I didn’t start feeding Sona a full three meals a day until she was a few weeks into her 11th month. Until that point she had still been nursing five times a day. During that time, I started weaning her down to a couple of feedings a day and supplementing with real food. The whole process was overwhelming to be honest because I didn’t know what to feed her. I was happy to be cutting down on nursing but finding meals and snacks that are healthy and filling required some research. I reached out to lots of my mom friends to ask what they feed their babes and put in a lot of leg work myself. Flash forward to 15 months and her entire diet is real food. The food she eats is really important to us and I feel like because I’m home with her I need to be giving her meals that are more wholesome and process-free. This doesn’t mean it’s always process free because it’s not but providing her with the most nutritious meals is something I strive for.
Snacks – I found snacks especially to be difficult. I wanted to stray from things like puffs, teethers and pouches (although we definitely do still use snacks like that in a pinch). Her eating schedule now is 3 meals a day + two snacks. I give her the snacks after her first and second naps. Obviously the really good stuff requires some prep and I usually try and do mine on a Sunday or Monday because it’s unrealistic for me to be preparing snacks for her the day of. I start with steaming a bunch of vegetables for her and store it for the whole week. Things like carrots, green beans and broccoli. I leave all the pieces big because she feels like she’s a boss and she’ll dip it in hummus. I’ll use it as a side for lunch or as a full snack. I’m trying to be better about buying vegetables that are more in season. Some recent staple and more gourmet snacks I’ve made and keep going back to are quinoa muffins, zucchini & sweet potato tots (a favorite), spinach balls, rice balls, red lentil cakes, cheesy quinoa bites. Quick snacks – Organic Valley Snack Sticks, Late July Rich Crackers with a nut butter, Lundburg thin stackers with nut butter, homemade apple sauce, handfuls of berries, Joseph’s brand (in the hummus section of the grocery store) makes a bean & corn mix and leaves stuffed with rice that I buy and give her as a snack as well. Smoothies have been a game changer. I make one for her almost everyday. After deciding not to give Sona cows milk I wanted to make sure I was incorporating calcium rich foods into her diet. With smoothies I’m able to sneak in lots of leafy greens.
Breakfast is uninspiring but I find that for myself anyway. I give her eggs a lot but try switching up the kind of eggs I give her. I do hard boiled and scrambled mostly and sneak in things like mushrooms and spinach with the scramble. She’ll also have toast with avocado or nut butter and oatmeal. Bob’s Red Mill brand has an instant oatmeal, I make it on the stovetop in two minutes and mix in berries. Nature’s Path has an organic chia plus waffle that I buy randomly. I am looking into finding some organic chicken sausage to add to the rotation too.
Lunch can be tough because I try not to give her the same things every single week so she doesn’t get too bored with anything and I’m constantly introducing her to new things. Left overs from dinner are always a big one. I’ll get rotisserie chicken and try and use that for a few days. The sides I always go back to are sweet potato, white potato, brown rice, frozen peas and corn, cut up cherry tomatoes, beans. She randomly really likes leafy greens like kale and spinach but I rarely make it for lunch. Occasionally I’ll make pasta, a peanut butter and jelly or a grilled cheese. We make a lot of soup and I’ll drain the broth and give her everything else.
Dinner is probably my easiest meal because I never make anything different for her. She eats exactly what we eat. If there has ever been a time where she isn’t into the food I’m serving I don’t offer her anything different. So far it’s worked well and I’ve found that when she’s hungry she eats anything. And I remind myself that even if she doesn’t eat as much as she did the day before that it’s OK because she won’t starve herself.
I hope this helps. It’s also a work in progress and I’d love any suggestions from other like minded mamas out there!