Toddler Breakfast Eating: Banana Raisin Granola Porridge

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I feel like breakfast is the one meal that I have struggled the most with in terms of finding things that are healthy and with variety to feed my children in the morning. Let’s not forget that it should be quick too – because 1) I’m not a morning person and 2) I don’t cook. This comes from a person who usually just grabs a protein shake to-go as I’m running out the door to go do a gazillion things… Or I turn to caffeine for myself to wake me up and suppress my appetite. Sigh. But of course, I wouldn’t do that to my kids! So here’s the thing…. My daughter doesn’t like eggs. My son dabbles with it. Both will do the pancake thing but I’m not too enthusiastic about how much they soak it with syrup. Plus, if they do eat pancakes, I’d prefer it be some healthy homemade version I’ve seen a recipe for on Pinterest. But… remember I’m not a morning person and I don’t cook… so therefore, it is unlikely that I’d be up every morning making pancakes for my little people.

Surprisingly enough… my kids have been eating nearly the SAME breakfast (variation) since they were both 15 months old? (Around there). Its crazy that they are ok with eating similar breakfast day in and day out. Its basically a toddler variation of of the rice cereal that they at as babies. To be honest, its like softer version of adult oatmeal in my opinion, which is why I titled it “porridge”. I’ve actually bought some Steel Oats to try and make other variations of oatmeal, but the kids are still happy with this breakfast, so I’m not one to try and fix something that isn’t broken. This post is specifically about Banana Raisin Granola…. but – I’ll list some other fruit variations we do at the bottom. The base – the cereal is all the same. The variation is all in the fruit that’s mixed.

Nonetheless, my kids like it, and its healthy, organic, and its a great way for them to start the day. Here’s how it goes:

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So what’s not pictured here: Horizon 2% DHA Milk (or whatever milk you want to use) and an organic Banana.

Directions – Warm up about 2-3oz of milk in the microwave. Mix in about 3 tablespoons of the baby cereal (I alternate between the HappyBellies multi-grain, rice, and oatmeal) or as much to get the consistency you like. Then I mash/dice in 1/2 a banana. My daughter likes a 1.5 tablespoons of the granola and dumps a box of the organic raisins in.  Mix…… and she kills it!

This is my daughter’s favorite variation.

Other fruit variations that we rotate through: (Note – my kids like the granola added in no matter what fruit it is. This started more recently – I’d only do it for experienced eaters because they are really crunchy with some big pieces)

– Applesauce – You can buy the 4oz snack packages in organic apple flavor and non-organic I have found a berry flavor as well. I usually add cinnamon sometimes instead of buying the cinnamon flavored applesauce.

– Pear – Trader Joes sells the 4oz snack packages of pear sauce – this is great for the younger kids. My kids are older now, so I usually get a can of diced pears or use the Dole’s diced Pears 4oz snack packages that are come in 100% juice – not syrup! My kids like to drink the juice after I’ve put all the diced pieces into their bowl.  Don’t forget fresh pears are always good!

– Passion Fruit – My daughter likes the passion fruit that comes from the Dole’s Tropical Fruit cups – again – the one in 100% juice!

– Mango or Peach Mango – For this one, I usually buy frozen organic peaches and Trader Joes has frozen organic mangoes. I put enough to fill a small sauce pan and boil it with some water until its pretty soft. Then I drain the fruit and toss it in the Magic Bullet and smooth it out a bit. These end up in small 2oz containers in the fridge – or freezer if you make a lot. Each breakfast serving usually requires about 2oz of fruit.

-Blueberry or Blueberry/Raspberry – Similar to Mango, buy the frozen organic fruit and boil it in a saucepan. For the berries, no need to puree – just spoon it into the bowl and/or containers.

 

P.S. If you are wondering what happens when we aren’t home and are traveling? Well…. for the most part, if you are staying at a house or somewhere with a microwave and fridge, then just bring a can of the rice cereal. You can buy milk and bananas anywhere to make a simple breakfast version. On days when I’m just doing a quick overnighter somewhere or staying at someone’s house – I usually grab the Gerber Graduates Breakfast – apple cinnamon oatmeal. The kids like it. 🙂

Toddler Eating: Spinach & Turkey Quesadillas

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Mhmm mhmmm mhmmm… Even I enjoy one of these for lunch! Much more healthy than what you can pick up for your child at the taco shop!

