Thanksgiving is a time to gather family and friends and share a delicious meal. You envision a table full of loved ones - or perhaps just your small family - and enjoying favorite dishes from recipes that have been passed down for generations.
Unfortunately, it's not always how Thanksgiving (or other holiday dinners) work. For parents with picky eaters, Thanksgiving may be stressful as you anticipate comments what family members will say about your kid's eating habits (and what they imply about your parenting). Perhaps you're doing Baby-led Weaning (infant self-feeding) and you worry that loved ones will not understand how your baby eats. The sights and the aroma’s might be completely delicious to adults, but for many children, especially picky eaters or children with special needs or allergies, this meal can cause stress to the whole family.
Remember, flexibility is important with all things, especially children and holidays.
We've laid out some strategies for keeping Thanksgiving fun and low-stress with your BLW baby or selective kiddo.
Tips for self-feeding babies.
Tips for selective eaters.
If your child has known food allergies, make sure to inform your host ahead of time. Always ask for ingredients in foods you didn't make, and consider bringing allergy-friendly Thanksgiving dishes your child can enjoy so they can be part of the celebration.
We have so many favorite fast breakfast options, but frozen waffles are definitely top 5 lately! Our favorite frozen waffle brands (not sponsored) right now are:
These aren’t the waffles of your childhood (although nothing wrong with those either)! The newest waffles on the market pack more of a nutritional punch - including protein in many cases - so they help keep your kids full and their blood sugar in line. You can serve them with the traditional butter and real maple syrup combo, but we also love mixing it up with the toppings and serving suggested listed below!
Make sure to cut them in the right size for your child - babies 6+ months can eat them as strips or “sandwiches,” and older babies/toddlers can eat them as small pieces, strips, or whole using their hands! Just toast them first and make sure they’re a little crunchy for reluctant eaters!
Judy loves waffles because they have natural bite spots for babies and toddlers working on the “bite and pull” skill. We listed various waffle brands above that help satisfy different nutrient needs, as we know that some of you are dealing with allergies, intolerances or health issues. If the waffle itself is low in protein, make sure to pair it with a protein source like nut/seed butter, eggs, hemp hearts, chia seeds, or milk. As always, read labels carefully if you’re avoiding allergens.
Megan here, talking about our favorite food group - chocolate! My family isn’t dairy-free, but we know that many are you are for various reasons. Some mamas have to stop eating dairy for their breastfeeding baby who isn’t tolerating dairy in mama’s milk, or perhaps it doesn’t sit well with your system. We get messages all the time about adjusting to dairy-free life when you’re used to eating it. Enter Enjoy Life chocolate chips (not sponsored). They're a godsend for those who don’t do dairy but really miss chocolate and want to satisfy a sweet craving!
Here are some great ways to enjoy them:
Above are just some ways to use chocolate chips or melted chocolate - all of which can make needing to be dairy-free for baby a wee bit easier. To make energy balls (adapted from Gimme Some Oven), combine 1 cup uncooked oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut/seed butter, 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (no honey for babies), and 2 T chia seeds; roll into balls and refrigerate to set. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Keep in mind that some of these ideas aren’t allergen free, so adapt if necessary! (Note: Larabar also has dairy free chocolate chip options, but it’s always more fun to dip it in chocolate sauce!)
Breakfast burritos are amazing for adults and kids alike because you can modify them to your tastes and dietary needs (see below for allergy/diet modifications), plus they’re super easy and delicious!
Sometimes babies, toddlers and kids are overwhelmed by burritos in their whole form and do better with deconstructed options, so above is one way you could present breakfast burrito ingredients to your tot - using an ice cube tray! (This is a silicone tray from Target purchased this past summer.) Shown here are tortilla, eggs, cheese, beans, guacamole and salsa (2 flavors). Yes, babies and kids can eat spicy foods - just start slowly! Some of these foods contain salt, so if you serve these to babies under 12 months just go easy on salty foods the rest of the day.
Since breakfast burritos from restaurants can be so filling, we’ve shown half of a burrito here. The most important thing is not rigid “portion control,” but rather eating until your body is comfortably full and satisfied.
The ice cube tray spaces are really small - the image isn’t to scale next to the full burrito so you can see it better. Each section has about 1 tablespoon of food. Keep offerings small for kids so they’re not overwhelmed - they can always have more than what you serve, and if they don't eat it you waste less food.
