Feeding a toothless toddler

We didn't necessarily plan it this way, but Rich and I have divided labors so that I'm in charge of baby input and he's in charge of baby output. That means that Rich washes, dries, stuffs and preps the cloth diapers for day care and I buy, prepare and package Ian's meals for day care. We're both still responsible for actually getting food into him and dirty diapers off of him as needed. Since our son is 11 months old and has just started to show the tiniest buds of bottom teeth, he hasn't really been able to chew much that's tough. The larger issue is that he wants to feed himself but we need to make sure he won't shove an entire steak down his gullet. I've tried a few of the pre-packaged toddler meals and they are absolutely disgusting. I have a firm rule that I won't feed him anything that I wouldn't eat myself.

I'm not into making tons of food and freezing it, for whatever reason. I much prefer the "crap, I need something for Ian's food tomorrow, what's in the fridge I can prep real quick?" plan. So below are some of our favorites.

Meats Rotisserie chicken. I buy one every Sunday and use it to dice into bite-sized pieces for him all week. Thinly sliced deli turkey, cut up Crab meat. Not krab meat, mind you, but the real stuff. This is only on special occasions since it costs approximately $1000 per pound. That reminds me, I need to make crab cakes with the rest.

Fruits and Veggies Half a banana. Strawberries or blueberries (only if in season) Grapes cut in half (such a pain to make, though)

Sauteed spinach. Each leaf is a mouthful and Ian loves it! Sauteed mushrooms, cut up Sauteed squash. I buy one and it lasts for a week of lunches. Baby carrots. I take 4 and put them in a bowl of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Broccoli florets, boiled til very soft Sweet potato. I put one in the toaster oven for an hour to bake it and then cut it up over the week.

Snacks Puffs. Thank you Target for all those little rice puffy things. The little fruit flavored ones and the larger veggie ones are big hits. They also have these Mum mum veggie rice surfboard shaped things that are tasty.

Rice bars. If you break it into little pieces, it helps.

YoBaby yogurt. This stuff is so tasty! They sell a 12 pack of them at BJs Wholesale Club for $6.49 but it's hard to find in my regular grocery stores. Ian eats one every afternoon for a snack. Other yogurts gross me out because they're so sugary.

Fig Newtons. This is a recent discovery and he does pretty well with self-feeding. Though I did notice some fig residue on the back of my sweatshirt the other day.

Dining Out Panera will sell you an extra baggie of chicken like they put on the salads for $1. It's free-range, hormone free and very tender. I used to share the chicken with Ian out of my salad til I realized he was eating almost all of it!

When we get sushi, Ian gets a little bowl of sushi rice and a few slices of avocado. I'll also give him a piece of tofu out of my miso soup if I'm feeling generous.

Most restaurants have broccoli cheddar soup and Ian loves it. I'll add it to my meal for a small fee and it fills him up.

Experimental I've tried scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese but Ian doesn't seem to be a fan. I did make cheese toast (cut up small) once and he liked that but WOW that was a lot of work for not much food going in his belly. We also tried pork chops the other night, which he liked but I had to pre-chew to get it tender enough for him. Not really something I can tell the ladies at day care to do!

What are some other ideas I can use for feeding our growing boy?

P.S. In case you didn't see my Twitter/Facebook updates, my post about two shirts got syndicated at BlogHer.com. Check it out!