I am blessed in that my baby is not picky. At all. Olivia loves to try new things, and while she doesn't love everything I've put in front of her, she is definitely okay with most things. This makes it super fun to feed her and watch her experience new foods, but I also feel more pressure to give her a variety of things so she doesn't get bored (as she easily does with other things).
From day one I have been pretty strict about what I put in my girl's tiny body. I am definitely a breastmilk advocate for 1,001 reasons and made sure I adjusted my diet so that she could get the most out of breastfeeding (I had to cut out dairy and gassy foods like broccoli for 6 months to keep her tummy happy). I love nursing. Besides the fact that it allows me to bond with my baby in a way no one else can, it is super easy and fast and cheap. However, lately Olivia has decided that nursing is more for comfort than food and she needs more and more solids and less and less breast milk. I'm starting to feel like she complies to some of the nursing sessions just to humor me. It's okay...I can handle it (sob, sob).
Anywho...As far as eating solids goes, Jack sometimes calls me the baby food police.
When we go out, sometimes it is hard to avoid refined carbs and such, but we do the best we can. A lot of places offer fruit cups, applesauce, or plain, steamed veggies. When we are at home I try to keep it as pure as possible. Olivia eats a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and (recently) dairy. She does not eat sugar, anything fried, anything that may contain artificial sweeteners, or anything fatty. She sampled some birthday cake a couple of weeks ago and threw up because she wasn't used to the sugar :/ ...I always knew that I wanted to be this strict with her diet, and worried that it might be a lot of work. Here are some things I do to make it easier or some meal ideas for toddlers.
Thank goodness for frozen fruits and veggies!! This is the easiest way to get healthy stuff into her in a very fast and cheap way. I buy the big bags of mixed veggies and do a quick steam, rinse with cold water, and dump them on her tray. She also loves frozen blueberries or raspberries; I usually just give them a quick rinse since she likes them cold and they thaw quickly enough on her tray or in her mouth so that they don't become a choking hazard (if your baby is younger than 12 months or chokes easily, maybe thaw them and cut the blueberries since they are round).
I sometimes get canned soup. The veggie and whole wheat noodle variety. Make sure it is low sodium. I like to get the Healthy Choice kind. Dump out the broth, rinse the chunks to get rid of any additives left over. There's dinner.
Hummus on wheat toast. Cut into squares. I get my hummus from Costco because they have a yummy kind that doesn't have a bunch of garbage in. Or make your own hummus and freeze some so it lasts and you only have to make a big batch once. Chickpeas (or garbanzo or whatever), garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper. Done. Liv is crazy for hummus.
Yogurt on wheat toast. DO NOT GIVE YOUR BABY LIGHT YOGURT. It has aspartame in it. And that is bad.
When I cook for Jack and I, sometimes I am able to use components from our meal to make up hers. I just make sure I separate a portion for her before adding spices or sauce or whatever.
If what I'm making for us is unsuitable for Olivia, I'll just get a small pot of water boiling, dump in some whole wheat pasta or brown rice, wait a few minutes, add frozen veggies, and there's her dinner. Oatmeal's easy too, boil up some quick oats and then smash a banana into it to sweeten it up.
I try to give her fruits separate from her vegetables and carbs. If I give them to her all at once, she'll eat the fruit first and fill up soon because, despite my best efforts, homegirl has a sweet tooth.
Olivia loves popsicles. I can't pronounce half the stuff in most store-bought popsicles, so I make my own. I blend up water, a few scoops of baby formula, berries, and half a banana, then pour it in a popsicle mold. The formula adds vitamins and makes them creamy so they're not so hard on her little gums. They are great for teething.