Eating with Purpose

Have you ever heard this phrase? “Eating before one is just for fun.” Well, it is clear that our one-year-old now eats with purpose.

He demands to eat when he’s hungry, which happens at least six times per day. He has developed preferences — cheese, chicken, bananas, blueberries — and loves to snack. He prefers to use utensils and lets us know when he wants more by reaching and whining and sometimes signing. He also lets us know when he’s finished by throwing every last bite onto the floor. He likes to “clean his plate,” I suppose.

Now that meals and snacks have become more purposeful (and the sole source of his nutrients since he is no longer breastfeeding — more on that in a future post), I feel a greater responsibility to offer wholesome, healthy options and make each meal a balanced one.

During the week, breakfast typically consists of fruit (1 small banana or 1/4 cup berries) and either a whole wheat waffle with cream cheese or an egg scrambled with cherry tomatoes and spinach. I should mention this comes after he gets a handful of multi-grain Cheerios while Mommy brews a cup of coffee and prepares our “real” breakfast.

Lunches and dinners are more versatile. Here are a few examples:

1. chicken + cheese quesadilla, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, avocado
2. multi-grain toast with red pepper hummus, cheddar cheese, grapes, peaches
3. turkey hot dog, Annie’s macaroni + cheese, apples, peas
4. enchilada casserole with ground turkey + corn + beans, watermelon, cantaloupe

He now gets whole milk with every meal, though he usually doesn’t take more than a few sips. And so he also gets a combination of yogurt and cheese every day. (Any tips on getting your little one to drink more milk would be greatly appreciated!)

And did I mention that this kid has discovered our snack cupboard? It’s always stocked with Plum Organics puree pouches, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, and Earth’s Best graham crackers. And we find him there at least three times per day.

I’m anxious for the day when Sam can really and truly be my mini sous chef. But until then, we try to involve him in the kitchen as much as possible.

Yes, our little man is now eating with purpose. But he still has a lot of fun while doing it.

Check out the Munchkin Meals linkup from A Healthy Slice of Life for more food ideas for one-year-olds!

46 thoughts on “Eating with Purpose

  1. Nice post! I always love seeing what other toddlers are eating. My Sam’s meals are very similar, down to the exact same handful of multi-grain Cheerios while I make coffee. (TGFC – Thank God for Cheerios.) I wish I had some tips for getting them to drink more milk, but we have a similar issue. I did find out last week that upon being giving a chocolate chip cookie, Sammy will down the entire cup in one sitting. Probably not the most health-conscious of choices…!

  2. This post is so helpful and I LOVE the picture of Sammy stirring up whatever is in that bowl with you. I’m also very excited for the day when my little man can help me cook. My son is 11 months now and his meals look pretty similar to what you feed Sam, but it’s always nice to get some new ideas. When did he figure out how to use the spoon? My son just chews on his spoon and then throws it on the floor – he can’t seem to figure out how to use it to get yogurt/oatmeal into his mouth yet.

    1. Sam just started to use the spoon about two weeks ago. He still only gets about 1/3 of what he’s eating into his mouth. Ha! But he loves to hold onto it throughout the entire meal. Your little guy will figure it out. But be prepared to clean up more messes! 🙂

  3. P LOVES going into the pantry and pulling snacks out for herself. We’re actually in a stage now when we try to limit the snacks to scheduled snacks and she is NOT a fan.

  4. Oh my goodness, I love that picture of him in the cupboard- too cute! Sounds like he has a good appetite- my daughter is the same way. Makes it so much easier to feed them well! I grew up in southeastern PA… not too far from you. 🙂

  5. What a good eater! Love seeing all the healthy foods your little man eats. We’ve got a pretty good eater as well but he’s not as good at eating his veggies plain. I have to hide them in veggie nuggets, won tons and other foods. At least he’s getting them in though!

