It’s PUMPKIN TIME!
Every year these pumpkin recipes (see below) are on repeat all autumn long in our home. The chili post is adapted from Wellness Mama and it’s delicious!
These recipes also happen to have easy dairy-free modifications for those who need it, and they’re also egg-free!
Why is pumpkin such a nutritional powerhouse? Just one tablespoon fulfills your child’s vitamin A needs for the whole day (ages 1-8)! Vitamin A, specifically as beta carotene in pumpkin, supports eye health and vision, skin and the immune system. Pumpkin also has tons of other vitamins and minerals.
We choose boxed or canned unsweetened pureed pumpkin, but you can also make your own by roasting pumpkin flesh and pureeing it yourself - it’s just a lot more work.
For the cookies - we like cake mixes with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, vanilla etc. so Immaculate Baking and Foodstirs work well, but you can try any boxed cake mix at your grocery store.
Concerned about sugar? Head to our post to read our stance on sugar and how/when to incorporate into your child’s diet. The bigger deal we make about sugar, the more kids focus on it.
Did you know you can serve babies (6+ months) whole, cooked broccoli? We teach this method, Baby-led Weaning, in a flexible way in our online Infant Course if you need help!)
Broccoli forms a natural handle that small hands can easily hold and offers texture that feels good on teething gums. Many babies love broccoli, but some need to be exposed to it multiple times to learn to like it!
Many people assume that we have to serve babies plain, steamed veggies…but babies can eat foods cooked the way the family eats it as long as it’s cooked through and soft for those strong back gums to chew on - no teeth necessary!
Oils and spices are actually beneficial for baby, and they help them learn to enjoy broccoli (and other veggies) with a variety of flavors. Plus, using cooking oils, herbs and other cooking methods make foods taste better and more appealing to new eaters.
What about salt? We recommend going easy on salt on baby’s food, as their recommended intake is pretty low - 400 mg. However, it’s likely unnecessary to stress about sodium if you’re offering baby lots of unsalted foods alongside foods that inherently have salt. We don’t have science to prove that a little more sodium is necessarily harmful in healthy infants. If you like your food salted, add it after cooking or pull aside baby’s portion before salting it if possible. More on this in our post about babies and salt.
Frozen broccoli works too! Below are instructions for fresh broccoli.
You might have a lot of frozen veggies at home, but how do you make them actually taste good?
We’ve put together a set of simple recipes (using many pantry staples) that utilize frozen veggies on our Pinterest account. Head to our Using Frozen Veggies board to check out these recipes!
Frozen veggies are a little less predictable in cooking because of what happens in the freezing process. According to the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension, water makes up over 90% of the weight of most veggies. This water is held within the cell wall of the vegetable. Freezing a vegetable actually means freezing the water inside the vegetable, which expands water and ruptures cell walls.
Thus, when the veggies are thawed, they are much softer than they were when raw. They can even be mushy. The textural changes are most noticeable in foods that are normally eaten raw instead of cooked, like celery and lettuce - hence why we don’t typically freeze these foods whole. However, more durable, hard veggies like squash, cauliflower and beets can be really tasty when cooked from frozen - we just have to know how to utilize them!
Who loves pancakes?! This banana egg pancake recipe is a staple in our house that works well for eaters of all ages (babies included)!
We love this basic banana pancake recipe and hope your whole family will, too. My kids get really excited on pancake day!
You may see this recipe on the internet as just banana and egg, but we like adding rolled oats (or coconut flour) so it’s thicker and doesn’t fall apart as easily when cooked.
The recipe is super versatile and makes about 8 small pancakes, enough to feed 1-2 adults and 2 kids depending on how much you eat.
We love to double or triple the recipe, make a big batch, and keep the leftovers in the fridge (up to 3 days) for awesome fast breakfasts or snacks. They also freeze well! Just thaw and reheat in the toaster oven on convection or in the microwave before serving.
We added real maple syrup to the pumpkin variation because pumpkin can be a little bitter - you can omit it if you’d like!
What do you top these with?
Baby at home? Cut into slices they can easily pick up! Practice serving them cut into small pieces, strips, wedges or whole with toddlers and kids to practice different fine motor skills.
Egg allergy? We haven’t made these with an egg replacer, but Cookie and Kate and The Worktop have some great eggless pancake recipes if you do a quick search!
A client in our Feeding Littles Clients Only Facebook Group asked if it was discouraged to serve smoothies every day. The answer just depends on your family and your child!
Smoothies can be a great snack or part of a meal for many kids and can provide some key nutrients and calories. However, the more we serve our kids the same things over and over again, the less adventurous they become with food in the long run! So, if you do smoothies, mix it up!
How to make a smoothie:
Other things to keep in mind:
Here are just a few recipe ideas:
We also Halloween-themed smoothie recipes, orange (like a creamsicle) smoothie, and chocolate avocado smoothie recipe available in other blog posts. Plus, our very popular sweet berry constipation smoothie recipe is in a blog post as well for those who need some help "going".
Check out our free Breakfast Toolkit that has an entire section dedicated to smoothies!
