I have three children and each of them are very different eaters. We're fortunate enough to be a food allergy free family, however we have other challenges with feeding our kids. Aside from simply voicing their opinions about what they like and don't like, we have texture/sensory issues going on in our household. I'm currently tasked with feeding a 6 year old, an extremely particular 2.5 year old and 9 month old.
I have found some kid/toddler/baby friendly recipes that I can prep ahead, cook/bake and freeze to be our best solution. These recipes may contain some specialized ingredients, however all of them are easy to prep and can be frozen then simply defrosted before baking or eating.
A few tips that have worked for me getting food into my picky eater are offer foods more than once, don't force or bribe with treats and don't pressure to taste (speaking for children under 3). My middle guy may never have a sophisticated palate but I believe he'll expand his food choices beyond the 5 things he currently rotates. We allow him to explore his food, use condiments to dip and put very little on his plate. He can always ask for more!
*Disclaimer: When introducing new foods to your child, especially under 2 watch for allergic reactions and offer appropriate portions and bite sized pieces. Never leave your child unattended while eating.
Cupcakes are better than muffins, ask anyone! The first trick to making muffins sound awesome is calling it a breakfast cupcake. Then try making some that are mixed with kids favorites. Try these gluten free (paleo friendly too) strawberry banana muffins. You can make them ahead of time, freeze and simply defrost on the counter in the morning. These are also easy to pop in lunchboxes for snack and lunch at school.
Anything on a stick is fun for a kid of any age. The great part about this recipe is the option to cook without the skewer making it baby friendly too. This gluten free, dairy free spin on a breakfast corn dog is sure to be a hit!
My baby loves all food–he especially loves anything mixed with squash. Squash is also a great starter food and can easily be cubed and become a beloved finger food. Check out this recipe for the kiddo who will eat anything and nothing at all. Honey roasted butternut squash–yum! For variety use acorn, pumpkin or summer squash.
As long as you feel comfortable giving your older baby/toddler egg this is a great way to get some protein into your little one. Anything bite sized is extra fun too! Ham and cheese quiche.
My kids, even my super picky middle guy loves waffles. The great thing is I can hide a lot of healthy stuff into waffles and he doesn't know I'm filling him up with the good stuff. I use a premade mix and add in pumpkin or banana with chia seeds. (the options are endless though) Chia seeds fill up the tummy. For a 60-calorie tablespoon, you get 4 grams of fiber, plus antioxidants and some protein.
Chicken nuggets are a kid favorite, but making your own is so much healthier and a great way to hide the good stuff. These spinach nuggets sound so delicious I just might make them for the whole family! Make them gluten free by using GF bread crumbs.
Potatoes of any variety are naturally gluten free, and anything with the surname ‘tot' is surely going to appeal to any toddler! Try out these yummy, baked not fried sweet potato tots.
Cheese makes everything better and these cheesy brown rice chicken cups won't disappoint. Gluten free, make ahead and freeze–win win!
I can put anything in a smoothie and my super picky child will drink it. Of course I don't always want him drinking his calories but when nothing else works he loves helping me make smoothies and he'll suck it down faster than my bullet can mix it. A smoothie is great for any toddler and naturally gluten free.
Photo credit: adapted from mliu92 | Flickr