Feeding Shea is both something I love and hate. Love because it’s fun to see her try (and enjoy!) new foods, but hate because it’s also very time consuming and takes a lot of planning. Our daycare does not provide meals (again, good and bad), so we’re feeding Shea 3 meals/day with her lunch consumed at daycare.
Since I’m constantly on the look-out for ideas, I thought this post would perhaps be helpful. And if nothing else, it’s fun to see what 16-month-olds eat. 🙂
Breakfast is often leftovers. I don’t have time to cook breakfast every morning, so, as pictured (left), I made hashbrowns with a hard-fried egg (cut into bite-sized pieces), and Morning Star Farms veggie sausage. The next day (bottom right), was the leftovers + a banana, and day 3 (top right) was the last of the hashbrowns with oatmeal (old fashioned oats prepared with unsweetened almond milk, a bit of brown sugar, blueberries, and unsweetened coconut – my personal favorite combo!) + fresh blueberries.
Pancakes (weekends), peanut butter toast, scrambled eggs, and fruit are staples at breakfast.
On to lunch – my most challenging meal to prepare, assemble, and send.
Shea is always sent with 2 bottles (5 ounces – 3 of which are unsweetened almond/cashew milk and 2 ounces of whole milk). I aim for a fruit and vegetable with 1+ servings of dairy. It doesn’t always happen, but here’s 8 days worth!
Upper Left: whole wheat rotini tossed with marinara and peas, fresh pineapple chunks, a quinoa and pear squeeze pouch, NutriGrain bar, colby cheese stick, and rice chex/Cheerios.
Upper Right: whole wheat rotini tossed with marinara, peas, fresh blueberries, Yo Toddler yogurt, and tiny little cheese cubes.
Bottom Left: chicken tortellini tossed with marinara (cut in half), Yo Toddler yogurt, colby cheese stick, goldfish crackers, and fresh blueberries.
Bottom Right: chicken tortellini tossed with marinara (cut in half), butternut squash cubes roasted in coconut oil and cinnamon, dehydrated pea pods, grapes (halved), and a homemade zucchini muffin.
Upper Left: sunbutter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat (cut into sticks), Beech Nut fruit & veg squeeze pouch, Yo Toddler yogurt, peeled/cored/diced apple, colby cheese stick, and Boom Chicka Pop lightly salted popcorn.
Upper Right: whole wheat rotini tossed with marinara and peas (this is a favorite if you haven’t caught on 😉 ), cannellini beans, mini box of raisins, Boom Chicka Pop lightly salted popcorn, peeled/cored/diced apple.
Bottom Left: leftover sweet and sour chicken (she LOVED it), Yo Toddler yogurt, colby cheese stick, fresh blueberries, zucchini muffin
Bottom Right: peas & corn, banana, mini rice cakes, cannellini beans, Beech Nuts fruit & veg squeeze pouch, Yo Toddler Yogurt, colby cheese stick
Dinner is often leftovers, as well, since Mr. P and I most often eat after Shea is in bed. This particular evening was Quorn “chicken” with leftover roasted potatoes, a dollop of homemade guacamole and BBQ sauce, and fresh blueberries. I tend to go with fruit, veg, meat/meat sub, and a starch of some kind + water.
We’re fortunate that Shea seems to love more flavorful dishes. For example, she LOVED leftover shrimp fajitas – peppers, onion, and shrimp. Devoured.
Sometimes, Shea will eat a LOT. Other times, she’ll leave the meal after only a few bites. It’s unpredictable, but as I’ve learned with childhood nutrition, parents act as the gatekeeper as to what’s offered, and the child dictates the actual selection and often, the volume consumed.
I love these little food storage containers. We have about 3.1 million of them because we use them CONSTANTLY and sometimes, I’ll ambitiously dice/cut or defrost foods Shea will consume over the course of several days and the containers are lined up in the fridge for a much more efficient meal time routine. 🙂 Sometimes.
For more on what Shea eats, check out #whatsheaate on Instagram. Yes, she has her very own hashtag. Someday, she will be mortified that I documented her meals to the extent that I do. But, until then…!
What are your favorite toddler meals/snacks? Please do share!
