Feeding kids is hard. I’ve been shocked at just how hard it is. I wouldn’t consider Miles a picky eater and I still feel like it’s one of the hardest things about raising a child so far. Before we started feeding Miles solids I had grand visions of him learning to eat whatever we ate. It’ll be a breeze! I’ll never be a short-order cook! HA. HA. HA.
I do my best to come up with meals that we’ll all enjoy, but this is still tougher than I imagined. Sure, I have to juggle foods I know he will and won’t eat (and even this seems to change on a daily basis), but there are other logistics I’ve discovered I have to think about. You can’t exactly feed a salad to a 16 month old even if that’s what you’re craving. And Miles would rather have meals made with ground meats (turkey, chicken, beef, or pork) than, say, a grilled chicken breast. But I can only eat so many variations of burgers, meatballs, and chili. Miles is still figuring out how to successfully manage flatware, so feeding him soups is challenging, though sometimes we make it work. And while I know that babies and toddlers can gum just about anything (Miles has six teeth), raw veggies can still be kind of a choking hazard.
All of this is to say that even if you’re like me and you love food, think about food all the time, and have the best of intentions, you can still find yourself completely stumped when it comes to feeding tots and the rest of your family. (For the record, food is my responsibility, by choice, and Robert balances that out by taking care of a million other things I never have to worry about. Different things work for different families.) But meal by meal and day by day, Miles and I are figuring this whole feeding thing out together. He’s a good eater, which fills my heart to no end. The reality is that it takes a lot of work—not necessarily time in the kitchen, but lots of careful thought and planning to figure out what to feed him for three meals and two snacks per day. But we’re getting there!
Throughout this process, I’ve also discovered that there’s a careful balance when it comes to the variety of foods that I feed him. Sometimes I laugh at how ridiculous my expectations were before we started this journey. Ultimately, I’ve become far more flexible than I thought I would be, and it really is for the best. I want Miles to love all foods, learn how to eat a balanced diet, and never think of foods as “good” or “bad.” They all have a role to play, ice cream included. There’s also the fact that I’m doing the full-time stay at home working mom thing, which means I can’t spend all day in the kitchen (no one can!), so sometimes I take shortcuts (I’m looking at you freezer waffles, chicken nuggets, and veggie burgers) and that’s totally fine, too.
This is my incredibly long-winded way of telling you about something new I’m doing. I’ve started a new Instagram account, @food4tots. I started taking pictures of Miles’ meals so I could sort back through them when trying to figure out what the heck to feed him. I figured I could do better (and make it prettier), by sharing it with others. So if you’re in the same boat and looking for some tot and family friendly meal inspiration then give it a follow! I hope to see you there : )