K.M. asks from Olympia, WA on August 22, 2008
Nutrition for My 2Yr Old
hello all. i am looking for advise on healthy super-nutritious meals for myself and my two year old. i am trying to avoid gluten as much as possible, msg, high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. i am not a big meat eater but my daughter seems to be (like her dad). the challenge is to make quick meals that meet our needs because i also have a 2mth old. any advice is welcome.
2 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
thank you all for the responses. i have learned a lot. i am proud to realize that a lot of what you recommend i already do. i am going to put all of your wonderful advice to good use. expecially the puree one. again thank you.
J.L. answers from Seattle on August 22, 2008
One of our family staples is spinach pie. We eat it weekly and my 18 month old gobbles it up. It's basically a crustless quiche -- full of protein, spinach and FLAVOR:
3/4 c flour (use any kind - we use whole wheat)
3/4 c milk
1 c grated mozerella cheese
1/2 t garlic powder (it's a lot, but it's good)
1/2 t baking powder
3+ c roughly chopped fresh spinach
2 T butter
Heat oven to 350. Melt butter in 9" pie pan and swirl to coat the pan. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. The pie will tolerate A LOT of spinach. When stirred, the wet ingredients will coat the spinach and it will look like there is too much spinach.
Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
I like it best with sweet potatoes. I make "chips":
1 garnet yam, peeled and thinly sliced.
Toss slices with olive oil in a bowl and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.
Place slices in a single layer on a large, parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350 until cooked through and just starting to brown.
If you have a convection oven, you can cook both items at the same time, just turn down the oven to 325. Start baking the pie, then do the chips.
6 moms found this helpful
Z.A. answers from Seattle on August 23, 2008
So I've yet to need to avoid gluten, but I love cooking, so here are a couple ideas.
I'm a fan of making a big soup (Yuge!...and especially on chilly days :), and then freezing double servings of it together. You can control everything that goes into it, and then just pop on the stove or microwave. All of the nutrients stay right there in the pot and once it's in your freezer it's soooo easy in a pinch. Granted, making the soup to begin with takes hours...but if you make a big one you have soup for the next couple weeks whenever you want it. I'll list ingredients to a few (with meat)off the top of my head at the bottom of this message, and if any sound interesting message me and I'll toss the instructions along.
I'm still experimenting with curries (mild for my son and I, ridiculously hot for my husband :P), so I won't send any recipes along, but there are a ton of books and the control/nutrient-rich/freezing principles are the same. You can pour it over rice or other grain and veggies for yourself, and over meats + grain/veggies for your loves.
Frozen things in general (Boca Nuggets, tatertots, beans, Whole Foods' frozen shrimp/scallops, etc...sorry don't know about the gluten in boca nuggets!) either premade, or made by me and then frozen, have been a godsend to me being in school and having a little one. Pop in the oven or saute for a couple min and Voila!
To look for some gluten free grain alternatives I would check out Bob's Red Mill. My dad's a baker and took on avoiding using wheat as a challenge a few years ago and has SCORES of things from this company. I just popped over there and it looks like they're even setting up a gluten free website.
So many other cultures use these grains as staples, that branching into ethnic cooking/recipes could be a great thing (the Egyptions and Chickpeas, my god! and of course my 2 year old son's favorite thing on the planet was Hummus also easy to make at home with a blender or food processor)...but it looks like I've gone off on a tangent (again) so I'm going to jump back on track.
So what we usually do for dinner is to try and match a protein (complete protein, like meat/ seafood/ grain+legume/ eggs or nuts), with a veggie (for complex/simple carbs &/or minerals/vitamins), & a dairy. Grains or starchy roots (read potatoes)if we feel like it, but we usually save those for lunch so they can be run off in the afternoon. Lunch is much the same as dinner but with fruit instead of veggies and add the heavy carbs. In English this translates to:
-Boca Nuggets & Tater Tots & yogurt or
-BBQ chicken Quesodilla & grapes or
-Turkey Sandwich & cottage cheese & orange slices or
-Japanese Food (sushi or rice noodle soups or tempura)& sliced fuit
-Leftovers from dinner (hehehe...my favorite...but then, I more frequently heat up dinner for BREAKFAST as I'm always SOOOOOOO tired in the morning.)
