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.


Juicy Strawberries, Peaches & Blueberries — Even in Fall

Mason was a champion eater this weekend. It was awesome. I forgot how fun it is to watch him enjoy eating different foods. He’s been so picky lately that I’ve gotten used to coaxing him to eat even a few bites with a few of my go-to tricks and then picking up the rest of the food from the floor. (Muffins and mac ‘n’ cheese have been the rare exceptions, but baby can’t live on carbs alone.) Mason especially enjoyed the organic, fresh Fuji apple Anjou pear that we picked up at our local market. Both fruits are in-season right now and they were juicy and delish. Bug also enjoyed organic strawberries, peaches, corn, asparagus, and blueberries — all summer faves that I purchased frozen and steamed for him.

I frequently used frozen organic¬† fruits and veggies for my purees, and I’ve been thrilled to discover that frozen produce works wonderfully for finger foods, too. The challenge is getting the texture just right. The first time I steamed strawberries, I steamed them for too long and they became mushy. Mason wouldn’t touch them. The next time I was careful to steam the berries for about a minute — just enough to beat the freeze but still keep the texture firm. Mason gobbled them up. Then we tried blueberries, peaches, asparagus, and corn and he kept eating and eating…

There are several advantages to buying frozen produce, especially if it’s out of season. The quality is fabulous. I can steam small amounts of the fruits and veggies at a time, and I don’t have to worry about the rest spoiling.¬† It’s more affordable to purchase out-of-season fruits or veggies frozen than to purchase imported fruits and veggies. And the nutritional value of frozen produce is as good as fresh. As a rule of thumb, I avoid canned fruits and veggies; the veggies are generally filled with sodium and the fruits are often packed in sugary syrup.

Did your babe eat anything exciting this weekend?

11 Cookout Sides That Make Great Finger Foods for Babies

Lemon-Watermelon Bites

Best for Babies 10+ Months Old

Yesterday afternoon Mason, Chris, and I took the train to Cos Cob, Connecticut, for a 4th of July cookout. (Mason wore his fedora, pic below!) We had a fabulous time. Our friends have a beautiful home on an idyllic lake, the perfect place to relax and unwind. Everyone there was super friendly and the spread was amazing (these people knew how to cook!). Our contribution was a dry rose and an appetizer of fresh watermelon topped with goat cheese, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and lemon-infused olive oil.  Other yummies included a fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomato salad, classic macaroni salad, and tangy black bean and corn salad.

I made a finger food lunch for Mason out of the dishes the adults were eating, and Bug seemed excited to be eating the same foods we were. He also indulged in a slice of vanilla cake (he ate almost the entire thing!), and he was as enthusiastic about the cake as he was about his first cupcake. I’m looking forward to going to more cookouts this summer, and I’m planning on bringing a new dish that’s fresh and baby-friendly to each one. Here is the list of recipes I want to try. What do you plan on bringing to cookouts and potlucks this summer?

1. Lemon-Watermelon Bites (I made these for our friends’ July 4th cookout, pic above!)

2. Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

3. Macaroni Salad

4. Ina Garten’s Potato Salad

5. Green Bean Salad

6. Greek Pasta Salad

7. Tomato and Avocado Salad

8. Fresh Fruit Salad with Creamy Custard

9. Minted Watermelon Salad

10. Antipasto Salad

11. Potato and Olive Salad

(below) Mason, wearing his fedora, all ready to party