Toddler Tip #457: Shake it up, Baby

With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I'm sharing.

With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. Sometimes I think we are taking the “crash course” in parenting.  They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I’m sharing.

Not surprisingly, the quads are rapidly becoming picky, toddler eaters.   For the most part they are decent eaters, but lately it’s been a challenge to convince them to eat fresh fruits and veggies.  They even shake their heads and say, “no” when they don’t want to try something.  Also, I often catch them putting undesirable food on the plates of their siblings as they snatch their favored morsels.

Last week, I excitedly borrowed some frugal meal tips from my friend, Becky.  One of her takeaway items was -“Applesaucy Drink”, served in Toss and Take Cups.  It seemed to be a great way to get them to eat fruit, while also promoting oral motor skills (something Sydney and Mason need work on).  I attempted it with the quads the very next day, and they DEVOURED this drink.  The only problem was they the boys pulverized the straws in the process.  Hmmm.  Maybe not a keeper yet.  We shall revisit.   The quads have been using silicone straw cups well for several months, but I suspected they would easily clog with applesauce so I had to think of something else.

Bananas, once the favorite fruit at our house are now a no-go.  Yet, I wasn’t willing to give up on getting the quads to eat them.  After all, bananas are the most inexpensive fruit and easiest to serve and keep.  Using the Magic Bullet, I created a banana milkshake that went through their straws seamlessly.  It was slurped down by all four in a matter of minutes.   I’m not sure anyone bothered to pause for a breath.   Upon finishing his drink, Mason let out a gigantic belch.  This week, I also tried making shakes with frozen berries, but it didn’t go as well.  I think fresh strawberries or mangoes may work so I’ll try them soon.

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The Magic Bullet does a fabulous job of making banana milk shakes.  Usually, I just blend banana and milk, but I've also added Carnation Instant Breakfast for extra calories on days they don't eat well.

Baby Banana Milk Shake- 1 cup whole milk + 1 banana

I’ve also added a Carnation Instant Breakfast on days when they didn’t eat well, and I wanted to add calories for the day.  They really lap those chocolately banana shakes up.

You may notice we use Braum’s milk.  That’s because they do not use growth hormone and sell a gallon of milk for about half the price of grocery store organic.  George goes to Braum’s to buy 2-3 gallons of milk twice per week, and he’s now a “regular”.  When they see him, they bag whole milk and hand him an ice cream cone!

For months, I’ve been also successfully using Becky’s idea of “Sneaky Mac ‘n’ Cheese”.  It’s a huge hit at our house.  After sampling part of the quad’s lunch, a friend’s daughter even requested it to be served at her house. I’m fully aware that Becky and I aren’t the first to sneak fresh produce into our children’s mouths.  In fact, there are several cookbooks based upon the principle.  However as quad moms, we are looking for SUPER SIMPLE.  What are your favorite sneaky ways to serve fruits and veggies?

Hugs!

Amber

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14 thoughts on “Toddler Tip #457: Shake it up, Baby

  1. We sneak spinach into everything. Actually I don’t think I should call it sneaking when Drew automatically takes it out for smoothies and then thanked me for putting it in the enchiladas the other night! He is also the one who asked daddy to pick up more mushrooms when he went to the grocery store. And gasp….babies refusing bananas, how can that be?

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    • Spinach is a great one to disguise! I actually bought some yesterday to add to our pasta! It’s awesome that Drew requests it!
      I know – what baby refuses bananas???

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  2. Try adding a spoonful each of peanut butter and cocoa powder to your banana drink. It’s my favorite breakfast! (You might want to sweeten it up with honey, but I use almond milk, which is naturally sweet enough.)

    And that picture of them all sipping on their cups is adorable!

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    • They will LOVE peanut butter in it! That’s already a favorite food, plus it’s full of peanut butter. I considered adding honey too, but haven’t tried it yet- I bet that would help tone tart berries down a bit. Cocoa and bananas sounds yummy too :)

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    • I hope your baby likes it! The quads certainly did! If plain bananas don’t go over well, you could try Anna’s tip of adding peanut butter (if baby’s had it) and cocoa powder.

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  3. Thanks for the plug, Amber! I love the shake idea, sometimes our bananas end up smashed instead of eaten! For the Take & Toss cups, I should have mentioned I use regular straws that I buy in the multi-packs. That way I don’t feel bad when they get chewed and they fit great in the T & T tops with minimal spillage when tipped over (ahem… but not thrown full force on the floor. That just is not cool.)
    Plus, like the Spinach tip above, I buy a frozen bag of Chopped Kale at Costco and toss it into everything, including shakes. It mixes great in a blender and is really cheap. Next time I go shopping I will look for that milk brand!

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    • You’re welcome :) I considered using regular straws too, but the boys can really chunk cups and that mess didn’t seem nice. With cup straps, they’ll push over the edge and let them swing.
      I haven’t seen frozen kale at Costco, but I’ll look. That’s an easy cheap way to add nutrients!
      I’m not sure which states have braums, it’s a fast food chain that is dairy based so they have basic groceries like milk and eggs from their dairies. It’s awesome!

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