Ted’s Food Diary & A Ridiculously Easy Rice Bake Recipe

toddler in restaurant

Ted has always been a pretty good, unfussy eater.

Until recently.

At the start, we mainly did baby-led weaning, and he’d devour broccoli like I devour pizza (and biscuits, and frozen yoghurt, and cheese & onion Walkers….). I was quite smug.

Ted certainly wouldn’t eat everything; I remember faffing about making various BLW recipes I found on t’internet, including one that involved blending chicken mince and made me feel a bit queasy.

These toiled-over concoctions often ended up straight on the floor, of course, which I took as a massive, personal slight towards me and my terrible parenting.

Yet, overall, he’s been good with his food. Strangers would frequently comment on his appetite and his contentedness when we went out to eat, and I’d smile politely while rolling my eyes as if to say ‘he’s not always this good!’, to try and not be too much of a smug so-and-so.

Yet as with his periods of ‘good’ sleeping, I’ve always been cautious of getting too ahead of myself about his eating.

I was certain there’d be a time when he’d stop eating his favourite cheese spread wraps that were our fail-safe, on-the-go lunch, and when broccoli would suffer the same fate as the minced chicken concoction (they were chicken bites…and they weren’t half bad, actually).

And sure enough, that time has come.

I won’t complain too much, because there are still a few healthy meals that he eats with gusto (touch wood) and we have on rotation.

I’ll gloss over the fact that they’re essentially the same ingredients but with a different carb option, and that I sometimes lose the will to live when I’m preparing them for the third day in a row…

But still! I know there are some kids who survive on nothing but bananas and fresh air.

I’m therefore keeping my fingers crossed that Ted will continue enjoying his same-but-different meals for the foreseeable future, even if they make Graham and I long for carefree days of yore, when we could have egg and chips, or frozen pizza and chips, or chips and chips for tea on any day of the week without a second thought. (CAN YOU IMAGINE??!!!!)

(We don’t have chips very often during the week these days, because Ted loves chips, and if chips are in sight then anything else will be flatly refused. Sigh.)

Anyway, I’ve created a little food diary of what Ted ate over the last week, in case it makes any other parents feel better, or provides ‘inspo’ (not sure about the latter, but you never know…).

Let’s get stuck in.

 

EVERY MORNING: Ted usually has one or two digestive biscuits, sometimes a bit of an apple or a banana and sometimes a slice of toast before about 7am, and then around 8am he always has a bowl of porridge – made with three tbsps of oats, loads of cow’s milk and a small amount of banana or apple. (That’s if I’m making it…on three mornings a week he’ll have porridge and lunch at my mum and dad’s; I cannot comment on their porridge making.)

bowl of oats

not Ted’s actual bowl, fyi…

MONDAY

Lunchtime: I really wanted Ted to have something other than toast for lunch today, because it’s become a bit of a habit and I’m not keen on his increasing fondness for beige food.

I heated up an Aldi baby pouch (the organic cheesy potato one, which Ted likes – it’s actually very tasty!) and offered him that, with some toast with cheese spread on it, as a compromise. He was in a MASSIVE grump after waking from a nap and launched the toast that I’d dipped in the (orange-coloured) Aldi food towards a plant in the dining room, and it landed on our rug. Brill.

I gave in and he had some toast with cheese spread, now untainted by the Aldi potato stuff, some Quavers and a banana.

Teatime: stir-fry. This is one of Ted’s favourites. I make it with dried egg noodles, plus onion, mushroom, beansprouts, pepper, spinach, prawns and a tiny bit of soy sauce. He ate LOADS. Hurray. He had some Greek yoghurt and strawberries afterwards.

 

TUESDAY

He was with my mum and dad for lunch – I think he had toast (again) and beans.

Teatime: a friend recommended some veggie (vegan?) sausages from Aldi that her little one loves, so I bought some of those for us all – they’re the masala ones from the fresh section, made with chick peas I think – along with some Aldi sweet potato burgers. I enjoyed the sausages and the burgers.

