Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks) where your perfect little angel won’t eat any of the perfectly healthy foods that you have painstakingly made for them? Well, you are not alone! This is a very common concern among parents of toddlers and preschoolers, and here are a few fun food ideas that will help make foods disappear while incorporating learning activities, making you Mommy the Food Magician.
Building and layering are entertaining and effective fine motor skill development activities for toddlers. Although playing with one’s food creates a slight mess, it is worth the time in clean up to see your child enjoying meals that also incorporates a fun learning activity.
Another favorite food activity of mine for children who are a little bit older (around preschool to kindergarten) is making food patterns. Children of this age are often just learning to recreate patterns. For example, take a plastic drink stirrer and make a simple pattern of fruit by layering a slice of banana, followed by a piece of strawberry. Have your child repeat the pattern and watch as your little one quickly picks up this new skill through play and then goes on to devour the tasty fruit.
Presenting food to picky eaters can be discouraging, but don’t lose hope. Try one of these building or stacking activities this week for a change of pace and a new way to introduce a few healthy foods to your family.
Cooking with Cat: Peachy Cobbler Portions
Since peaches are one of my favorite things about summer, I was so excited to try this recipe! Peaches store well in the freezer, so you can enjoy this sweet dessert year-round. I was thrilled to see a healthy alternative to peach cobbler and couldn’t wait to give it a shot. Not only is this a great option for baby, but the perfectly portioned desserts are great for mom or dad. This recipe is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Fiber. Check out the Nutrient Chart for an overview of essential vitamins and minerals your baby needs.
Here is what you will need:
3 cups peeled peaches, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey* (substitute for raw sugar if making for a child under 1)
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter, melted
Note* To remove skin easily, you can boil the peaches. This makes them softer and easier to mash also.
Pour applesauce in with peaches.
Pour in cinnamon.
Pour honey into mixture and stir.
Pour mixture into muffin tin.
Note* Do not over flow, this recipe should make around 9.
After this is done, you will make the topping for the cobbler.
Mix crushed graham crackers with rolled oats.
Note* to crush the graham crackers, place them in a bag that seals, and roll with a rolling pin.
Mix the topping together.
Evenly scoop topping onto the top of the peach mixture in the muffin tin.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes on 350 degrees. The cobbler will be done when the peaches are bubbly and the top is golden brown.
Let cool, then serve. To store, cover the muffin tin and refrigerate.
Mix all ingredients and pour into Food Storage Pods or muffin liners. Place in freezer overnight.
Makes approximately 5 Frozen Fruit Cups
Stage 1 + 2
Kiwi are a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. They also contain vitamins A, C and folic acid.
Already perfectly portioned, one kiwi is sized to offer your baby one serving of fruit.
To prepare, simply peel the ripe fruit, cut into small pieces and mash to desired consistency. Add breast milk, formula or water to thin puree.
For Stages 3 and 4, cut the kiwi into pieces sized for little fingers to pick up easily. It’s a great first finger food because it can be gummed or chewed.
Puree strawberries and peach with immersion blender until smooth. Add kiwi juice. In small bowl combine yogurt, fruit puree, and wheat germ. Mix until incorporated. For thicker consistency add more yogurt.
For a tropical twist, substitute peach with mango.
Stage 1 + 2
Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and vitamin C.
Make banana mash or puree for your baby one serving at a time to avoid browning.
Peel banana and cut the fruit in small pieces. Blend until smooth with immersion blender or masher. Add breast milk or water to thin the puree to the desired consistency.
As your child grows into stages three and four, mash the banana for a chunkier consistency, or simply dice banana into pieces, sized for little fingers to pick up easily.
Stage 1 + 2
Apricots are a sweet source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and C.
4 to 6 apricots will make approximately 1 cup of puree.
Wash, peel and pit apricots, then cut the fruit into small pieces. Blend until smooth with immersion blender. Add breast milk or water to thin the puree to the desired consistency.
As your child grows into stages three and four, mash the apricots for a chunkier consistency, or simply dice apricots into pieces, sized for little fingers to pick up easily.
Stage 1 + 2
Apples are a good source of potassium. They also contain fiber, calcium, vitamins A, C, and Folic Acid as well as the mineral magnesium.
Wash, peel, core and dice apples. In med saucepan bring water and apples to a boil. Cover and let cook 10 – 15 minutes, or until apples are tender. Remove from heat and add Cinnamon. Use immersion blender and puree until smooth. Let cool before serving.
For chunkier applesauce (as your child moves into Stage 3 and Stage 4) use masher.
Stage 1 + 2
Avocado is a great first food for baby because it contains essential fats and trace nutrients, vitamins A, C, Niacin, and Folic Acid that your baby needs to grow. Also, Avocados are easy for baby to digest.
Peel and take out the pit of a ripe avocado – do not cook. Cut “meat” in small pieces. Blend until smooth with immersion blender. Add breastmilk, formula or water to thin the puree to the desired consistency.
As your child grows into stages three and four, mash the avocado to chunkier consistency, or simply dice avocado into pieces, sized for little fingers to pick up easily. You can also introduce new flavors by spicing up the avocado mash with a little garlic (minced or powder) or even cumin. Just like new foods, introduce spices to your baby one at a time.
Combine oats and water. Microwave 2 min. Stir in strawberry puree and breast milk.
To make Strawberry Puree: Whip 1 cup of strawberries with immersion blender until smooth (about 30 -45 sec). Pour puree into sieve or strainer. Let puree drain into small bowl.
Once puree has drained out of sieve discard any seeds or remainder. Mix puree from bowl into oatmeal. Cool before serving.