Monday, May 6, 2013

Adventures in finger foods: A day in the life of a toddler

Although I still have several posts about purees and other baby foods which I will be posting soon,  I decided to skip a few of them and post a more current update about her adventures in toddler foods. She is now 12 months + 2 weeks old and really likes to try new finger foods that she can feed herself with. On an average day, her daycare bag is full of a wide variety of healthy food to keep her full and occupied for the day. I think it’s very important to  offer a child many different foods early on and give them a chance to like them at an early stage rather than just assuming they won't like certain foods. Often times we believe that kids only want to eat “kiddie” foods like chicken nuggets, mac & cheese and frozen waffles, but I think they only prefer those foods because that’s all they are given first. My daughter has never tasted nuggets, boxed macaroni & cheese or frozen waffles and I hope to keep it that way for a long time to come!!  Here is a list of foods that I usually pack in her daycare bag

Grapes- When buying  grapes, I prefer black grapes but will sometimes buy red grapes too. I prefer to get them from the farmers market because I think they taste better.  I wash them with baking soda, and then chop them into quarters.

Blueberries- After our initial misfortune with blueberries I waited several months and re-introduced them once she turned a year old. She does enjoy eating them and I often crush them and add plain yogurt to them. I also chop them in half for her as a snack.

Strawberries- We just introduced these a week ago, she will eat a piece or two before she throws them on the floor but I keep offering them to her as I do with all new foods to give her a chance to really decide if she likes it or not. In the future I will also mix these into her yogurt and smoothies.

Shredded cheese- Cheese comes highly recommended for babies and toddlers because it is a great source of calcium but most of the time babies are given processed cheese slice like Kraft American singles or Velveeta.  But I am not a fan of those processed cheese slices because well they aren’t really cheese; they contain some amount of cheese but are not exactly the same thing! It says so clearly on the package it is a "prepared cheese product" but not cheese. I  was warned by other moms that babies usually don't like real cheese so it's best to start with the processed cheese slices first.  But I thought there was no harm in trying. I offered her real cheese in slices or grated and I discovered that she will eat the store bought shredded cheese but not cheese I shred at home. As you may have guessed I am not a big fan of the store bought shredded cheese either! Mainly because it has added chemicals to keep it from clumping and to inhibit mold growth. Nevertheless since she doesn’t drink much milk and likes cheese I concluded that the store bought shredded cheese was a good compromise. I give her the Mexican four cheese mix by Kraft. She loves this; she loves playing with it just as much as she loves eating it!

Almond milk – As I mentioned in my previous post we tried introducing Organic cow’s milk but she hated it. We tried it every day for nearly 3 weeks and she would make a face and just let it run out of her mouth. I was quite happy she didn’t like it because I didn’t really want to give her cow’s milk anyway. Since then we have tried unsweetened almond milk by Silk which she is gradually getting used to. And she gets a cup of this each day.  Several people have asked me about Soy milk and all I can say about it is that if you do the research you will discover that soy milk in large quantities has estrogen mimicking properties that I am not really comfortable with and don’t want to feed that to my daughter as her main source of milk.

Whole wheat bread- My little one loves whole wheat bread she would like to eat bread all day everyday if possible! We usually send a slice of whole wheat bread to her daycare. She doesn’t like anything on it. We have tried cream cheese or a veggie spread and she just gives me the look and throws it on the floor. Since she likes eating bread and shredded cheese I have tried making her a grilled cheese sandwich and again she launches the bread off her tray and unto the floor. What can I tell you, the girl likes her bread plain!
Raisin bread-I posted previously about introducing raisin bread to my daughter tells all about how much she enjoys this. I try not to give it to her all the time but every now and then I send in a slice to daycare.

Black Olives- Most people look at her in surprise when they see her happily munching on black olives! She loves them and will eat them with shredded cheese and whole wheat bread.

Carrots & Peas- On the days when we don’t send in olives, we send in carrots & peas instead. The carrots are bought fresh from the farmers market I chop them up and steam them. Then I cook up Birds Eye frozen peas and mix them in. I really wanted to only cook fresh peas but they are so hard to find and pretty expensive. So I make do with frozen peas. Once they are cooked I store them in separate containers and then mix them only when packing her lunch

Boiled egg- We usually include a source of protein in her lunch bag, such as egg or tuna. She is moderately likes boiled egg especially if she eats it with bread, cheese and olives.

Tuna- Just like with the boiled eggs, she enjoys eating tuna with bread and cheese and actually will eat tuna all by itself!

Yogurt- Even though this isn't a finger food, my daughter is a big fan of yogurt especially if its mixed in with pear puree. I posted earlier why I don't give her commercial baby yogurt but instead I mix in my own homemade purees with plain yogurt. I do this in the morning as I pack her lunch bag.

For now I pack everything in individual jars and containers but in the future when she is older and eats more at a time I hope to transition to the awesome bento boxes I have seen online. A bento box is basically a food container with multiple compartments and can be a fun, and functional way to pack lunch. I am especially inspired by Mrs Bee's Bento boxes. She always posts the most inspirational bento ideas and photos!


  1. i love this post!! love that she eats such a balanced diet. her adventures in solids are so interesting! she has a grown palate ie the black olives and tuna. That is great!!! Well done Baby S!
    hugs from Auntie Mazzy

  2. Thanks Maz, yes she does have a more adult palate and wants to eat whatever we eat. :)