What My 2-Year-Old Ate

In lieu of my usual “What I Ate” post, I’m sharing a peek at what my son has been eating lately.

toddler playing with toys

I am asked about what my son eats a lot, and while I was pretty militant about his diet for the first two years of his life, I’m also doing my best to loosen the reigns a bit when I feel it’s appropriate. While I think a healthy diet is important, I also feel that it’s important to not create issues around food. I spent far too many years of my own life stressing about what I ate, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

So, I wanted to share what we’ve been doing lately. When we’re at home he still eats a very clean diet because those are the only options he has in our home– we don’t have candy, cookies, sodas, or processed snacks in the house, so it’s not even an issue. However, when we dine out with him (which is only once every week or two, because going to a restaurant with a toddler is NOT fun) I let him share bites of whatever Austin and I eat.

For example, this past weekend we went to lunch with some friends at an Italian restaurant. Everyone was indulging in the soft, crusty bread dipped in oil as an appetizer, so I let my son have a little bit of the bread and oil, too. I did try to moderate his consumption by giving him teeny-tiny pieces, but he certainly felt like he was getting a special treat! And then he shared my creamy tomato soup and chopped salad as our main dish. I do still bring food for him to restaurants, in case he doesn’t like the food I order. Usually it’s a smoothie in his favorite travel cup, and a few date energy balls.

Here’s a peek at what he’s been eating at home this week: 

toddler eating toast

Breakfast: TOAST! That’s usually what I hear when he wakes up each morning. “Toast? Toast, Mama?” He’s obsessed. I’ve challenged this addiction by telling him that we’re out of toast somedays… and he survives just fine… but this week I’m giving into it. Yesterday he had two pieces of sprouted toast topped with almond butter, along with a green smoothie. Just a couple weeks ago he would have shared a big batch of our Chocolate Superfood Shake, but this week he has decided he doesn’t like chocolate anymore. This week, his shakes have to be GREEN in color. What a picky guy.

toddler drinking out of a water bottle

Snack: More smoothie. I make a big batch each morning, and lately he’s been having anywhere from 24 to 30 ounces of smoothie each day. Yesterday, his smoothie included young coconut meat (I buy the frozen kind), mango, strawberries, spinach, dates, and a clementine. Any fruit he doesn’t finish at breakfast usually gets thrown into his smoothie, too.

Note: You can see more of my favorite toddler smoothie combos in this post.

asparagus and toast bites on a plate

Lunch: Another piece of almond butter toast, along with half of a chopped apple. (Here’s a trick I use: I keep fresh apples in a bowl on the table and I don’t ever offer them to him– somehow, this makes them desirable and he always asks for one. It works with every fruit I’ve tried so far!) I also offered him some leftover salmon and asparagus, but he only took two bites before asking for some “green shake.” Thank goodness for smoothies.

pieces of toast in a small metal bowl

Snack: When we run errands, I always throw a couple of his favorite “nacks” in a container to take with us, along with any leftover toast from his plate. He almost always polishes them off in the car.

plantain chips, guacamole, and a peeled clementine

Dinner: Okay, I lied. We do have chips in the house sometimes: roasted plantain chips! My son is obsessed with them, so I try to limit their appearance in our home, but he eats them with a lot of guacamole which seems like a good thing. I keep single-serving guacamole and hummus packs in our fridge for snacking on-the-go, and sometimes I’ll let him snack on one while I make dinner. (Costco sells the cleanest organic hummus and guacamole I’ve found!) So, he started off with plantain chips and guacamole, followed by a small serving of our dinner– an experimental spaghetti squash dish with peppers, mushrooms, and chicken. He ate two bites, but then he saw that I had filled our bowl on the table with clementines, so he asked for one of those and devoured the whole thing. I’ll consider that a win.

(Oh, and should I mention that we’re also still breastfeeding? My son still nurses three times a day, though I think it’s mostly for comfort at this point. I’m hoping he’ll want to naturally wean sometime soon, but my own mother didn’t cut me off until I was 3 years old. So, I’m trying to pay it forward!)