  6. So cute! My son is 16 months old and we stopped breastfeeding at a year old. I don’t remember him ever not really drinking his milk, but I did wonder if he was “getting enough” since I knew he was getting certain amounts from me with his bottles at the babysitter and when we nursed. Anyway, this isn’t very “scientific” and might not be helpful, but I remind myself daily – toddlers (you have a toddler now!) are pretty finicky. My son will eat his “trees” broccoli one night and toss them over his shoulder another. One week, he’ll love chicken pot pie, the next, he won’t take a bite! I just keep offering stuff and hope for the best. One night, I swear all he ate was a pear. You certainly have a good eater on your hands! My point is, just keep offering the milk during the day. He’ll eventually drink it up. For awhile, I thought my son was drinking too much milk and offered some watered down juice once a day. He hated it. Water and milk for my boy – that’s fine!

  7. Thanks for the meal ideas! Scarlett is not a picky eater either! Her favorites are pasta salad and mandarin oranges. We’ve tried introducing 2oz of whole milk into her 4oz of formula and she totally knows and wont drink it. I am so over buying formula, not really sure what to do either 🙁

  8. What a cutie! I am super impressed that he is using a spoon and eats off a plate. Every time I try a plate with Lucas he throws it on the floor before it can make it in his mouth. Any tips? Lucas is loving the cows milk but he is still drinking it out of his bottle. I’ve offered it in the cup several times and he hardly touches it (although he always drinks his water from the cup). Someone told me that it could take awhile for them to want it out of the cup because it’s like when you pick up a cup thinking it’s water and it’s actually sprite. Sam is such a good eater! Love the food ideas!

    1. Sam just recently started to use a spoon. And he only gets about 1/3 of the food into his mouth. Ha! But now he wants to hold onto it while eating every meal. As for the plate, I started to put all of his meals onto it about two weeks ago. If he’s hungry, he has no problem eating off it. But once he’s full and starts to play with his food, that’s when the plate goes into the air and the food goes onto the floor. Lucas will get the hang of it!

      And thanks for the milk tips. I know Sam will get there.

  9. I love your pictures! My 10-month-old gets a handful of Cheerios every morning, too, while Mommy or Daddy makes coffee.

    That enchilada casserole looks good – can you share the recipe?

  10. Sam is such a good eater! My Sophie is the same way, and her meals seem very similiar. Our snack cabinet is up high so she can’t exactly get into it, but she certainly points to it when she is hungry!
    As to drinking more milk….have you tried the sippy cup with the pop-up straw? That is the only kind of cup that Sophie has ever used, and she drinks from them like a champ. She loves to drink water or formula from them, and we just started mixing whole milk into her formula and she guzzles it down. Also, do you give him the cup when he’s playing? She always has a cup on the floor with her, that way she can drink at her leisure. He may not want the milk because he is more interested in eating the food during his meals…which is definitely how Sophie is, too!
    Just a few ideas. Hope that helps!
    By the way…I love your blog! Sophie is just about two weeks younger than Sammy, so I love seeing what they are up to! 🙂

  11. Miguel over drinks milk. only give him water with meals and milk in between (part of snack) . I give Miguel a cup right when he gets up… sometimes If I am lucky he will actually go back down for 30 min to 1 hr. he eats breakfast a while after. give him one before his late morning nap…. before 11. he eats lunch when he wakes up. then around 3ish I give him another before his afternoon nap… I usually water this one down. and then one before bed time. I give him water with meals and usually only takes sips because he gets full off food. pediatrician says that he only needs 2-3 cups. 2 if he eats yogurt and cheese. to not give with meals so he eats enough and gets calories and nutrition from food. which I never had luck giving it to him with meals either… he gets full and sometimes throws up if milk is with a meal.

  12. My son will not drink milk with a meal but if I fill a cup and leave it out while he plays he will drink the whole thing in less than 30 minutes.

