October 18, 2008,
A.L. asks from Coatesville, PA on October 15, 2008
13 Month Old - Healthy Easy Meals/snacks
I'm looking for healthy, quick and easy to prepare meals and/or snacks for my almost 13 month old daughter. Does such a combination exist? I'm trying to get away from buying jarred baby food which is where she ususally gets her veggies, and she likes the baby dinners. I want to feed her more table food. Since she only has her two bottom teeth, that limits some of the things she can eat.
Also, I work 20 hours a week from home, so I don't have a lot of time to spend with preparation and clean up. She likes when I take leftovers and chop them in the food processor, but it's such a pain to clean. Any suggestions on a food tool like that which cleans pretty easily?
Here's some of the simple foods that she currently likes:
-She loooves her whole milk
-Yogurt (Have I said that she loves dairy? :) )
-Bread - wheat, fortified white, anything- she'd eat it all day long
-Beechnut Table Time Dinners - they're soft and easy to chew, good on protein, and don't have all of the sodium, preservatives, or artifical things some prepackaged foods have - but they're not super cheap.
-Gerber/Parents Choice puffs, yogurt melts
-Pasta, tomato sauce, meat sauce
-Frozen or canned fruit in the food processor
-Carrots in the food processor (other veggies are tough, she does not like my homemade peas, broccoli, corn purees, and she doesn't like V-8 juice.)
-Baby cereal, or regular oatmeal
Any input, advice, experience would be greatly appreciated!
M.F. answers from Philadelphia on October 16, 2008
Did you ever try just scooping out and cutting up a ripe Avocado? If teeth are an issue, which is probably the case, try to mash it up so it's safe and easy to eat.
L.T. answers from Pittsburgh on October 16, 2008
For the veggies...have you tried steaming, boiling, or microwaving them until they are tender enough for her to eat?
You mention that she doesn't like V8 juice. V8 makes V8 Fusion that I think is a combo of fruit and veggie juice and is supposed to taste more like fruit juice. Juicy Juice also makes a Healthy Harvest line that has veggie juice in it, but again tastes more like fruit juice.
Have you ever seen a "safe feeder"? It is a little mesh bag that attaches to a plastic handle. You can put table food in there for your daughter to suck on and chew on. I had limited success with it with my kids - they weren't too interested. But my SIL used it all the time with her daughters. She put mostly fruit and veggie chunks it it. In addition to getting her kids to eat more types of table food, she put frozen fruit in it to give them relief when they were teething or simply to give them a cool treat.
Although this doesn't address the issue of getting her to eat and/or like other foods if you are worried about her getting the proper nutrition you can hide pureed foods in the sauces you mention she eats. I used to put pureed carrots, squash, beans and peas in spaghetti sauce. Maybe mix some pureed fruit in the yogurt, oatmeal or applesauce. You can experiment on your own or get ideas from Deceptively Delicious - a cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld devoted to hiding purees in food to get your family to eat healthy.
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J.S. answers from Philadelphia on October 16, 2008
Sheena A. There is wonderful product out there called a twister blender or majic bullet. that way you can take your table food and blend it up for your baby girl to eat and be able to enjoy. the base sits on the counter it comes with cups and lids. You put your food in the cup put the lid on turn the cup upside down into the base and press and it mashes up the food for baby to eat. clean up is easy just put the cup in the dishwasher and it is all done. I used to make my own veggies for my babies to eat. made enough of the veggies I would freeze some in Ice Cube trays and transfer to freezer zip lock bags so that I could pull out a cube at a time or more if needed. Good luck and have fun. J.
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on October 15, 2008
I have a small food processor by lack & Decker called the Handy Chopper Plus. It's small (holds about 1.5 cups) and top rack dishwasher safe.
Just cook & cut up fresh veggies (carrots, squash, peppers, etc.) If they are cooked, you can just put pieces on her plate. Also hardbboiled eggs, fruits (mango, papaya, orange, banana, peeled & halved grapes), whole wheat bread (better), goldfish crackers, cheese cubes, dry cereal, etc.
Try getting her to eat all of the stuff you & DH usually eat, just smaller & maybe softer (watch choking hazard foods.
P.H. answers from Philadelphia on October 16, 2008
Have you tried hummus? My son LOVES hummus- he eats it every day. I either buy it already made in the store or make it myself. My son really liked soup as well at that age (he's 18 months old now) because it didn't hurt his gums or teeth when he was teething.
S.B. answers from Philadelphia on October 16, 2008
Lack of teeth only limits your child from eating really hard foods like raw carrots. My son has been eating the same foods we do at dinner since he was 8 months old (he only had one tooth then). We just cut his meat, veggies, fruits into smaller pieces. We used a knife, no fancy choppers. Also, he has been feeding himself since 8 months. She should be working on that now too.
M.R. answers from Philadelphia on October 16, 2008
Really, I would let her try anything you are eating she's interested in. You'd be amazed what they can chew with very few teeth. (chewing is molars anyway, and those won't be a full set for a while) Our neighbor's 14 month old daughter eats steak with 2 teeth. Not kidding. My 14 month old son eats table food with us, I just cook everything a little softer at the moment. He eats red and green peppers and zucchini cut in chunks and gnaws on broccoli florets. Peas and beans are good too, cooked soft.
S.Y. answers from Pittsburgh on October 16, 2008
I got a book called (The?) "Toddler Cafe"...great recipes and some super healthy...I modify by using whole-wheat flour...also the book "Super Baby Food" is GREAT to learn about nutrition...for example, I learned to add "nutritional yeast" (you can get it a Whole Foods) to her yogurt for a serious vitamin boost...the book is filled with great tips like that. :)
C.M. answers from York on October 18, 2008
My son is also 13 months old with only a few teeth. before he was a year old he has been eating whatever we eat. I just cut it up really small but big enough he can pick it up. He even eats steak! For lunch I make sure we have left overs from the night before and he eats that. You would be amazed what those gums can do!