pan, paniyaram pan you can make awesome round shaped fried stuff. I am not a fan of fried stuff so I also use the air fryer at times but kids can have it fried especially scrawny people like Sarah. Here’s few of Sarah’s favourites.
4. Soup it
Yep Soups. They aren’t just pureeing veggies and meats, its an art in itself to know what could go into a soup and for me I make the best use of my soups. I add stuff Sarah would never have in other forms and the soup thus ensures that Sarah gets her share of everything. Check out the omelet soup recipe, its the best thing I ever did.
5. Beautify it
Toddlers are suckers for aesthetics in their eating. If its cute it has to go into their mouths. So yes you can try giving them miniauture versions of all that you eat. I love the mini bread pakoras and finger french toast for this reason, anything colourful or miniature in shape will grab attention. I guess when they grow older they would love to see their food served in more creative ways. I know there are moms giving me dagger looks for this. People are going to ask me if its a big deal feeding a kid. But all I can ask you is don’t you like it when you are served something all decked up at some fancy dinner? Well our little minions are no different so if something can be beautified and made edible why not? Here are few examples-
I don’t mean these are the only hacks. I believe oats is a wonderful hack, adding oats makes the texture gooey, prevents constipation. But I have left few stuff for the next time. Is there something you would like me to add to this challenge or my write ups for this challenge? Write to me. And special posts like these don’t means there isn’t a recipe for the day, please get back to this space for the recipe of the day in some time.
Also this being one of the series on this blog, there would be days when I don’t share the toddler recipe on my FB page but this is for other recipes to gain some attention. Toddler posts will continue and if you are following this series, you can check the recipe for the day after 10.00 pm IST.