Clara’s current favorite eats and a toddler food Q&A

In those first early months with a baby, we are all obsessed with what they are eating. Is she (or he) getting enough milk? Is it time for solids? What should (or shouldn’t ) be those early foods?

It took me three tries to find my way, and still, feeding our Clara took time and care to ensure she was getting the best of the best. She is a tall, lean baby, and so of course I always get asked a lot of detailed questions about her diet at her doctor’s visits. What do I tell them?

She eats more than her brothers.

Clara's favorite foods on simplebites.netPhoto by Tim Chin.

Well, at least half the time anyway. At fifteen months old, Clara is a well-rounded, voracious eater. We’ve barreled past the cautious, exploratory stage and have settled into easy: easy to please, at ease to chew and swallow foods, and easy to serve from the dishes on the diner table.

Today I thought I’d share some of her favorite foods and how I prepare them, then we can open up the questions in the comments.

Baby-led weaning 15 month update: Clara’s current favorite foods

Clara's favorite foods on simplebites.netClara's favorite foods on simplebites.netClara's favorite foods on simplebites.net

A closer look..

Snap Peas. Organic when I can get them, well washed, and she munches them raw. Great for non-messy snacking on the go.

Waffles. Good thing we have a basic waffle mix, ’cause these are a breakfast favorite.

Sweet Potatoes. Clara pops these like candy. Peeled, cubed and roasted, they keep for a few days in the fridge and reheat nicely.

Smoothies. Every single day. With yogurt or coconut milk, half an avocado, berries or mango, and a touch of maple syrup.

Farm Fresh Eggs. She helps me feed the hens in the morning, then we scramble a few eggs for lunch.

Pasta. Any kind, although I stick to organic, whole grain versions. Fusilli or penne is easier to eat then spaghetti.

Raspberries. Eaten off the fingers of course. Blueberries are a close second.

Beef (and chicken). After struggling for months to get my boys to eat meat at this age, it is a huge relief to have a baby that tucks into a chicken leg or beef patty.

Sandwiches. She is loving everything about the sandwich. Carbs? You bet. Usually they are ‘glued’ together with smashed avocado or cream cheese, making for less mess.

Corn. I don’t give it to her often, but the vegetable that she cut her teeth on is still a fast favorite, both on the cob and in kernel form.

Stone Fruit. As the first fruits of the season begin to arrive, Clara is loving their juicy sweet flesh. I wash and slice them for her.

Muffins. Mama makes the best muffins ever, though she leaves out the chocolate and adds extra flax. This is Clara’s ‘dessert’, so far.

Now, Clara eats mostly everything we do, but these are snacks, produce and proteins that she has a current fondness for, and I try to keep around for her.

My question for YOU: the milk mystery

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned drinking. Sure Clara’s an excellent eater, but oddly enough – she won’t touch cow’s milk. It’s the strangest thing. She actually spits it out, in any method it is presented to her – bottle, sippy cup or straw.

Although she downs smoothies, yogurt, and other dairy products, there’s something about milk that she doesn’t like. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m hoping she will change her opinion over time, and in the meantime, I continue to offer it to her.

Let’s discuss!

Have you transitioned to solids using the Baby-Led Weaning method? Does your baby/toddler have any strong aversions to any foods? Any allergies?

Feel free to share or ask questions in the comments and I’ll stick around to answer.

What are your toddler’s favorite foods? Do you have any tips to share?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. This is a great list and has given me some good ideas for my 15 mo old son! He eats most of these, but I hadn’t thought of the snap peas. Also, my eldest wouldn’t drink milk either, so our dr had us do OJ with calcium and a pediasure drink later in the day. Two years later and he’s finally coming around, but that compromise made sure he got the nutrition he needed.

    • Hi Ashley, Cara always loved celery, so snap peas were similar in taste and crunch. 🙂
      I’m giving Clara lots of yogurt and other dairy, plus milk in smoothies, so I’m sure she’s doing fine.

  2. Great job Clara! How about goat milk? That’s what Charlie drinks and loves.

    • Tried, and she disliked it even more. Hee hee. Funny, hey? She’s still nursing, so I guess she knows what the good stuff is. =) Thank for stopping by! Little Charlie is getting so big.

