Before I had a baby I don’t think I realised how often they eat. From those early days of seemingly endless cluster-feeding to the toddler days of constant movement and therefore seemingly constant eating. Unlike when I was breastfeeding, these days we try to stick to a schedule of three main meals and two snacks a day. But it is hard coming up with five interesting things for the busy, and slightly fussy, toddler to eat.
We’re starting to hit a little neophobia phase which means “fear of the new”. And it also seems to mean “fear of something I ate perfectly happily yesterday”. We do all the right things to help Emily through it. We all eat the same meals. We eat together. We don’t make a big deal of food or eating, we keep it relaxed. I don’t use food as a reward or bribe (well okay I occasionally entice her into her stroller or car seat with a little cracker; we all have to do what we have to do to keep sane some days). I keep offering the same foods (apparently it can take at least ten tries of the same food before accepting it). And I get Emily involved with the preparation of our food. She’s eaten pesto straight out of the blender with a spoon this way and guacamole in fistfuls.
But most importantly, I trust Emily to show me what she wants and needs. I decide what and when she eats but she completely controls how much of eat she eats and this is how we’ve always fed her (see my post on baby led weaning).
One of my favourite things to get Emily involved in preparing is snacks. We’ve made crackers, muffins, and now these little date & walnut bites together. She adores these little balls of goodness. And I’m pretty fond of them too.
Date & walnut bites (adapted from weelicious)
- 1 pound dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut
- Put the dates and walnuts in a food processor and puree until smooth. Note: I used our Blendtec blender and it did a good job but I think a processor would be better.
- Sprinkle the coconut on a plate.
- Roll the date/walnut mixture into balls or logs.
- Coat the balls with the coconut.
Funny story: Emily’s daycare teachers thought these were little chocolates. They certainly look like truffles. I wonder what they’d be like with a little cocoa added…