  13. Thank you so much for your post! After my 17 month old and I battled our second round of Norovirus, he’s become a VERY picky eater. He used to want to try new things and now, not so much. One thing I have found that he LOVES is homemade veggie ranch. I usually throw in a 10oz. frozen spinach and a carrot or two in the food processor, along with my homemade dry ranch, milk and greek yogurt. He simply adores dipping his food, so he gets this veggie ranch at lunch at least, every day. I figure, if he doesn’t eat any other veggies that day, at least he’s getting something!

    As for milk, we make sure he gets a sippy in the morning and before brushing his teeth for bed. It’s still sort of like his morning and evening bottle. I’ve found that, especially in the morning, it allows both of us to wake up before I attempt to even touch the stove!

  14. Your son and mine are identical in their behavior. My son grabs his snacks when he wants them. Has to have some cherrios in the morning in those same bowls on the kitchen floor while I cook breakfast. I loved seeing this blog 🙂

  15. Thanks for the great ideas! When my 16 month old won’t drink his milk, I let him use the “big boy crazy straw”. I have to sit with him since it could get messy if I don’t help hold the straw, but he is always willing to drink more.

  16. Our pediatrician suggested mixing a little Nesquik into the whole milk. I was concerned but he made it make sense like this…instead of giving sugar in water, aka juice, he’d rather give a little sugar in whole milk. So skip the juice, add Nesquik to the milk instead and gradually decrease the amount of Nesquik that you add. It’s working well for my 13 month old son, and we’re now adding very little Nesquik. Good luck!

    1. That was really a doctors advice? That scares me. It is well known that kids under two should not eat any added sugar. Dairy is not necessary in a healthy diet. It can be part of it, but can also be replaced causing no harm. So if you kid doesn’t drink milk, thats nothing to worry about.give him other food containing calcium. No reason to give him sugar, which will fo more harm than the milk will do him good.

  17. I don’t have tricks but I just make sure even if she is done with the meal and we are off playing, that the cup is always right by her, therefore she takes drinks when she sees it. SOmetimes I just put it to her mouth and she will drink some!

    When did you start grapes and hot dogs?

  18. You could try adding a bit of vanilla extract to his milk. I have my son on unsweetened almond milk because the cows milk seemed to give him bad gas. I breast fed him until he was 16 months but only before bed once he was 12 to 13 months. He loves the almond milk but still has days where he just doesn’t want to drink much.

  19. Hello! I have 15 month old triplets. I have tried several things off Pinterest to get them to eat table food. I have tried so many different things and they throw most of it in the floor or only end up eating the fruit and nothing else. Any suggestions. They also are starting to not eat things that they did eat well. They won’t eat any meat, not even chicken nuggets. They used to eat carrots and green beans and now they just throw them off their plate.

  20. Our little man never took more than a few sips with a sippy cup. We now use a toddler cup with a flexible straw (they make no spill ones) and he drinks tons of water and kefir at each meal!

  21. Thank you for the breakfast and lunch ideas. We got our daughter on the routine of eating first and then at the end of the meal, we offer her milk cup. Otherwise, she fills up on milk and won’t eat much.

  22. I feel like I’ve been underfeeding my little guy, but, then again, he only just turned a year old today… But he normally gets a single, plain egg or a cup of yogurt in the morning(I’ll make it an omelette every once in a while, but I suck at them lol), a banana and some Gerber’s Crunchies for a snack, mac n’ cheese(Annie’s, so it’s healthier) or some lunchmeat and cheese for lunch, more Crunchies for a second snack, and then whatever we’re eating for dinner(spaghetti, meatloaf, etc.). It makes me feel like I’m not feeding him nearly enough and not nearly as balanced as it should be now..

  23. if any mom out there can help me please… My daughter will soon be 13 months old and she’s yet to eat a meal… She’s breastfed and that’s all she is willing to eat. Her doctor said that it was normal but I am exhausted and her dad and I have tried every single thing out there. She does like gerber puff star snacks and that’s about it. Her doctor did start her on a daily multivitamin but if any mom out there has had a similar situation please help me! Thanks in advance she refuses fruits, veggies, meats, snacks etc…

  24. hello! Try warming his milk up or at least getting it to room temp. He was used to milk coming from the tap at 98-99 degrees! 😉

  25. I know the original post was a few years ago, but to the other…commenters?…I’ve had really good luck getting my newly one year old to drink more milk by mixing it with You Kids drinkable yogurt. It does add some sugar but it doesn’t need the whole little bottle, plus she gets some probiotics since she’s been on antibiotics a lot for ear infections.

