Having a toddler doesn’t mean struggling at the dinner table every evening. I consider my two-year-old son Joaquin a pretty diverse eater. I know it sounds silly but we started his good eating habits at five months. His first solid food after cereal was avocado then frijoles then carrots…so on and so forth. A new food every week and it’s been working for us since.
Don’t get me wrong, we still struggle with weird textures like broccoli florets or even shredded chicken, but with a bit of patience and creativity, he caves in and mom is up by one point.
Here are some of my toddler feeding/teaching tips that have been and continue to be successful for us.
Let them play with their food!
Make silly faces with fruit and veggies. “Donde estan los ojos?”, “y las orejas?”, “ahora, la boquita?”… we have a faceless pancake or empty plate in no time plus it’s a great way to teach body parts in in both languages.
I ask him to pretend to be a veggie-eating monster or dinosaur. We rawr, bark and howl because that’s what veggie-eating monsters do.
On a stick
Skewers also do the trick (use straws if skewers are too sharp). Use colorful fruit and cut the fruit into shapes. Ask him to eat the circles, then the squares, then the red rectangle, etc….I don’t know what it is, but anything on a stick works wonders for me.
I love to disguise veggies inside his popsicles. Make lemonade, spinach basil pops or orange juice and carrot pops. It’s a fun way to enjoy a frozen treat full of vitamins. They’ll never suspect.
I let him go to town with noodles. Joaquin loves to eat them with a swift swing, lasso style.
We play the dipping game and he always wins. Our favorite gear: pitas and humus, beans and tortillas.
Uno, dos, tres….A, B, C…
Count snacks, count bites, count everything as long as the outcome is putting that piece of food in his mouth. Plus it’s a great way to practice counting. We are up to 39 now…
Counting also makes our grocery shopping trip much easier. We look for isle numbers and count out loud. Play “I Spy” in the produce section and call out colors and letters in the frozen food section.
Big people food
One of our favorite foods to make is entomatadas. My mom made them for me as a child because it’s almost like eating enchiladas without the chile. I felt like such an adult.
Now, Joaquin absolutely loves eating entomatadas. I make them stuffed with turkey breast and drenched in a special tomato sauce accompanied by rice. Garnish with cheese for that extra special tomatoey- cheesey flavor.
Entomatadas Recipe Your Child Will Love
2 large turkey breasts (or 1lb. chicken breast)
9 1/2 cups water
4 Roma tomatoes
1-8oz. can tomato sauce
2 medium garlic cloves
¼ large onion
1 ½ tbsp. chicken bouillon powder
4 tbsp olive oil for frying
optional: ¾ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese for garnish
Preheat oven 325 degrees.
Boil turkey breasts in 6 cups of water over medium heat for 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool then shred by hand. Boil tomatoes in 3 cups of water until skins begin to peel off. About 10 minutes. Blend boiled tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon and ½ cup of water. Place mixture in a large bowl (large enough to dip tortillas).
In a large skillet, heat oil and fry tortillas, about 10 seconds on each side, one by one then dip in tomato mixture.
Extend each dipped tortilla in a separate plate and stuff with shredded turkey breast and roll. Place in oven safe 8” dish.
Once all entomatadas are placed in oven dish, pour remaining sauce evenly over them. Sprinkle cheese (optional) and place in oven for 7-10 minutes to keep warm.
Share: What is your child´s favorite food?
With a teen and toddler twin boys, I am always searching for new recipes and new ideas to get them to eat what is on their plate. Wonderful tips!
Ericka, I read Nibbles & Feasts and am so excited to see you on Spanglish Baby since they are one of my all-time fave websites about bicultural families. I had no idea before, though, that you did food styling professionally – no wonder I always love your photos on your site! Great tips here and your niños are so adorable!
Yes, I assisted in food styling and know lots of tricks to make food look yummy on camera. But all Nibbles & Feasts photos is of food that is edible right after photographing it. No tricks.
Intentare hacer las entomatadas. Mi nina no quiere comer ningun vegetal, lo unico que quiere recibir es sopa de tomate. Tambien desde muy pequena la introduje a diversos alimentos solidos y los recibia todos con gusto, pero ahora no. Este sera otro intento mas que hare para que come algo diferente a carne, pasta, frutas y sopa de tomate
I need to use these techniques for me! I am the pickiest eater in the world. Texture is a huge problem for me. Where were you when I was a toddler? Lol.
I am blessed to have non-picky eaters. My kids LOVE everything…even sushi!
But I know many kiddos who are very picky! I love all your tricks/tips and will be sure to share them on FB for all my mommy friends
I also did not know you had food styling in your background. LUCKY girl That’s awesome!
LOVE your blog girl! GREAT guest post!!!
Your recipes always look so good and I haven’t started to make the first one!! These entomatadas look good for my kids too Gracias Ericka!
Ericka you continue to be my hero. I am going to try these tips with my little one…. He’s something else when it comes to eating. If it’s not fruit or pizza…. he doesn’t want it.
Thank you! Just invite me over and I’ll make a giant batch for all of you
Great ideas… I’ll be trying them at dinner time tonight, after I check out your blog… Rave reviews from your fans Gracias.