      • Adrianne says:

        You mentioned that she is still nursing – my daughter Isabella was the same way for a long time. We are also doing led weaning. She is 3 now and pretty much just this year has been drinking warm milk with honey. She refused to drink plain cold milk until very recently and it is still is not her drink of choice. I wouldnt worry about it (it doesnt sound like you are!) She gets her dairy from other sources 🙂

        • My son was the SAME way. Would not TOUCH cow’s milk at all – and his preschool completely freaked out over it! I had to sit down with the teachers because they were worried about his diet – yet he ate (and still does!) spinach, raw broccoli and cauliflower, lettuce salads, cheese, kale, swiss chard, etc. Turned out the preschool teachers at the time had not nursed their kids and didn’t understand how breastfed babies operate.

          Cows’ milk, plain pure and simple, is just not as sweet as breastmilk. But i will tell you, the second my daughter discovered pink milk made with homemade strawberry syrup, she self weaned really quickly. I mean, who doesn’t like pink milk!

          you’re doing a great job. Keep it up! 🙂

  3. My youngest wouldn’t touch milk either, but with a lot of coaxing she finally started drinking it when she was about two. As it turned out, the reason she was refusing it was because she’s allergic to it! Once she started drinking it on a regular basis it was obvious that there was an issue, and a test confirmed it. I still feel so awful for forcing it on her, when in reality children don’t need to drink milk to be healthy.

    If Clara (my dd’s middle name, btw 🙂 is eating other dairy products, I wouldn’t worry at all- three servings of dairy products a day does not have to include milk. My dd is so allergic that the smell of milk makes her nauseous, so we don’t have milk in our house. All of my kids (ages 12- 23) are strong and healthy without ever drinking it.

    • She gets milk in smoothies, so I’m sure she’s doing fine. How interesting that your little one ended up with an allergy.

      • It is really common for people to either crave or hate a food they are allergic to. Four out of five of us in our family are dairy allergic, and I can tell you from experience not to worry about dairy. We really don’t need it in our diets, even babies. If you are nursing and she is drinking fortified coconut milk or juice, she is getting plenty of calcium.

    • Adrianne says:

      This reminds me that drinking milk on a regular basis is really an American concept. We moved to Italy 3 years ago and drinking milk, except with maybe warm with honey and some cereal type cookies in the morning is the only time its ever had except for cooking. When I first came to visit I had to ask my now husband to get it for me cause they were not used to keeping it in the house. I pretty much gave up drinking it.

  4. Great Ideas! My 2yr old won’t touch milk either, of any kind. She won’t drink anything out of a cup but water. I figured it was because of how her tastes changed during her year of chemo, but maybe it’s more normal than I thought!

  5. My fourth child, a boy, hated milk. He went from being breastfed to plain yogurt. He never drank milk until he was 3 years old. Now he likes it quite a bit. No allergies. He simply did not like it until much later in life. He ate cheese and yogurt very gladly, so we never worried. As it turns out, my fifth child is currently in a milk refusal phase (he is 30 months old). He drinks the tiniest of sips and trying to make him drink more is a pain we aren’t willing to suffer. So unless he asks, we won’t give it to him. But again, he eats yogurt and cheese just fine, so we aren’t worried.

  6. Great list! I’m still working on getting my just turned 2 year old (my 3rd child) to eat raw veggies, she chews them for a while and then spits out whatever’s left in her mouth. 🙂

    She also didn’t take to cow’s milk right away. She was still nursing until about 18 months old and ate dairy in other forms. I just kept offering it to her occasionally and she now loves it.

    • Hi Katie,
      Clara is picky about some green veg – like she won’t give cucumbers any time of day!
      I’ll keep offering milk. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. My 19 month old is not much of a milk drinker. When I weaned him, the cow’s milk seemed to irritate his stomach so I backed off for a while. Then when I tried again, he was not interested. I was not too worried since he eats yogurt and cheese well. At his 18 month old check up, the dr. said to give him chocolate or other flavored milk. I didn’t like adding the extra sugar into his diet (especially since he is quite content with water!), but I found a peaches ‘n cream flavored milk (Promised Land) that had much less sugar than other flavored milk. I can dilute it plain milk and hopefully eventually wean him to totally plain milk.

