Meal Ideas and Recipes For Babies & Toddlers! Free Meal Plan Printable Included.

Each child develops so uniquely and just because they are late at hitting a milestone doesn’t necessarily means it is a cause of alarm. As a new mom I had too many questions related to my son hitting his milestones, but I have realized in this 1 year, that we need to be patient and not stress about it.

img_1106Eating solids for the first time is a huge milestone for every baby. As parents, we love to know that our babies are getting lots of nutrition and calories so they can grow big and healthy. I was nervous about feeding solids in the beginning and was worried whether  my son would eat well, consume enough milk etc. But this was a temporary phase, since I religiously followed a routine of introducing solids daily.  We started first with introducing fruits, veggies and later cereal. Most pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies when they are between ages 4 and 6 months. Vir was able to sit up around this age with support, and was showing interest in the foods he saw us eating. I realized it’s probably a good time to venture into feeding him solid food. Since my son was exclusively breast fed for 6 months, we waited until he turned 6 months to start solids.

I tried the Baby Led weaning approach right from the start. Baby Led Weaning is a method of introducing solid foods that leaves it up to your baby to decide what, when and how much to eat.  While not necessarily a “hands off” approach, Baby Led Weaning does advocate allowing your baby to make all food choices for him or herself. You can read more about it here.

What I liked about it that there were no purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veggie combo just eating wholesome food. Note : I followed the Four day rule , to make sure that my son is not allergic to any food items. Read more about it here 

Note Milk is a child’s most important food in the first year of life and is still very important in the next few years. Children under 12 months of age should have breast milk or formula for their main drinks.

I am sharing below with you a list of Food items I introduced to my son.

baby-finger-food-ideas

Image credit – www.Alisandlois.com

6-8 months+

  • Baby cereal – Rice cereal, Oatmeal cereal and wheat cereal. Mixed with breast milk or formula . After my son got used to it , I added mashed bananas or stewed apples for flavor
  • Fruits– To avoid choking I gave my son small pieces of banana, steamed apples and pears as finger food. My son hated avocadoes, it is great fruit for weight gain.
  • Veggies: Steamed and boiled sweet potatoes and carrots chunks as finger food.
  • Egg yolk only upto 8 months. I used to scramble it in butter. My son didn’t like the egg yellow boiled.

Note: Meat, chicken can also be given as it is rich in iron. I haven’t yet introduced it as I don’t eat it myself neither grew up eating it. However I am not opposed to my son eating meat. (Leaving that to my husband as he is non vegetarian

8-10 months+

My son didn’t have any teeth until he was 10 months, however the gums were strong enough to mash small pieces of food. I wanted to introduce new textures and real food so I prepared below simple meals for him and also introduced other new foods. All of the food items above are also a part of his diet.

  • Toast with butter/hummus/peanut butter /cheese – Toast is my son’s favorite food. He was sucking small pieces and enjoying the new texture at 8 months and now he chews and eats it.
  • Full fat cheese singles is his favorite snack; I also offer it between toast. I make Paneer (cottage cheese) at home from organic whole milk. I mixed small pieces of paneer with banana or apple to add flavor to it .
  • Multigrain Roti (flatbread) made at home with multigrain flour, some ghee or butter. You can dip it in milk/formula to make the texture softer.
  • Rice with Veggies– Rice mixed with carrots, potatoes and spinach cooked in ghee and butter with no salt and only some turmeric.
  • Fruits– Apart from banana, apples and pears I also I introduced at this time strawberries ,blueberries , mango, peaches and kiwi. You can soften hard fruits by steaming or boiling it. We have stayed away from grapes as they can choke.
  • Yogurt– My son was not a huge fan of yogurt at the beginning, so later I started mixing it up with bananas, strawberries and also added very little sugar to get him used to the texture.

10 -12 months + Food recipes

Apart from all the above food, I also started making healthy meals to get him used to real food and interested in new flavors. I post a lot of videos on my Instagram stories of him enjoying his meal. And lately a lot of moms reached out to me for recipes of the food my son has been eating. Here I sharing  some quick and easy to make recipes.