Unfortunately I made the terrible mistake of serving with some oven chips, and then it was game over for anything else. Ted tried a tiny bit of the sausage but wouldn’t touch the burger.

He ended up having about 10 oven chips, and some Greek yoghurt with strawberries. Fail.

 

WEDNESDAY

Lunch: We went out for lunch, and I ordered a posh cheese and onion toastie for me and Ted to share. He wouldn’t go near it. He had two digestives, a banana, an apple and some Quavers.

Teatime: I made a rice bake, which I started making a few weeks ago after getting bored of pasta bakes. (It’s a big diversion from pasta to rice, I know…) Recipe below. A big hit with Ted.

 

THURSDAY

Lunch: cheese spread on toast.

Teatime: Wholemeal pasta with chopped tinned tomatoes, a tin of tuna, onion, garlic, mushroom, peppers, olives, spinach, grated Cheddar cheese. It went down a treat with Master T.

 

FRIDAY

Lunch: he was at my mum and dad’s for lunch again; a meal that revolves around toast is likely.

Teatime: leftover pasta from the night before; we got Chinese after Ted had gone to bed (wahoo).

 

SATURDAY

We went out for the day, and Ted’s been a bit off – not sure if he’s teething or is a bit under the weather? We ate out and he wouldn’t even have chips, shock horror. He ate some baked beans and his usual snacks (Quavers, biscuits, fruit) and that was about it. Had some Greek yoghurt and cheese on toast at home.

 

SUNDAY

We went out for lunch to a local Italian restaurant; previously, Ted has thoroughly enjoyed pasta with Napoli sauce from there with a bit of garlic bread. Today, we ended up having to suck off the sauce (REALLY) before he’d eat the pasta, and he didn’t touch the garlic bread.

He ate more cheese on toast and fruit and Greek yoghurt later in the day.

And there you have it. There’s not a HUGE amount of variation in Ted’s diet, but he does have more than bananas and fresh air, and I expect we’ll soon be in the phase of pesto pasta or nothing (I’ve heard that happens) and so for now I am not too worried. If you’ve any tips for encouraging fussy toddlers to eat more/try new things, please share!

 

RECIPE: Ted’s Favourite Rice Bake

(for approx. 4 generous portions; there’s usually leftovers)

Ingredients:

  • Approx 400g cooked rice (I use the microwaveable packs of brown rice, and use about 1.5 – 2 packs, or about 1.5 portions of boil in the bag)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • Approx 8 mushrooms
  • 1 pepper
  • Large handful of spinach (more if you fancy)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • Approx 12 olives, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • A generous sprinkling of smoked paprika to taste
  • A generous sprinkling of mixed herbs
  • Tons of grated cheese for the top (as much as you like, but enough to cover the top of the bake; I use Cheddar, and have also put small cubes of feta inside the rice mixture for a variation)
  • Avocado plus sweet chilli sauce / hot sauce to serve, for adults
rice bake in baking dish

christ alive, do you think I might make it as a food photographer / stylist??!

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 c.
  2. Add oil to wok/large pan and fry the onion, mushroom and pepper until softened
  3. Add garlic and fry for a minute or two, add spinach
  4. Once spinach wilted (doesn’t take long), add olives, then tomatoes and beans, stir.
  5. Add herbs and paprika, then add the rice. Heat through for a few minutes.
  6. Pour mixture in a large ovenproof dish, add cheese to the top.
  7. Cook through for approx. 10/15 mins until cheese melted and bubbling.

Voila.

things aren’t really improving on the photography front are they? thankfully it tastes better than it looks…

I’ve totally made this recipe up; it’s hardly Michelin fayre, but Ted likes it and it’s half-decent for adults too (especially with avocado and chilli sauce). Enjoy!

Bye for now x

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Hello, I'm Laura. I write about parenting, life, style, building a business and finding success on your own terms.

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