    • Wow, I can’t imagine a doctor suggesting chocolate milk for a baby! Sounds like you have a smart substitute.

      I’ve blended super sweet, really ripe strawberries with milk for a fresh milkshake-like drink and Clara really enjoys it.

  8. Kimberly says:

    My daughter also refused cow’s milk when I first started giving it to her. I discovered she simply didn’t like/wasn’t used to drinking cold milk. She did better when I warmed it up for her (closer to the breast milk temp she was used to). Then I just gradually heated it less and less for her until she was doing fine with it. It took me awhile to figure out that the temperature was the issue because she drank other things cold without a problem.

  9. Hi Aimee – Thanks for your updates on Clara. Sounds like things are going well for your healthy girl. Our otherwise voracious try-anything third child Isla (now 3) did NOT like milk and did not wish to try it beyond a few sips from an “open cup” after she weaned. We were not terribly worried as she was getting calcium and other nutrients from a wide variety of choices from the various food groups. Our family doc suggested skim milk as this worked for her toddler. Isla will sip at it if it’s cold and has an ice cube in it! Her first choice, though, is her plain “yogie” (yogurt) with a swirl of homemade jam and in-season fruit. And, yes, raspberries must be put on fingertips! That’s the rule (glad Clara got the memo)!

  10. I always warmed my babies milk in the microwave while they transitioned to cow’s milk and once they acquired the taste I stopped and they still drink it.

  11. Just to add to the discussion. My daughter, now 37, also did not drink milk but like Clara she LOVED yogurt. She also drank orange juice with calcium.

    She is now the mother of twin 16 month olds and I just forwarded this list of food to her. Ava and Rowan are good eaters and they love variety.

  12. What do you think about organic extra firm tofu (non-GMO), cut into 1/2inch pieces as a finger food? It worked well a friend of mine, it seems like a great addition to the list of proteins for snacking.

  13. Hi Aimee,

    That’s a great list.

    I have a 20 month old who isn’t too fond of meat in any form. He doesn’t have his molars yet and is not that keen on food that needs to be chewed to much.

    He chews for a bit and then spits it out. How did you get your boys to eat meat?

    Veggies and fruits go down a treat, though. Eggs are great too. He loves carbs in any form – toast fingers, pancakes, pita..you get the drift.

    I haven’t offered him muffins or waffles so far , so thanks for the recipes.

    Cheers,
    Monica

    • Hi Monica,

      Good question. I think since Clara’s been eating meat (not pureed) since 6 months, she’s learned to chew with her gums.

      My boys had a terrible transition to solid meats, for whatever reason. Maybe it was a texture thing, maybe they didn’t like it.

      I wish I could share something that worked for me, but my eldest probably didn’t eat meat until he was about three. At which point he started with barbecued chicken and moved on to steak. Fortunately he now eats all meats, from the stronger flavored lamb to tiny salty clams.

      For that 1 year period, I didn’t force meat (not worth it!) and made up for it with other proteins.

      Good luck and don’t discourage!

  14. Love the list you’ve got here! My 15-month-old A is also hesitant to drink cow’s milk, though she loves her milk-based baked pasta / rice. I’m not too worried though, since she gets her daily cheese.

    Smoothies sound great by the way! Think I’ll give that a try with A, since I’ve just introduced her to homemade banana popsicle, and she seems to like it! What’s Clara’s favourite smoothie?

    • Hmm, she’s not picky, but she does favor ones made with banana (of course, a natural sweetener) and mango -another sweet one!

  15. Great food ideas for moms with little ones!

  16. My 6 year old still doesn’t like milk. Won’t eat cheese either. He will eat a little yogurt, and will drink anything in smoothie form. We often blend Kefir with a banana and strawberries.

  17. Hi Aimee!

    Both of my girls nursed into the 18-24 month range and neither had a taste for cow’s milk until around 3 or just before — definitely not while they were still nursing. Thinking that it might be irritating to their bellies, we started using almond milk in place of cow’s for smoothies and drinking, if requested.

