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What do you cook for your 15 month old?

  • j

I need some good healthy ideas. He is very good at eating lots of carbs, now how do I get him to like protein? I need new ideas. Do you serve your toddler fish? How? Any suggestions and new ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I am sooo interested to see the responses to this one, as I feel like I feed my poor kid the same thing over and over again!

    He is a fan of beans, so we give him black beans and pinto beans straight out of the can (rinsed off). We also give him eggs, either hard boiled or scrambled. We do fish, although he rejects it almost as often as he gobbles it up - either we cook it fresh (usually only when we are having it for dinner) or I buy frozen filets at Whole Foods and put those in the toaster oven for him.

    Let's see.... lately he's done better eating the same stews/soups that I make for us. This weekend I made chicken and dumplings in the crock pot with carrots, peas and potatoes and he thought that was pretty good. He's also agreed to eat lentil soup the last few times we've had it, which has been a pleasant surprise.

    In a pinch, I make him grilled cheese or Annie's mac & cheese and have even been known to throw a hotdog in the microwave now and again. He also loves hamburgers and will eat meatloaf as long as we refer to it as "a hamburger".

    1. How about frittata? It's good at room temp and you can add cheese and finely chopped veggies.

      Home made chicken nuggets made from strips of chicken breast dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. I guess you could do the same thing with fish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Athena

        Along the same lines as a fritatta I used to put
        eggs milk cheese, broccoli, and ham in a blender
        whirl it smooth and fry it up. Cut into triangles
        and a great made up name "Fluff" my kids gobbled it

      2. When Chowpup was a Pup many moons ago, she would only eat carrot sticks, little pieces of hamburger and escargots. Sometimes she would eat a lettuce leaf. Shall never forget the look on the waitperson's face when we ordered and this barely two year old asked for escargots. PS she grew up to be a terrific cook, with a wider taste in food.

        1. Most kids love tofu. You can cut it into little cubes (the firmer the better) and feed it to them raw with a bit or soy sauce--or fry it in a bit of oil with ginger. My son is three now and this is his favorite comfort food.

          1. just another take on your inquiry:

            both of my children, now ages 3 and 6, eat most whatever i put on the table for the family. except for their early months of breast milk and purees, i have never prepared anything special for them. sure they showed preferences in the beginning, but they've grown to appreciate different dishes. i attribute this to their exposure to many different foods, as well as food education.

            in terms of exposure, we've always made a practice of eating out with them at a variety of restaurants, many of them ethnic. i also make sure to try new dishes at home all the time. they love commenting on the new dish as well as enjoying repeat dishes. and sure there are meals that they only eat a little of because it's not their favorite. but as i slowly repeat the dish, they tend to eat more and more of it. i've found that it usually has to do with the introduction of new tastes and textures.

            both of them shop at farmer's markets with me, and we take time to meet and talk with the farmers. this seems to give the food relevance and thus, they gain an appreciation for it. at 15-months-old, my older child used to beg me to visit the tomato man first every time we visited the market. he then proceeded to eat our tomatoes like apples as i shopped the market. these days, our first stop is the date stall. they dine on dates while we stroll the other stands.

            i also make sure to incorporate them in the "fixing" of meals in the kitchen. nary a day goes by when one or both don't wander into the kitchen, pull up a stool, and offer to help. sure it takes more time, but that's kind of a given with kids. the best time to start this is holidays when i've tended to have more time off of work and more time to plan a kid-friendly holiday project in the kitchen, i.e. donuts at hanukkah.

            i realize that this whole approach does take more time, but we figure the investment of time here and there will help to broaden their food horizons early on and hopefully that will mean less time for the parent as the years pass because their kids will eat AND enjoy anything you put on the table. that's good livin' to me.

            1. When my two were little, I found it easy to enrich some simple items with an egg to make a more hearty and/or finger friendly food--crack an egg and scramble it into chicken soup w/ rice or noodles or ramen. We would stir leftover pasta into scrambled eggs and cook a "spaghetti pancake"-can add meat or veggies in it --lots of fun for little fingers to pick up. I would just try and include the wee one into your dinners and let individual taste dictate what's for dinner. It's very typical they'll go for a while with favorite foods, and then start in on new tastes.

              1. j
                Jane Hathaway

                My 11 1/2 month old loves cubed tofu. I give it to her all the time. She also gets a lot of her protein from from pureed bean and lentil soups (she still won't eat anything with any texture out of a spoon, but will eat the same thing if it's pureed). Some of the soups I make are white bean and broccoli, white bean with fresh basil, lentil with vegetables, chickpea, black bean with cilantro and red lentil dal (her personal favorite - I'll include a link below). You could also try hummus. Cube cheese (regular or soy) is good.

