Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cooking For Toddlers and Feeding Them

As Baby O approaches two years of age, she is.. hmm, how should I put it... more adventurous with her food. What I really mean is she is not eating what she is supposed to eat! She is born with the ability to pick out a finely chopped piece of green vegetable leaf! What is worse, Baby O was exposed to all sorts of forbidden food during the recent Chinese New Year break. So if you are blessed with a toddler who eats everything under the roof, you can probably skip this post. Otherwise, here are ten ways I use to get some of those vital vitamins and minerals into the little one which you may want to try.

1. Present a different form
There were occasion when Baby O would chewed on a piece of cold, raw carrot when she won’t give a cooked one a second glance. Food like eggs can be cooked in many different ways too: hard boiled, bullseye, scrambled... Tried a banana + cinnamon + yogurt + milk + wheatgerm + a little carrot and celery (sshhh!!) smoothie? Or does a pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting sounds better?

2. Make it look interesting
Cut toasts with a cookie cutter. Press some rice in a cookie cutter before removing the cutter and decorate it. No one says you can’t have a white gingerbreadman with peas as buttons, sweetcorn as eyes and a slice of tomato for his mouth. Then, there's pancakes. They are so versatile! You can make them sweet or savoury too! Grate some carrots and zucchini into the batter and pour some in the middle of the pan with two smaller amount at the side to make it into the shape of Mickey Mouse!
Heart-shaped Valentine's Day Pancakes

3. Mask the taste with some favourite food
Cheesy Toast (click to see how it was made)
Cheesy Pasta Bake (click to see how it was made)
Pita Bread Pizza
My favourite option: add some cheese! Besides adding taste, they provide some calcium too. You can melt it on rice/ brocolli/ bread/ etc., cook it as a sauce, spread it or just grate some on top before serving.

4. Add flavour
No, not sugar and salt. Lots of ingredients actually tastes sweet or savoury itself. Cheese is a favourite as mentioned above. How about tomato based pasta. Add some tomato paste or canned tomatoes in water or even just plenty of fresh tomatoes itself! I often add fresh tomatoes in soups or pasta or salads. Baby O loves munching on cherry tomatoes like how she munches on grapes.

Have you tried mash or baked sweet potatoes instead of the usual potatoes? Offer cream cheese, peanut butter and yogurt as dips. Don't forget spices like the cinnamon and herbs like mint can do some wonders too!

5. Make it look beyond recognition
If blending works, then it’s great for soups and sauces. Otherwise, try grating. Just watch those fingers!
Grated carrots

6. Conceal it
If I hadn’t told you what’s inside, you probably wouldn’t know! Cleverly hidden are: grated carrots, finely chopped lettuce and tomatoes, pieces of toasted bread, cheese and beaten eggs with a dash of pepper. Pan fried lightly with some butter. Everything is pretty much hidden so no chance of picking them out!
All-In-One Egg Bites

7. Mix the ingredients, or not
Baby Pork Burgers with Cheesy Surprise (click to see how it was made)
Try cooking everything together as above, as a meat ball, in savoury pancakes, in porridge but also try leaving them all separate sometimes as different ingredient actually tastes good on its own too.
Cherry Tomatoes & Edamame (for Baby O) and Fried Crabsticks (for me!)

8. Get a substitute
Not a big fan of carrots, how about pumpkin? No leafy greens, peas are a good substitute. Edamame (Japanese soy beans)? How about fruits? Don't just change the ingredient, have a variety of meals too! I don't know about you but I would very much prefer not having chicken and carrot porridge everyday, thank you. Carbohydrates come in many forms including bread, pasta, and noodles. So go for a homemade sandwich, cheesy bake or meehoon soup somedays too!
Chicken Vegetable Soup (click to see how it was made)

9. Cook with child
Baby O loves being the kitchen helper. She's an expert in stirring and mashing up stuffs. In the process, she may pick up little pieces and nibble away. Toddlers just love to know how it all works and what better way to see how their food is being made. Great way to explore the textures of the ingredients, smell them and see how they all look like before being chopped up!
Chief Stirrer

10. Eat with child
When the child watches you eat, hopefully he or she will participate in the activity too. Don't give him or her too much pressure though as toddlers this age are still very much in their discovery stage. It is also best to eat at the same appropriate place during meal times. We try to stay away from the TV and dine at the dining table with Baby O on her high chair or at Baby O's little children table in the kitchen when it's just the two of us.

What if none of the above works? Check for other culprit such as teething. Consult a paeditrician to see if the child is within the good and healthy weight range and is his or her own usual active self. If the answer is yes, I probably wouldn’t fret too much. Just chill and cook less as this means they are getting their nutrients in somewhere, somehow from all those snacks and such throughout the day!


  1. i so totally love this post! :):)
    thanks for sharing.
    i praise God that my kids are not fussy eaters but then again i think they are getting really bored with the usual rice-soup-vege menu every weekend! haha...

    i'm particularly interested to try out the cheesy toast and the baby pork patties with cheesy surprise. i think the kids will absolutely love it! :D

  2. do try and tell me what you think! hope the kids enjoy them!


Related Posts with Thumbnails