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Toddler food ideas

I have 13 month old twins and have been making them home made food since day 1...One of the kids is rather picky and has been anti-green veggies lately, but loves carrots and other orange veggies. (The other, has the nickname of "garbage can"; he'll eat anything!)

I'm looking for ideas on how to get them to eat their green veggies. (Peas, Broccoli mostly) I'm trying to avoid smothering the veggies in cheese--they already eat lots of dairy products.

I'm also trying to avoid pasta overload. They like Quinoa.... They like food with flavor, and I'm not afraid to give them almost anything off of my plate... except that we're eating a lot of pasta lately!

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  1. MY 22 m/o DH loves Broccoli, but she really likes it when I put parm on it. You can say its 'snow'.

    Or how about chopping it up (not too fine) and mixing it with brown (stickier) rice.

    as for the peas, I would like the peas and put as many as I could get on a toddler fork, like three per tine and she liked that. I did that with cherrios too.

    I've also seen some spinach/egg/ricotta balls out there some where. Like lasagna w/o the noodle.

    I don't know 'how' but could you get the florets to stand up like little trees, maybe sitting in quinoa?

    My DH has always been a good eater, but lately we've had to start holding back the milk as a bribe to finish dinner.

    good luck


    1. Have you tried teriyaki style beef and broccoli? In the darker soy sauce - sauce, the brocoli is less conspicuous and the bitterness is toned down a lot by the sweetness.

      My kids liked smashed peas, and pea soup. Will he eat spinach? I put it into everything, and the 2 and 3 year olds love it. SPinach is healthier than peas, if that helps.

      1 Reply
      1. re: aforkcalledspoon

        I just remembered a way I can get even the husband to eat the peas. I make a thick omelette of sorts, seasoned with fish sauce and a pinch of sugar, add the peas, and then cut it into small squares.

      2. Frittatas, pizza toppings, or veggie patties bound with mashed potato have all worked for us.

        1. Maybe they'd like blanched broccoli and cauliflower with ranch. (I'm not speaking from experience - mine love plain steamed veggies, but won't touch condiments). Zucchini dredged in panko and baked might be a good one. zucchini muffins are good for breakfast. Snow peas or sugar snap peas are fun. Mainly, just keep serving them the veggies and don't remind them that they don't like them.

          1. Isn't there some sort of recipe for a mashed pea dip? Pea soup with ham is something kids might like.

            For broccoli, I would make mini quiches.

            1 Reply
            1. re: salsailsa

              Speaking of dips... dipping can be fun for kids. You could try giving them broccoli lightly steamed with a little bowl of dressing on the side for dipping. (Better yet, put the broccoli on a stick!) My son is a pretty decent veggie eater, but believe it or not, I had to resort to dipping to get him to eat pancakes. (Of course, then he started picking up the little bowl of syrup and drinking it.)

            2. I have no real advice. My one child is 11 years old and still picky but getting better. But I am interested in the fact that one of your twins is picky and the other is not. That suggests that a lot of it is inborn, since you presumably are raising them the same way.

              2 Replies
              1. re: NYCkaren

                They're boy-girl twin... so they have been different since day 1- their tastes are totally different.... we noticed it when we started giving them solids - One will eat avocado.... one won't...(the avocado eating / not eating started at about 6 months)

                Its just getting harder with totaly different palates, and I really don't want to cook 3 meals every night

                1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                  Good luck with this. This was my life for 20 years. Thankfully, after all this time, my kids will eat just about anything. The time in the middle is hard. My advice is to lighten up and let the little buggers eat what they will. Despite your wishes, you have no control over the little ones' food preferences.

              2. Do you use the veggie pasta? Its really good.

                When it came to thing like this, I've always been very pro-dips. Kids love to dip things. You can even spruce up your ranch with finely diced broccoli for an extra healthy kick.

                How about green beans? Does he like green beans? My daughter enjoys the string beans that are long and crunchy so she can hold them better. Heck she just loves green beans anyway. You can change the flavor up on them to by boiling the beans in chicken broth, with bacon or minced onions.

                Then there is lightly boiled zucchini so it still has a slight crunch.... fried okra? Its fried, but its easy to pop in their mouths, is crunchy on the outside and another veggie to add to their list.

                1. My kid likes broccoli "trees" to dip in Ranch dressing. Of course, she'd eat just about anything dipped in Ranch dressing. I don't have any other great ideas because my kid is definitely in the 'eat anything' camp, which makes things easier. Sounds to me like they're doing great though - one kid that will eat anything and one that loves orange veggies! I'm sure they're much better nourished than the average toddler - keep doing what you're doing! :-) Ps. you might want to try salad with dressing, it's one of my daughter's favorite things. Sometimes kids will surprise you...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MrsCheese

                    Will try salad dressing.... I have one in my fridge... and pick up some zuchinni. Ive never been a big fan, but, will find something to do with it.

                  2. I have an almost two year old, and am constantly looking for ways to get more veggies into him. I would second the idea of dips; many toddlers really enjoy that. My kid also really likes salsa (he eats spicy, which makes his Mexican-American daddy proud, but you could certainly do mild). We also do a lot of whole grains (brown rice, barley, quinoa) with small diced up veggies. Another thing he likes are veggie soups, either pureed or with veggie chunks. I also add pureed carrot and/or squash to his mac n cheese. I also find that finely chopped spinach or other greens can easily hide in various dishes.

                    Oh, he also really, really likes these Snap Pea Crisp things. They're crispy little cracker things made from green peas. Not as good as the real thing, but better than most crackers/chips. Here's the info: http://www.snacksalad.com/products.html
                    We buy them at Trader Joe's.