-Shrimp & asparagus & mushrooms & fresh mozzarella balls
-Scallops & sauteed greens & cheese
-Quiche & salad
-Shortribs & corn & beans
-Indian Food (curries over meat/rice/veggies + saag paneer)
-Soups & cheese
oops...I just got really tired (it's a Little Late here...did i mention the whole tired in the morning thing?)...so I'm going to log off. I scan/update/edit tomorrow. :)
(Note: whenever freezing just cooked food : 1-freezing it just cooked & cooled is waaaay better health and taste wise then waiting and freezing leftovers. 2-As soon as your done cooking pour -or cut up and place if it's solid- into large flat dish like a baking dish or cookie sheet and toss it in the fridge to cool while you're eating and cleaning up. THEN pour it into containers to freeze. The whole trick is to bring the temp down fast enough so that NOTHING has time to grow.
2 moms found this helpful
H.C. answers from Portland on August 23, 2008
This is not so much a summer food, but we eat alot of this in fall, winter, spring.
You need a crockpot. They are fabulous!!
Basically I just put in the crockpot, 1.5lb of meat (either cubed lamb or beef stewing meat or minced beef, minced turkey etc) This takes 1 minute. Then I peel and cube sweet potatoes, squash and carrots. This takes 10 mins or even less if you use baby carrots that are already peeled and they don't need chopping. Then I add enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables. (Whenever I cook a chicken, I simmer the left over bones and carcass overnight with veg scraps and peelings if I have them, strain and put in the freezer so there is always "real" tasty chicken stock, but you can also just open a carton of chicken stock and pour it in. Trader Joes has a good well priced one, with no MSG. (stocks do often have it for flavor). So we are at 12 minutes - promise!. Add 1tsp ground cinammon (essential :) ) , a heaped tsp of herbs eg oregano, tarragon or a mix, salt and pepper. Stir up the goodness. I do this as soon as my little ones are in bed and set it off on high, then turn it down to low when I go to bed. When you get it down, I promise you it takes 15 mins to prepare and you wake up to a very delicious stew that has made itself. What I love about this method is that the meat and vegetables come out so soft and tender, it really doesn't matter whether my 2 yr old chews that well, AND I can throw a little in a blender and smooth it up for my one year old. I steam some greens to go with it, and one other thing you can do is when you get up, stir 1-2 Tbs of corn starch into a little water, add it to the stew and leave it on low till lunchtime. This makes the gravy thicker. Often I turn it off and just leave it sitting till dinner. It feeds us for days. If you use cubed meat, you can pick out the meat, but your veg will still taste real good from absorbing the flavor and goodness.
I also make chilli this way, and other stew varations, including bean dishes. Crockpots only cost about $30, I would invest in one. I serioulsy couldn't live without mine
2 moms found this helpful
A.B. answers from Anchorage on August 23, 2008
Three items are priceless in our gluten free, low meat, no processed foods home: the rice cooker that has a keep warm setting, the grill and the crockpot. I start a big pot of rice (use all different kinds for variety) every morning when we wake up and we eat it with every meal (eggs and rice with fruit on the side for breakfast). The other non-gluten staple are potatoes - use a variety: sweet, baking, red, etc, which cook beautifully on the grill or cut up and tossed in the crockpot. I stock up on a variety of fishes for grilling, baking and sauteeing and the same for tofu. Tofu is super versatile - you can eat it right out of the package or prepare it similarly to shrimp. Also, I've found buffalo and ostrich are really satisfying and much healthier than beef.
Also I don't know about your daughter's palate, but my daughter has always loved to try new foods. She loves mild curry with potatoes, carrots and chicken. She devours sushi rice with shrimp and salad. With greens I've found that she eats them readily if they are from a neighbor, our own garden or she picks them out at a local farmer's market.