                I always find these threads so helpful because it is so difficult not to get stuck in a rut while feeding your child. I try really hard to expose her to all kinds of different foods, but sometimes I'm so tired that I fall back on the old standards. It really helps to read what other people are doing. I do try to give her what we're eating, but her refusal to entertain anything with texture makes that a bit of a challenge.

                Good luck.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Jane Hathaway
                  Jane Hathaway

                  Oops. I forgot the link for the red lentil dal earlier. Can you tell I have a small child at home? I serve it as is for her and over either rice or bulgur for us.

                  Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                  1. re: Jane Hathaway

                    My toddlers don't care so much for scrambled eggs. So I tried sunny side up which they love. I serve it with toast to dip into the yolk. Just make sure to plan a bath right afterward.

                    1. re: twinmommy
                      Marcia M. D'A.

                      When my daughter was small, she used to call sunny side up, "egg with a lump with toast to dip". Her father was the only one who was allowed to make it for her. Her older brother and I were not trusted to prepare such a special dish.

                  2. I made some fish in a beurre blanc sauce and to my wifes surprise my son loved it. My wife just doen't get the fact that are son can eat most of what we do. She's always making some crap for him like kraft mac and cheese or tyson "chicken" nuggets.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: John Scar

                      ohh, sometimes father DOES know best. You must be pushy about it and save him!

                    2. Scrambled eggs are a hit with my 18 month old. He eats what we eat for dinner but sometimes that means he doesn't eat that much. I make egg noodles for him which he loves. I also make tandoori chicken as well as falafel. I do make fish for him and he will eat it. Feeding toddlers is hit or miss. I find that a meal that was hit one night is a miss another night. I just trust that if he 'needs' it he will eat it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: brooklynmum
                        Jane Hathaway

                        I too have had a lot of luck with falafel. I cube it for my 11 1/2 month old and she absolutely loves it.

                      2. Sesame noodles strikes me as something kiddies would love(peanut butter has lots of protein):

                        1. I have a just-turned 16 month old, so I was reading this thread with great interest! We avoid nut products and honey with him (not recommended until 2 years old or later). We also avoid giving him "choking hazard" foods like whole peas, whole grapes, and hot dogs. He eats mostly what we eat. The only time I cook separate for him is breakfast and when we are eating something he can't have.

                          We're indian, so he does eat indian food, and we don't tone down the spices for him so he can handle spicy foods. He never really ate baby foods, so he started on table foods at around 6 months or so. He likes pasta, cheese, carrots, plain yogurt (he likes to dip things in it!), rice, and chicken. He'll eat pork and beef, but it all depends on his mood. We don't give him fish really -- he's tried it before, but it's not something we make at home.

                          Some of the things I make for him are:
                          Scrambled egg with cheese
                          french toast
                          pancake without syrup (I add a spoon of sugar in the batter)
                          warm cream of wheat cereal with applesauce mixed in
                          hummus with soft pita bread
                          pasta stars with spaghetti sauce
                          turkey or beef meatballs with pasta and sauce (I buy the frozen meatballs at Trader Joes -- he LOVES them)
                          Potato and cheese pierogies, boiled then sauteed in butter
                          Rice and dal (indian lentils)
                          Rice and chicken curry
                          Potato stuffed parathas (indian flatbread)
                          steamed carrots (he LOVES carrots)
                          Baked sweet potato (I mash it with a fork a bit)
                          Yogurt Rice (rice mixed with plain yogurt, turmeric, salt, and mustard seeds and served at room temp -- he really likes it).

                          1. Our 18 month old daughter tends to only eat proteins that are very tender. Roasted chicken from the grocery store is usually a hit with her. She'll eat pork tenderloin that has been thinly sliced, or filet if it's medium or medium rare. We've also gotten individually quick frozen fillets of tillapia that we thaw and cook in a little butter. Canned beans are usually a hit and full of protein.

                            She also likes morningstar breakfast links, trader joe's veggie meatballs, and boca/gardenburgers, which are all good sources of protein. She loves cheese so I have no problem with giving her a cheese stick for the protein part of her meal or making a cheese quesadilla.

                            1. My toddlers eat fish occasionally. Just make some fillets in the oven seasoned however you like it- some olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice is fine. And then of course be careful about pinbones and cut up into little pieces. I've given them snapper, cod, and wild salmon. I would make a little extra when you're having fish for yourself as they may not like it and you don't want to waste all that fish.
                              My kids don't really care for beans, but they're more likely to eat them if they're part of a soup so occasionally I make minnestrone or a lentil soup.
                              You could also try hummus- or maybe just seasoned and mashed chickpeas if you're concerned about the tahina/sesame seed. They enjoy roast chicken- dark meat, as well. Cottage cheese is a big hit. Yogurt they like only if they get to feed it to themselves out of the container. And pieces of cheese have been pretty popular- I've given them different varieties of swiss as well as sharp cheddar and manchego. Goat cheese spread on toast was popular for awhile but then they tired of it. Good luck!