This is going to begin a series of my journey through feeding my picky toddler. Myself and my husband are also picky eaters, and it has been clear to me that my son is just a product of our hesitations. Not to mention, that due to my struggles with attempting to be SuperMom, I am completely failing at being consistent and creative. But, anyway, that’s not what this is about. I’m attempting to use Pinterest and other sources to help me think outside the box of how to get more nutritious foods into my 2 year old. A the moment he basically eats oatmeal, pastries, French fries and occasionally eggs and chicken tenders (he prefers the crispy parts). I end making a lot of baked goods like banana bread, sweet potato bread, cookies, etc just so he can eat something. But, that’s really not how I want things to continue. He also eats cornmeal porridge and grits. Notice a pattern? Mostly grains and sugar! I need him to eat more protein and veggies!
So, after cruising around Pinterest, I came across some toddler friendly meals that I think I may be able to try on my son. Also, the other night, I was watching a cooking reality show and it dawned on me that meatballs might be a great place to start.
Here’s something else you should know; the plan is to make things as dairy free as possible, as well as not use many onions, peppers, or tomatoes. The meals should be toddler friendly, but perfectly acceptable for us adults to eat. Plus, my husband doesn’t eat red meat, so I’m limited to chicken and turkey and maybe fish; which I don’t eat much myself and plan to cook more over time. There are other restrictions and limitations that we have, but these are the most important.
My other goal is to try to utilize what my son already eats and slowly adjust his palate to the new things. So, I’m trying to incorporate flavors and textures that I already know he likes or are familiar with. Oh yeah, nuts are also a restriction.
So, here’s the ingredients I used to make our sweet turkey meatballs. I don’t have a solid recipe as of yet since this is my first time making them and I decided to make them less sweet the next time around.
Baby Spinach, fresh, sliced into strips
Rolled Oats, grounded
BBQ Sauce (hoping to make my own at some point)
I think that’s it! I basically seasoned the meat and then added all of these ingredients. I then used a small cookie scoop to make about 58 mini meatballs. I browned the meatballs in a pan with a little olive oil. Then, I finished them up in the oven on 350 for about 15min. My goal was to have them not dry out, but due to too much orange marmalade, I think the were too moist or mushy overall. I mean they still held together, but the consistency wasn’t what I had envisioned.
So, here’s the tricky part; my son refused to eat them! I mashed them up and put some on a fork and he wanted nothing to do with them! At some point he did lean over and pulled a piece of meat off the fork and attempted to eat it. But, he just ended up taking it out of his mouth and putting it back on the plate. (sigh) I thought they were a bit too sweet and my husband thought they were fine.
Here’s the fun part; What do you do with all those meatballs now? I basically came to the realization this morning that they are just glorified sausages and should try and feed him one at breakfast. I heated it up and broke it up into his oatmeal. He didn’t even flinch as I fed it to him! Awesome!! So, then, I decided to try something that I have been planning to do for some time. He loves when I make myself grits. I mean, he practically eats all of mine! So, I have been planning to add spinach to it since grits is the same as polenta and can be a breakfast food or for dinner. While I was whipping up a batch of these grits, I thought it would be great to add in a few meatballs. This was going to be lunch. After our outing, I fed him some and he didn’t even flinch at the idea of eating the meatballs and the spinach. Success again! I also fed him some once we got home which was basically his dinner. I’m soo hoping this goes over well tomorrow!