Getting creative with feeding Ben is always a challenge. Trying to hide vegetables, actually cook his meals myself (instead of buying some sort of Gerber pre-made meal which is probably high in something bad), and get him to EAT it continues to be the bane of my existence. Ben is finally starting to become a better eater. He still LOVES his milk, but he’s drinking more water (out of a straw sippy cup, yay!) and eating more veggies.
Some great food ideas that I have thought of or gotten from friends are:
Quiches – You can buy a pre-made quiche such as spinach & cheese, or you can make your own in muffin tins adding any veggies you think the baby will eat. Below I used zucchini and tomatoes! (Idea thanks to Corinne!)
Vegetable pancakes – You can buy frozen ones or make your own with a mix or from scratch. A great recipe for zucchini pancakes is here. Sometimes I will just buy a mix (below) and add my own fresh veggies, like shredded zucchini. Ben loves them.
Corn muffins – Now, corn muffins are definitely not healthy…at least not alone. But they are like crack for Ben. So I started adding shredded carrots and zucchini to any regular corn muffin mix you can buy in the store. SO easy, so quick, and so delicious (Beware: adults love these, too). Good for breakfast, especially if you don’t want them having any sugar later in the day.
Pasta – Simple and obvious. But a great tip is to add vegetable purees to the pasta. If you have read Jessica Seinfeld’s book, she has great ideas on hiding veggies and tips on making and storing your purees.
Frozen or Pre-made food – Some good frozen choices I like are Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles (Ben gobbles these up), Veggie Patch Broccoli or Spinach Bites, Happy Baby Veggie Tots, Golden Zucchini Pancakes, Whole Foods Organic mini waffles, and Earth’s Best Chicken Bites. It’s fun to just take a trip to Whole Foods and check out their frozen baby section. Lots of good options.
Sandwiches – Turkey, hummus, peanut butter, chickpea salad…anything on bread. Who wouldn’t like that? Ben eating a sandwiches is one of the cutest things ever. (He surprisingly loves chickpea salad with vegenaise!)
Snacks – freeze-dried fruit (Ben only likes the bananas, but try mangoes, peaches, strawberries), Earth’s Best organic snacks (I love all of their products – crackers, teething biscuits, honey graham sticks, puffs), peanut butter filled crackers, Mum-Mums, Cheerios. Some kids probably eat REAL fruit, but Ben won’t, so I try to find alternate healthy snacks instead.
Milk – I choose to feed Ben Organic or Almond milk. Also, research your organic milk before you buy it…you can check out some milk ratings here. Some that I like are Organic Valley, Stonyfield, and Whole Foods brand. Mostly I try to avoid Horizon milk, which gets 0 ratings (meaning ethically deficient), and is just way overpriced.
For some more ideas on making your own Stage 1 or 2 baby foods, I did it a few times and blogged about it here.
And of course sometimes we just give Ben some of our own dinner. If we are having tacos, we put together a bowl of rice, beans and avocado. He loves it. Same for a lasagna or baked ziti or any chicken dish. Anything not too spicy, but that he might be willing to try.
Just got an update in my email about a new pre-made meal from Sprout. I would be interested in giving these a try.
Of course there are times Ben eats a turkey dog, or a chicken nugget, or doesn’t eat nearly as many vegetables in a day that I would like, but you do your best. There is no use in making all these healthy meals if he doesn’t eat anything. You have to pick and choose your battles, and use your gut instincts when feeding your baby.
I am ALWAYS looking for more suggestions on what to feed Ben and ways to hide veggies in his food. Would love to hear any that work for you!