I got into babysitting early on in high school since I genuinely liked being around kids and saw it as relatively easy money. I’m an only child, so I never had to deal with the pains of growing up with siblings, and I find myself having fun with the kids, too. This summer I’m nannying a seventeen-month-old and between diaper changes, strict nap times, and trips to the park, I’m also in charge of trying to feed him stuff he actually likes. It’s been a trial and error process, but here are some meals that went over well.
Veggie burger, avocado, and applesauce
The parents of this household are pretty health conscientious, which is great since it means their freezer is loaded with a bunch of healthy options for their child. It takes off a lot of the pressure for me to do too much cooking. I’ve found that while slightly difficult for the kid to eat, Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers ($3.69 for four patties!) are fine for him once they’re cut up enough. Applesauce is a big staple in these next upcoming meals as well, mainly since it’s easy to eat and tasty. The avocado I used mostly because the mom suggested it and, again, it was easy for him to eat. This was the first lunch I made for him and I thought it was pretty well balanced.
Black bean burger, pinto beans, and apple sauce
Yeah, applesauce continues to be the winner here. It’s always the thing he reaches for first and he can eat plenty of it, so it’s always a safe bet. The pinto beans I just got out of a can and ran under some water to clean them off. I paired them with a Trader Joe’s Quinoa Black Bean Burger, which I had to dice up small enough for him to eat. The burger didn’t go over as well this time and he left a lot on his plate, but that could’ve been because the portion of pinto beans was so much. I was impressed with my little flavorful theme here. Well, besides the applesauce.
String cheese, blueberries, strawberries, and cheese ravioli
I wasn’t sure how to give him the string cheese, so I just unwrapped it and tentatively left it on the table. He didn’t break off slices in the traditionally enjoyable way, but he did munch on it to his little heart’s desire, so it was a successful gamble. The fruit was from a local farmer’s market, with the strawberries of course cut up into smaller bites. The ravioli was from a brand called Kidfresh, which specializes in healthy, easy options for children. I didn’t put any cheese on top of it or anything and he was content to dive right in with his hands.
Avocado, tomato, puree pouch, and…applesauce
Aside from finding out that this particular toddler might have a sensitivity to tomatoes, this lunch went over really well. I was skeptical of the pouches at first, but I have officially discovered that they work wonders. Earth’s Best Organic Puree Pouches are not a complete meal in themselves, but they pack a lot of nutrients and are incredibly filling. This pouch was squash and sweet peas and it went down fast. Of course, I included the staple of applesauce, alongside some chopped up tomatoes and avocados. This was a simple meal, but the avocados did prove to be pretty messy.
Almond butter sandwich, blueberries, and (yep) applesauce
So, I ended up using applesauce in four out of the five meals I made this week. I’m just going to reiterate how much applesauce comes in handy, especially for picky eaters. He’d had a big breakfast so this was a slightly smaller meal. The bread ended up being too big a task, so I cut it into very small pieces and he ended up being able to feed himself. Blueberries are nutritious and “fun” for toddlers to eat, since they get to use their hands and this particular food can roll. I ended up picking several off the ground and stepping on a few later as well.