Wednesday, June 19, 2013

feeding a toothless toddler

Once we made it through the very trying first year of our son's life things got significantly easier.

But to quote Elizabethtown, "if it wasn't this... it'd be something else."

With most families this would most likely be teething.  But not for our family!

At 17 and a half months, our son's 5th tooth just arrived.  His first two emerged at 11 months, second two at around 14 or 15 months, and just yesterday I noticed a first year molar popping through.  Crazy kid!

So what is it that wears us out, you ask?  Feeding a toothless toddler!  While he manages great with a lot of foods, we still have to be cautious of the foods we present him since he has the ravenous appetite of an ever-moving toddler, but the gums of a 5 month old.

It's been work trying to figure out what fills up this sweet boy's belly, so that's why I want to share some ideas with you in hopes that you don't have to do so much brain storming!

First I should say, we do our best to avoid a whole lot of processed foods, but we're also realistic, on a budget, and on the go a lot of the time (and sometimes just down-right lazy) which makes steaming asparagus and preparing quinoa casseroles often out of the question.

I think about food in these catagories:  protein, veggies/fruits, grains/fiber, other carbs, & snacks. I don't give dairy its own category because we still give him cups of milk and he gets calcium through other foods and in proteins he gets throughout the day.
I should also add that at around 9 months or so, my son only let grandma spoon feed him and when he was home with us it was finger foods only (or getting a baby spoon swatted away and having mashed anything splattered on our carpet.)

  • ground meat (beef/turkey) sometimes in a red sauce
  • canned beans (organic/regular) strained and pinched to help avoid a chocking hazard
       black beans, kidney beans, navy bean
  • hummus (or canned chick peas, but they don't digest as well since they're not fully chewed)
  • peanut butter (or other nut butters) 
  • eggs (scrambled or boiled)
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • frozen peas/carrots (great for sore gums)
  • canned peas/carrots
  • chopped green beans
  • sauteed chopped squash and zucchini
  • microwaved sweet potato (cooled and scooped out)
  • occasionally things like veggie straws or veggie puffs (like Gerber graduate snacks, but b/c of the preservatives, additives, sugar, etc, we try to keep these to a minimum)
  •  canned fruit that is packed in 100% juice or water and not light or heavy syrup, our go-tos are pears, peaches, and mandarin oranges 
  • bananas--i had given up on these b/c my son would examine the pieces and then throw them on the floor, recently i tried giving him a whole pealed banana and he scarfed it down!  Go figure!?
  • grapes (I feel obligated to say cut these in half, however, my son does great with whole ones along as I'm constantly supervising him) 
  • apple sauce jars, cups, and squeeze pouches, we love them all! (The gogo squeez are usually the most economical.  The package says for 3+ years but it seems that is due to the small cap, so if you don't give the small cap to your child, you should be good to go.)
  • blueberries (These are an absolute favorite food!  As pictured above, the frozen ones can be a bit messy!)
  • whole wheat Chex cereal
  • whole wheat or multi-grain bread
  • whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread or English muffins (toasted or not)
  • pita chips
  • matzah bread/crackers (with a dip like hummus)
  • whole grain Goldfish (I know these are not as healthy as they sound, but they're better than the regular ones and a mom has to have some go-to snacks!)
  • whole grain pasta (including mac and cheese)
 Other Carbs + Snack Foods:
       This is my least favorite category because I know there is the least nutrition in these, but it's also unrealistic for use to never have snack food that fills us up and is easy to prepare.
  • crackers (Ritz, Saltines, Triscuits)
  • pretzels
  • puffs
  • yogurt melts (There are dairy free ones at Target that are rice-based)

As far as beverages, our son usually drinks only milk and water with the occasional watered down juice.  He also rarely has desserts.  I don't see a reason to expose him to them since he doesn't even know he's missing out on anything at this point.

My mind is already reeling with more tips and strategies that have worked for us, but I will save those for another day!  Hope this provides some guidance for you in feeding your toothless toddler!

Are there any awesome foods I left off the list!?

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