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Oct 10, 2011 02:47 PM

home made food for babies/toddlers?

Hi all:

Got a 14 month old at home.looking for some ideas on what kinds of food we can make this guy!
we usually make something once a week that last him the whole week in the fridge.
our usual is ground beef/turkey/chicken with a veggie purree along with other veggies he can chew on or tofu, etc

got any other ideas?


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  1. Actually, at that age they can pretty much eat anything you're eating, just make it the right consistency. One thing my kids liked was leftover spaghetti, made into a frittata with scrambled eggs -- fun noodles, you can slice and they can pick up, throw extra stuff in. I'd just start adding a little bit of your dinner to what you're doing...they pick it up quickly!

    1. My 16 month old has been eating whole foods since probably 11 months? But I'm very careful about limiting salt/sugar/oil/refined grains, so he doesn't generally get the same meals we do. I'll usually steam and dice some veggies- carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes- green beans... whatever is in the garden- and put the cubes in the fridge to be added to each meal for 3-4 days. Then some cut up fruit- again, whatever is avail/in season- I may turn it into applesauce for a change. Diced pita with homemade hummus, or whole wheat bread with almond butter. He loves all kinds of beans- just cooked from dried and served as is. Or I'll make a little lentil and apple mash with cinnamon and cumin. Some cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt. Then he gets some version of that for his meals, plus whatever we're having that's appropriate. I'll usually have 5-6 bowls of various items already prepared (fruit, veg, beans, etc) in the fridge, and I'll grab 3 or so to put on his plate for each meal. For snacks, more of the same, plus he's crazy for unsalted brown rice cakes, raisins, organic cheese sticks, etc.

      I aim to have enough stuff prepped in the fridge that he can have something different at every meal, and I achieve that by setting aside whatever I'm making for us early on in the process. Like, if I'm making a broccoli alfredo, he gets the steamed broccoli (with enough in the fridge to be another meal) and the whole grain pasta, but not the alfredo. And I aim for a balanced diet over the course of a day, not necessarily a perfect balance at each seating.

      1. I always just ran dinner through a little food grinder when my boys were real little. They ate whatever meat or vegetables we were having. I didn't feed them spicy stuff, but when they were that young, I didn't have so much time to make anything but simple meals anyway.

        Once they had all their teeth, I just cut stuff up tiny. I remember that when my second son was a baby, I purchased a total of 6 jars of baby food in his entire babyhood. Everything he ate was from the dinner table.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jmcarthur8

          our kid is the same age as yours. she gave up puree as soon as she got four teeth. I keep 4 or 5 little tupperware on one shelf in the fridge for our kid's meals, and use a 6 oz stainless steel food jar for cold food on-the-go. when i have a bit of free time, i re-fill them with new things. everyone in the house knows these are for the baby, and can help make dinner by piling three or four choices on her plate. Often, it's just the un-salted or plain version of whatever we've been eating, though she LOVES roasted garlic, sauteed onion, mushrooms in white wine, lamb samboosack, thai coconut curry, and sour dill pickles!

          at home favorites
          canteloupe or sweet plums (with skins) in 1/2" dice
          apples (with peel) cut in very thin 1/8" slices
          red seedless grapes or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
          unsulfured dried prunes, cut into quarters
          unsulfured raisins, cut in half at first, but now whole
          chestnuts, broken in quarters, from vaccuum pack
          broccoli, peas, or chopped kale, well cooked.
          kidney beans or chickpeas, slightly squashed to break the skins
          sweet potato, butternut squash, or zucchini "fries", finger-food-sized sticks cooked 3 min in the microwave

          frittata or omelette cooked thin and cut into 1" pieces, filled with hard-to-pick-up tiny food like cooked rice, millet, or hijiki

          baked pasta, such as barilla's omega macaroni which is made with flax flour and bean flour, baked lazy-no-boil style with a can of san marzano diced tomato, shredded cheese, herbs, and garden peas.

