Healthy foods for kids from LI parents

From macaroni and cheese to omelets, veggies and

From macaroni and cheese to omelets, veggies and more, find out what Long Island kids are eating. (Credit: Fotolia)

When my 1-year-old daughter, Maggie, started eating baby food I thought it was simple and easy. I'd buy the organic fruits, veggies and meats and make sure throughout the day she was eating balanced meals.

There were a few rules, such as introducing one new food at a time to make sure there are no allergies.

Then around 8 months, we introduced "real" foods. We started with yogurt -- the kind specifically made for children -- and pieces of cheese. Maggie loved the cheese, hated the yogurt. So I tried a different brand and she gobbled it up -- she'd smack her lips as soon as she saw me open the container! Bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes -- anything new we tried she wanted no part of. Except for Puffs, a crunchy snack I still make sure I have on hand at all times.

So at her 10-month checkup, when our doctor suggested we switch to finger foods, I was a bit curious as to what Maggie would actually eat since she turned her nose up to any and all foods that weren't pureed baby foods. My husband, Jason, cooks for us most of the time, but during the week we sometimes "wing" it since we're so busy. I figured now that we needed to create meals for Maggie, it would benefit all of us.

We started off with Pastina with a little butter and Parmesan cheese, which she loved. Same thing with macaroni and cheese -- her little fingers couldn't pick them up fast enough. We tried chicken nuggets, meatballs, spinach pasta, ravioli, broccoli, you name it, we tried it. She even loves mini-waffles and spinach omelets for breakfast now. It's funny watching her try new foods -- she makes a face like she doesn't like it and sometimes spits it out. Then a lightbulb must go off in her head and she says to herself, "this is delicious," and continues to eat it. At this point, Maggie eats things I don't even eat, like Dr. Praeger's fish sticks. Maybe I should take some cues from my daughter to try new things!

There are some days when I just run out of ideas of what to give her to eat. I thought it would be fun to see what other Long Island parents are feeding their kids -- especially when they first start eating non-baby foods. So, I reached out to our Facebook and Twitter fans -- here's what they had to say:

Corn and/or bananas
-Jessica Dellajacova DiMeo, via Facebook

My boys always loved any fruit cut-up. A big one at that age was Pastina!
-Corinne Campbell, via Facebook

I used to make an egg omelet with small pieces of broccoli and cheese. I cut it up into finger food pieces (also chopped spinach). She couldn't get enough of it. Now she's in college!
-Rosa Fishman Siansky, via Facebook

My daughter is 16 months and since she began eating she loves veggie burgers.
-Laura Kuhn, via Facebook

When they start meat, I made turkey meatballs and added ground carrots into it too.
-Kerri Preemiememe Matuszak, via Facebook

Hot dogs (cut into slices with each slice cut into quarters to avoid chocking). Macaroni and cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets, pasta, Vienna sausages, cooked veggies, fish sticks, yogurt, scrambled eggs, toast, cold cuts.
-Carol Kosark Southard, via Facebook

Cut-up avocados
-Jennifer Affrunti McGraw, via Facebook

Carrots -- she ate so many her little nose and cheeks turned orange!
-Lisa Zbar Watson, via Facebook

Little meat raviolis, cut up into small pieces.
-Michele Boris Kilpatrick

My 10-month-old loves avocado and mango.
-Sara Gurecki, via Facebook

Macaroni and cheese or pasta with butter!
-HR Singletons, Bethpage

My 4-year-old son loves brussel spouts and green beans.
-Carmen Rivera, via Facebook

My 3-year-old loves peppers.
-Anthony Scalericio, via Facebook

I can't get my 23-month-old to eat anything!
-Melissa Goedtel, Islip Terrace

Spinach ravioli.
-Kerry Gillick Goldberg, Bethpage

When my son was an infant, I would give him big, cut-up pieces of green peppers to teeth on. He loved it!
-Danielle Ribando, via Facebook

Emma enjoys pancakes for breakfast!
-Maria Lazzinnaro-Condello, New Hyde Park

Avocados, Pastina, tofu (very firm), grilled cheese cut-up into small pieces, organic turkey meatballs from Trader Joes and grilled chicken.
-Kristen Kearns Burke, Malverne

Macaroni and cheese. We made it not very cheesy and cut up the pasta small enough that he was ablet o pick it up with his fingers. We also tried Pastina with butter and Parmesan cheese. My girlfriend told me she used to give her son Pastina with egg (you put a raw egg in just as the pasta is finished cooking so it "scrambles"). That way there is always protein with dinner.
-Leslie Kolstein DiChiara, Wantagh

A few ideas: string cheese, mini-pretzels, Pirates Booty, animal crackers, spaghetti, penne, cream cheese and jelly sandwiches and if you want to start early, pizza! Also, mini-muffins, rolls, omelets and quesadillas (buy tortillas and shredded cheese and put in the microwave).
-Stacey Felsen Feintuch, via Facebook

Our girls love pancakes!
-Michelle Miller Warren, via Facebook

What foods do your kids love to eat? Share your ideas below and follow me on Twitter @JenBergerKids.

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