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12 month old daycare friendly foods

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My 12 month old has been moved up to the "toddler" room at her daycare (though she doesn't actually toddle yet, but whatever!)

Apparently, in the toddler room, they encourage self-feeding and don't really want you to send in foods that they have to spoon-feed, which I get. Except this was the list of suggested foods for lunches:

  • Cut up fruit
  • Peas or beans
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Cheerios or Kix
  • Crackers
  • Yogurt melts
  • Baby rice puffs
  • Cheese cubes
  • Sandwich triangles

Uh, no. We let her feed herself at home so she just eats whatever we have for dinner, but it is really messy. She loves guacamole, but there's always some in her hair. Sweet potatoes are also a favorite, but she puts them in her eyebrows. I have found chicken in her ears and broccoli in her belly button. She is really messy. Bathtime is directly after dinner for a reason. :D

I understand where they are coming from. They can't give every kid a bath after lunch. Most of the finger foods they want you to send in are pretty dry, I'm guessing because they are just cleaner by nature. But seriously, they already are trying to stuff my kid full of grain and sugar with their snacks twice a day (graham crackers, dried fruit with added sugar, breakfast cereal, canned fruit...) So I am having to send in lunch AND snacks.

Any ideas for daycare friendly foods that aren't grain, grain, grain, grain? Vegetables that are soft to chew and easy to pick up, but not "squishy" like sweet potato?

Side note: she doesn't have any molars yet, so she tends to reject anything that's particularly tough to chew.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Can you give her small cubes of avocado and sweet potato, etc? Cube the sweet potato before cooking, don't overcook, and it should retain enough cube shape for her to pick up. You could do any squash this way. I'd continue to send in what she eats at home.

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Speaking as a mom that caved to daycare pressure, I wish I hadn't. :( My kids became addicted to the sugary foods and I had a much harder time getting them to adjust at home.

It's an ongoing battle, though... preschool and now elementary school are nightmares for what they give for snacks and lunch. My oldest is on a gluten-free diet and barely eats any dairy, but the stuff they serve at school makes me shudder. And don't get me started on the "holiday" parties. Then there's Girl Scouts, hockey pizza parties, sleepovers, etc. :huh:

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I have considered telling a white lie and saying that she is gluten, soy, and casein intolerant... that would eliminate some of the worst stuff.

It's not that I want to make sure she NEVER has a cracker or cookie. It's just that I'd like to have some say in when/how much. Having to send her to daycare makes that really hard. I know it's exactly the same problem with grade school. My oldest talks about how kids throw out their bag lunches and scrounge up change to buy crap from the vending machines. Yikes.

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We do Baby-led-weaning paleo-style, and my daycare center has been supportive so far! My LO is only 8mo, but the list is what we send with him - all cut in manageable chunks. We steam or roast most things to get it soft enough for him to gum. He does get messy, but they have washcloths! Dry cereal is. NOT. lunch.

Sweet potato, squash (acorn, butternut), avocado, pears, apples, prunes (stewed), shredded beef (chopped), poached chicken/turkey, carrots, green beans, broccoli, persimmon, etc...

It sounds to me like you need to put your foot down with your daycare provider. They are providing a service to you - which you are paying for! Send what you want to feed your LO, and they'll have no choice. My daycare center has been remarkably supportive. Good luck!

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So I talked to her daycare leaders and they were very reasonable. I shouldn't have been so nervous about it, I guess I was just expecting some resistance. I explained that we typically don't eat grains or dairy at home and so we didn't have most of those foods available to send in for her. I told them I'd like to continue to feed mostly soft-cooked vegetables, fruits, and meat cut into bits. I also apologized in advance for her messiness and thanked them for "helping us."

The teacher shrugged, said that was fine, and to just pack her some extra clothes. When I picked her up, she was wearing a different shirt and had a little bit of dried sweet potato in her hair behind her ear, but I don't even care. :lol:

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