Toddler vs. Vegetable: Meatloaf

So I’ve been talking about getting my toddler to eat vegetables but she’s also started being extremely picky about meat! As you can imagine, she eats a lot of eggs and fruit. One type of meat that she LOVES and never turns away is meatloaf. Now the following concept can work with probably any meatloaf recipe and there are many styles so if you have one that you love, follow those directions and adjust as you see fit.

Two meatloafs: 1 with jalapeno for daddy and one with zucchini and onions for mommy and baby

Two meatloafs: 1 with jalapeno for daddy and one with zucchini and onions for mommy and baby

It’s strange to think about, but meatloaf is actually a great way to sneak in some veggies! Here is my basic list of ingredients:

  • Your meat! We’ve been using groundvenison lately because my grandfather likes to hunt and has gotten lucky which means our freezer has been full of deer meat but when we don’t have venison we like both ground turkey and ground beef. This is totally preference. Keep in mind that turkey and venison typically has less fat than beef so you may have to add more in or more binder to get it to bake as a loaf.
  • Bread crumbs. I use Italian but panko or other would work. I started using bread crumbs with venison to help with that binding but it’s not necessary.
  • Ketchup. Many people use a tomato sauce or tomato paste but I like the tang of ketchup. I’ve been using an all natural brand from Hunt’s lately.
  • Barbeque sauce. I like a sweet and spicy red BBQ sauce – I’m not sure how a mustard BBQ would work but might be worth trying. I tend to use more BBQ sauce than ketchup because I like the taste.
  • Eggs (1-2 depending on amount of meat)
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped vegetables. Recently I have added zucchini, yellow squash, jalapenos… jalapenos are for my husband who recently bought a jalapeno plant and loves spice. I made him a separate loaf but if your child likes spicy, share away! Other types of peppers would work really well, too.
  • Garlic and other spices
  • Bacon or bacon fat. (optional but a great way to add in some more fat and more flavor)

meatloaf with vegatables(Sorry I don’t do measurements – if you are someone who needs them find a recipe you like online and like I said above, adjust as you want!)

Basically, you chop what needs chopping and then just mix it all together in a bowl. Put in a loaf pan, casserole dish or a muffin pan and bake at about 375 until down. Usually the top and sides will begin to brown. The type of meat you used and the thickness of the loaf will directly affect how long it will need to cook.

Evie loves the muffin size because they are super easy to eat but our whole family loves this dish. This week we paired it with green beans and corn muffins. It was a hit.

Toddler vs. Vegetable: Apples & Zucchini

I love zucchini. I love to saute it with onions, grill it in strips, bread and bake or fry for “fries,” roast it in the oven AND eat it in baked goods! It is one of those vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes that are delicious both sweet AND savory. Of course, my toddler isn’t interested in eating it on its own…

apples and zucchiniIt works great in egg muffins (with cheese or without) and I love to put it in baked goods in a banana or pumpkin bread. Recently, I tried something different! I’m not sure what gave me the idea but I had some apples that needed to be used, as well, and whereas I would normally put both apples and zucchinis in muffin form, I didn’t feel like baking. So, I chopped up the apples and zucchini pretty small and tossed them in a saute pan with some coconut oil. Any oil or butter would probably work. I sauteed them lightly (I didn’t want them mushy and I also knew they would be reheated in the future) and dusted them lightly with cinnamon.

zucchini, apple, cinnamon, coconut oilI have to admit that I did not taste this! But my daughter LOVED it. I felt really good that she got vegetables, fruit and some healthy fat.

You could peel each ingredient if your toddler is picky enough and smart enough to realize the green is a sneaky vegetable or just use green apples! :) And, if they don’t like this experiment, this could easily be put inside a baked good!

Have fun experimenting with different veggies and getting your toddler or child to enjoy eating healthy and interesting food! This was also a great food for Evie to practice eating with a spoon!

Toddler vs. Vegetables: Cheese-less Eggs

This recipe is pretty obvious, I think. It’s basically our Egg Muffins without the cheese!

As I’ve written about before, my daughter, who is now 19 months old used to love eating vegetables but now the only way she will eat them consistently is in things [aka hidden]. I typically offer her the vegetables in their regular state (cooked or raw, depending on the vegetable) a couple of times but then I find another way to use them before they go bad. The most popular way in our house, and probably the easiest is in eggs! And, pretty much any and every vegetable works. We have cooked black beans, green beans, carrots, and other veggies that you wouldn’t normally think of including. Sometimes, I hand chop them up and other times I use the food processor to get them a little finer.

The other weekend, I had some zucchini – a veggie we don’t have often but they were just beautiful at the store. I cooked some up with some onions on the stove for myself and my husband – yum. But Evie wasn’t interested. I also made some chicken sausage. I have been loving chicken sausage lately; this was a variety with apple. Meat – another thing that Evie is not loving these days!

cheeseless vegetable egg muffinsSo I chopped some of the zucchini, onions and the sausage and threw them in basically what was a scrambled egg mix. If you want to know measurements, you’ve come to the wrong place – I tend to eyeball things. I want to make sure that there is a good amount of mix-ins in comparison to the eggs. Evie loves cheese so I thought why not see if she will eat these without the cheese? It was something of an experiment and had she hated them, the adults would have eaten them! But, she loved them. You can make these in small muffin size or normal tins. Cook them anywhere between 10-15 min at around 350 or 375. Just keep an eye on them – the edges will start to brown and they won’t be jiggly.

These are great because I can throw in anything! It gives Evie something healthy to eat and eliminates waste. I should also say that if you need something quick, I have microwaved these eggs many times. In a ceramic ramekin or coffee mug for 1-2 minutes depending on how much mixture you put in! My husband doesn’t like the consistency of a microwaved egg but Evie doesn’t mind (and neither, really, do I).