Ingredients are simple:

  • Tortillas ( your choice flour or corn, organic or not) I always try to get the whole wheat ones. The one below is from Trader Joes and soooo good. Best store-bought corn tortillas in my opinion.
  • Organic frozen chopped Spinach
  • Cheese of your choice
  • Turkey deli slices

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I usually put a chunk of the frozen spinach in a mug with some water and zap it in the microwave for 25 seconds. Then I spread it out on the cheese. I ran out of shredded cheese today (my preferred type for quesadillas) so I had to use sliced cheese. It all melts in the end anyways!

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I spray the the pan with a little olive oil spray, then plop my quesadilla in, flipping it back and forth until the cheese is melted through and the tortilla gets toasty.

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Simple, right!?! Simple. Healthy. Toddler-approved. Add some guacamole and we’re set!

Emergency Toddler Meals

Ok… We’ve all been there. Its okay. You don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t look at you any differently!

I’m talking about those days when you are either too tired, too busy, or just plan ran out of ideas for cooking something fresh and nutritious for your child. We ALL have those days. And on those days…. you find yourself reaching for the nearest microwavable meal. And you know what? IT’S OK. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Goodness – I know in my freezer I got some Banquet TV dinners and Celeste Pizzas on hand for my “emergency adult meals”. Shoot… who doesn’t have some ramen or Cup o’ Noodles on stock either? You know… starving college meal days… translates into emergency working adult meals too. Its all good.

Anyhow… Of all the things that you could be giving your child in those moments… here’s my roundup of favorites. Enjoy!

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I’d have to say that there are a lot of pretty good Frozen Meals from the Earth’s Best line. I’m pretty impressed. I typically like to make my own mini pizzas for my son… but every once in while… a quick 3 minute meal is needed.

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I don’t feel as guilty if I get my kids the Whole Grain Chef Boyardee at least. hehe

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My kids have been eating the Graduates Pasta Pick-ups just fine. I like that there is some veggies in them as well. I haven’t tried the Organic ones yet. but I like the sound of Organic and the fact that its in a sauce is a nice transition for them to start eating some adult ravioli versions in the future.

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Trader Joe’s has a lot of great options for quick meals. The chicken drumettes are really yummy but take a little longer if you are using the oven to make them more crispy. The organic tofu veggie burgers are great! I usually just wrap them in a paper towel and zap it in the microwave for a minute. When my kids were younger, I would dice them as finger foods because its really soft. But now, I actually can slap it between some Oroweat Sandwich Thins and make a quick sandwich.

Overall, I try to do my best to feed my kids. I’m just a mom. I can’t slave away at an intricate, healthy, organic meal all the time. So I admit it. These emergency items save my ass.

Toddler Eating: How kids should REALLY eat Mac N Cheese

If a kid has always eaten Mac N’ Cheese this way, then how would they ever know the difference? That means, when we go out and about and they have the regular ol’ plain Mac, then THAT is what’s out of the norm – not how we eat it at home.

At home, I add organic: tofu, spinach and broccoli.  This is how my kids eat Mac N Cheese and chow it down. Honestly, I don’t care how you like to prep your Mac (whether it be from scratch or from the box), but I think by just simply adding a few extra ingredients, you can make what really isn’t the best toddler meal, turn into a much healthier entree. For the veggies, I heat up from frozen chopped spinach and cut up broccoli florets.

Sometimes, when I have time, I’ll add organic shredded cheese and bread crumbs on top and pop it in the oven to get it nice and crispy. hmmmmm yummy breaded bake!

 

When I reach for the box, I’m usually reaching for Annie’s Homegrown. Original, shells, shapes – my kids eat it all.

I love the Organic Sprouted Tofu from Trader Joes, especially because it comes in a smaller packaging. I usually just dice them into meals for the kids, so the typical larger packaging of Tofu seems like a waste. I just slice them and then put them into a tupperware container with fresh water. Then just dice slices as I need them throughout the week. Just be sure to change the water every 1-2 days!