By: Katie McNally
Toddler (Reality) Bites: An Adapted Recipe
Are you looking for a healthy, all in one meal for your picky toddler? Look no further! Just follow these twenty easy steps…
Step One: Realize your toddler has eaten some variation of cheese, chicken nuggets, apples, crackers, and whatever the hell it was that was on the floor for an unseemly number of consecutive days.
Step Two: Berate yourself moderately. This is seriously affecting your credibility as a “chewy granola mom.” You did Baby-Led Weaning for eff’s sake. This child was supposed to eat anything and everything. Still, it’s better than the time you almost flipped them out of the wrap in a fit of over-zealous baby wearing. So, there’s that.
Step Three: Fire up Pinterest and consult your Healthy Food/Toddler Food boards for ideas you’ve been meaning to try. Find yourself being seduced by phrases like:
“It’s an entire meal in a little handful!”
“My kids won’t even drink water, and they love this recipe!”
“My little one asked me to make these instead of a birthday cake!”
Step Four: Settle on the recipe with the simplest ingredients that looks like it has the slightest prayer of being a success. Add the ingredients to the list app on your phone.
Step Five: Head to the grocery store with the toddler for whom you are trying to make the bites. Commit your list to memory while sweet chubby little hands try to snatch your phone out of your hand. Try to concentrate on what you need to get while the toddler asks to watch “Baby Shark” on your phone by shriek singing increasingly frantic choruses of “doo doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.” Sing “Baby Shark” while trying to remember if eggs (doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo) are in the recipe.
Step Six: Get home, realize you forgot the quinoa, which is an integral part of the recipe. Add it to the list for a grocery store run later, because if you go back now, you’ll run the risk of a car nap. F. That. Noise
Step Seven: Make a plate of apples, cheese, and crackers for the toddler’s lunch. After a rousing chorus of “No, no, no, NO, NO!” it’s off to nap time!
Step Eight: While adding wine and/or chocolate to the new grocery list, check Pinterest again. If you’re going back to the store for quinoa anyway, you should just go ahead and make two different recipes. Then you can freeze them and always have healthy options at the ready! Right, RIGHT?!?!?
Step Nine: Go back to the grocery store; get the quinoa and whatever else you’ve deemed necessary
Step Ten: Throw the quinoa into the Instant Pot, find your favorite Google result for how to cook quinoa in an Instant Pot. Go with that.
Step Eleven: Leave the quinoa in the Instant Pot to cool. Forget about it overnight.
Step Twelve: Fight breaking into sobs when you realize you forgot the quinoa. Pick yourself up off the floor and dust yourself off. This recipe is now your Everest. You will not be defeated.
Step Thirteen: Do some more Googling. Decide the quinoa is probably still okay to eat, you’re baking it again, and heat kills germs, right?
Step Fourteen: Feed the toddler lunch. Tell yourself it’s okay that it is cheese… again. Tonight, they will be feasting on not one, but two lovingly made recipes that will fulfill all their nutritional needs and introduce them to new and exciting tastes!
Step Fifteen: It’s nap time, you are ready to DO. THIS. THING. You assemble all the ingredients and mix and roll and bake frantically before your toddler wakes back up. At this point you may want to throw up a prayer/make a sacrifice to Julia Child, Mr. Rogers, Chef Boyardee, and anyone else you think may be helpful
Step Sixteen: You’ve done it! Now to let them cool and decide you can’t wait for dinner. You and the toddler are going to try these magical bites as an after-nap treat! Contemplate starting your own YouTube channel to teach other moms how to make easy healthy meals.
Step Seventeen: Watch with glistening eyes as your little cherub, the light of your life, takes a bite from the first recipe, spits it out, and frantically starts scraping their tongue. Take a taste yourself and decide the kid really does have a point. Put the bites from the first recipe in a freezer bag. Place in freezer and hope some benign neglect will improve them. If you’re feeling strong, you can offer a bite from the second recipe. No one will judge you if you just can’t even at this point. Use your best judgement.
Step Eighteen: Preheat the oven for chicken nuggets. Try one of the bites from the second recipe yourself. Decide they don’t suck.
Step Nineteen: Feed the toddler dinner. You can throw a new veggie or two on their plate if you feel up to it. Don’t be a hero. Potato chips count.
Step Twenty: After the toddler is in bed, serve yourself some of the wine and/or chocolate you purchased on the earlier grocery run and return to Pinterest for some more ideas. Don’t forget to eat a few of the toddler bites; they are an entire meal in a tiny handful, after all.
About the Author:
Katie is a Mother of Gingers (kind of like dragons but scarier at points). She is currently at home reheating a mug of tea for the eleventh time and working on various writing projects as well as getting her life together in general. She just turned 40 and is mining it for any blogging material she can while never being sure if she is wearing the blanket scarf or its wearing her. You can read more on her blog, Knock, Knock, Knocking on Forty’s Door or follow Katie on Facebook