I’ve recently been switching all my blog posts over to my website laurenfollett.com in an effort to bring all my content to one location. In the process, I’ve been editing posts and recipes and I can’t believe how much has changed in the last 5 years.
5 years doesn’t seem like that long, but in 5 years John and I got married, bought a condo in downtown Toronto, rented our condo in downtown Toronto to travel for a year in South America & the Caribbean, I switched careers from Corporate Marketing for BMO to Registered Nutritionist, we sold our condo in Toronto, moved to the country for 2 years, had an amazing baby boy named Jack, sold our country property and moved to Ottawa. I wonder what the next 5 will bring?
When going through old posts I couldn’t help but notice how my nutrition focus has changed since I started my blog. My earliest posts were all about sharing what I was learning while studying to be a nutritionist. Than I started to put into practice what I had learned and started to cook & eat in a completely new way; buying organic and free-from food, avoiding packaged foods and cooking with fresh ingredients. Chia, hemp and flax seeds became part of my daily diet and I was using coconut oil for cooking and as a moisturizer. Sweet potatoes, squash and brown rice noodles became my carbs of choice, and I started cooking more vegetarian meals than ever before. That way of eating & living started to become second nature and than my world was flipped upside down when I had Jack.
I no longer have the same amount of time to dedicate to cooking & recipe development and now that he’s completely eating solid foods I think about his meals ALL THE TIME. I want to make sure he’s getting the proper nutrients: healthy fats, whole grains, fibre, protein and the necessary vitamins & minerals. All the while trying to expand the foods that he’s eating, and make him something that he’ll like. It’s one of the most stressful jobs I’ve ever had.
I’m sure it’s a source of stress for most parents out there. Everything in us wants to give in and buy the convenience foods or hit the McDonald’s drive-through to avoid the effort of making something our kids don’t end up eating anyways. Like everything else important in our lives though – don’t give up. In the first few years of your child’s life you decide what they eat. You do the grocery shopping, cooking and lunch-making. You can provide them with healthy choices. If your kid only wants to eat hummus for 3 meals a day for a week so be it – at least it’s a healthy option.
For the parents out there who are out of ideas for healthy toddler food options and close to giving up, here’s what Jack’s been eating and liking lately, hopefully this will give you some new ideas!
Photo: Overnight Chia Oatmeal
- Fruit to start: clementine, mango, pineapple, berries or banana (he stopped liking banana slices so I gave him the entire banana to take bites from, and he loves it again)
- Plain Greek yogurt with chia jam, a scoop of natural almond butter and 1 tsp. maple syrup
- Honey Power O’s cereal, PC Organics Wheat Squares cereal with unsweetened almond milk
- Overnight Chia Oatmeal
- Whole-Wheat Banana Muffins (I make mini versions for snacks as well)
- Green Power Smoothie (this is awesome because he drinks half for breakfast, and the other half for mid-morning snack or with lunch and I love knowing that he’s getting healthy fats, protein, fruit & greens)
- Veggie Patch Falafels and Fontaine Sante hummus with one of the following veggie options: peas, corn, diced cucumber (these are the only ones he likes right now – I’ve been trying to introduce new options, but no luck yet)
- Healthy Salmon or Tuna Salad Bites with veggies or a Tube (combo of fruits, veggies & whole grains in a convenient tube package)
- Whole grain sprouted bread sandwich with hummus & cheddar cheese and veggies
- Feta or goat cheese with veggies and hummus
- Organic roasted chicken with veggies or a tube
- Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese (I save this easy choice for weekends, and have recently been stirring in my Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce recipe for some added fibre and nutrients – see recipe below)
- Whole-wheat pasta with goat cheese & pesto and a tube
- Zucchini noodles sauteed in garlic & butter and mixed with hummus
- Scrambled eggs with veggies
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
Makes 2 kid-size servings
1 1/2 cups frozen butternut squash cubes
1 tbsp. organic butter
1 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese*
*Only include if you’re using this as a stand-alone pasta sauce – not if you’re stirring into Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese as the powdered cheese package is enough flavour
Thaw and heat squash (follow package instructions).
Transfer to food processor (I have the mini Cuisineart processor and it’s perfect for small batches of food like this) and add butter, milk, parmesan cheese and salt.
Blend until smooth, and stir into cooked whole grain pasta or into a batch of Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese.
I hope I’ll look back on this post in a couple years and realize how much Jack’s food options have expanded. I think the only way to make that dream a reality is to continue trying new foods and new recipes – don’t give up!