Easy Meals for Picky Toddlers

I did a post awhile back about foods for picky babies. Truth be told, the picky eater hasn't gotten any better. We still keep stocked up on the foods I know Johanna will eat but we've since incorporated other things into our meal plans! Although she really doesn't like a variety of foods, I try my best to change up what she's eating as much as I can. I like for her to eat as healthy as possible so this can be a very difficult thing to do. My girl is not a fan of meat (I really don't mind this) so I have to make sure she is getting protein and iron. I've been giving her iron probiotics and happy baby protein packs to substitute for a lack of meat intake. Don't get me wrong here, I offer her meat she just doesn't like it.


It can be very frustrating when you cook a hot meal and your toddler dumps it on the floor, throws it across the room or feeds it to the dog. Trust me, we are in that boat more than I'd like to admit. Since this happens so much I like to make easy meals for her that I know I won't be slaving away at just for it to end up in the trash. Talk about a heart break! Since she really only likes a handful of foods I change up what I make with these types of foods. Here are some meals that I give to Johanna several times a week!


Vegetables!

Vegetables? Yuck, right?! Here's my tip with the veggies.... flavor them! You can buy canned veggies (Johanna prefers these) or frozen bags of veggies for a low price at your local grocery store. I typically like to cook them on the stove because they are softer! Believe it or not my picky toddler has a thing for textured foods. I usually fix a bowl of the veggies and flavor them up. I use just a little tiny bit of salt and a pinch of pepper. Depending on which vegetable you use depends on the flavoring you use. Here are some examples:

  • Frozen spinach - Cook on the stove and add nutmeg

  • Cauliflower - Cook in the oven on a foiled pan and add sage

  • Peas - Cook on the stove and add parsley

  • Corn - Cook on the stove and add basil and a dab of butter

  • Sweet potatoes (you can buy these frozen) - Cook on the stove and add cinnamon and a dab of butter

  • Broccoli - Cook in the oven on a foiled pan and add a dab of butter and Parmesan cheese

  • Carrots - Cook in the oven on a foiled pan and add a dribble of honey and parsley

  • Green beans - Cook on the stove and add a dribble of teriyaki sauce

Pasta!

Johanna will literally eat pasta every single day. I give it to her several times a week and I also pack it for her in her school lunches. I pack it for her because I KNOW she will eat it. I don't want her eating the same exact boring pasta every single day. I buy several boxes of different kinds of pasta. This includes macaroni noodles, spaghetti noodles, rotini, elbow noodles, shell noodles, penne pasta, rigatoni noodles, tortellini and farfelle noodles. Then I buy different kids of sauces. These include tomato sauce with different flavors (cheese, mushroom, basil, marinara, garlic, roasted garlic and herb, garden, traditional, tomato and fresh ricotta, tomato cream), Alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, pumpkin sauce (a particular favorite in our house). I cook the noodles, mix in the sauce and flavor with thyme, parsley, basil or cheese. Essentially, she is eating the same thing but not exactly. See what I did there! Pasta is good to serve as left overs so make some extra for lunch for the next day!


Bread please!

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree with this one. I LOVE bread. I'm the girl that will eat the entire loaf at a restaurant before we even order our meals. Johanna takes after me and loves her bread too! I guess you could totally just give your toddler a slice of bread and call it a day and sometimes I do this as a snack because again I KNOW she will eat it. However, there are so many things you can do with bread! Here you go!

  • Avocado Toast - This recipe is from @kristinekirstein. I'm always stealing her recipes and this one is really good! Johanna loves it too! It's super easy and quick. All you do is take grain bread, mashed avocado, lemon, salt and pepper, scrambled eggs and red pepper flakes. Spread your avocado over your toast, squeeze lemon over top of it, add your scrambled eggs over the avocado and sprinkle on your salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. The best part is that you can serve this for any meal!

  • Grilled Cheese - Use whole wheat bread, 1 tsp of butter, a 1 slice of American or cheddar cheese

  • French Toast - It's super easy and you can pair it with just about any kind of fruit. Pick your type of bread! Beat together 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Stir in 1/4 cup of milk. Dip your bread into the egg mixture and coat both sides. Cook bread slices on a lightly greased nonstick skillet until brown on both sides. Serve with syrup and your choice of fruit!

  • Bread Pizza - This is sooooo easy and good! Use any kind of bread you want ( I use white). Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spread your bread slices onto a baking sheet. Spread marinara or another kind of tomato sauce (your choice) over top of each bread slice. Sprinkle on dry oregano. Add slices of mozzarella cheese and slices of tomatoes to your pieces of bread. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese metls. Add fresh basil and serve!

  • Breakfast Bread- There are a variety of ways you can make this! Toast any kind of bread you want, spread cream cheese (any flavor) over your bread, sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg over top, add sliced fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apples or peaches). Yum!

  • Pesto Pizza Rolls - I also pack these in Johanna's lunch. All you need is 1 pound of store bought pizza dough (rolled out), cooking spray, 1/2 cup of pesto, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of marinara. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out your dough, spread the pesto evenly on the dough and sprinkle the cheese evenly over sauce. Starting at the long end, roll the the dough up into a tight log. Place on a cutting board seam-side down and cut crosswise into 1 inch think rounds. Place a round cut side up into each muffin well in a greased muffin pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes and serve with marinara sauce. You can store these in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days

Breakfast Oat Cups!

Johanna loves oatmeal and she loves a good muffin. Here's what I do with them! You've probably seen me making these on my IG stories. These are so awesome for an on the go breakfast or you can make it into a more relaxed breakfast (you'll see how). They are very filling and I love giving them to her before church! I know she'll be full for awhile. The oat cups are part muffin and part oats which is why they are so filling. Making them can be tedious but they are good to make and store for later. You can store them in the freezer for up to a week! There are 4 ways I like to make these so here is the recipe:


Ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned oats - separated

2 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large ripe bananas - smashed

2 eggs

1 cup of milk

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut oil - melted

2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or spray a muffin pan.

  2. Blend 1 cup of the old fashoned oats. Pulse the oats for 30 seconds or until they resemble a thick flour. You can use a cup or pre made oat flour and skip this step.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together bananas, eggs, milk, syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated.

  6. Gently stir in any add-ins (This is optional (your 4 different ways to make them.... for carrot cake add in 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.... for powerhouse oat cups add in 2 cup frozen raspberries, 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips and 1 tbsp chia seeds.... for PB & J Oat cups add in 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup jam...... for almond blueberry oat cups add in 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup of slivered almonds and 1 tsp almond extract)

  7. Spoon oat batter into the muffin tins all the way to the top.

  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, serve and freeze left overs. You can warm these up for 30 seconds in the microwave and serve as is or mash them into a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar.


I hope these recipes help you guys! Even you if you don't have a picky eater like me they are good foods for your babes! They don't require too many ingredients or too much prepping/cooking! I hope you enjoy!