Help! Toddler Food Ideas?

Updated on January 26, 2011
J.F. asks from Tonawanda, NY
7 answers

My 13 month old twins are getting very picky with eating! I've heard it is normal for this age to eat great one day and practically nothing the next. Some days they want to fingerfeed themselves everything, other days they want to be catered and fed with a spoon.

I need ideas please! I'd love to give them more of a variety for meals and maybe that will keep them more interested? Could you share some of the things you fed (or are currently feeding) your little one in the toddler years for breakfasts, lunches and snacks??
For dinner i try to give them some of what we're having... but i think i need more "baby friendly" meals for our family dinners too. Any ideas would be so greatly appreciated!! Thanks! :)

ETA: they are eating things with just about any texture - we just shred up their meats or cut it into chunks for fhem, we don't really have to puree anything anymore (we always made their babyfood purees). they eat fruit & veggies just cooked & chopped now. They eat crunchy things like crackers, cheerios & toast. And they eat mushy stuff like yogurt & oatmeal. Thanks again mommas :)

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the ideas :)
Just to answer Dana's question: The reason i needed more "kid friendly" meals is that my husband and i don't always eat great (something i want to work on, hence this question), and often eat very spicy things which i don't want to give the babies. By kid friendly i meant healthy and tasty, definitely not highly processed. We've homemade every bit of their baby food from fresh or frozen foods (never canned or boxed or jarred) since the start :)
Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Rochester on

Hi J.,
Wow twins!! I'm a day care provider with 15 yrs in the trenches. Some days I think I've seen it all! They're still learning alot about food at this point.
Obviously soft foods finger foods are best. my little ones like eggs with cheese, waffles pancakes, you can use buckwheat mixes and get more fiber. Pasta is huge, i put chopped spinach or grated carrots in to get veggies down too. Mac and cheese, with chopped up spinach is a hit. Hot dogs (turkey ones too) standard "american kid cuisine" Soup is great, it has everything in it, they can finger feed themselves with it. Try to remember, they'll eat when they'e hungry. I have them eat 3 small meals and 2 snacks a day. Eat every 2-3 hrs. You can make protien shakes, with ensure, and fruit. Lots of colors on the plate helps too. Try fruit and veges you've never tried too! Most kids this age don't have a huge variety at this point. Keep tying one or two new foods a week. Stir fries with pasta or rice and veges. add chix. I found lots of kids don't like much beef at this age too. You can chop silken tofu into any of the above. Try lots of independent feeding too, pretzel sticks, nutrigrain bars, yogurt, goldfish, crackers.. rice cakes. Good luck....My husband grew up in Tonawanda, we live in Rochester now. The world is way tooo small!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Okay, so my LO is 3. So I'm trying to reach back into my very foggy memory (sad that I already can't remember that stuff!!) and recall what she liked. she was always a pretty good eater, so we were lucky.

zucchini & yellow squash: I sliced it thin & put in the microwave with a tiny pat of butter/margarine & maybe a sprinkle of garlic powder. Covered it with a bowl and steamed it for 20 or 30 seconds.

frozen lima beans: cooked in water about 4 minutes in the microwave, then cool
Some kids love beets; mine didn't
chick peas
finger-friendly whole grain pasta shapes tossed in olive oil
freeze dried fruit is a great snack if you can find it (try costco??)
canned veggies (carrot & green beans) were a hit, but I tried to avoid too many canned foods
Frozen peas are awesome
rice was huge (& messy) for us at this age, even mildly flavored mexi-rice
black beans
sweet potato fries
Fish!! Start with tilapia or flounder, then move on to salmon (bake or pan fry)

I still re-used left-overs for her dinners a lot at this stage, so we could eat less toddler friendly meals sometimes. And I would also do a modified version for her a lot too. I would heat up a frozen veggie for her and we would eat salad, or cook a little of the meat without seasoning/spice or leave the sauce off her pasta & serve the meat/veggies on the side for her. Hamburgers (or salmon burgers) are a fun diversion from the kitchen-cooked meals and you can just chop up small pieces for the kids.I did a lot of left-over dinners for her lunch too at this age.

Good luck! Keep your eyes open at the grocery store/market for new things to try. I found this to be a great time to integrate new foods into our diets as well. So don't be afraid to try new things. You might find some suprising favorites for the whole family or find things the kids like that you would never expect.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Why do you feel you should eat more 'kid friendly' meals? It will be way better for them to continue eating what you are eating (assuming you eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein etc). Most of what is considered 'kid friendly' is highly processed food loaded with salt and saturated fats (chicken nuggets, french fries, pizza, hot dogs - reads like fast food menu).

You have some really good suggestions below. I would add - cooked or vegetable sushi, seaweed salad (fresh, loaded with vitamins and crunchy), artichokes (my son loves pulling out the leaves and scraping them with his teeth, it's just like playing with his food), asparagus, cauliflower, chick peas, olives (pitted of course and the real ones, not the canned ones).



answers from Milwaukee on

It is totally normal and our 3 yr old DS is still in the 'phase'!

