The process of starting solids can be particularly exciting and daunting, but feeding a toddler has it’s own unique set of challenges: They have strong wills and opinions, they go through phases quickly and purposefully, and they aren’t always able to eat the exact same thing as us adults due to their continually developing chewing skills. This series reflects what I’m learning from feeding Linden in the hopes that it might give you some ideas for your little ones.
I do not, in theory, have anything against Goldfish crackers (or the Annie’s equivalent, bunny crackers). They are salty and yummy, and while they aren’t my first choice for a kid food, I realize that they are easy to eat and little people like them, so I understand their popularity.
Here’s the real reason why I keep them out of my house and out of the lunches that I pack for Linden when she goes to daycare 4 days a week: When they are in sight, she has a hard time focusing on her other food. (In all honesty, so do I.)
I tried letting her have the organic ones at home, in the hopes that she would self moderate, but having them in the house made her pickier—a trait that I wouldn’t normally use to describe her eating at all. Broccoli and chick peas are two of her favorite foods! It was intensely frustrating, to say the least. But even if I don’t buy them, they are often around at daycare*, so I knew that I had to come up with a good alternative. Something that would satisfy the same craving for cheesy goodness, but that wouldn’t create such an intense cycle of snacking tunnel vision.
Enter the Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Crackers from Weelicious. You might be thinking, “Homemade crackers? Come on, who has time for that!”, which is what I thought at first too. But then I made a batch, figured out how to make rolling them out easier, and watched Linden eat them up. I quickly decided that the small amount of effort every two weeks is definitely worth the payoff. (Two weeks is how long a batch lasts when they are reserved for Linden only. If the whole family eats them they last about three days:) They are much lower in sodium than the store bought kind, you can add herbs or different seasonings as you wish (I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary), and they are completely delicious.
Here are a few tips to consider when making the recipe:
1. I always have to add a few drops of water to the dough to get it to come together. Sprinkle it right into the food processor, a bit a time, until the dough pulls together if you have the same issue.
2. Instead of rolling the dough out on a floured surface, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper. Your counter will thank you (and it’s way easier this way).
3. Don’t so much worry about the shapes unless you have cute tiny cookie cutters or are more motivated to make cute food than I am. (If you are, more power to you!) They taste just as good in imperfect squares.
Does your toddler have a favorite food? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
*Just to make sure that this is clear, we love, love, LOVE our daycare and she does sometimes eat store bought crackers there. It’s entirely okay and I trust both Linden and her care provider.