Do you use the "One Bite Rule" in your home? If not, you might want to. It worked wonders for The Hillbilly Housewife, aka Susanne, a mom of formerly semi-picky toddler, now a kindergartner.
"It basically means that you have to try at least one bit of the food you don't like or don't know each time it is served," Susanne says. "After that, if you don't like it, that's fine, you don't have to eat that part. There's usually plenty of other food that she does like, so she won't go hungry."
Many CafeMoms have been using Susanne's site for years, but in case you're new to it, this down-to-earth mom focuses on low-cost, home-cooking from scratch, and "the recipes are all tested in a real kitchen with hungry children, stalking cats, begging puppies and a playful husband underfoot."
Her daughter's all time fave dish is Red Noodles -- recipe below. But before you fire up the stove, here are The Hillbilly Housewife's Golden Rules for toddler mamas trying to cook and shop on a budget:
Make your own toddler snacks Premade store snacks are way too expensive. "My daughter still eats about two snacks a day and they are usually a mix between homemade muffins, fresh fruits and veggies with some sort of dip, yogurt, crackers and cheese or a small sandwich. I also like to keep tortillas on hand for quick cheese quesadillas or a wrap. You can put anything from peanut butter and jelly to veggies, lettuce or sandwich meat on a tortilla and roll it up. Great for leftovers, too.
Shop by yourself when possible "You'll be able to concentrate on getting the best deals and only shop for what you really need. Grocery stores have gotten really good at marketing to very young children and it's easy to end up with some pricey items (like sugary cold cereal, or fancy juice bottle drinks), when your toddler is begging you to get them.
Plan your meals and make a shopping list "Then stick to that list religiously."
Compare prices and pick the best store "With toddlers, you don't always have the time to run to several different stores to get the best prices on everything, but do take a look around. For me, it makes the most sense to get the fast majority of my groceries at Aldi. Whatever I can't get there I usually pick up at a local Super Walmart store."
Red Noodles (courtesy of The Hillbilly Housewife)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Half a box of elbow macaroni
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
Chopped onion (optional)
1. Bring large pot of water to a boil for pasta.
2. Saute onion in butter or oil to soften, about 7 minutes.
3. When the onion starts to soften, add the ground beef and brown until it is completely cooked, 7-9 minutes.
4. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the ground beef. Squirt some ketchup in the pan and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tots still hungry? Check out The Hillbilly Housewife's favorite toddler snacks:
Check back next Thursday for another great recipe. Got a favorite toddler friendly meal or snack of your own to share with other idea-strapped mamas? Let me know about it and I may feature it here.
Past Toddler Meals: