A toddler's breakfast
I write about food here often. I also write about Wyatt a lot. But I haven't posted much here about the foods I make for Wyatt. Perhaps it's because he generally eats the same foods we eat, and I don't usually cook something special for him. Even so, I've learned that tweaking the preparation a bit makes his food go "down the hatch" (something we like to say around here) with a little less hassle.
Breakfast is a sit-down-together meal in our home. Byron and I have eaten breakfast together for years, and now that Wy is with us, he's at the table too. During the week we eat a lot of oatmeal. Anyone who knows about my 25 pound bags/garbage can full of oatmeal is aware of how serious we are about this grain. It's breakfast food year round -- hot topped with honey and almonds; raw in muesli with nuts, fruit, and yogurt; or toasted in granola.
Wyatt likes hot "ohmee" as he calls it, but he has a bad habit of picking out the dried fruit piece by piece e.g. black raisins or dried blueberries, and eating all the fruit before he eats the rest. This is problematic in that a) he fills up on fruit and/or gets tired of eating before he gets to the oatmeal. and b) his oatmeal doesn't have anything in it when he goes to eat it, which usually means he's not so keen on it.
Thanks to a visit from my friend Jill a couple weeks ago, I now know how to make oatmeal in the microwave. Why I had never figured this out before now, I don't know. This method is great for Wyatt's oatmeal, especially since I can add dried fruit to cook along with the oats so it gets a little softer. It also makes it easier to cook one toddler serving at a time. With a little experimentation, I've also discovered what seems to be Wyatt's most reliable eat-it-all combination of add-ins -- things that he cannot visually isolate from the oatmeal. Oh, the tricks we learn!
Another food that I offer to Wyatt regularly is soy milk. Although he is still nursing in the morning and evening and occasionally during the days, his pediatrician tells me that he needs to get familiar with the taste of other milk. Plus, it's another good source of vitamin D, calcium, and protein for him. But sometimes he doesn't want to touch the milk. Rather than add chocolate or a powdered flavor or sweet syrup, I came up with a simple and relatively healthy way to get Wyatt to down 8 ounces of soy milk without protest -- real strawberry milk.
I'm certain I'll have to come up with a few more tricks to keep Wyatt eating healthy food in the months and years ahead. But for now this is what works.
Wy's Favorite Oatmeal
makes one toddler-size serving
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rolled regular oats
dash of cinnamon
small handful golden raisins
generous pinch of flaked coconut
agave nectar or brown sugar, to taste
milk or soy milk
a few pieces of seasonal fruit
Combine water, oats, cinnamon, raisins, and coconut in a microwave bowl. Microwave on high for about a minute and a half -- until the mixture is bubbly and beginning to thicken. Remove and transfer some of all of it to a cool serving bowl. While the oatmeal cools to eating temperature, add the agave nectar or brown sugar and stir it in. When the oatmeal has cooled a bit, add a few tablespoons of cold milk or soy milk and stir that in. This should make the mixture warm, but not too hot to eat. Garnish with a few pieces of fresh fruit, whatever is in season.
Real Strawberry Milk
makes one serving
8 ounces cold milk or soy milk
a handful of fresh strawberries, stems removed
agave nectar, optional
Blend the fruit into the milk using a hand blender. It will be more popular if it's a bit frothy and has some bubbles in it, so aim for that. Add a drop or two of agave nectar, if using, and stir. Pour into a toddler cup, add a straw, and watch it disappear.