1 mom found this helpful
J.C. answers from Seattle on August 23, 2008
I promise- you can do it-- gluten free is tough but do-able -- ( older daughter is violently allergic to all gluten) -- rice- rice noodles- potatoes- all work beautifully as ordinary noodle substitutes. Gluten free bread is still rather boring- but toasted it's not too bad. You will be eating a diet heavy in vegs, meats, fruits - and the meat will provide a real boost of protein and fat ( the necesssary kind). 35 years ago- when my daughter was a toddler- newly on a gluten free diet ( in ASTORIA OREGON_ NO health food stores back then) I discovered that she could tolerate my experimental cooking best if she had protein at every meal-- for a while there- I made a little hamburger patty for 3 meals a day- the comfortable, familiar - liked food allowed her to try some other oddities- like ''only corn meal'' corn bread.
you can do it
1 mom found this helpful
A.D. answers from Portland on August 23, 2008
I have gluten allergies and I use products made from rice that I purchase from New Seasons. They are made by EnerG foods. Their website is www.ener-g.com and I love the gluten free muffins. They have ones that have sweet potato in them and they taste good. I just pop them in the toaster, add butter and sometimes a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. This companies web site is really great because you can check ingredients in each item. Trying to avoid certain foods is difficult in the beginning, but after a while it gets easy.
I like to make one pot meals. I like to use those oven baking bags to make a whole chicken or pieces of chicken with broth and vegies. My kids love this. Another thing is boil skinless chicken, skim off any stuff from the top, add vegies and there you have chicken soup. Add your salt and pepper only to your bowl and you don't have to worry about excessive sodium. My mom's favorite is pot roast. You can do the same with chicken, pork or beef. It doesn't have to be something huge, it can be cut up pieces of meat. Put them into a crock pot with water, add spices and chopped vegetables. Check on it onc in a while and there you have another meal.
The trick to avoiding the ingredients you mention is to stop purchasing processed foods. Fresh ingredients are healthier, and most processed foods have chemicals and hidden fillers like fat.
Best of luck to you.
1 mom found this helpful
C.R. answers from Eugene on August 23, 2008
I'll quote you part of my response to another question (I have a picky eater 24 months old):
Some surprise favorites for my picky eater (and all of these contain iron and protein!):
Cantaloupe w/cottage cheese
Dried fruit (esp. raisins, apricots, prunes)
Oatmeal (use colander to sift out half the sugar, add raisins)
Mashed potatoes (w/cheese & Spinach)
Shrimp (esp. w/linguine & white sauce)
Linguine w/Trader Joe's "Clam Sauce" (in spaghetti sauce section -- this is superyummy! can add corn)
Pinto beans (whole even better than refried)
Tacos w/out shells, or ground beef w/fresh onions, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes.
Whole FRUIT (watermelon, grape, mango, plum, banana, apple, orange, strawberry, peach, blueberry, raspberry, papaya, etc., use melon baller when possible, - watch out for kiwis, many are allergic to the fuzzy skin)
Buttered MULTIGRAIN toast (prefers over white, try several kinds)
Cream cheese cubes wrapped in ham slices
nitrate/nitrite free hot dogs from trader joe's
broccoli (esp. w/mac n cheese)
quiche (trader joe's quiche mexicaine)
burritos, enchiladas (mexican food in general: beans are high in protein and nutrition, low fat, no sugar)
CHEESE (when all else fails)
You'll have to weed out the gluten products because I've never paid much attention to that. I've also found this webpage to be a great resource for 3 item meals that really helped me get the idea of simple, quick, nutritious feeding:
I found Trader Joe's to be a great high fructose/hydrogenated oil -free source that is not too expensive, and they also carry a lot of gluten-free products. And I *always* read the labels on everything I buy -- unfortunately the only tried and true way to avoid MSG, hydrogenated oils & high fructose corn syrups. Specialty stores can be really expensive but at times worth it, but I've also found Safeway's Organics ("O") brand to be incredible! Excellent prices and excellent taste even compared to other organic brands!
Hope this helps!
1 mom found this helpful
G.H. answers from Richland on August 23, 2008
I don't know where you live, but if there's a Dream Dinners near you, they have wonderful, nutritious meals in servings of 3 and they don't use corn syrup, hy. oils, msg, and you can ask for gluten free or lactose free! I can get great meals on the table in 15 minutes. Go to www.dreamdinners.com
to find one near you. All the recipes are tried out on children first before it goes on their menus. The menu changes every month. I've been using them for 6 years and I save money on our food budget and only eat out once a month. They are Weight Watcher friendly, too.:>)