Hi! I’m Jory and I’m a mama on a mission. As the head chef in my home, I strive to create healthy, mostly vegetarian meals that are as unprocessed as possible. But, that’s the “easy” part! My mission is to keep my 3-year-old daughter from becoming a “picky eater.” So often I hear parents talk about how their kids used to eat “everything” and once they became toddlers they stopped eating all but around five foods. Over my dead body will that happen to my daughter!
When my daughter was a baby, I cooked her all sorts of healthy, unprocessed baby food. Somewhere along this feeding adventure it hit me: To avoid the picky eater trap, I had to do more than just feed my daughter different sorts of tasty and healthy foods. I had to involve her in food by cooking together, shopping for food together and more. So, over the last 3 years, I’ve been using my background in early childhood education to create lessons around “food concepts”. My most valuable (and fun) tip is: cook with your kids.
A few notes about cooking with toddlers and kids: Recipes will typically take longer than expected since you’ll be guiding your little foodie along the way. Plan to spend at least a few minutes checking over your child’s work and (likely) finishing some of it. Also, don’t be surprised if some ingredients get tasted along the way. It’s all part of the fun! Below I’m sharing five unprocessed recipes we love to cook together along with ideas to get your little one in on the cooking action. Happy eating!
Nutty Green Smoothie
- 2-3 cups raw kale or other leafy green I like to freeze mine but it isn’t essential
- 2 frozen bananas chopped
- 2 ounces coconut water
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- Place all ingredients into a blender, adding the almond butter last. Pulse until smooth.
- Pour into glasses and enjoy!
Chilled Summer Squash Soup
- 2 zucchini roughly chopped
- 2 yellow squash roughly chopped
- 1 red onion roughly chopped
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt plus a few pinches for cooking the vegetables
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Chili powder to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and stir. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the zucchini and squash and another two pinches of salt. Sauté for 3 minutes and add the vegetable stock. Stir and raise the heat. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes.
- Add the spices and purée the mixture using either an immersion blender or a regular blender. Taste and adjust spices as desired.
- To chill the soup, pour it into a large shallow dish or divide it into individual portions of around 1¾ cup each. Place soup in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 1-2 hours.
Quinoa Burrito Bowl
- ¾ cup cooked quinoa cooled
- ¼ cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup fresh corn kernels
- 2-3 tablespoons canned chopped tomatoes drained or 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 pinches parsley finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 lime juiced
- ¾ ounce fresh mozzarella finely chopped
- Salt pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper (optional), to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste, adjust spices and enjoy cold or warm.
- ½ bunch kale with ribs removed washed, dried and torn into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-2 pinches salt
- Heat oven to 275°F.
- In a large bowl, toss the kale with the olive oil and spices. Mix thoroughly so everything is well coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the kale into one even layer. Make sure there is space in between the kale leaves so the air can circulate and they can get crispy.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Then, toss the leaves around the pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the chips are crispy.
Baked Apple with Oats
- 1 apple
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon whole oats
- Dash of cinnamon
- Heat the oven to 325°F and either grease a baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
Slice off the top 1/2 inch of the apple, leaving a ring intact. Set top aside.
- Scoop out and discard the core.
Scoop out the rest of the flesh, leaving a border around 1/2 inch thick of apple. A small melon baller or a rounded ½ teaspoon-sized measuring spoon works well.
- Finely chop the apple pieces and add them to a bowl.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Fill the empty apple with the mixture. Fill to the top and pack it down. Cover with the apple top and place in baking dish.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Be careful when removing the lid of the baked apple because steam will escape.
About the Author
Jory Lieber is a food-focused mom and at-home chef who has been raising her daughter to eat a variety of healthy foods right from the start. She uses a diverse range of natural ingredients to create a teeny tiny foodie as well as a foodie family. On her award-winning website, teeny tiny foodie, you’ll find the recipes she has been creating for her daughter and family, the food concepts she teaches her daughter, the tips and tricks she’s learned in the kitchen, and lots of funny stories she’s experienced along the way. You can also find Jory on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.