  26. Thanks for the ideas! My little guy drinks about half a gallon of milk every three ou or four days but rarely eats much. He loves vanilla almond milk! That’s how we switched him from breast milk. Now he drinks whole milk also but still prefers his almond milk.

  27. Thanks for this! We just started switching our daughter from formula to milk and she hates it! My husband is so caught up on her getting her milk and nothing we do works, we just keep offering. Its nice to know we’re not the only ones. 🙂 Although our doctor did tell us at her one year that as long as shes getting dairy from other sources its no big deal if she doesn’t drink milk. It’s great to see the ideas of adding different things to it.

  28. These are some great ideas! Just an FYI, Multigrain Cheerios are actually full of sugar. The original Cheerios are better for littles or if you have a Whole Foods nearby you can get whole grain O’s of a different brand that don’t have added sugar (and are organic to boot). Great site!

  29. So I posted a month ago that our daughter wouldn’t touch milk. We were in the process of switching from formula to milk and our doctor told us to just make the switch cold turkey. Obviously that didn’t work for us so we went back and tried to wean her. She did 6 oz bottles so for two days we did 4oz formula 2 oz milk, then two days the opposite and then did one day all milk in the bottle, then switched her completely to milk in a sippy. Hope this helps someone.

  30. When we switched our lil guy over to start drinking whole milk from breast milk we also had some trouble. We tried having the milk come to room temp and he liked that better than straight from the fridge, but even then would only take a few drinks and be done with it. The thing that really worked well for us, was chocolate milk. And I can hear all the moms saying, omg why would you give your kid chocolate milk?!? But hear me out, I started with half chocolate and half regular in a sippy cup, he tried it and loved it. Each day I would slowly decrease the amount of chocolate milk in his cup. After two weeks of doing that, he was drinking only regular milk. And now, at 18 months, absolutely loves milk and can’t get enough of it.

  31. Hi, love your meal ideas but I was wondering how old your son was when he started eating good? My son just turned 1 and doesn’t like sitting very long in his chair and usually throws the good to the dog lol. I am also a bit paranoid of the choking factor so I have been cautious about what I give him. Now that we are done with formula I know he needs to eat well…any suggestions would be great. I’m a first time mommy! Thanks so much!!

  32. I have been adding ovaltine to my son’s milk in the morning. He drinks 8-12 ounces before breakfast. It adds vitamins and flavor.

  33. I have a question on the Baby Bjorn bibs shows in the picture…. The last picture of your boy shows him holding it up. Did he yank it off himself? My son yanks off the velcro-fastening bibs as well as the over-the-head bibs. I am looking at buying these Baby Bjorn bibs with hopes that he can’t yank it off. Thanks!

  34. Hello:),
    My son will be 9 this month. He WILL NOT drink/eat ANY DAIRY FOOD!! Except for eggs when they’re, obviously, in pancakes bread cake cupcakes, that kind of thing. But, straight up scrambled eggs…won’t touch them, hates the smell of them!! So, I too, would LOVE ADVICE about dairy. Thanks and break a leg!!

  35. Love these lunch ideas! My guy can be a bit picky so when I can find a new way to give him some of his favorite foods, it’s always a plus! Milk idea: have you tried almond or cashew milk? Still has plenty of calcium but tastes different so he might like it more. It’s the only milks I can get my guy to drink and he LOVES it!

  36. Thank you for the ideas! In reading the comments I see some mamas struggling to get their kiddos to drink milk. For any future readers our doc switched us to almond milk instead of whole milk. My son wasn’t a big milk drinker either but he will down a cup of that. We even do the vanilla now and again for a special treat!

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