I’ve been making my daughter’s baby food from the time she started on solid foods. It’s a lot of fun but some work also. But I love the extra control homemade baby food gives me over what goes into her diet.
Now that she’s a toddler, she is getting seriously more independent about her eating. She doesn’t want food spooned into her mouth with a few exceptions such as yogurt, and even that she’s getting stubborn about.
This is because she is so good at self feeding and dealing with chunky food. She doesn’t need my help and has made it quite plan that it is mostly no longer welcome. I have a very independent toddler.
When you go to the grocery store, you see all kinds of toddler stage foods available. Most of them frankly look gross to me. Overcooked vegetables, those funky looking meat sticks, and toddler meals with waaaay too much salt.
I’d rather make my own toddler food. It’s not like it’s difficult. Mostly it’s chopping up what the rest of us are having, but smaller.
Not all meals easily chop into something a toddler can easily handle, however. And so I keep some foods in the freezer prepared to make an easy meal.
Foods to cook until soft and freeze in cubes:
Lightly blended green beans
Lightlly blended peas
Lightly pureed ground beef
Lightly pureed chicken
I don’t keep a huge selection in the freezer anymore because most meals can be eaten with the rest of the family. You may need to cook vegetables just a touch softer and make sure meats are very tender and chopped into small pieces, but toddlers can mostly eat what you eat.
Your crock pot is your friend when it comes to meats. You’ll almost always get meats that are soft enough for your toddler to handle once you dice it up.
To use the frozen goods, I mix them up as I did when she was a baby, except I use the rice so that it’s all a bit chunky. It’s messy, but this means she can pick up the food and cram it in her mouth. You know what messy eaters toddlers can be.
Couscous is a good alternative to rice. My daughter loves it. You could also use small pasta shapes and anything else that is small enough for a toddler to handle. You can freeze any vegetables your toddler likes; I just listed some of my daughter’s favorites.
It helps to peel some kinds of vegetables. My daughter loves zucchini, but the skins still give her trouble. Rather than peel them, I cut off the skins of the pieces I give to her, as the rest of the family enjoys it as well.
Remember that toddlers will put pretty much anything in their mouths, but can’t chew every food they try. Raisins are more of a choking hazard than a treat for them. Same for nuts. You’re best off chopping foods small enough that your toddler is not too likely to choke on them and keep foods soft enough that the toddler can break them down with just a little chewing.