    They’ve always gotten plenty of calcium from other dairy sources and leafy greens, so we weren’t too concerned. Probably because I’m not a big milk-drinker, I wasn’t too surprised that they didn’t like it.

    In addition, our pediatrician is of the mindset that, since they looked healthy and were growing, to let them lead the way on food and drinks too.

    Around 3, my oldest started drinking cow’s milk at her grandma’s house without complaint. Her little sister is still on the fence and she’s not quite 3. We still keep both varieties in the fridge…I’m hooked on almond milk in my coffee! 🙂

    • Oh that is interesting! Thanks for commenting. I’m not worried, but it would be convenient to hand her off to daddy with a bottle of organic cows milk while I take a night off! 😉

  18. One of my son’s favorite first foods was cubed extra-firm tofu – uncooked. He happily ate this until he was about 2 and a 1/2. He preferred it over most other proteins or dairy products. Similar other likes to those above. Red/yellow peppers & cucumbers are still one of his #1 snacks. Egg salad sandwiches, too. Regarding milk – he nursed til 2 yrs old – so was getting all he needed from the best source, too!

  19. We don’t drink milk in our family (we use it a little for cooking, and making yogurt, and we eat cheese). Dark leafy greens have more calcium than milk, anyway 🙂 Our beverages of choice include water, water kefir, or kombucha (and coffee and tea for the sleep-deprived parents) 🙂

  20. i have a 15 month old little girl too and she hates milk to drink. same thing, spits it out no matter how we give it to her. she does dairy(yogurt, cheese) but no milk. my 4 yrs old little girl would never do milk either, still will not. however, my 7 yrs old son loves it and always has. who knows!

  21. Fantastic List! I love the ideas! Sweet potatoes are a super favorite. And any berry (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries). The whole idea of being able to pick up the food and pop it in the mouth is fun. Also, pretty much all fruits are a super hit. Along with cheese and avocado. Love this post!

  22. Your website is looking so beautiful. Congratulations!

  23. This list is ever so helpful!! I have a toddler around the same age and I have been wondering if she’s getting enough solid food. She’s not weaned yet and still seems dairy intolerant. I’m going to try making her/ us some cherry coconut pudding today and see if she likes it. She loves smoothies and and is crazy about berries of all kinds.

  24. Andrea R says:

    Emmeline’s really picked up on her eating recently. I gave her cherries the other day, and I think they’re her new favourite. She also really liked aloo gobi, but not if it’s reheated. I’m not having much luck with anything green yet, she tends to just throw it on the floor. I keep trying, and she’ll sometimes eat green beans if I cut them small enough. She likes fruit the best, and bread/pancakes/waffles, pasta, chicken/beef/lamb, cheerios.

    She’s still nursing, so she hasn’t had cow’s milk yet. I’m hoping to be able to pump enough at work to keep up with her, but so far, it’s taking me a long time to get anything out, so I might have to combine breastmilk with homogenized, to make sure she has something to drink at daycare. I love milk, so I hope she takes to it.

    Clara seems to be doing very well. She’s adorable!

  25. Do you have a suggestion for a good toddler smoothie cup? I haven’t had any luck finding one that’s not plastic. I like the mason jar ones but the straws (or hole for the straw) never seem wide enough.
    My 16 month old is honestly causing me a bit of stress when it comes to meal time. I am pretty obsessed with her diet but usually at a loss of what to give her! She just started using a spoon today (SO cute!) so hopefully that will make some foods more interesting to her. Her favorite food is plain yogurt but she hates avocado and sweet potato, and can pick it out even when blended with other flavors! She loves salmon and berries and frozen peas. I think what complicates things further is that I chose to delay grains (probably a couple more months) so it is sometimes hard to share all of our meals with her. I just need to stress less and be over-prepared, even if it means buying extra!

    • I don’t have a sippy I love. In fact, I’m always exasperated at the Nuk version I have as it leaks like crazy.

      Clara is on and off with the spoon. She doesn’t show much interest, so I’m waiting. =)

  26. My daughters both disliked milk when I tried to introduce it. I tried getting dairy into their bodies with drinkable yogurts, yogurts, milks. They eventually accepted it. Now, fast forward6 years – they are both allergic to dairy!! oops – I’ve been taught by my paid professionals that kids are very in tune with their bodies. I wish I had not been so persistent! My current baby does not like eggs, and I’m accepting that (though I offer them every once in awhile)! He probably has an egg allergy!

