Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sophie's Menu

I think that feeding a toddler (or baby) can be a little intimidating.  Weather you're feeding them jarred food or fresh it takes some research and planning to be sure you're toddler is getting a well balanced diet. 
I am huge proponent of making your own baby/toddler food for a few reasons.
  1. You'll save money.  On average I estimate I save 50% by making Sophie's food myself.
  2. It's eco-friendly.  I use small Ziploc containers to store her food in.  When you buy there are so many containers that need to be disposed of (hopefully if you buy you're food you recycle them!).
  3. I know what she's eating.  There's not a whole lot of guess work in baby food ingredients, but I still feel better knowing I control the quality of food she eats.
  4. You can introduce unlimited textures and flavors.  Let's face it, there aren't a lot of options in flavors of baby food.  By making you're own food your child can eat what you do; this will make the transition to table food that much easier.
I originally decided to make my own baby food to save money, but I quickly got excited about making it for reasons 2-4 as well!
Below is an example of what Sophie eats for BLD (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and snacks.  You should of course, always talk to your pediatrician about what nutrients your child needs.

Baby Oatmeal w/Peach Puree, 6oz milk x5
Scrambled Egg, Kiwi, 6oz milk
Blueberry Yogurt*, Kiwi, 6oz milk

Baked Sweet Potato Chunks, Peach Applesauce x4
Corn Casserole,1/2 Hard boiled Egg, Pear or Peach Cubes** x3 

Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, 6oz milk x2
Cheese Cubes, 6oz milk x2
Grapes, 6oz milk x3

Ricotta Peas, Grilled Chicken, Kiwi x4
Stars in Spaghetti Sauce, Kiwi Applesauce
Corn Casserole, 1/2 Hard boiled Egg, Kiwi Applesauce x2

I usually make my toddler food twice a week and to make it easy on me it's all stored on one shelf in my fridge.  I sort it into three categories, fruit, yogurt and proteins & veggies.  
I hope that this takes a little of the mystery out of what to feed your toddler this week.  Stay tuned for more toddler food recipes and a new menu plans!

*I buy the Stoneyfield organic baby yogurt.
**I buy the Dole fruit in JUICE.  You don't want anything with sweeteners in it, artificial or otherwise.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweet Potato Risotto (toddler recipe)

As my daughter Sophie is getting bigger I'm being constantly challenged to come up with new ways to challenge her pallet, introduce her to new flavors and provide her with a well balanced meal.  I've been making her sweet potato mash since she was 3 1/2 months old, so she's an old hand at polishing off large bowls of the sweet stuff.
In an effort to give her something more interesting both flavor wise and texturally I made her Risotto Style Sweet Potatoes.
 This recipe would be a great way to introduce flavors like onion and garlic to your toddler.  The earlier you introduce these common flavors to your child the easier it will be to transition them to table food.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into baby bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
2-3 cups of water or chicken stock
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small pinch chili powder or cayenne (optional)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

In a small sauce pot warm your stock or water.  Hold over low heat.
In a medium sauce pot saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft.  Add in the sweet potatoes and a ladle of liquid.  Stir with a a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  Once the liquid is absorbed add another ladle or two of liquid and repeat until sweet potatoes are cooked through.  Add in your nutmeg, chili and cheese and stir thoroughly.
Portion into single serving containers and your toddler is ready to enjoy!

If you have a younger toddler whose jaw muscles aren't as developed you can puree half of this mixture with some extra liquid (try milk or formula) and fold it into the sweet potatoes pieces.  This makes for an excellent transition food.
You could substitute half the liquid for milk (which I usually do) it adds great vitamins and flavor.