Picky Eater Solution #2: A Healthy Bite That Looks (& Tastes) Like a Treat

Best for Babies 10+ Months

The last three months have been filled with eating ups and downs. My champion eater suddenly turned picky after his first birthday, which is completely normal according to Dr. Bob Sears, and mealtime hasn’t been the same since. Based on Dr. Sears’ advice, I started to make finger food “buffets” for Mason to give him several choices in an effort to help combat his pickiness, with mixed results. Next came the (ongoing) food-throwing phase (more to come). But the thing that surprises me the most, still, is that Mason can love something one day but absolutely loathe it the next. For example, over the weekend, Bug couldn’t get enough of avocado mashed with banana; he ate five servings of it in two days. I offered it to him Monday and he shrieked in horror — and kept shrieking until I got it out of his sight. Well, excuse me.

Determined to roll with the trials and triumphs of feeding a 1-year-old, I’ve adopted the mindset that Bug will eat when he’s hungry, and I’ve tried not to stress. Then Mason had his 15-month check-up last week, a h-llish ordeal, and I’ve been forced to change that Zen-like mindset. Bug’s pediatrician told me that I need to do “everything in my power” to help Mason put on some extra pounds. It wasn’t the first time his string bean-like physique has come up at the doctor’s office, but this time Mason has to be weighed in 5 weeks to track his progress. Apparently he’s meeting all of his developmental milestones, however, the doctor is concerned that he’ll fall too far away from the weight curve. So my new challenge is to get my picky eater to eat — and to make sure he gains weight while doing it. So much for rolling with it.

To meet Mason’s weight goals, I’m trying to include more starches and healthy fats without sacrificing fresh produce and organic meat. For starters, I’ve put special focus on breakfast — it’s the one meal he consistently eats well. Since Mason loves quick breads, I’ve been trying out a bunch of recipes for breads that look and taste like treats but that are filled with good stuff. My favorite recipe so far is for Morning Glory muffins from Better Homes and Gardens. Not only are the muffins delish, they contain some healthy fat (which he needs) as well as carrot, pineapple, apple, and raisins (the kind of stuff I love to give him). They’re not quick to make — you have to peel and shred carrots and peel and chop apples as part of the prep, which took me 40 minutes, even though the recipe says 30 — but the effort is so worth it, in my opinion. Try them out and let us know what you think!

Morning Glory Muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (1-1/3 cups)
1 1/4 cups finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple (juice pack), undrained
2/3 cup cooking oil
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1.Line eighteen 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups, or grease muffin tin with shortening; set aside.

2.In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; stir in brown sugar. Stir in apples, carrots, and raisins. In a medium bowl combine undrained pineapple, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add pineapple mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin or cups. Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 18 muffins.

*Flour: I substituted Bob’s Red Mill all purpose, gluten-free flour for regular all-purpose flour. You can also substitute one cup of whole-wheat flour for one of the cups of all-purpose flour.

7 thoughts on “Picky Eater Solution #2: A Healthy Bite That Looks (& Tastes) Like a Treat

  1. These muffins sound great, for me! I want to make them right now.

    And finally, you’ve probably tried this BUT we make faces with food sometimes, when we think Roy’s too antsy to eat but still hungry. We get creative with whatever we’re eating… peas for eyes and a carrot for a nose, a couple of strawberry bits on a chunk of muffin, that sort of thing. Works pretty much every time.

  2. Have you tried Weefuls? It’s an organic crepe/waffle mix w veggies and fruits in it. You can buy it on amazon.

    Also, we sometimes have “dinner parties” where I put Elmo plus a few favorite stuffed animals on the dining table if my daughter doesn’t want to stop playing to sit down.

    I’m not sure a dessert shaped meal would get her to eat though…

  3. RE: Time to peel and shred the carrots and apples. Carrots you can just scrub the peel off with the green nylon pot scrubber, and since it is all being shredded you COULD leave the peel on the apples. Slice both of them kinda thin then run them through a shredder en masse? That could save a LOT of time. You could also just whirl them in a blender with the oil/eggs. They’re still getting the entire fruit, right?
    I’ve always loved these muffins, and as your wee one gets older, you can make them special(er) by taking the pineapple and making faces with it on the bottom of the muffin (think upside down cakes).

  4. My advice is probably all wrong, but I’ve combated her eating with distraction. In the form of: Sesame Street. I decided that her nutrition is more important than social cues. She’ll learn how to eat on her own soon, but now Elmo gets it in her tummy–and we’re both happier because of it. Not necessarily proud, but happy!

  5. be careful about those doctors harrassing you about low weight!!! they did that to me for 2 years and got me all worked up and nervous and told me to push the butter and mashed potatoes, etc. b/c he was in the 10th percentile for weight for the first 2 years of his life (probably because I nursed). Listening to them was the Worst thing I ever did. I started to try to fatten up my child and gave him anything he wanted when he was such a good eater before, just to get a few lbs on him. Then exactly one year later, these same doctors said he’s in the 90th percentile, he’s too big, you need to ease up on the butter, etc. by then i created a monster who ate only his high starch special meals, and still does. He’s 4.5 now and overweight. he expects his favorite foods every single day and pretty much refuses anything healthy. if i had stayed the trajectory and did not try to fatten him up, i am convinced he would be a normal weight now. Don’t let them bully you!!!!!

  6. Those muffins sound delicious. I agree with Jill about the benefits of distraction. Once they started walking, my kids just weren’t much interested in eating. My daughter gives her 18-mo-old ProBugs, an organic kefir in a squeezable container, and packed with protein: http://www.lifeway.net/Products/ProBugs.aspx
    I just follow my grandson around when he’s playing and offer him a squirt, which he’s happy to take. He’s just too busy to want to sit for a meal. He’d rather be climbing up on the table.

  7. I LOVE those muffins…and I wouldn’t let those docs bully you like Leesuh said…My son was 9 pounds 21 inches when he was born…90th%. By his 1 year he was 20th%…by 2 he was completely OFF the growth chart. He walked early, knew more words than he “should” have at the age, spoke clearly, etc. etc…as a pediatric nurse for nearly a decade, as long as his developmental milestones are being hit, there is nothing to worry about. He will catch up. If you want him to gain a little weight, you can always add butter when cooking, but don’t go overboard. By the way, without changing my son’s diet at all, he’s now the 50th%…he’s 3. You can see every single bone in my 13 month old daughter’s body, and she’s still the 35% for weight…just the 80th for height.

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