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Seeking Help on a Healthy Menu for Picky 21 Month Olds

I need help making a menu for my 21 month twins. I think they need more variety but they can be picky. Any ideas on some meals that are easy and they will love?

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There are 2 books on the market that give ideas for incorporating healthy foods into things kids already eat. They are called Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef. Look them up on Amazon so you can read the reviews.

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Choose healthy foods that you eat and give them the same foods. Simply put, barring food allergies, you should not have to go out of your way to find foods they like. If you tend to eat the same thing all the time, you may need to expand your diet to include more of a variety of fruits, grains, and vegetables(very little meat, if any for children that young). If you only feed your children foods they "like" during this time when they are getting their taste buds sensitized to different foods, you will forever struggle with getting them to eat a variety of foods. Fix one meal for your family - if they are hungry enough, they will eat. You can just overcook or stick what you fixed for the rest of the family in a blender and you've got food for everyone.

A bit about me: I practice traditional Chinese medicine and do nutritional counseling based on food energetics.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter enjoys wilted baby spinach cooked with 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion in about 1/4 cup of chicken broth.

She also likes vegetable, pasta, and bean soup. She doesn't like meat, so I substitute the protein with a can of red kidney beans. I use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 finely chopped yellow onion, a can of petite diced tomatoes, a can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed), a box of Swanson natural goodness chicken broth, and some water to cover the ingredients. I add dried parsley flakes and dried basil to the soup. Salt and pepper to taste. I serve it over cooked elbow or small shell noodles. I typically make this by browning 3 chicken thighs lightly dusted in flour and seasoned with salt and pepper over medium high heat in a couple of tablespoons of canola oil. Then I add the chopped onion, lower the heat to medium and cook until onions soften, then add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, lower the heat and allow everything to cook over a simmer (lightly boil) for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. I remove the chicken, let it cool and shred it and keep it aside for me and hubby since our daughter doesn't like meat. Then you can serve the soup over pasta and add the chicken if you like.

Have you heard of Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook "Deceptively Delicious"? It's theme is hiding purees of healthy foods in kid's favorites dishes. I haven't tried it yet, but heard it was a great buy.

I have daughter who is 23 months and she is picky as well.
I have found a few simple favorites that she will usually eat.
She likes when I wrap turkey hot dogs in crescent rolls and bake them. She loves fruit cabobs (I cut off the sharp end) and they keep her busy for awhile too... I usually use grapes, apple chunks, banana pieces, and strawberries. Sometimes I let her dip them in Hershey choc. syrup. Messy but she loves it! She loves Mac-n-cheese, and I usually mix in a can of peas because she doesn't seem to mind them in there if she gets to eat the macaroni. As far as quick store-bought faves go, she loves the yoplait yogurt drinks and they have "Dora" on them to make them more in demand! I also recently found a new fave. Oscar Mayer makes Lunchables Jr.
meals. The one she loves is turkey chunks, mozz. cheese, and mini ritz crackers. The content seems to be fairly healthy and they are easy on the go too. Good luck! I'm looking forward to reading your responses for some new ideas for my daughter as well!

my mom got me a book called"First Meals" by Annabel Karmel that I have really enjoyed. It gives you recipes for kids up to age 5. I also really believe kids should eat most things that you would cook for yourself. I read that you have to try something 10 times before you know if you don't like it. Also, sometimes if your child doesn't like something it could be the way it's prepared.

My 3 year old & almost 20 month old like to eat these things:
Chicken Legs (grilled)
Stir Fry
Chicken Fried Rice
Whole baked Chicken
Brisket in crockpot
Chicken Noodle Soup
Raviolis (frozen not canned)


For Sides:
Grean Giant Corn w/ butter sauce, Broccoli & Cheese, carrots with honey
Corn on the cob
Sweet Potato fries
Baked Potato
We usually buy a big veggie tray from Costco and eat on that all week too.
Fresh green beans steamed & Broccoli

For Fruit they usually like everything. I cut oranges up, apples, pears, etc. They like grapes and they love strawberries especially if I put whipped cream on them.

A favorite we have for breakfast are the yoplait smoothies. They love those. They usually have that and fruit for breakfast.

Not sure if this will help you or not since my kids pretty much eat anything. I do need to serve more fish. I tried some tortilla encrusted talapia on Sunday and they loved it.

I raised the world's pickiest eater and I have tried everything over the past 18 years! My son ate everything up to one year, then suddenly became starch boy - eating only pancakes and bread products basically. I found baby-food carrots to be a lifesaver! Did you know if you add a jar of baby-food carrots to a batch of pancake batter, it not only gives it a nice golden color, but doesn't really change the taste! And two-jars of baby-food carrots in cornbread batter for 9 x 13 pan of cornbread actually enhances the moisture and taste! I never let my son see me putting the carrot puree into his food - we simply called it "the secret ingredient." He had to leave the kitchen when the secret ingredient went in. He actually preferred the foods WITH the secret ingredient - but I knew if he ever saw what it was he'd never eat it again! I was so desparate to get some protein in him that I actually once fried up a whole fish fillet, ground it up and mixed it in the cornbread batter with the secret ingredient. He loved it and had no idea he was eating fish! I have also mixed tofu or wheat germ into foods. I've gone so far as to mix soft tofu into butter, so some protein can be spread on his bread! Oddly, the kids didn't seem to mind the strange texture of the butter, and tofu takes on the flavor whatever it's mixed with. As for my daughters, who were much less picky, I found that putting out a plate of veggies, such as carrots and celery or even apple slices as I was preparing a meal helped get healthy foods in their tummy. When they're really hungry and whining for dinner to be ready a little plate of veggies looks pretty good. (Doesn't look that good once the main meal is on the table!) Also, two of my daughters loved Gerber pureed spinach even when they were far too old to be eating baby food. I kept buying it and would give it to them as a snack! Another weird but healthy snack my girls love even today is frozen peas - frozen, not cooked. It's like candy to them.

There are 2 books on the market that give ideas for incorporating healthy foods into things kids already eat. They are called Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef. Look them up on Amazon so you can read the reviews.

I'm sure that other mom's have already responded in this way but...I would just keep offering the foods that you (and your family) enjoy. Do it in a non-judgemental, matter-of-fact way..."this is what we have for dinner"...take the drama out of it by not feeding into their pickiness by making them something separate to eat. Only give them very small portions and don't insist that they finish everything. Over time you will see their tastes change, and their courage to try new things will grow. Remember that they only need a small amount of HEALTHY food to thrive, and that you should track what they eat over a period of a week, instead of daily. Eating can easily become a control issue with your children...a battle that you WILL lose...as you really can't make them chew and swallow. Back off, relax, enjoy your own food and try new things yourself. By doing this you will become the example that they will learn to follow. Good luck!!

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