It is very important to me to encourage Jackson to be open-minded about food. I love to cook and eat a wide variety of foods, and I didn’t want having a young child to change this. However, part of being a parent is realizing that your child has a mind of his/her own, so I have to choose my battles. He was not born loving everything I love, but we at least have him taste everything, because you never know!
Here is my overall strategy for feeding Jackson (now 15 months old):
- Nutritious and filling
- Not highly processed
- Variety of foods, including all food groups
- Variety of textures and flavor profiles
I still struggle with getting him to eat enough vegetables. Right now he will eat them if they are well incorporated into a dish (e.g., mixed into a meatball, smoothie, or soup), but there are very few vegetables he will eat on their own.
Kids’ tastes (like our own) change over time. One day Jackson might love something, but the next day he might be totally over it. Here are his “sometimes” favorites (things he has LOVED for at least a little while):
- Fruits: mango, cantaloupe, apples, tangerines, nectarines, pluots, bananas
- Vegetables: green smoothies, green juice, butternut squash
- Starches: sweet potatoes, rice, french fries, whole wheat toast, pancakes, oatmeal, pasta
- Other (including ways to hide vegetables): barley soup with mushrooms and other vegetables, lentil soup, noodle soup
- Non-Meat Proteins: poached eggs, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, plain yogurt, black beans, pinto beans, whole milk
- Meats: turkey meatballs with shredded zucchini, chicken sausages, steak, salmon, grilled chicken, turkey chili
- Snacks: pretzels, freeze-dried apples, Cheerios, string cheese
Other healthy foods that he will generally eat:
- Fruits: berries, papaya
- Vegetables: steamed carrots, peas, mushrooms, tomato sauce
- Pasta: ravioli, lasagna
- Non-Meat Proteins: peanut butter, other nut butters
Things that he is not interested in (but that we still try to feed him every so often):
- Vegetables: avocado, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini
- Non-Meat Proteins: cottage cheese
I’d love to hear any suggestions that your family enjoys! In the coming weeks I’ll share meals that Jackson likes (that we can eat too!).