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Toddler-friendly proteins?

(26 Posts)
Curtsey Fri 22-Mar-13 12:33:40


Would love some great protein ideas for toddlers (mine's 14months). Her diet is about 60:40 vegetarian:meat, sometimes more vegetarian than that, so vegetarian ideas particularly welcome. But fish, chicken and meat ideas very welcome too. I'm looking for mostly chunky or finger foods because she currently hates The Spoon. For example, a favourite meal of hers is roasted chunks of sweet potato, with steamed broccoli florets and maybe some other steamed veg - carrots or peas. What can I add to this to make it more fully balanced? Thanks in advance!

ppeatfruit Sun 24-Mar-13 10:08:56

Curtsey 'tis a normal stage, the fussiness, and will pass esp. if you don't comment on whether she eats or doesn't!

A good idea is not to give too much on the plate they have much smaller stomachs than us. I used to give my mindees and DCs a pretty plate of cut up fruit (or if they're old enough they would cut it up and make patterns or faces etc. with it) always give it before a meal then you know they've had a nourishing start.

Curtsey Sat 23-Mar-13 21:06:53

sounds perfecto. forgot about parmesan, MIL makes great polenta cake with chilli and parmesan smile

forevergreek Sat 23-Mar-13 21:04:29

re polenta chicken - you can add any spices really. paprika, with a little cumin/ turmeric make them nice and spicy.
we generally use parsley and a little pepper. and often do 50%polenta/ 50% parmasan mix also

Curtsey Sat 23-Mar-13 20:26:16

Thanks for all ideas. I might have to try the polenta chicken myself! Would you add spices other than the parsley or is it tasty enough as is?

It's a pain having to actually scheme about mealtimes now; I am used to dd hoovering up whatever was put in front of her. She's getting over a bout of the dreaded hand foot and mouth so I'm really hoping her eating will go back to normal sooner than later.

It must be a texture thing. Yesterday omelette strips were squelched but not eaten, and my lovingly crafted trout fishcakes were tipped onto the floor hmm Today was better:

- Boiled egg & toast soldiers for breakfast was devoured, followed by a pear
- For lunch, I got out my blender, which I haven't done AT ALL when weaning this child, and blended up a lentil & chicken stew from the freezer and served it as pasta sauce. Result
-For dinner, pasta again blush; I did the homemade basil & pine-nut pesto thing with cheese. Delicious.

Snacks: Greek yoghurt, packet of raisins, and an oatmeal biscuit made from an Annabel Karmel recipe which is apparently 'a healthy snack' and good for protein. Can I just say, it is on my arse healthy with that amount of sugar in it! Next time I will be putting in a third of the recommended amount smile

notcitrus Sat 23-Mar-13 12:54:28

Peanut butter. Bread with seeds in. Omelettes. Hummus - great to put in a pot, provide breadsticks, pitta strips and veg sticks, leave child to it for half an hour.

Chunks of fish. Smoked salmon isn't that salty in toddler quantities.

ppeatfruit Sat 23-Mar-13 12:48:13

I help there BTW

ppeatfruit Sat 23-Mar-13 12:46:20

Because she is never away ill and doesn't walk about with her nose running like most of the others. Flisspaps

forevergreek Sat 23-Mar-13 12:43:41

Polenta chicken.

Chicken into strips and bashed flat. Then dip in flour, dip in egg then dip in polenta. Bake for 10-15 mins. We usually mix parsley into the polenta before dipping

Kind of a healthy chicken nugget version I suppose

enormouse Sat 23-Mar-13 12:37:21

My little guy loves sardines in tomato sauce. I mix it into a baked potato with cream cheese and make a potato skin with it. I also tend to add natural yoghurt to soups and curries and make flatbreads with yoghurt to bulk up the protein and calcium as he's not great at having his milk atm.

SolomanDaisy Sat 23-Mar-13 12:36:28

Mine is pretty much vegetarian, as I'm veggie and he mostly eats what I do. He loves hummus, peanut butter, omelette, French toast, chilli with kidney beans, chick peas, lentil soup with bread fingers to dip in, pitta bread with melted cheese and carrots, yoghurt, bread with seeds on, seeds stirred into porridge, soya mince bolognese, falafel.

Flisspaps Sat 23-Mar-13 12:35:57

pp just wondering how you know your GD is the healthiest child in her nursery class?!

ppeatfruit Sat 23-Mar-13 12:28:24

spiltthe The smoked fish are delicious but don't they say they're too salty for L.O's? Also the chemicals used in the smoking process aren't ideal. Maybe just marinate some fresh salmon\ grated onion and garlic in olive oil and lemon or lime juice and cut into little squares.

spilttheteaagain Fri 22-Mar-13 21:45:22

Smoked fish goes down a treat here - smoked trout is the current favourite. It has the distinct advantage that you just open the packet and give them chunks of it, no prep involved!

