Recently I responded to a post that asked for suggestions for a vegetable-picky toddler besides purees. It generated a lot of response and a lot of requests for preschooler idea’s too. Until recently I was the caterer for a Co-Op Daycare and cooked in house morning and afternoon snacks as well as lunches. I was only there 2 days a week so I made all the other stuff ahead of time and either froze or refrigerated it for the staff on those days I wasn’t there. So by request of posters looking for help (you know who you are if your reading this, lol) These were some the kids (age range 12months – 5 year, on PA days schooler agers as well).
Oh, we also had a guideline that we tried to get everyone to try 3 bites of everything on their plate so they would try different things – now, that being said if Bobby’s latest whim is that he hates green vegetables, but loves raw carrots – and its veggies and dip on that day, we won’t serve him green veggies but carrots and halved grape tomatoes and orange peppers (or whatever). Don’t make it a battle – you have to go with the flow a little!
The Power of the Shred!
Best ever Tuna or Chicken Salad Sandwiches
In a bowl mix: 1 can of tuna (packed in water), drained. 1-2 TB mayo, 2-3TB Ranch Dressing, 1/2 zucchini – washed, stem chopped off & grated (rind and all), 1/4 red or white onion grated.
In a bowl mix: , 1 carrot-grated*, 1 cup chopped chicken**, 1/4-1/2c cup mayo (depending on preference), grated onion, salt and pepper.
*If the carrot organic, you can gently wash it and use the peel and all, or if you wish to peel, keep it in a freezer bag, in the freezer and add alike pieces of veggies to it so you have lots of variety to add to a stock),
**Chicken can be leftovers from a Roasted Chicken or other chicken dish. For the daycare I would buy chicken on sale and roast 2 or 3 at a time and make ahead some chicken dishes as well as portions of chicken meat (for sandwiches or dishes on the fly) – you can also use the carcases to make homemade chicken stock for soups, rice skillets or other dishes as well – make ahead and freeze 2 cups will fit in a sandwich sized Zip-Lock bag.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (or Loaf)
Beat together 3 eggs, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil ( or substitute pumpkin puree or applesauce). Stir in: 2 cups grated zucchini (skin and all). Add 3 tsp vanilla, 3 cups flour, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, a pinch salt, and 1/4 cup cocoa . Blend drop by spoonful (will be very thick), into muffin tins, lined with liners, or 2 generous loaves. Bake at 350 for 25 min (keep checking!) for muffins or 50 mins for loaves. 12-15 min for Mini Muffins.
I found toddlers and preschoolers will eat more of anything if cut into small pieces – sandwiches in 4′s (or use a cookie cutter in shapes), mini muffins, Quesadilla triangles etc.
Love this type of food but don’t have the time to make it? Check out my website: http://mealsfromjoyskitchen.com and shop online (Durham Region, ON only).
Snacks & Lunches
Spread cream cheese on a tortilla, place 3 thinly sliced red pepper, cucumber, carrots, etc along the centre, roll tortilla up into a long cylinder, and cut into pinwheels. Try with cream cheese and jam or nutella or peanut butter (Great for birthday parties).
Kids don’t like tortillas? Use bread with the crusts cut off instead!
Ham and Cheese & Broccoli Quesadilla
Place wheat tortilla on hot pan (sprayed with cooking spray or oil), sprinkle, shredded cheese of choice (mozzarella, cheddar, marble (farmer), etc), sprinkle chopped ham(or chicken) over and red pepper, onion, cooked broccoli (or whatever they will eat) over and cover with another tortilla flip after 2 min (or when it browns), use a pizza slicer to cut and serve in triangle with salsa, guacamole and sour cream.
Bacon and Egg Bake
In a bowl, beat together 6 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp dry mustard. Lay 4 slices bread in bottom of a 9 *12 pan. Place (optional) cheese, bacon, and sauted: mushrooms/onion/peppers/tomatoes/celery/ blanched spinach etc over top, pour 1/2 egg mixture over top, cover with another layer of bread pour rest of egg mixture over. (Optional: sprinkle with crushed cornflakes), allow to sit (refrigerated) for several hours or overnight (I did it the day ahead). Cover and bake at 350 for an hour.
Celery topped with peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log) or laughing cow cheese. Lots of salads, grape tomatoes, avocado slice, dragon fruit slices, kiwi.
Use cream corn instead of condensed soup in recipes calling for cream of … soup.
Also see my kid friendly recipes like: Peanut Butter Chicken, Chicken and Noodle Casserole, Cheesy Hashbrown, Ham and Corn Casserole, Creole Red Beans and Rice.
Other suggestions – let me know if anyone wants recipes and I will try to include in part 2 of this post!
In Part 2
- Individual Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Icing.
- Ham & Sweet Potato Pie.
- Chicken (or Pork) Stir Fry.
- Rice Skillet (with Breakfast Sausage, Veggie etc).