Cooking for Kids: Healthy and tasty foods for your toddler
Moms and dads, we know that meal times can be a bit chaotic, when you’re trying to figure out what’s both healthy and tasty for your little one. The healthy options often seem to be the ones that toddlers naturally steer away from, but getting them to eat and enjoy healthy foods isn’t an impossible task. There are various foods that offer the best of both worlds and can form the basis of great tasting meals that are good for your child.
Once your little one gets used to different tastes, meal times will be a lot more fun for both of you. So take a look at the top 10 nutritious foods that make feeding your toddler easy:
Bananas are great because they have all the good carbs your kids need to keep them energised throughout the day. These delicious, easy-to-peel fruit are also amazing for their digestive systems. Mash them up in yoghurt, or add them to muffins or crumpets for something different. They are also great in smoothies, with a handful of berries and a few spoons of yoghurt.
2. Sweet potatoes
Packed with potassium, sweet potatoes will not only help give your little one protein, they also provide a naturally sweet flavour kids love. Mash them up with regular potatoes or butternut for a delicious dinner-time accompaniment. They can also be added to a number of sweet recipes to up the nutritional value, like this Sweet Potato Cupcakes recipe: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cupcakes/sweet-potato-cupcakes/
Say hello to the fruit with the highest protein content! Avos have all the “good fat” that your toddler needs. These are also easy to eat and packed with flavour. Mash it up and mix it with plain cream cheese for the ideal filling for sandwiches, or try one of these great ideas: http://www.superhealthykids.com/20-avocado-recipes-for-kids/
We love carrots just as much as Bugs Bunny does and we’re sure your little bunny will too! Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which helps with your little one’s growth and vision. An added bonus is that carrots are naturally sweet, which will make meal times fun! They’re great raw or cooked, and can be grated into a variety of meals including lasagnes and hamburger patties prior to cooking for additional nutrition and taste.
Now here’s a food item that may not be a toddler’s favourite, but introducing this healthy veggie from a young age will go a long way. Peas are filled with vitamin K, which builds healthy bones, antioxidant vitamins - such as A, B and C - which in turn, fight off colds and is an amazing source of fibre. To make peas fun, create a smiley face on your child’s dinner plate using peas for the eyes, a carrot for the nose, and a row of peas for the mouth.
Once your tiny tot is allowed a bit of dairy in his or her meals, yogurt is an excellent way to get those healthy probiotics in. It boosts the immune system and supports both brain and heart health. To make plain yogurt a little more fun for your toddler, toss in a few pieces of fruit. You can also freeze small individual tubs of yoghurt for a delicious and healthy frozen treat. Simply cut a small slit in the lid, push an ice cream stick through the slit, and freeze overnight.
If you’re a parent, you’ll understand the importance of avoiding constipation! Prunes are wonderful little fruits that help avoid this. They’re also sweet, so your kids will enjoy them. Pop them in your child’s lunch box for a healthy midday snack, just make sure you remove the pip first to avoid the risk of choking.
Eggs are an ‘egg-cellent’ way to include some vitamin A, D and E in your toddler’s diet. They also have all the ‘good fats’ they need to help them grow. Eggs can be enjoyed by toddlers in a variety of formats, French toast being a favourite for this age group. Whisk together an egg with a small amount of milk and a bit of grated cheese. Cut bread into squares, fingers, or shapes, dip in the egg mixture briefly, and fry both sides in a hot pan.
This delicious tropical fruit is not only sweet; it’s also packed with vitamin A and C, which helps to ward-off colds. It’s also low in fat and high in fibre, potassium and protein. Try this banana mango frozen yoghurt for a healthy treat your kids will love: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/banana-mango-frozen-yogurt
The wonderful pumpkin isn’t just great for pumpkin carving during Halloween… it also makes for a delicious side dish for your munchkin! It’s filled with vitamin A and Beta Carotene which builds your child’s immune system. They also have potassium, protein and iron. Here’s a fun fact: pumpkins are actually fruits, and not veggies! Add cooked mashed pumpkin to crumpets for a savoury variation, or add chunks to quiches or savoury muffins for a burst of colour and flavour.
Toddlers love exploring, so why not let them explore with these wonderful tastes too! Helping them learn to love the healthy stuff will make the whole meal-time process easier. If you have any yummy and healthy snacks you include in your little one’s diet, be sure to share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Have a look at some yummy food ideas that are both healthy and delicious for your toddler!