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Please talk to me about your cooking habits if it's mainly you and a toddler...

(11 Posts)
tory79 Wed 12-Jun-13 13:52:26

DH is often only in for 1/2 meals during the week, and sometimes not around at the weekend either, so its mainly just me and ds 21m.

I find that cooking for just me and a toddler is such hard work. For a start ds HATES me doing stuff in the kitchen, he pulls at me, whines for food NOW, usually ends up bawling (disclaimer, normally he is wonderful, but for some reason he gets really wound up by me in the kitchen!) I do as much as possible in his nap, but obviously there is a limit to how much you can prepare.

Also, I find that I lack motivation to cook anything new or that interesting, as spending time cooking when the chances are it is going to get outright rejected is a bit depressing! So as a result I tend to stick to the same old thing, which no doubt is a vicious circle as it means ds is even less inclined to try new things!

Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad eater, but he is currently in a pasta phase so he will pretty much only eat stuff with pasta. He won't eat other 'meal carbs' eg potato (except as waffles) rice, couscous etc He is also not very good with meat. Our current regular repetoire looks something like this:

Fishcakes and potato waffles
Homemade pizza (he will eat most things on top of this!) and sweet potato wedges
Various curries (served with pasta for him, and he generally avoids the meat)
Tuna and pesto pasta
Spag bol
Chilli (served with pasta)
Mac n cheese in various formats
Homemade chicken nuggets

Lunches include
Sandwiches (egg mayo, philly and avo, cheese)
Cheese on toast
Spinach tart (the one thing he NEVER refuses)

He eats fruit like there is no tomorrow, but won't TOUCH veggies, unless they are in something eg in pizza topping, in a muffin. He picks them off pasta

I just feel so rubbish about cooking at the moment. I don't get any enjoyment from it, I don't enjoy mealtimes as I never get to eat even vaguely in peace, my cooking mojo is dying a death. I really want ds to start eating a wider variety of TYPE of meal if you know what I mean. DH thinks I am fussing about nothing as a few months ago ds wouldn't even touch pasta and now he won't eat anything else!

Anyway, through all that waffle, my real question is if its just you and a toddler, do you still cook a varied selection of meals or do you also find you get stuck in a rut of toddler friendly stuff?

(I did post this in food but thought it might be better here)

CreatureRetorts Wed 12-Jun-13 14:00:12

I set up a little table for ds in the kitchen which was perfect for his height - had toys etc on it so I could cook with him around. I wouldn't expect to be left to it, he'd come over every few minutes while I chopped, stirred etc etc. I also let him "help". But no way would he let me get on - and I didn't force him to learn to play solo. Now at 3.7 he plays alone just fine!

Yes we get stuck in a toddler rut and every now and then I try something new based on what he likes (or his sister). We eat out and he'll try some of mine as well.

Your DH is right, don't stress about it. Get a toddler cook book from the library for some ideas and every now and then have a go. I find that lunch is the best meal for experimenting, not tea time when everyone is tired.

Sheshelob Wed 12-Jun-13 14:12:25

I cook family meals for us all to eat together. This past week we've had the following:

Feta and egg filo bake
Baked salmon, roast potatoes and broccoli
Roast chicken and trimmings
Sausages and spicy couscous
Chicken, mushroom and spring veg risotto
King prawn tomato spaghetti
Chicken Kiev and mash

I try to stick to stuff that only takes an hour to make (roast aside), as we have a small, pushy sous-chef here, too.

I read somewhere that a child has to try something many times before they decide if they really like it or not, so I keep giving him stuff he turns his nose up at, without making a big deal out of it. It's worked - red pepper and potato were absolute no nos a couple of months ago, but now he loves them.

I think the key is to not make food into an issue. We occasionally have times where he doesn't fancy what I've cooked, so we always have a fall back of avocado and grated cheese, served on the plate with his meal. More times than not, he'll change his mind about his meal once he's eating, and eat some of that, too.

MaMattoo Wed 12-Jun-13 14:21:19

Toddler friendly is a trap down which I fall quite often too.
But now I make a meal for 'us' and he eats out of that.
DS is 3 and pestered me so much I and to put a stairgate on my kitchen. He now has a lovely casdon (hotpoint) cooker of his own and he is very busy cooking when I am :-)

NayFindus Thu 13-Jun-13 19:14:09

Wow - you all do such good stuff! Dd will eat fruit and staples - potatoes, rice and pasta - fish fingers and breaded cod, and tuna or jam sandwiches/toast, but that's about it. Oh and chocolate of course! She'll eat huge bowls of pasta or rice and punnets of berries or peeled apples, but doesn't eat more than one thing at a time. She also has loads of Greek yoghurt. And she loathes meat, no idea why as I'm anaemic and eat industrial quantities of beef, I eat loads of lamb too but she won't touch the stuff.

coffeewineandchocolate Thu 13-Jun-13 19:26:53

I use the one pot most of the time and cook in batch to ensure lazy days are still healthy by using the frozen left overs. I cook..

beef and ale stew
chili an rice with loads of veg added
sweet and sour chicken and rice
paprika chicken
jacket potatoes with choose your own fillings (tuna, beans,cheese, chili, bolognaise, egg mayo...)
homemade soups
various roasted meat joints
sausages, beans and waffles
fish fingers, peas and homemade wedges
pitta pizzas

DeathMetalMum Thu 13-Jun-13 19:27:01

I pretty much alway cook our dinner for just me and the dd who is 2.4 but have done since weaning.
First thing that comes to mind is sweet and sour chicken we serve it with noodles one of dd's favourites. Will post some more meals after bedtime.

coffeewineandchocolate Thu 13-Jun-13 19:28:09

I prep slow cooker the night before or during nap time

DeathMetalMum Thu 13-Jun-13 20:07:06

Soup is another favourite of ours. Leek and potato the current favourite. Its really simple to cook also just chop a leek and a couple of pots. Bung in the pan and add stock. Then wizz when its all soft sometimes I keep some chunks of potato to the size so it not all blitzed.
We akso do turkey burgers with baked beans/salad and wedges (only type of potato dd would eat at one time). Can also grate carrot/pepper onion into the burgers.

Tbh with todller coming in the kitchen when you cook, when dd first started moving around we put a baby gate between the kitchen/front room as I didn't want her in the kitchen during cooking at all in case of a spill or something. She mostly leaves me alone now.

A lot of the time here dinner is dinner dd has fruit and yoghurt for pudding so if she doesnt eat I just give her something more filling for fruit ie banana instead of grapes. I do every so often get in a little rut over cooking and feel fed up and very cba about the whole thing. I usually borrow a cookbook from the library to inspire me.

Misty9 Fri 14-Jun-13 21:29:48

I recommend the baby led weaning cookbook - doesn't matter whether you did/do BLW or not, it's got some great recipes in it. Some of our favourites (21mo ds here too):

Lamb and mint sausages
Turkey and veg burgers (or pork and apple)
Meatballs and tomato sauce
Mushroom risotto

My Daddy Cooks is also a good cookbook, although a bit more complicated most recipes.

I do most the cooking and also have a ds who hates me being in the kitchen! I try to do whatever prep I can during his nap, and then use peppa pig to distract him and get the cooking done grin
Oh, and I definitely sympathise with slaving over something only to have it refused...

princessx Sat 15-Jun-13 11:54:41

Have you tried fresh stuffed tortelloni or ravioli? This was a good one when I was working, only takes 3 mins to cook, plus serve with tomato sauce with some peas thrown in. I could do the whole thing while holding dd on my hip, and she always gobbles it up

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