Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The endless cycle of feeding

I thought the feeling that you barely finished feeding your child before it’s time to start again would be forever gone after breastfeeding. Not so much.

To be completely honest, I am not a kitchen person. I don’t have a history of enjoying cooking. I have no significant experience or skills or natural inclination to cook. To some extent, necessity is the mother of invention. I am interested in feeding my children healthy food. I made baby food when they were little. Michael ate pretty much everything. Ava not so much. I actually stopped making baby food and switched to finger foods pretty quickly because she just didn’t seem to like the baby food and it was a lot of work.

Now that they’re at the toddler / preschool stage I find myself in a serious rut. For breakfast they eat a banana, baby yogurt (whole fat, supplemented with iron) with some multi-grain baby cereal mixed in, or a relatively healthy cereal (Cheerios, Mini-Wheats, Kashi) dry. This is pretty much every day. Lunch is fish sticks and sweet potato fries, peanut butter crackers and carrots and grapes, and whole grain pasta with peas and parmesan. I’m having trouble thinking of more. Dinner is often some kind of pasta: spaghetti and salad or cheese tortellini and broccoli. If my husband takes over it might be pot roast or chicken from a crock pot. We tried hamburger helper. The kids won’t eat it so that was kind of a fail. Not really a nutritional win anyway.

There must be more simple, picky toddler friendly, quick meal ideas out there right? I came across a website devoted to healthy meals for small children. We found some ideas we like and were inspired to try for a very simple goal. We want to make one week of meals that we can regularly prepare here at home that minimize dependence on pre-packaged material, have some variety in all the food groups, and that the whole family will eat. (Ok. We had to give Ava a pass on three of the dinners. It just wasn’t possible. She'll eat leftovers or just the sides on those nights.) Just one week’s worth of meals. I’m willing to eat the same thing week after week. That’s what I’m doing now anyway really. Maybe we can eventually build up to a Week A and Week B plan, but let’s start small.

Here’s the current rough draft of the meal plan. We’re starting this week. Wish me luck. Tuesday and Thursday have no lunch because they eat at school. Friday’s lunch has a question mark because we usually meet my husband at work and all eat Chick-Fil-A for lunch on Fridays. The arrows to the right on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday breakfasts indicate planning to eat leftovers from the day before.

So, does anyone have other suggestions? What are your “go to” meals? I could really, really use the help.


  1. this is an old post so you may have solved this ages ago, but
    we have a fish one day a week-- poached, is the quickest and easiest with couscous (also quick and easy) or rice. Or a japanese meal w/rice, soup and pickles.
    a whole roasted chicken and vegetables one night turns into enchiladas or fajitas or chicken soup another night. with chicken salad for lunch.
    Tacos/fajitas/quesadillas/burrito night is beans, tortillas, cheese, meat-- assemble however everyone wants.

    1. I have most definitely not solved this problem! Thank you so much for posting some ideas. I haven't had couscous in years and I've never tried it with the children. I'll definitely have to try that. And your other ideas are great as well. (Note to self...must look up "poached" online.)

  2. simple poached fish:
    i use salmon, if it has the skin on leave it, it will fall right off when you're done.
    slice a lemon or 2, about as thick as your finger.
    lay these in the bottom of pan.
    sometimes i add some chopped shallot or a sprig of thyme from the garden.
    add water till it almost comes to tops of lemon slices.
    add a splash of white wine if you have it....
    so, cover pan, bring to boil....
    lay fish on top of lemons. cover and reduce heat to low.
    cook 10 minutes. don't turn it or anything, just cook 10 minutes.
    just long enough to do the couscous.
    Very Important:REDUCE HEAT as soon as you put the fish in and cover or it will be very very lemony!

    thanks for your awesome blog.
    just found out our Itty Bitty 32 month old probably has apraxia. no one will say for sure for another 4 months, but it's pretty obvious.
    reading about your journey has helped me get organized for ours.
    and i can't wait to use some of your tools once we get a therapist and know what targets we should be starting with.

    1. That sounds really yummy! I'll have to pass it on to my husband (who tries most of the new recipes in this house ). Thanks so much for taking the time to type out your recipe for me.

      Good luck with getting started with therapy!


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