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{Photo Credit}

I used to think, “my baby is the healthiest baby ever. She eats anything I give her, she’s not picky at all”. However, I quickly learned that was because she was 6-11 months old. For some reason when she hit the 12 month mark, she started to have an opinion:). She no longer shoveled broccoli in her mouth or ate beets like they were candy. I want her to get lots of good vegetables and to eat REAL food, so I had to get creative. In our fast paced, quick and convenient world, eating REAL food makes you stop and think a bit and appreciate the little things in life/food. Especially when it comes to feeding our little ones. It’s amazing what is marketed as “kids” food these days. You would think with some of the most formative years intellectually, physically and socially in your midst, some of the ingredients chemicals wouldn’t be allowed on grocery store shelves for adults much less kids. So avoiding high fructose corn syrup, sugar, preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients, what do you feed them on the go?

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that she did not want bland, flavorless food. That should be obvious, I mean, who does? She is very curious, especially when it comes to food. The more flavorful and different something is, the more she likes it. She will eat pretty much anything that we are eating, which makes it easier in a lot of ways. It makes me cook ahead of time for all of us in order to have something to pull out of the fridge for her meals. Here are some of the things that have worked for us:

Beef Stew – I get beef from our local farm and I used this recipe, which I have used numerous times. Quick, easy and delicious. I doubled the recipe and had plenty to eat on all week and some for the freezer. I would drain most of the juice and cut up the vegetables and beef for her. Since the veggies soaked up the chicken stock they were cooked in, they had tons of flavor.

Carrot and Butternut Squash Souffle – Emma is in danger of turning orange she is eating so many carrots, so I decided to capitalize on the fact that she loves them but mix in other things as well. I had butternut squash that needed to be eaten, so i mixed that in as well. With the addition of eggs, coconut oil and spices I felt good knowing she wasn’t eating JUST carrots. Craig and I ate this with dinner a couple of nights as well and it was delicious. Craig said it tasted like sweet potato casserole just not as sweet.

Sauteed vegetables in coconut oil – I make this almost every day. My favorite combination is red cabbage, sweet potato and broccoli. You can use any vegetables you have on hand or like. Simply put about a tablespoon coconut oil in pan, add veggies and cook covered on low until tender. Yum.

Green Smoothies – I used to puree spinach, kale and other leafy greens and add to her other pureed food to ensure she was getting her greens. Now, she doesn’t want to be fed with a spoon so that presented the problem of how to get her to eat these leafy greens, since she wasn’t going to just pick it up and eat it by itself. Smoothies are the best way to hide greens. You could look at my recipe here, but sometimes I don’t like using a ton of yogurt, so I just added handfuls of spinach with a little water to get it going, half of a banana, some frozen mixed berries and blend. She LOVED it. I ate it too and not bad!

Chicken and/or Ground Beef with spices – Just cook some ground beef and some chicken plain, then divide up and add different spices to each batch. I will do curry powder with some, Italian seasoning and just salt/pepper/garlic powder with the rest. It mixes it up for them, but you only have to cook once!

Veggie Frittata – We eat a lot of eggs, I mean A LOT. I love them and so does Emma, but sometimes we get tired of the same old thing. This past week I made a Veggie Frittata with orange pepper, mixed greens, tomato, red onion, cheese, and of course lots of eggs. Emma ate it up (as did we). It was as if she was on a treasure hunt, finding different things hidden in the egg.

Salmon Salad – I wasn’t sure how she would like fish, but she loves it. When I need something in a pinch, I will just mix the salmon with a little bit of plain yogurt and she eats it up (I do too!).

Almond Banana Pancakes or Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes – These are great for breakfast with a little egg and yogurt. I also make tons of extra to have in the fridge for a healthy quick snack.

Snack foods – mandarin oranges, dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cherries, figs, dates, etc), peeled whole apple (she loves chewing on these and after about 30 minutes will eat almost the whole thing. Obviously she is supervised during this time!), Avocado, diced fruit in the containers (I get some from the store sometimes for a quick snack, just check the ingredients! Make sure there isn’t a lot of added sugars and other weird ingredients. Should just be fruit and water, and possibly ascorbic acid to preserve, I don’t worry too much about that), paleo pancakes (see above).

What do you feed your paleo/primal baby or toddler? What are some of your favorite meals/snack ideas for baby or toddler?