Smoked mackerel risotto, smoked mackerel dauphinoise and fish pie also go down a storm.

Grated cheese on most things/chunks of cheese for snacks.

Cheesy scrambled egg

Mince in spag bol/chilli form goes down well

Tender chicken cut into small pieces (my DD is just learning to use a fork, so loves anything in little bits that she can spear)

Definitely nuts and seeds are fine - just be aware of the choking risk so avoid whole nuts. Flaked/ground etc are good. If your DD likes porridge you can stir ground almonds/other milled seeds or nuts in for protein.

Homemade pesto is a great idea - that's both nuts and cheese and also olive oil for healthy fat.

I do top bakes with a blended seed mix instead of breadcrumbs and it's really tasty. That is both fat and and protein (esp since I also add cheese!)

Baked beans very popular here. She won't eat toast, so sometimes just gets a plate of baked beans and grated cheese for lunch, and it makes her very happy lazy mother

ppeatfruit Fri 22-Mar-13 13:11:47

Curtsey There is a lot more protein in lightly cooked and of course raw green veg. than people realise. You could try squares of hard tofu that have been marinaded in a little tamari (mixed with water it is quite salty)and lemon juice and lightly fried you can do that with salmon or cod too. My GD loves these, she eats no meat or dairy and is the healthiest DC in her nursery class.

StyleManual Fri 22-Mar-13 13:05:08

They're yummers and foolproof too!

Curtsey Fri 22-Mar-13 13:02:50

I keep meaning to make falafel! I'll do it this weekend. Somebody on another thread had a good BBC recipe link smile

thanks all

StyleManual Fri 22-Mar-13 13:00:41

Falafel is a veggie favourite with us and spicy bean stew.

Curtsey Fri 22-Mar-13 12:55:53

Nice one, Moomins, I'll give it a go!

Curtsey Fri 22-Mar-13 12:54:33

Drlady, those all sound yum and you're a genius with your pasta shells idea! She loves pasta but I do worry that she's more intent on snaffling the carbs and the nutritious sauce slides off.

Alibaba sigh, my DD, until about a month ago, ate everything you could possibly think of, in all forms possible. She had an amazing diet and a great attitude towards her food and we were blessed. Family and friends used to just sit and marvel at her go. Not sure what's changed - a mix of teething and her coming down with a virus a while back, I think - but she's officially entered Fussyville. Strips of meat will not be eaten. But if they're in a sort of snack-y looking form (ie chicken balls or fish cakes) they might be smile

Moominsarehippos Fri 22-Mar-13 12:48:58

Ooh yes, fish cakes (or finger shapes). I make mine with loads of mashed potato/sweet potato and chunks if fish stirred in. Breadcrumb and roast on the oven rather than fry.

You could coat cod or haddock and bake it too. Nice, crunchy texture and the fish comes out lovely.

Moominsarehippos Fri 22-Mar-13 12:47:02

I was going to say omelette too!
Or boiled eggs (yum).
Breadsticks and hummous.
A very mild dahl with steamed veggies/rice

Curtsey Fri 22-Mar-13 12:46:59

Thanks colditz. Yep, she likes all of that smile

Anyone know much about nuts/seeds? I'm wondering if I blitzed up some kind of homemade pesto with nuts or seeds...I am wondering if a sesame seed kind of topping on roasted veg would be nice. Or does that provide fat as opposed to protein...bah.

Any quick chicken ball or fish cake recipes? I bought some trout today, how shall I serve that?

<mumble, ramble, can you tell it's Friday?>

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 22-Mar-13 12:42:57

Just shred some roasted meat into strips/lumps for her to chew on. Ours were eating everything by that age - chicken, steak, roast beef/pork/lamb etc. You can flake cod and salmon into pieces that they can manage with their fingers as well.

Does she eat beans and eggs? Because if that is a typical meal then she is going to be very light on protein and fat.

Hummus or peanut butter on bread/toast/crackers is a good snack.

Drladybird Fri 22-Mar-13 12:42:35

What about adding some pulses? My toddler adores chickpeas, butter beans and lentils. Here are a few recipe ideas: What about lentil bolagnese to have with pasta shells or similar so that your daughter can pick up with her hands but the shells will hold the lentil sauce. Or this spanish butter bean dish is very tasty and easy to make. Butter beans are easy to pick up and munch on. Lastly, my moroccan carrot and chickpea stew is always a hit. It is sweet and nicely flavoured so my toddler loves it. There is also the option of adding cheese/ cream or yoghurt to various dishes...and nut butters are great on bread.

colditz Fri 22-Mar-13 12:34:30

Omelette, sliced into finger strips, with baked beans and cheese.

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