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  • Pinay Mom With '100 Toddler Meal Ideas' Shares Her Meal Planning Secrets

    She shares five recipes so you can start your own meal plan!
    by Kitty Elicay .
Pinay Mom With '100 Toddler Meal Ideas' Shares Her Meal Planning Secrets
PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
  • Starting your little one on solid food is an exciting time for any parent — at six months, you can now complement breast milk with other foods and liquids to fulfill your child’s nutritional needs. But finding the right recipes that will ensure your child is healthy is both challenging and daunting, which is why mom Charlotte Real-Atienza, 31, decided to compile 100 toddler meal ideas on her Facebook page, Miquel.Eats to help fellow mommas out.

    In an email interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, Charlotte, who is a private grade school teacher, reveals that she only learned to cook after she got married, and her husband, Jeff, is actually the better cook. But when her son, Miquel turned 6 months old, she was determined to prepare fresh food for him.

    “Store-bought baby food was not an option,” she shares. “All I could think of was his little tummy. Sayang naman ang space kung hindi masustansiya ang laman.”

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    In the process of researching for kid-friendly recipes, Charlotte stumbled upon baby-led weaning (BLW). She was interested and wanted to try it with her son, but was worried about its success — she was a working mom and would be out of the house for the most part.

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    “I got stuck on the same set of meals for the first two months,” the mom of one shares. “When I finally observed that Miquel gagged less when eating, I gained confidence and offered more variety.” (Read more about baby-lead weaning here)

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    Preparing toddler meals

    Charlotte with husband Jeff and son Miquel.
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Charlotte gets ideas for recipes online and adjusts the ingredients based on what’s available in her pantry. Some of her favorite resources are @my.little.food.critic and @megunprocessed on Instagram.

    When Miquel was under a year old, most of his food during weekdays were steamed or boiled finger food which Charlotte prepares every morning before leaving for work. “Following the BLW principle, I never offered puréed food,” Charlotte says, adding that she also didn’t invest in any special tools like a baby food processor. “Rice cooker, steamer, and a small cooking pot were enough for me.”

    When Miquel was over a year old, Charlotte would prepare dinner for the family and it would also be her son’s lunch the next day. “We gradually started to offer him what the family eats. The good thing about this is we learned to adjust our salt intake, too. Most of the meals we prepare are child-friendly,” she explains. “We also learned to let go of any kind of MSG and made use of herbs and spices, instead. Dried oregano, basil, Spanish paprika, Italian seasoning, and cinnamon are our top favorites.”

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    She adds, “If we are not able to cook food, I provide a meal plan for the day which my sister follows. This includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks for morning and afternoon.”

    Charlotte notes that one of the reasons why she was able to succeed in baby-led weaning was because her family members were also onboard with her decisions. She shares, “I did not have a hard time introducing BLW to my family. They are all very supportive of me. While my husband and I are at work, my sister, who looks after my child, tries her best to apply the same principle.”

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    100 toddler meal ideas

    At 2 years old, Mique is enjoying the meals mom makes for him!
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Miquel’s favorite meals consist of pasta, so Charlotte looked up recipes online so she can offer him a variety. She also ensures that she serves kid-friendly meals by keeping the following in mind:

    • No salt, sugar, and honey under age 1
    • Never offer obvious choking hazards (whole grapes, thick servings of peanut butter, etc)
    • No undercooked food until the age of 5

    If your child is ready for solid food, here are five recipes from Charlotte to help get you started:

    Breakfast

    Green Peas Hummus on Toast

    Even adults can enjoy these toddler meals!
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Ingredients

    ½ cup frozen green peas
    225 g canned chickpeas
    ¼ cup sunflower seeds
    Lemon juice (half a lemon)
    1 garlic clove
    ½ tsp turmeric
    ½ tsp cumin
    ½ tsp Italian seasoning
    Ground black pepper
    Water or chickpea water

    Instructions

    1. Boil green peas for 5 minutes
    2. Blend with other ingredients.
    3. Spread on toasted bread.
    4. Serve hot.
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    High-Protein Oatmeal Bliss Balls

    Pair the bliss balls with scrambled egg!
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Ingredients 

    Milk
    Rolled oats
    Ground cinnamon
    Chopped dates
    Hemp, flax, and chia seeds
    Peanut butter
    Desiccated coconut

    Instructions

    1. Boil rolled oats in milk.
    2. Add dates, all the seeds, and peanut butter. Mix until well-combined.
    3. Using 2 spoons or your hands, roll into bite-sized balls.
    4. Roll into a plate of desiccated coconut.
    5. Serve.

    Lunch and dinner

    Turmeric Misua Soup

     

    For the toddler meals, you can modify the recipes according to what's available, says Charlotte.
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Ingredients

    1 pc onion, chopped
    2 pcs tomatoes, chopped
    2 pcs egg, boiled and chopped
    ¼ tsp dried basil
    1/8 tsp ground turmeric
    Water
    Misua noodles
    Pinch of salt
    Olive oil

    Instructions

    1. Sauté onion and tomatoes in medium heat.
    2. Add dried basil.
    3. Add water, pinch of salt, and ground turmeric. Let it simmer.
    4. Add in misua noodles and chopped boiled eggs.
    5. Cook for 5 minutes.
    6. Serve.

    Tuna or Chicken Soft Tacos with Yogurt Dip/Sauce

    Just mix tuna or chicken and cheese with soft tacos and you're set!
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Ingredients for the dip

    Greek yogurt
    Cayenne pepper
    Garlic powder
    Spanish paprika
    Salt & ground black pepper (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Mix all the ingredients together.
    2. Add more cayenne if you want it spicy (for older kids and adults)
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    No Meat Thin Crust Pizza 

    This healthy, yummy pizza is for the whole family!
    PHOTO BY Charlotte Real-Atienza
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    Ingredients

    Whole wheat wrap
    7-veg tomato sauce or any tomato sauce
    Shiitake mushroom
    Pineapple bits
    Shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
    Spinach

    Instructions

    1. In a pan, cook the pizza in low heat.
    2. Add the sauce and toppings. Cover.
    3. Wait until the cheese melts.
    4. Slice and serve.

    Charlotte says that the 7-veg tomato sauce by renowned chef Jamie Oliver is one of the best recipes that they’ve tried (Find the recipe here). They use the same ingredients (substituting regular squash instead of butternut) and followed the procedure as is, no adjustments made. “It’s so healthy and delicious! We use this as pasta sauce, dip, and pizza sauce,” the mom shares.

    One of the biggest changes Charlotte noticed after preparing homecooked meals is that her son is not sakitin. “We rarely go on a trip to the hospital,” the mom says. “!  We just recently made him take Vitamin C due to Covid19. But prior to that, we only depend on the food we offer him. So it’s really important for me to provide him healthy food. We try to offer balanced meals as much as possible.”

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    Looking back at all the meals she prepared for her son, Charlotte is pretty amazed that she was able to sustain preparing home cooked food for him. “I just kept going and still hoping to continue even now that he already knows what types of food he likes and dislikes,” Charlotte says.

    Find more baby and toddler recipes here.

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