Homemade energy bites are my kids' favorite snack, hands down! We have been making these for years and they’re so tasty for adults and kids alike - please make sure read the safety information below before serving.
These are also awesome for pregnant mamas as some data suggests that dates may help with cervical ripening before birth.
Best of all, they are a nice balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates (read: energy) that taste amazing.
I loved having them on hand when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, especially because they’re a quick, satisfying snack that can be eaten with one hand! You can make a large batch and keep them room temperature, in the fridge or frozen - you (adult) can eat them frozen, but make sure to thaw for younger eaters.
These energy bites are similar to commercially available energy bars and are simply equal parts Medjool dates and nuts or seeds of choice. Make sure to use a high powered blender or food processor to blend. If using the Vitamix, use the tamper.
Vary the nuts you use: each one provides different nutrition! For non-allergic people, regular exposure to allergens is important for allergy prevention.
A few tips for success with these:
We talk often about feeding our kids, but feeding yourself is important as well!
Every time I post about my lunch salads I get tons of questions about how to make a salad tasty and satisfying. Y’all say that your salads aren’t interesting, but with a few tweaks I bet they could be something you really enjoy!
I love salads. They’re what I crave for lunch. I don’t eat them because I “should” or because I’m trying to be “good.” I eat them because I love how they taste and I love how they make me feel. If I’m not craving a salad one day I don’t eat one! Yup, sometimes that means a sandwich or a burger. But most days when lunch rolls around, salad usually sounds tasty.
However, I rarely eat the same salad two days in a row. Adding variety in flavor and ingredients keeps them interesting and satisfying.
I also love trying salads at restaurants - there are always so many creative ways to make them!
When making a salad, consider adding one component from each category so there’s enough flavor, satisfying nutrition, and texture in your salad. (Many of us miss out on protein or filling fat when we make a salad and are hungry 1-2 hours later.) Let’s face it - plain chicken on lettuce is oftentimes not that interesting, but once you add some avocado, chopped almonds and fresh strawberries it becomes a little more tasty! Dress it with tangy vinaigrette and suddenly you have a winning lunch.
New to this? Want to get more salads in your life? Don’t overwhelm yourself, just pick one thing from each category to try to have on hand when you build your next salad. Use a pre-cut base so you can wash and pour it in a bowl.
Oh, and one more thing - some people just aren’t satisfied by a salad alone. Try pairing it with a whole grain bread, some fruit or some soup and see if that helps round out the meal for you.
All new breakfast series - Part 1: Allergen-free Breakfast Ideas! These ideas also happen to be all plant-based options.
We want to take you through many different ways to mix up breakfast, starting with ideas for our friends allergic to any of the top 8 allergens - all ideas shown are free from the common allergens, but of course humans can be allergic to anything. (Judy is allergic to avocado!) Modify if your child can’t tolerate something shown.
We also have plenty of breakfast ideas in our free Breakfast Toolkit as well.
If you have taken our online courses, you know that early and frequent exposure to allergens is important for non-allergic kiddos. But if you have a child with an egg, dairy or wheat allergy, breakfast can be tough. Many typical “breakfast” foods that have some protein in them contain an allergen.
Each idea here contains fat, a little protein, and fiber - this combo of macronutrients is important for blood sugar regulation and keeping kids satisfied so they can play, learn and grow. Many protein options like hemp hearts, sunflower seed butter and chia seeds are also a good source of iron - a critical nutrient in childhood! Protein needs aren’t crazy high for kids - they just need exposure to some protein to help balance their nutrition.
If you’re struggling with picky eating or want to help prevent it in your child, don’t forget to check out our Toddler Course.
Each food served here, except the more crunchy rice cake, is appropriate for 6+ months - hold off on the rice cake until around 14-16 months unless you use a really thin rice cake. Babies under 1 can have sips of smoothies, but we don’t want smoothie intake to displace their breast milk or formula intake.
The smoothie shown is made from 1 cup Ripple Foods milk (put in blender first), 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 3/4 cup frozen mango, 3 pitted dates and 1 T. coconut oil. We recommend serving smoothies alongside whole foods because many kids (and adults) aren’t satisfied with a meal when they just drink it.
Bread shown: Follow Your Heart brand from Whole Foods.
Don’t forget that breakfast doesn’t have to come from “breakfast” foods!
Our most popular recipe posts and stories on Instagram involve simple dinner ideas - including pouring sauce over chicken, setting the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) timer, and waiting for dinner to be made. Here are some of our favorite sauce ideas that you can experiment with to create a delicious, nourishing dinner (and maybe some leftovers for another meal)! Just pair it with 1-2 veggie sides and a starch like sweet potato, rice or pasta!
Pour at least 2 cups of sauce on the 1-2 lb. of chicken, enough to cover it thoroughly so it doesn’t dry out. You won’t eat all of the sauce; it’s there to retain moisture during the cooking process, which is super important for young eaters! Once the sauce is added, give the chicken a quick stir.
If using the crockpot, cook it on low for 4-5 hours. If using an Instant Pot, cook it on high for 9 minutes with manual release.
We like chicken thighs because they’re more tender and easier for kids to eat, plus they’re cheaper.
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!