  • img_8761-1Pancakes – This is by far the simplest and most preferred food. I simply add Half Banana (you can even substitute it with sweet potatoes) , 1 egg, 2 -3 tbsp multigrain flour (you can substitute it with wheat ,or oatmeal cereal or flour) and mix it all together. Spread it on the pan with some butter and it ready in no time. Easy to chew and also makes great ready to go meal.
  • Rice, Lentil and veggie Mush (Khichdi)– Wash and soak the rice and dal in water for half an hour. Drain the water. In a pressure cooker, add the Rice, Dal, Garlic, onions, spinach, carrot and potatoes. Add 3 cups of water. Pressure cook till 3 whistles (one on high and 2 on medium).After the steam is released, add ghee or butter and serve. I give this everyday for dinner as it is an extremely nutritious meal
  • Veggie Paratha or flatbread- For ease and convenience I add mashed and boiled potatoes, spinach and sometimes carrot to the flour directly and add in some water to make it in a dough. Roll it in small and thin circles and heat it on the pan until it is slightly brown and serve it with ghee or butter in small pieces. You can add some salt too.
  • Fruit Bars with oatmeal-1/2 ripe banana, mashed. approx 3 to 4 tbsp rolled oats, 2 tbsp raisns. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F, 180 deg C. Grind the oats in a food processor OR leave them just as they are. The final texture of your fruity bars depends on whether or not you ground the oats – leaving them whole, of course, provides more texture than grinding them. Stir the oats into the mashed banana. The amount of oats you need depends on the size of the banana – you need to achieve a ‘doughy’ texture that you can shape with your hands. Stir in the raisins. Form the mixture into ‘bars’ then place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cook for around 10 to 15 minutes until firm and lightly golden.Cool and serve. Freeze leftover bars for up to one month.
  • img_8623Oatmeal ,banana , Peanut butter muffins – This is another easy and ready to go recipe my son loves. It makes a great snack item too. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. Place 1 cup oats in a medium bowl and add 1 cup milk. Allow the oats to soak while you prepare the rest of the muffins. In a separate large bowl, mix together the 1 cup flour,1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and cinnamon. Some applesauce,1 tbsp peanut butter, 2 egg and 1 tbsp vanilla to the bowl with the soaked oats and stir to combine. Add and combine all the ingredients. The batter will be very runny. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, until done. These are just barely sweet and great for little ones. If you want them to be sweeter, try adding sugar or maple syrup.  Extras can be stored on the counter for 3 days, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

I hope this post is helpful for moms who are starting on the journey to give solids to their babies. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. Also if you can comment and share some recipes that worked for your baby, it will be extremely helpful for me and the readers.

For your convenience I have made a Meal plan print out listing out Carbs, Proteins and Veggies/Fruits options that can be given to kids. Click on below link.

Toddler Meal Plan Print Out

Love

arushi

 

 

Healthy No Bake Energy Bites 


We all need some energy boost at some point of the day. Coffee is my fuel, but I also needed something with more sustenance. These energy bites just do that for me !

These balls are loaded with nutrients and can make a great post workout snack or To-Go energy booster and is super quick and easy. It took me only 10 minutes to make these naturally sweetened balls  with a boost of protein and nutrient dense Shakeology powder .

This no bake energy bites is  made with healthier ingredients, and taste like no bake brownies or cookie batter !

Race, Hikes, Road trip , Travel… This is the snack you need!

Say Hello to  healthy snacking and get on board!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter.
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds (optional)
  • ½ cup Chocolate Shakelogy Powder or any other Protein powder vanilla or chocolate flavor
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/3 cup milk or water

Tip: You can also use 1/2 cup chocolate chips if you use a non chocolate protein powder.

Directions:

  • Blend all the ingredients together. If this mixture is too hard and doesn’t blend, you can add milk or water.
  • Make sure it is in the consistency of a dough. These days its called the hippie cookie dough.
  • Roll the batter into portable bites on shredded coconut or  sweet sprinkles coating to make them look fancy !
  • To set, leave in fridge  15 -20 minutes. Will keep fresh in an air-tight bag or container for up to a week if no milk is added . Freeze for longer term storage.


They are tender, crunchy from peanut butter and chia seeds, wholesome and seriously delicious.

You can also check out my Guilt Free Homemade Popsicles.

Do leave your feedback and comments !!

P.S     I am inspired to eat healthy and make healthy meals daily by one my favorite Instagram Mom Ursula Walsh from  MomfitneessDiary. Check her insta feed for easy to make healthy snacks and meals.

Guilt Free, Homemade, Refreshing Popsicles!

Hot summer days are are upon us and these homemade popsicles will help you and your little ones beat the heat !! For me it also a healthy alternative for my sweet cravings. Fruit lovers, chocolate lovers and clean eaters, you can all follow below steps for these easy to make ice pops with pantry staple ingredients. I have added some tips to suit different tastes.  Enjoy these fresh from the freezer homemade ice pops and stay refreshed all summer long!

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Watermelon & Strawberry Lip Smacker!

Ingredients : 1 cup Watermelon , 1 cup Strawberries , Lime zest and few drops of Lime

Directions

  • Blend all 3 ingredients in a blender or mixer and mix to combine
  • Fold  the mixture into the popsicle mold and insert the sticks
  • Freeze until firm (1-2 hours)
  • To easily remove the Popsicle from the mold after they are frozen, put the mold under running water or immerse them in a hot water bowl.
  • Tip: Add honey for extra sweetness , and flax seeds for some nutritional value.

Tangy Coconut and Kiwi Kicker!

Ingredients : 1 cup coconut water ( bottled or fresh) I used Vita Coco, 1/2 cup kiwi slices

Directions

  • Pour coconut water into the Popsicle molds
  • Cut Kiwi into small pieces to fit in the mold and add them from top.
  • Insert the sticks and freeze until firm. (1-2 hours)
  • Tip:  Add blueberries for sweetness and extra color . Add Chia seeds for nutrition.

Banana and Peanut butter Pop!

Ingredients : 1 Banana , 1 and half Tbsp Peanut butter, 1 cup milk

Directions

  • Blend all 3 ingredients in the blender until combined .
  • Fold the mixture into the popsicle mold and insert the stick
  • Freeze until firm (2-3 hours)
  • Tip: You can add chocolate syrup for sweetness or chocolate chips for the crunch.

Notes