Recently Jackson has been refusing to be fed with a spoon – a normal and important developmental phase for his age (he turned one in May this year). Showing off his independence, he wants to use his hands to shovel his food into his mouth. Pros: it allows me to get on with other things while he is eating. Cons: it is extremely messy! Not that our German Shepard, Archimedes, minds…he is always close by to hoover up the bits that fall onto the floor.
For a while I struggled to figure out what to give Jackson that he can easily eat with his hands but that he is also going to be able to manage with his limited amount of teeth. I quickly learnt that he wasn’t yet ready for small pieces of what we were eating, he battled to properly chew through pieces of meat or veggies, and these would end up being spat out. He needed something softer in texture and which can easily be held but also containing a balance of nutrients – high fibre starch, protein, veg and healthy fats.
I am not sure how the idea of a fritter came to me but I am so glad it did. Using some leftover veg that we had eaten for supper, I mashed these up in a mortar and pestle. To this I added a beaten egg, some grated cheese and just a bit of whole-wheat flour to help bind it. Exact amounts are not too important here, start with the egg, add a small handful of cheese and sprinkle over a bit of flour. Mix together, and if still a little bit too sloppy, add a bit more flour. Melt some butter in a pan and spoon some of the mixture in. Don’t make them too big, only about 7 – 8 cm in diameter. Fry gently on one side for a few minutes before flipping over and cooking the other. Once cooked let it cool and cut into pieces that baby can hold on his own. Voila! There you have an all-in-one meal. As you can see by this picture, Jackson enjoys his with a spread of cream or cottage cheese on!
Let your imagination run wild
Don’t be afraid to experiment with absolutely anything! The more variety, the more nutrients your little one is getting. Have leftover roast chicken and veggies? Moosh them together until they are soft and follow the same process. Jackson and I both also really loved this version I made using sweetcorn and grated marrow.
These fritters are not just great for baby, they make an awesome light lunch as well as a great lunchbox snack for school or the office!
If you are a parent to a small but independent (read stubborn) baby, you might be asking yourself what you can give them for breakfast when they are refusing to be spoon fed. I had the same dilemma. Out of sheer desperation one day, I came up with these oat crumpets one morning. Jackson absolutely loves them. I spread either peanut butter or some plain cream cheese on them and he devours them. Don’t be shy to cook some extra for yourself, they are an easy but healthy breakkie!