Toddler dinner plans– Sample menu 1

My son goes to school during the day full time. So as such, evening snack and dinner are the only meals he has at home on any week day.  Here is a sample 5 day dinner menu.  He gets through about 50% of his dinner meal at any given day and the parents are near-passed out by then. Smile with tongue out

A note about the meal sizes: My son is very light eater – he gets full easily. So we feed him as long as he is willing to eat. The portion sizes here are for sample only. Please adjust according to your child. My emphasis is to offer  a combo of carbs + fruit/veggies + protein with every dinner.


One slice of veggie pizza (small)
mandarin orange
1/4 cup coconut water


1/4 cup cooked white rice + ghee
Cheddar cheese – 1 slice
mandarin orange
diced and fried potato – 1/4 cup


Spinach and cheese quesadilla Steamed broccoli
Strawberry, diced – 1/8 cup


Spinach and carrot risotto
Sweet potato fries


Deep fried wheat bread (Indian puri)
Cheese slice
Blueberries – 10


Cough related tips, remedies and medicines

Persistent cough is the bane of our existence. It is very painful to see my son cough badly and it goes on for months. We give him a lot of honey (and other home remedies from my mom and mom-in-law) but that does not help. It gets so bad that he throws up almost every night during the peak bouts. We have been on Flovent and Albuterol for god knows how many months now (on and off) and I hate using those medicines. I was looking for alternatives. Here is a compilation of my research so far. Will keep adding more to this list.

This has been divided into 4 sections:

  1. Non-medicinal: this is more like things you can do to his environment, topical applications of oils/etc., dietary changes
  2. Homeopathy: covers homeopath medicines
  3. Home remedies/medicines: compilation of home remedies and other medicines
  4. Ayurveda: list of Ayurveda medicines

Disclaimer: Please use these at your own risk. Please apply discretion while administering these medicines. These have not been tested in any way and some of them may aggravate cough or induce other complications.


  1. Humidifying the room
  2. Cutting out dairy
  3. Check for mold
  4. Sunny weather – taking him out on a sunny helped a child
  5. Avoid cold foods and drinks
  6. Apply baby Vicks on his feet and put socks on
  7. New stress in life might be causing his cough too…check if any new changes are in his life
  8. Get checked out by an asthma/allergy specialist
  9. Avoid cold yogurt
  10. Rub warm mustard oil on chest and back
  11. Put 2 drops of eucalyptus oil in child’s bath
  12. Keep the child hydrated to loosen the mucus
  13. Try a homeopath
  14. Take away the humidifier – contrary to popular suggestion
  15. Install an air filtration system (central filter/etc.)
  16. Mix camphor and coconut oil. Warm the mixture and have the child breathe in the fumes (avoid this remedy when using homeo medicines, the strong smells acts as an antidote to homeo – thanks M! for pointing this out)

Homeopathy Medicines:

  1. Hyland’s cough syrup
  2. Similasan with cold cough fever variations

Home Remedies and Other Medicines:

  1. Dabur Honitus available in India
  2. Warm broth in a sippy cup
  3. Warm water + honey + lemon
  4. Fish-oil and probiotics for general immunity (not cough related)
  5. Black Elderberry Syrup
  6. Cinnamon + honey
  7. Little spoonful of roasted ajwain (don’t exceed more than that) to be given to the child. Ajwain = carom seeds available in indian grocery stores. If it is too strong mix it with organic jaggery (available in indian stores)
  8. Milk + turmeric
  9. Pinch of karkaya powder in honey (karkaya is an indian spice)
  10. Give the child lots of fluids. Watered down juice, broth, etc
  11. Honey + powdered dried ginger
  12. Honey + roasted and powdered cloves
  13. Honey + lemon + ginger


Kasturi pills (available in India)


Recipe: Carrot + Cottage Cheese Idli

I mentioned before that my son is allergic to legumes. He is more allergic to some legumes than others. The only safe legume we can offer is Urad Dal or Black Lentil. Sometimes I make these idlis and I like that he gets his fat, protein, veggie and carb in one go!


  1. Idli Batter – 1/4 cup (There are many sites online that explain how to make idli batter)
    1. I make mine by using equal parts of whole black lentils and idli rava – available in Indian grocery store. I soak whole black lentils for 24 hours, grind and mix the idli rava and ferment for about 12 hours.
  2. Cottage Cheese – 1/8 cup
  3. Carrots grated – 1/4  cup
  4. Salt – 1tsp


  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. You need small molds to make idlis. Also, silicone cups work too. Grease the mold/cup with lots of ghee, spoon about 2 tbsp. of the mixture in each mold/silicone cup and steam cook for about about 10 mins or until a fork inserted comes out clean
  3. Add about 2 tsp. of ghee to each idli before serving/feeding

Recipe: Paneer + Spinach + Aloo Rice

My son is allergic to all legumes. And we are vegetarians. It becomes very hard for me to come up with protein options for his food.  This recipe is my go-to and I make it several times a week.


  1. Spinach – 1/2 cup chopped fine
  2. Aloo – 1/4 cup cubed
  3. Paneer – crumbled – 2 tbsp
  4. Rice – 1/4 cup
  5. Ghee – 1tbsp
  6. Fennel seeds – pinch
  7. Turmeric – pinch
  8. Jeera – pinch
  9. Mustard – pinch
  10. Peppercorns – 2


  1. Heat ghee in a pan and add the highlighted (#6 through #10)
  2. After 15-20 seconds add the vegetables and paneer, toss for 10 seconds.
  3. Add the rice and 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 tsp salt.
  4. Cook until the rice is well done. (or transfer into a pressure cooker and cook under pressure for 7-8 mins.

I was born Indian and as such my cooking has Indian influence. Also, my mom and mom-in-law influence a lot of what I feed my son (in fact they have a huge say in everything related to my son). I was advised to use little spice and salt, a lot of ghee and to cook food thoroughly for easy digestion.

Aloo= Potato
Paneer = Indian Cottage Cheese
Ghee= Clarified Butter



A couple of years ago I realized that we had way too much stuff.  We lived with that realization not knowing where to start/what to do. We got rid of some of our belongings in preparation for our son’s arrival. However, it has been a long and painful battle with material belongings ever since. The weight of possession draws us down like gunk on a wheel hampering the progress in our life. It occupies a very big portion of my mental CPU cycles and grates on my nerves day in and day out. In my mind’s eye I can visualize what owning less can do to us, our parenting and more importantly to our son. In spite of the realization and the benefits of de-cluttering we are not able to just get it done. I have been reading a lot of blogs and they all say one thing – start it slow, start it small. I guess I just have to “eat the frog” (a term meaning just do that thing however unpleasant it might look).  I want to change that, I really wish there were “simplicity consultants”. I am always good when I work in a team and having a consultant with motivate me to get it done. Until I find one, I guess I am going to be my own consultant.

Here are my 2 simple goals:

1) Clean out my son’s toys by next weekend
2) Clean out our linen closet by next weekend

I am going to tackle just these two tasks to begin with. Let’s see how that goes.

And I realized that living simple and being simple takes a lot of work Open-mouthed smile Simplicity has got be on your mind 24×7. It is akin to breathing. If you stop living and breathing simplicity, clutter and materials just take over your life. I hope to get into a rhythm of living simply!

Some blogs that are helping me in my journey:
1) Zen Habits
2) Simple Living Media group of blogs

I will leave you with a completely different article about fostering autonomy in children.