Toddlers are picky eaters, and sometimes they play with more of their meal than they eat. Keying into what they enjoy munching on and knowing that it’s healthy too is like hitting a gold mine! Luckily, many parents have gone down this road before you, and their “test kitchens” have yielded plenty of recipes that will have your toddler asking for more … if he isn’t too busy throwing his dish and fork on the floor for a laugh.
Serve mini portions of a lot of different foods. As AskDrSears.com points out, “Toddlers like to graze their way through a variety of foods, so why not offer them a customized smorgasbord?” Some sample nibbles include cut-up fruit and veggies, a little pasta, a cheese slice, scrambled eggs and diced chicken. Allow your sweetie to sample some of everything and gauge what she really likes for future meals.
Keep it simple. One quick and easy way to pack a lot of nutrients into one dish is to mix-and-match pasta, veggies and a meat of your choice. You don’t have to be Julia Child to put this together. Start with small pasta shapes like mini stars or orzo. Steam some veggies and dice them up into tiny pieces perfect for munchkin mealtime. Add diced chicken, beef or turkey; even tuna works. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese for added flavor and voila! Dinner for your darling is served.
Multitask your meal. They aren’t just pancakes, they are pancakes with pureed roasted butternut squash. They aren’t just corn muffins, they’re blueberry banana corn muffins. Since most toddlers will eat these beloved breakfast staples without a fight, sneak in some fruits and veggies for good measure. Even the most particular palates won’t notice a little extra nutrition in their favorite flapjacks. AskDrSears.com offers another multitasking meal idea: fun-to-drink smoothies packed with fruits and veggies. Just add yogurt and ice and hit “blend.”
Rethink traditional toddler favorites. KidsHealth.org challenges parents to put a healthier spin on foods kids love. For instance, instead of preparing an ordinary grilled cheese on white bread, substitute whole-wheat. Make a healthy pizza with your mini sous chef using ingredients like whole-wheat dough and fresh veggies. Or, put a new spin on pizza perfect for when you have only a few minutes: spoon jarred pizza sauce atop a whole-wheat wrap, sprinkle on mozzarella cheese and fresh toppings of your choice, nuke for a minute, allow to cool and serve.
Roll it up. Take a tube of ready-to-bake crescent rolls and lay the entire piece of dough out flat on a baking sheet without perforating the triangle shapes. Layer cheese, diced meat like ham or turkey, and veggies like diced broccoli and tomatoes atop the dough. Roll up the whole shebang and pop it in the oven, allowing it to cook at least 5 minutes longer than package instructions. Slice off a portion for your hungry honey to devour.