The foods my son likes seems to change on a daily basis, so you can see more food ideas here, along with a peek at how he ate before he turned two. This week he wants nothing to do with meat, eggs, fish, or cheese, but other weeks he wants cheese at every meal and he’s been known to totally devour the Maple Glazed Salmon from my cookbook. I think the toast cravings have to do with teething– he’s almost done getting his two year molars, and I think the crunchy toast feels good on his gums!

For more baby feeding ideas, you can see how we first introduced solid foods to our son, the Do’s and Don’ts of baby food, and my favorite feeding essentials.

Reader Feedback: Do you have picky kids? What are their favorite foods lately? 

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Comments

Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

I nursed my daughter till she was 3 too and even though I was sad to give it up my doctor said I had too! It made me sad. Pay it forward is spot on. Thank you for sharing that because so many people made me feel like I was weird or subnormal because I nursed so long. The comments were not nice! This is such a good post because I think as a mom, it’s even to be “hard on yourself” when you do lighten up and let you kids splurge too. I don’t want my girls to develop an eating disorder just because I’m so strict on myself. When we went out for ice cream the other night, I didn’t realize just how perceptive kids are. My 5 year old said “mom, you’re so skinny, would you please eat an ice cream cone with us too?” It made me sad that that was her vision of me. I had a cone! She felt better!

laura

my FAV part about this post if the fact you feed him what i would consider adult food and not kid food. I watched a great ted talk but a naturopathic doctor who said ‘there is baby food and there is adult food, not kid food!’ you are exposing him to different tastes and flavours as such a young age and this is so important ! do you have a blog post on your food introduction schedule? thanks 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    Check out the last paragraph in this post– there’s a link to how we introduced solids, as well as the “do’s and don’t’s” we followed when introducing foods to our son. I hope they help!

Amy Yordt

Thank you so much for this post! My daughter and I have gotten such great ideas from you about what to feed my granddaughter! I especially appreciate the info on the straw cups you use for smoothies. I let her drink out of my cup the other day and we both ended up with green smoothie all over us!

Laura

Can you let me know what drink cup your son is using for his smoothies in the first and third pictures? Looks like a good one and I’m trying to find something similar for my 2-year old.
Thanks!!

Elizabeth H.

Where do you buy the frozen coconut meat?

    Megan Gilmore

    I find it at Whole Foods, where they sell frozen fruit for smoothies. My favorite brand is Exotic Superfoods, as they use 100% raw & organic coconut meat, but the more common brand is sold in a light green package and they divide the coconut meat into easy 4-ounce packs.

Laura

Love this post! 🙂 I also have a 2 year old that eats very similarly! I do have a question for you. Does your son go to daycare and if so how do you handle that? I send breakfast, lunch and a snack to my son’s in home daycare. He is starting to realize that other kids are getting other food. I want him to feel included but am not down with him eating hotdogs, pizza and cold cut sandwiches! So far we are doing good but I feel like someday soon he make not be ok with eating different food.

Milissa

Yay for extended breastfeeding!!! My younger daughter nursed until she was two and a half. I then weaned her cold turkey because it was most definitely a comfort and habit thing. I just decided to try and with only a small amount of protest and only a few tears, we were finished. It was bittersweet because once they stop nursing, as moms, we feel like they aren’t babies anymore! But they are always our babies and they still need us so much. I love your attitude that diet doesn’t always have to be perfection. I also try to keep it as clean as we can afford to at home but allow for splurges when dining out or eating someone else’s cooking. I probably allow more than you might because I enjoy my occasional splurges, too, but my kids are healthy and happy, so all is good. Smoothies are a winner in our house but my little one also decided awhile back that chocolate smoothies are not “deyishus” anymore!

