My daughter is now 15 months old and entering into that very independent stage where she wants to do it all herself, her way, with no help whatsoever. This involves food as well!
She wants to feed herself with her own bowl and her own spoon, which is great… but messy. Another issue with toddlers is that when they’re hungry, they’re hungry. They haven’t quite learned how to wait for a full meal to be cooked- they want to eat now.
Ready made baby or toddler meals are very expensive, but it’s often hard for my daughter to wait while I cook for her. Instead, I keep filling and frugal food on hand and ready to go, which helps her wait for dinner.
The key is preparing everything in advance, so that it can be quickly heated if necessary and served in a flash. I also try to avoid things that are too messy, so she can feel good about feeding herself and I don’t have to give her a second bath!
Here are some of the frugal finger foods I give my toddler.
- Chopped ham or chicken breast
- Chunks of tuna
- Cheese, cubed in advance
- Sauteed zucchini
- Cooked cubed carrots or potatoes
- Diced beets
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Green beans
- Garbanzo or kidney beans
- hot dogs or sausage
What do you feed your toddler?