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.
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!
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.
Do you struggle finding fast meal ideas and need help with filling, nourishing, tasty foods that your whole family can enjoy? Good news - we are in the same boat too! I think everyone struggles with the weeknight mealtime hustle. It’s hard to fit in everything, especially when you’re juggling busy after school schedules, work, cranky babies, or toddlers who decide they hate eating every other day.
We got you - being a parent is hard work. Do your best - which may mean takeout tonight - and give yourself grace to use easy convenience options! There are so many good ones out there!
This is one of my favorite simple chicken hacks using the beloved Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce - sub out marinara or even salsa if needed. It pairs nicely with Primal Kitchen avocado oil ranch (dairy-free), but use whatever ranch you’d like! We love this option for our dairy-free families who struggle to find meal ideas that lend creaminess similar to cheese!
Here's what you need:
Here’s the "recipe":
Using a pump can help with supply.
National Breastfeeding Month is a time we talk about breastfeeding and milk supply, but we wanted to share a few milk supply tips from the lovely Stephanie Nguyen, RN, MSN, WHNP-C, IBCLC, owner of Modern Milk and amazing Nurse Practitioner/IBCLC.
First off, a word on milk supply: many moms think their supply is low, but in actuality it’s just fine! True low supply is when you are not making enough milk to meet baby’s needs or baby isn’t gaining weight. Ask yourself these questions.
Perhaps you’re pumping and need a boost or you’re working on improving milk supply per your pediatrician. Here are Steph’s top 3 things you can do NOW to boost your supply!
We were thrilled to be part of the #storytimesnacks in September project, spearheaded by Literacy for Littles. Each Tuesday in September, we joined some wonderful accounts in featuring snacks that fit the theme of a favorite children’s book! Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your child, and so many books pair beautifully with simple themed snacks! Even though September is over, you can still use some of these books and snack pairing ideas with your little ones throughout the year!
Encourage your kid to “push the button” and get a little messy with the food. Perhaps they want to taste the button next. Maybe they want to try again by pushing more buttons. It’s a fun, interactive experience for kids and adults alike!
Here's how we made them:
When this series started we were contacted by Simon Kids/Simon and Schuster to check out a few of their children’s books, and the ones they sent were so sweet!
We hope you continue to make fun snacks and read to your kiddos!
Late summer is fig season! These fun, high-fiber and mineral-rich fruits are awesome eaten raw, but I especially love them as a salad dressing or dip!
I’ve been making this Fig Vinaigrette for years, and every time I make it I love it even more. This recipe is heavy on the vinegar (because that’s how I like it - bring on the sour and strong flavors!), but you may not like as much acid. It’s perfect on a big green salad with feta, walnuts and strawberries. Watch whole nuts for kids under 4; if you use walnuts on your salad, finely crush them for your tot.
Dips are great to start serving as early as infancy (6+ months) because as a child gets older, a familiar dip makes a less familiar food not so scary. Hummus and guacamole are great places to start, but we also love vinaigrettes, marinara, fruit purees served as dips, ranch, Greek yogurt, ketchup, etc. Serve dips often so that when your tot inevitably shuns a new food, the familiar dip makes it much more appealing.
Here's how to make it:
Any day can be Toast Tuesday! (And yes, Toast Tuesday is a thing!) We want kids to eat what we eat, but sometimes the super creative toast topping ideas are a little too out there for more reluctant eaters. Here are some ways to mix up how you serve toast to your kids. Of course, these ideas may be too "out there" for your family, but give them a shot!
Are you trying to introduce your child to new foods? Make sure to start small. Make one tiny change in how you offer toast one day - perhaps you have your tot spread the peanut butter himself and ask him if he wants to add some fresh fruit. Lay off the pressure - just model and have fun! Don’t be discouraged if they pick off all the toppings and eat them - or not - first.
We love Dave's Killer Bread and Food for Life Ezekiel bread as great whole grain options! Watch for honey for infants and large seeds for kids under 4.
When it comes to raising adventurous eaters, it’s all about repetition, variety, and approaching mealtime with curiosity and fun (not pressure or anger). Huge change doesn’t happen overnight. Your kiddo will get there!
Need help with a reluctant eater? Our online Toddler Course is perfect for kids 10 months (who are self-feeding) through 5-6+!
If you want even more creative Toast Tuesday ideas, head to Milk & Honey Nutrition!
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!