Kezia @ Super Naturally Healthy

I love that he love smoothie so much – gives me hope that when kids grow up with good stuff then that is shut what they crave:)

Honey Flavored Lemomade

My kids are 4 & 1.5. Both have entered a picky stage. I have really noticed that by not keeping snack food in the house they don’t even ask for it that much. Applesauce, cheese, toast, or sandwiches (almond butter & jelly) are pretty much always easy to get them to eat. My daughter will always have a smoothie, which I love. My son is picky about it, though I think I could get both of them to drink juices if I juiced. But my son will eat raw veggies & fruits more often than my daughter will.

Kelly

Great post, Megan! Do you give him any supplements?

Penny

Congratulations on extended breastfeeding!! I nursed my son until he was 2 years and 8 months, then he just naturally forgot about it over a long weekend. He still remembers and he’s 16 now!

Krystal

I noticed that you don’t seem to worry about food combinations for your son (like pairing grains with almond butter or fruit as part of dinner). Is food combining not as critical for little ones? I ask because I have a 2 year old that eats very clean and I have a hard time with keeping fresh fruit as a snack by itself (especially when she is around other kiddos eating it along with something else). I would love your thoughts and wisdom on this! (Things would be infinitely easier if I didn’t have to worry about food combinations) 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    Nope, I don’t worry about food combining for my son. Any healthy food I can squeeze into him is a win in my book!

    As I understand it, food combining is more important for people who have a history of poor food choices and compromised digestion. Many adults fall into that category, but kids start with a cleaner slate so I don’t think it’s as important for them. You’ve probably noticed that most kids have very strong digestion, with a bowel movement for nearly every meal they eat. (That’s a great sign!)

Nicole

This post is great. Definitely do more of these when you can. Btw, when I’m super busy, almond butter on toast is my default snack for my kids too.

Oh and FYI, my kids regularly beg for me to make your pumpkin bars (the ones made with almond butter). Thank you so much for that delicious recipe.

Rhonda

I love this post.

My kid is 3 and she always loves to have TOAST as the breakfast too.

I am trying to find something better for her too.

Sam

Great post! My kids are older now (6 year old twins and a 9 year old) but I did what you are doing with your son and it has paid off in a big way. My girls are amazing eaters. I think the biggest thing is consistency. I never made special meals for my kids so they always ate what we ate (clean vegetarian). I also didn’t sweat it if they flat-out refused a meal. They always made up the calories at the next meal. I have heard so many parents say, “My kid will only eat mac and cheese.” Kids will not starve themselves! It does get much harder when kids go to school and are surrounded by junk food but we have talked a lot about nutrition and what “real food” is. My girls can read labels and I have to trust that they will make good choices most of the time. Thanks for your great blog!

Melissa

Hi! Just came across your blog while looking for recipes to make with a bunch of coconut milk cans I have in the cupboard! Loving it, and am enjoying your down-to-earth, healthy yet realistic approach to your son’s diet that you’ve shared here. Thank you!

NAtalie

Hi, i love the way You feed your son and your general approach to food and nourishment. I was just wondering, if you weren’t breastfeeding, what would you give your son instead? The aap recommends cow’s milk and i’m just not sUre i’m on board with that. My daughter just turned one and i had to stop breastfeeding recently, but now i’m stuck. Any advice would be appreciated. thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    If I weren’t breastfeeding, I’m not sure that I would do a dairy supplement… I’d have to research it more, but I don’t see why you couldn’t get the same (if not better) nutrition from a balanced green smoothie made with dark leafy greens, fresh fruit, and healthy fats. My son drank a TON of smoothies when he was 1-2 years old, so they went down really easily for him. If I felt the need to do dairy, I’d probably look into goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk, as it’s considered more hypoallergenic and could digest more easily.

jacqueline

This is so refreshing to see. I just came across your blog looking for coconut date balls and saw you had a SECTION about picky toddler eaters. We have been struggling for months to get my son to eat other things besides waffles. he just turned 2 and now he doesnt wanna eat anything I put on his plate. I am going to try some of your tips! thanks for the advice and the honesty!

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