Here are some of our favorite breakfast burrito ingredients:
Need to modify your burrito for allergies or dietary concerns?
Coming home from vacation can be, as one of our followers called it, very “disorienting.” Ain’t that the truth! Get back on track - no, not in a “diety” or restrictive way, but in a self-care way - with some of these simple tips.
So many of us feel anxious about the return to our normal life after we’ve been on vacation. We face mile-high piles of laundry (and emails) and don’t always feel well physically because of changes to our normal eating, drinking and sleep routines. Maybe we are sad that a much-anticipated vacation is over, or perhaps the change of environment caused our precious little angels to turn into sleep-deprived, hangry tyrants. Vacations with kids aren’t always relaxing, but they can be joyous nonetheless - we just have to figure out how to manage the depressing after-vacation effects so we can smoothly integrate back into our normal, crazy lives. We hope some of these ideas help you integrate back into normal life!
Tacos are an easy dinner that can be enjoyed by the whole family! We’ve put together some visuals for how to serve tacos to kids 6+ months to help them developmentally get to the stage where they can eat crunchy tacos! (Hard taco shells are technically a choking hazard for kids under 4!) These are simply ideas - if you’ve taken our online courses, you know that we encourage meeting your child at their current stage and challenging them to get to the next level safely.
In these images, you’ll notice that foods start soft and in larger pieces for new eaters to hold well and then actually get smaller as they develop more sophisticated grasps and techniques.
6+ months: Babies can have cheese - it’s just that if you’re serving shredded cheese with your own taco, it may be hard for them to pick it up!
10-12+ months: A 10-12 month old baby is just starting to learn how to bite and pull with front teeth (as these teeth come in), so it can be helpful to make serrated lines with a fork on a soft tortilla to give their mouths a place to bite.
15-18+ months: As they get a little older (on average 15-18+ months), toddlers can try eating very small tacos (basically mini burritos) to practice this bite and pull skill. Their little mouths probably aren’t ready for a full-sized soft taco, but it’s great to start getting them used to these types of foods so they can eventually eat sandwiches, pizza, etc. Note that the lettuce and bell pepper servings are small - around this age many toddlers become more particular, so it helps to keep less preferred foods in tiny portions so as to not overwhelm them. They can start to try crunchy lettuce at this time.
4+ years: As your child gets older (4+), it’s time to try a crunchy taco! Let them build it themselves from a topping bar - they’re more likely to try different foods if they serve it to themselves.
A few notes:
Perfect for game day!
Need to bring an easy, fun snack to your next Sunday night football party (or, well, any party)? We love these sandwich skewers originally inspired by Pinterest browsing. The Cuban flavor is amazing, but I figured we could mix it up in so many ways! Some of the flavors are more complex and may or may not be kid-approved in your house (but we still recommend trying it so your child has the opportunity). Just be careful with food on sticks/toothpicks for kids under 2-3, and watch round foods like olives and cherry tomatoes for kids under 4!
Here's some ideas:
Don’t feel like party snacks have to be “healthy” to share - all foods can be a wonderful part of living life and enjoying celebrations!
Teething almost always affects mealtime in some way. A sudden change of eating patterns usually means something’s up - and teeth are a very likely culprit (even before you can see them poking through the gums).
When it comes to teething and mealtime, here's some things to keep in mind:
Food ideas to help with the pain:
Remember, stay consistent with regular food at regular mealtime - you never know when they’ll pick it back up again, and we don’t want their eating to digress in the long-run!
For years we’ve been asked to do a cookbook, but we hesitated because our expertise wasn’t in recipe development. Enter Ali from Inspiralized and Inspiralized Kids, the brilliant New York Times best selling author! Together we collaborated to create Inspiralized Littles, our first eCookbook! It's now available! We are so thrilled to partner with such a talented cookbook author and recipe developer. The best part? It’s just $5.99!
What does this eCookbook include?
Need more of a step-by-step guide to baby-led weaning? Check out our infant course covering everything you need to know about starting solids with you baby at 6+ months old.
Oh, the things we learn when we become parents, right? As feeding professionals who have worked with thousands of families - and moms ourselves - we have both learned a lot more about food than we ever learned in school. Fortunately, there is still so much more to learn and more ways to grow in our understanding...but here are some things we know to be true right now"
Need more help? Our online courses are here to help you navigate feeding your kids under age 7! The infant course is appropriate for new eaters and babies who haven’t learned to self-feed; our toddler course is best for kids 10 months - 6 years.
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!