  27. Wow sounds like she has a nice variety going on! What a cutie 🙂

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Aren’t toddlers and kiddos funny, that way? It seems they make their minds up and it sticks until thy decide to change it. Some days I wish my little kiddos drank less milk (I have a hard time getting them to drink water). We go through about 6 gallons a week or more regularly and my kids are only 4, 2.5, and 15 months and I limit the milk by dividing it with them drinking water.. I don’t drink much milk and my husband has to limit his intake of milk after the gallbladder was taken. Number 4 is on the way so at this point I am starting to wonder what the teenage years will look like.

  29. Hi Aimee,

    My youngest won’t touch cow’s milk either but she’s crazy about yogurt. She also wouldn’t take a bottle of any kind. Even with breast milk. EVER. She weaned herself at 13 months (she’ll be 2 in July) and still won’t even consider drinking milk. Both my girls are big into water, don’t really like juice. Go figure. Thanks for your snack list, there are some great ideas there!

  30. My 17-month old loves to pick the peas out of the pea pods–and it keeps him busy while I’m finishing the rest of the meal! Thanks for these tips–I need to try muffins. He’s dairy free, so I feel like I’m always out of ideas for snacks for him.

  31. None of my children would take cow’s milk initially. I realized that breast milk is much sweeter, so I offered them cow’s milk mixed with juice. I gradually cut down the amount of juice each day and they all ended up on straight milk after about a week. Hope this works for you!

  32. What a cute picture of Clara. I did not want to drink milk, even if I was raised on a farm. On of my sons does not like milk either. But we like yogurt, cheese, Almond milk.

  33. Such a great post Aimee…perfect for folks trying to figure out what to feed small kiddos 🙂

  34. My 16-month old also hates milk. He does seem to want it more and more. Maybe it’s an acquired taste?…

  35. Hi Aimee, Great post and one I wish I had when our son was 15 months! He’s now two, and quite a good eater.. Here’s a question for you – how do you get her to eat leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard and kale? That’s one food group he won’t touch, so I give him spinach smoothies, and he loves those.. but I’m keen to get him eating the greens as is eventually.

    He also wouldn’t touch cow’s milk for a while but ate about 1 kilo of natural yoghurt a week. We weren’t concerned but I was keen to wean him, so we started him on almond milk (the pure kind – just ground almonds + water) and that went down very, very well. Eventually we started mixing almond and cow’s milk and just kept reducing the percentage of almond milk until he was a cow’s milk addict. I have lots of questions about dairy, but I’m married to a German and live in Switzerland, so I will need some solid scientific facts before our family ever becomes dairy free :). No dairy is quite the counter-cultural statement over here.

    • Hey Devi- my son is a bit younger than Clara, and seems to do pretty well with his leafy greens-mainly spinach and lettuce from our garden. I’ve just give him a few leaves at a time and let him rip them up and chew to his heart’s content. I think offering them a variety of textures/tastes from the start helps a lot. To make sure he’s getting all the vitamins he needs, though, we make a green smoothie several times a week with lots of spinach. Its naturally sweet and he loves it!

  36. I would be insanely happy if my 18 month old ate this much variety. My son was a dream, and adventurous with food. My little lady – not so much. It drives me crazy – but I try not to stress to much about it (emphasise the word TRY) I keep preserving and she is getting better though. I am determined to keep offering her new food.
    Can’t offer a suggestion on the milk. Both mine love it. Love to hear more of your ideas on toddler meals.

  37. Our favorite sippy cup/water bottle is the Thermos Foogo straw cups (or the Thermos Funtainers). I recently got one for my 3 year old, and it’s by far the BEST cup we’ve ever had for her. It keeps liquids cold for HOURS, never leaks, and there’s no condensation either! I wish I’d gotten her one two years ago.

    Not long after that, I had to purchase Thermoses for my husband and myself, too. I’ve tried many types of water bottle for myself, but we like these the best!

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