With our 11 mo old DS we give her anything soft we can think up...mashed pot's, scrambled eggs, soups, I try to sneak in her baby food when she'll let me give her stuff on a spoon. Noodles, and really tiny bits of meat that she cant' choke crust, breads, crackers like saltines, she loves sharing cream of wheat with her brother, yogurt...I guess it just gets more boring for them then us!



answers from Chicago on

my tot went through a phase and all she wanted to eat was crunchy food.( basically snacky foods) so i stopped buying them and after a week of beig picky she realized she wasnt getting her way and resumed her normal eating of fruits vegetables and meats. good luck and stay strong!


answers from Columbus on

My daughter goes through times when she wants to only eat 1 or two foods! These have been some of her favorites;
Hummus - we give her a little condement cup and she'll dip carrots or natural cheese puffs in it
Edammame- I started giving her just the beans, but our family eats them whole, out of the pod. She totally took to getting them out of the pod with her mouth, just like we do! Its her all-time favorite vegetable (yours may be too young for the pods, but the beans could be mashed a little and they may enjoy the taste)
Avocado- I cube it and she eats it with her fingers
Grilled cheese- I recently started giving her grilled cheese, because she's in a picky phase and I can hide veggies in it. For how long? We'll see, she may just catch on LOL!
Yogurt tubes- I get the Horizon go-gurt tubes and freeze them. I snip the end and give them to her like a popsicle.
Yogurt cups- I will sometimes put granola, sprinkles or something in the cups to heighten her interest, but it all depends on if the child likes chunks in their yogurt. My 10 year old can't eat yogurt with chunks
Pizza- I will put a little sauce on a toasted english muffin and top it with cheese.
Beans- The girl loves beans. I will give her the seasoned black beans or baked beans. I'm trying to get away from canned things. While they have as much nutrients as the fresh versions, I'm learning more about the chemical components in cans, in general. Ugh, right? I have soaked beans to use in soups and other recipes, but don't know how to sauce them up for my daughter's liking, yet
Quesadillas- Get a couple whole grain tortillas, spread some cheese, chicken, beans, whatever and pop them into a frying pan. Just a tad of olive oil will brown them up nicely. You can hide veggies in these, too.
Salmon- My daughter likes salmon. Go figure. I make a maple syrup glaze, which is her favorite. My pediatrician told me to encorporate fish and meats at 9 months, so your kids should be good to go with fish
MacN Cheese- Annie's makes a good macNcheese that rivals Kraft :) It come in different flavors like white cheddar, too. I find the shells are easier for little fingers to pick up.
Eggs- Scrambled with a little shredded cheese on top. This was one of the foods she wanted all the time
Sunflower butter- I started with this due to the increased news reports about peanuts and allergies. Technically, a year is old enough for peanut butter, but there are many kinds of butters out there now (almond, seeds, etc) that I started out with this. I put it on toast and crackers. She didn't know the difference and liked it. Actually, everyone in the family likes sunflower seeds, so we all ate it.
Peaches- My daughter won't eat fresh peaches, but loves the canned ones. I would get the Dole individuals with no added sugar. Recently, I've started getting the fruit naturals in the produce section. They taste really fresh and are in their own juice. No splenda.

I've found that just cooking or not cooking something makes a difference, too. She'll eat raw carrots, but not cooked ones. She loves frozen peas, but if I give them to her warm, she doesn't like them. Frozen blueberries are also a hit. She'll eat the fresh ones, too, but likes them cold mostly. Crazy, eh?

Hope some of this helps!



answers from New York on

My son is 15 mos and for breakfast we have waffles, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, cereal with milk, and fruits like apple slices, orange pieces, bananas and strawberries. My son LOVES smoothies which is a great combination of fruits and yogurt. He has his very own smoothie cup too!

For lunch, we go for soups, jelly sandwiches, crackers, cheese (LOVES cheese), chicken from a can, chicken nuggets and pasta. Most of the time I end up giving him last nights left overs from dinner!

For dinner, he eats exactly what I eat. I do tend to buy the gerber veggies to keep up with his greens. He still loves the green beans so it's a nice way to get them in his system. He will eat spinach and carrots too. My son also loves steak, pork and chicken so I'm not sure if you've reach that level. We started him on meats at 6 mos. We make sure they are small enough pieces. As his dinner starch we do mac and cheese, mashed potatoes or pieces of my bakes potato. We even try sweet potatos (another gerber favorite of his).

Snacks are so much fun. My son loves ritz crackers (I buy the whole wheat), cheerios and Kix cereal. These are types of foods he can just grab a piece and take off to do whatever it was he was doing. I guess you can say we do a lot of graze eating in our house. Sorry....

Now is the time to try new foods and let your kids decide what they like and don't like. The earlier the better! Best of luck to you and keep up the good work!

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