Great post! I once clicked through your IG to get some meal ideas for my own 21 month old. This gives me some new recipes to try because I struggle sometimes too. My DS loves that Yo Toddler Yogurt but I feel like between that and the pouches my grocery bill costs a small fortune ( except when I get coupons). Anyway great post ( as always- very helpful)!
Thank you! I don’t know if you have a Big Lots near you, but that’s where we get all of our pouches. With a 20% coupon (that Big Lots offers about 6x/year), they are only $0.40!!! Not CHEAP, but a heck of a lot better than the $1.20-2.00 in my grocery store!!
I’m impressed with what she eats, she eats more than my 5 year old if she eats all that for lunch!!! Question: Not trying to judge at all, are you worried about her still using a bottle since she is 16 months, I have heard and my doctor urged us not to use bottles much after a year as it can cause teeth problems? I just wondered your thoughts on this, my 5 year old was done with a bottle shortly after turning 1, but I have an 8 month old also so I was wondering what you thought as we will be starting to think about this with my “baby” soon!
I would say about 50% of what I send gets eaten, on average. Some days, most, some days very little. Since she is gone a full day, I just hate to not send enough. 🙂 Regarding bottles…they will be my Achilles heel with her! We have tried everything but going cold turkey. I have a cupboard FULL of different sippy cups and she loves them…for water. She throws any of them that have milk in them. Our pediatrician is going to give me a hard time at her 18 month appointment if she isn’t weaned from bottles, but I haven’t pressed the issue much lately. But, should. In my convoluted little mommy brain I think of it as her only vice as she’s not attached to a pacifier, thumb, blanket, etc. Just bottles! 😛
Wow, I am impressed with what Shea eats! My (almost) 2 year old is pretty picky so he eats the same thing every day at daycare – fruit and cheerios for morning snack, sunbutter + jelly sandwich on whole wheat with yogurt for lunch, fruit and cheese for afternoon snack. Luckily he loves all kinds of fruit so he gets some variety there…We try to get him to try new things at dinner, and we consider it a success if he even touches the food with his finger =)
I guess I didn’t realize that you had to provide your own food for daycare, but I guess it makes sense in case of food allergies. I was lucky that I had the same day care provider from when Hannah was six weeks old until she started first grade. I paid $100 a week and that included food. Um, my guess is that day care costs a little more these days?!
I LOVE that you offer Shea adult food beyond the frozen five: frickin chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, pasta (nothing wrong with this one IMHO when variety is incorporated, like rotating whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, etc.), hot dogs, & pizza. So many parents think that’s kid food and because of marketing, it might be the only thing they think to offer. When my son was young, I wanted him to experience a variety of flavors and textures, so he pretty much ate what we ate, except meat he couldn’t digest yet. Then I sometimes cut up Applegate or tofu hotdogs (nothing “over-the-counter” was available yet without nitrates and nitrites then, so we were limited, now I would include AlFresco chicken sausage in the rotation, too). One of my and my son’s favorites was also pasta. He was gluten free from the time he was in my belly, because of severe morning sickness–if I didn’t eat gluten, I didn’t throw up. For variety, because I wanted to get greens in the kid, and because his skin appeared to be sensitive with a lot of tomato sauce, I mixed his pasta with a “pesto” of sorts. I pureed frozen organic spinach about a cup at a time and stored it in a container in the fridge, or sometimes I refroze it in mini ice cube trays. I warmed up cooked gf pasta in a pan with a touch of olive oil, a touch of garlic and added a cube or a teaspoon or so of the spinach puree so that it would coat the pasta. I also often mixed in cooked peas. When he was an infant, I added a teaspoon of the spinach puree to his carrots and squash and sweet potatoes, too. I got him to eat salad by chopping lettuce into tiny bits and serving it mixed into the finger veggies he enjoyed like carrots and cucumbers. So he was basically eating cling-on salad. Gradually the pieces of lettuce got bigger and bigger, and we moved up to eating it with a fork. My son is almost thirteen and he remains a very adventurous eater, and he still eats his greens! He also eats less junk food than the average kid, I suspect because he fills up on more good food.
Nicole give yourself a big pat on the back for introducing so many foods to Shea!!!
I give you a big A for your choices…Maybe A+ without the nutragain bar!!!
love your blog
Dianna, thank you! And she loves those darn bars. Usually I go with Kind bars, but in a pinch… 😉 Thanks for reading!