I’m starting to get a taste of what toddlerhood is all about, and it’s humbling. Incredible in so many crazy ways, yet very, very humbling. Adriana yells more, squirms more, protests more, talks more, eats more, laughs more, and moves more by the day.*insert monkey covering eyes emoji* The baby stage is challenging in many ways, but an almost 14 month old with a strong will and a mouthful of about-to-pop teeth can be downright scary. I wouldn’t change it for the world though (ok, maybe the teething); I know we’ll look back on these days as some of the best.
Even though Adriana should win a gold medal in the food throwing/slingshotting olympics, she really does love to eat! I can always tell when she’s about to throw food because she warns us with a, “no… no…” as she whips the food off the tray. Then she leans her head over the edge and peeks at the food on the floor while saying “no, no…no, no”. It takes everything in me not to reinforce her hijinks because it’s pretty darn cute, if not grey-hair inducing. It’s usually a sign that she’s finished, or at least ready for a different food.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different breakfast ideas that we can share together in the morning. She really took to this oatmeal bowl (which I like to call porridge because it reminds me of Goldilocks and the three bears!), so I decided to share it on here since I’ve been asked so many times for easy baby/toddler foods. I love to use oatmeal as a vehicle for so many add-ins; in this recipe, finely grated carrots and zucchini bulk up the oats with energizing vegetable power, and hemp hearts and chia seeds boost the healthy fats, protein, calcium, fibre, etc. It really is a great start to the day. I don’t even measure it anymore, just throw in what I have on hand and thin as desired.
I was once told that a little one can need up to 30 exposures to a new food before they start to really take to it. Once I heard this, it relaxed me as I didn’t expect her to go wild over a new food right away. I now see it as a learning process for all of us, and it can take time before a food clicks with her tastebuds. This porridge was similar; the first time I gave it to her she was a bit unsure of it (full disclosure: she spit it right out with a dramatic face!), but the second time I offered it she ate a bit more. Now, she just inhales it and gets so impatient if she has to wait for it to cool down! Funny how things can change. Even though every little one is different, it can be reassuring to hear that persistence sometimes pays off. I also try not to get discouraged by an “off” day of eating – some days, for whatever reason, she’s just not into food compared to other days. I figure it all balances out in the end and try not to sweat it!
I’ve been making this breakfast every morning while we’re away, so I snapped a few quick photos for this post. Hope you enjoy!
I developed this recipe so I’d have a super-nutritious, go-to porridge for my baby and toddler (and the adults too!). This thick and hearty porridge is naturally sweetened with mashed banana and finely shredded carrot, and it’s packed with superfoods like chia seeds and hemp hearts. I love to stir in some finely grated zucchini, as well, upping the veggie goodness even more. If I’m thinking ahead, I’ll mix the oatmeal together before bed so it can soften and thicken in the fridge overnight. Soaking cuts down the cook time drastically—all you have to do in the morning is throw it into a pot and heat it until creamy. Of course, you can prepare it from scratch in the morning, too. And my kids also enjoy this porridge chilled, so that’s a good option if it’s summer or if you just don’t have time to heat it up. If serving this to a baby who’s still on purées, you can throw this oatmeal into a blender or food processor (adding a splash of water or milk, if necessary) and process it for a smoother texture.
- 2 large (375 g total) ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (heaping 3/4 cup)
- 2 medium (200 g total) carrots, peeled and finely grated (lightly packed 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup (85 g) finely grated zucchini, optional
- 1 cup (100 g) gluten-free rolled oats
- 2 1/4 cups (560 mL) milk of choice or water
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) chia seeds
- Dash fine sea salt (optional)
- 1–1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste
- 2 tablespoons (18 g) hemp hearts
- Suggested toppings: berries, sliced banana, chopped nuts/seeds, granola, etc.
- In a medium bowl, mash the banana until almost smooth. Place it into a medium pot.
- Peel the carrots. Using the fine grate hole on a box grater, grate the carrots and measure ¾ to 1 lightly packed cup. Place the carrot into the pot with the banana. If using, grate the zucchini (again using the smallest grate hole) and place it into the pot, too.
- Add the rolled oats, milk or water, chia seeds, and optional dash of salt into the pot. Stir well until combined.
- Set over medium heat and cook the oats uncovered, stirring frequently and reducing heat if the oats stick to the bottom, for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the oats are softened and the mixture thickens. (If you soaked the oatmeal overnight, simply heat it and serve.)
- At the end of cooking, stir in the cinnamon to taste and all the hemp hearts.
- Serve and enjoy with your desired toppings. Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple days. To reheat, transfer oatmeal into a pot on the stovetop and heat over medium heat, stirring in a splash of water or milk to thin if necessary.
To save on cooking time, combine the ingredients in a bowl and let the porridge soak in the fridge (covered) overnight. In the morning, simply stir and heat on the stovetop, adding more water or milk if desired.
This recipe yields a very thick oatmeal (and it thickens even more when chilled). Feel free to use more liquid if you prefer a thinner consistency.