          any kind of slow-cooked chicken or beef, or parchment-baked fish

        2. Your kid is pretty different from mine. Since she was just a few months old she seemed to have an onboard sensor which detected any foods that weren't freshly prepared.
          She's not remotely fussy when it comes to ingredients, but she somehow ALWAYS knew when food was leftover food and we've never been able to convince her to eat it (never been interested in purees either). I'm assuming it has something to do with a baby's heightened sense of smell. But that's not a problem for us. We've never made food separately for her, she eats what we eat and we haven't had to adapt very much.
          Buckwheat noodles with julienned cucumber, carrot and thin beans. We'd combine some dashi with mashed avocado and cut the noodles a little. This made it easier for her to eat.
          Brown japonica rice (or white japonica or semi milled with a zaikkokumai mix) has always been a hit, it's very easy for her to feed herself. We've never used any of the so called 'baby rice'. We usually serve it to her with shredded or cut nori and she'll guzzle this first before starting the rice.
          Quinoa is another hit. Again, adding some mashed avocado can help keep a quinoa salad together and make it easier to eat. Mashed edamame, mashed peas, mashed carrot will all do the same thing and you can apply the principle to cous cous also.

          For a little while (until I learned to make good enough bread myself) my daughter wasn't that interested in bought baked carbohydrates. I started making things with breadcrumbs for her. One of the hits was a 'sausage' in which beaten egg, tuna from a tin with some of its oil, grated parmesan and breadcrumbs are mixed together, formed into sausages covered and sealed with cling film/saran wrap and these are then dropped in simmering water or steamed for 25-30 minutes. You can keep these sealed in the fridge and open them as needed - these were acceptable when offered a day after making them to my kid.
          When my daughter was younger and I was more concerned about salt I'd occasionally make ricotta cheese - much easier than I expected - and I'd combine this with tinned sardines or smoked mackerel (the salt concern was because I'd be combining salted cheese - you don't realise how much salt commercial ricotta has until you try it made without any salt and realise how bland it is - with salted fish products, I felt the combination was excessive) to make a kind of fish pate. It's actually delicious.
          Mashed potato and pesto has always been a favourite and the pesto can be made with other leaves - radish leaves and rocket/rucola are both hits - or with other nuts such as pistachio. As my daughter is not very keen on salad leaves this has always been a good way of feeding her large amounts of green leaves. Her first solid meal at six months was mashed potato and pesto - she loved it, still does, the more garlicky the better.
          The frittata/spanish tortilla is always a hit and she loves feeding herself. Her absolute favourite food is boiled or steamed broccoli spears.

          Now your kid is getting older do you nee the vegetable puree anymore?
          Any of those ground meats could be prepared in this way:

          and you can serve it with quinoa or cous cous with some of that mashed up avocado and grated cheese, perhaps with some fresh tomato pieces or cherry tomatoes. I made this again last week and we ate it together as a family, my husband has requested more this week. It's exactly the same as what you're already offering but with an adult twist. I'm sure your son is ready.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MoGa

            Only likes freshly made food, eats garlic and pesto, scorns store bought carbs: it sounds as though you're raising what another poster called a "Chow Pup". Congratulations.

          2. You've received some good suggestions here. Your post indicates that you tend to cook once a week and that's what he eats all week long? There are a couple of reasons why this might not be a good idea.

            Ideally you should strive for a wide variety of different foods. Even if the meal is nutritionally sound, it will be high in some nutrients and lower in others. By varying foods eaten each day you get a better variety of nutrients. With an infant, I'd also be concerned with storing cooked meats for longer than is considered safe (typically 3-4 days). I'll admit that I eat leftovers that are older than that, but the risks associated with food borne illness are much greater for your little guy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Christnp

              I'm afraid I agree with Christnp. I'm not an expert when it comes to food hygiene but food stored for a whole week in the fridge (particularly ground meats and vegetable purees) sounds some serious alarm bells for me.