Two of my sisters have been pregnant together, twice. Abby and Joel were born six weeks apart and are now cute, bumbling toddlers. Abby is my sister’s youngest child. She has four older brothers and one older sister, and at 16 months she is already strong enough to hold her own in the middle of the tumble. Joel has two older sisters. He is the perfect easy-going foil to their intensity.

Cooking vegetables for both toddlers and the rest of the family can be a pain. You have to get them soft enough so they can eat them, but a lot of times it’s too soft for the rest of the family. I usually end up pulling most of the vegetables out of the pot, whether blanching, steaming or sautéing and leave a few to cook longer for the baby or toddler. If I sauté, I pull some out, then add a little water and a lid and cook the rest of the vegetables a little longer.

Toddlers also love to pick up small things, so this is the age where I will dice or finely grate vegetables and put them into cute little piles on the plate. Add a yummy sauce or dressing and they are in heaven. They love bright colors, so choose wisely. Finely grated raw carrot (try this recipe), thinly sliced blanched green beans, chopped and cooked kale or collard stems, steamed radish cut into thin matchstick and winter squash cubes are all fun additions.

Abby’s Favorites

  • peas (make sure these are soft as they still present a choking hazard) (smash them if giving them to babies)
  • any vegetables in a fried rice
  • soft cooked green beans
  • steamed broccoli and carrot
  • cubed cooked zucchini

Joel’s Favorites

  • steamed and blanched broccoli
  • sautéed onions

Joel’s mom, my sister, wanted to make sure I mentioned that one week he will love a vegetable and then the next week he won’t touch it. This is very common at this age. She says “Don’t give up. Keep offering.”