I’ve received lots of questions about how we feed our son, so I thought today would be a good time to share what he’s been eating lately. If you’ll recall, I’ve previously shared how we introduced our baby to solids, some of our favorite homemade purees, and how he ate as a 12-month old.
Our son is now 16 months old, which has come with quite a few developmental changes. He’s walking more and sleeping less, down to just one nap a day, which also means he’s nursing less often. I plan to breastfeed as long as he wants to, hopefully until he’s at least two years old, but now that he’s on the move, he doesn’t want to stop to nurse! So, he only gets breast milk three times a day right now– when he wakes up for the day, before his nap, and before bed.
I feel almost silly sharing my son’s meals, because they are beyond simple. He mostly eats a variety of whole foods, because that’s what is easiest for me to prepare with my work schedule. The most common foods we offer him include:
- Fresh fruit, including bananas, pears, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, melon, avocado, and dates
- Slow-cooked apples or pears (I just throw the sliced fruit in the VitaClay and let it cook for 2 hours)
- Raw goat cheddar
- Cooked vegetables, including steamed broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, cabbage, sweet potato, butternut squash, and so on
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Organic meat, mostly chicken or turkey
- Wild-caught salmon and sardines
- Nuts and seeds, including chia seeds, almond butter, and hemp hearts
- Healthy fats, including Udo’s oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter for cooking
Our son doesn’t eat grains yet, because we wanted to make sure he’s producing enough of the enzyme amylase to properly digest them. (According to Weston A. Price, this typically happens after children are one year old, when molar teeth are fully developed.) We also haven’t introduced him to cow’s dairy, since we don’t consume that in our home, though he does love raw goat cheddar!
When meal time rolls around, I’ll typically offer three or four options from the foods I listed above. Nothing fancy!
Here’s what his meals have been looking like lately:
- 1 to 2 pieces of fresh fruit (like a whole banana, pear, or orange)
- Whole egg scrambled with veggies (like spinach, onions, or peppers) in grass-fed butter
*Note: Anytime our son still acts hungry after a meal, we offer him more food. Since he’s eating exclusively unprocessed, whole foods, we trust his hunger signals and feed him as much as he wants.
- Green smoothie with fresh fruit + healthy fats + leafy greens
The green smoothies that I make for my son vary from day to day, but each one usually includes fruit, a source of healthy fat, and greens, to ensure he gets a variety of nutrients. To give you an idea, some of our favorite combinations are:
- Frozen strawberries, dates, young Thai coconut meat, spinach, and water
- Dates, chia seeds, cinnamon, spinach, homemade almond milk
- Apple, fresh ginger, dates, kale, Udo’s oil, water
- Frozen raspberries, avocado, dates, fresh basil, and water
UPDATE: You can see my full post on green smoothies for babies and toddlers here.
(I can’t live without the Squeasy Snacker bottle– we bought two of these 6-ounce bottles, so I can make 12 ounces of smoothie at a time. That way I always have a fresh and easy snack available in our fridge!)
- Fresh fruit
- Cooked vegetable, like sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots (sometimes these are from a soup that I made the night before)
- Protein, like roasted chicken, salmon, or raw goat cheddar
I rarely make anything fresh for lunch– it’s usually something we already have in our fridge, like leftovers from the night before, or a staple we always have on hand, like fresh fruit and goat cheese. Or, if I happen to be developing a recipe, my son will taste-test for me. He’s been enjoying recipes from my cookbook for several months now!
- Another smoothie, just like the one he had earlier in the day (sometimes he’ll have up to 4 smoothies in one day– it just depends on his appetite and growth spurts!)
Other than smoothies and breast milk, the only liquid we offer is water, or the occasional sip of green juice.
- Cooked lentils or sweet potato or banana
- Cooked vegetables from my dinner, such as broccoli and carrots in a curry sauce
- Protein, such as chicken, eggs, raw goat cheddar, or a veggie muffin (that recipe is in Everyday Detox)
We tend to keep dinner on the starchier-side, since carbohydrates are thought to help promote sleep. Our son is finally sleeping through the night (except on bad teething days) so we’re trying to keep that momentum going by encouraging sleep however we can.
Tips & Tricks
It’s not always easy to get your kids to try new foods, and it’s definitely not always easy to make everything from scratch. Even though our son has only ever known whole foods, so he’s not tempted by the processed stuff, he’s still wary of trying new textures (like roasted broccoli). We have to come up with new “tricks” all the time to get him to expand his horizons!
My latest trick is to offer him a new food on a spoon or fork. He LOVES using utensils! (Even though he hasn’t quite mastered them perfectly yet.) He’ll pretty much eat anything I put on a fork or spoon, and that’s the only way he’ll enjoy foods like guacamole or shredded brussels sprouts.
And just because we only feed our son whole foods, doesn’t mean there aren’t some convenience options we take advantage of. Here are some of the convenience foods I rely on fairly regularly:
- Pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s (our son eats them straight out of the package cold!)
- Prepared guacamole from the chilled section at the grocery store (with a spoon)
- Frozen organic vegetables (thawed in the fridge, then quickly warmed on the stove)
- Organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods
- Plum Organics stage 1 or 2 pouches (fruit & veggie only)– a quick option when I don’t have time to make a smoothie
That just about covers it. I look forward to seeing how our son’s tastes and preferences change as he continues to grow, and I’m going to continue to steer his choices towards healthy foods for as long as I can!
Reader Feedback: What are your go-to toddler meals? I’d love to hear more ideas!