Today I am so excited to have Alyssa Malaba, author of Kid Food Ideas, on the blog sharing her ideas about how to feed (toddler) picky eaters! How many times have you tried to squeeze healthy food into your toddler’s meal, but then it turns into a showdown throwdown battle?
If your toddler is a picky eater, you are not alone. Many of us have one, and although it can be frustrating, it does not have to be a permanent thing. There are many tips and tricks for helping a child to develop a palate for real food, one being to avoid offering them processed foods from the beginning. If your toddler is over the early weaning age, and you would like to include additional healthy food in their diet, here are five (easy) ways get them to eat healthy food:
We absolutely adore smoothies in our home. The possibilities are pretty much endless in terms of ingredient combinations, and each combination allows us to explore new flavours and textures. There are a number of techniques I use to draw inspiration for new combinations. One way is to search for smoothie ideas on various social media outlets through specific hashtags such as #smoothie #smoothielove #smoothieideas. We live in a time where many individuals share images of what they consume throughout the day, and while some of us may find this tedious or superficial, it is also a way to share ideas and inspire a large audience at one time. Get ingredients that your toddlers may enjoy such as bananas, avocado, or berries, and then toss in loads of leafy greens like spinach, kale or lettuce. These are a great boost to smoothies, and since they can be consumed raw, you have yourself a snack that can be prepared in minutes.
Chop them up
Chop your vegetables and herbs into small pieces to add to rice, pasta sauce, mashed potatoes, chilli and more. You can also get creative and make fritters (fried or baked), homemade burgers (meat or vegetarian), hummus, guacamole and more. It’s a great way to add rich flavours, and some beautiful colours to a meal. Your toddler will appreciate your creativity!
Make homemade salsa, tomato sauce, gravy, or a tasty soup. The possibilities are endless! When I’m making gravy, I use pureed, onions, tomatoes, celery, and bell pepper to make stock. I let the mixture simmer and add spices to taste.
The idea behind ice pops is similar to that of smoothies. You don’t need a fancy ice pop maker. Simply use an ice tray, pour your ingredients into each compartment, cover with foil or cling wrap, and insert some popsicle sticks to serve as handles. Just like smoothies, you can combine a number of ingredients and herbs (mint, cilantro etc) to come up with some flavours everyone will enjoy. Another fun technique to add to the look (because appearance plays a major role), is to add hand mashed fruit of contrasting colour to the mould before freezing it.
Healthy Homemade Juice
Homemade juice is another on of my favourite ways to add produce to a toddler’s diet. There are many combination ideas available online, but once you have purchased a juicer, I recommend you playing around with flavours on your own. Juices our boys enjoy are broccoli with apple and celery with apples and oranges. Vegetable juices do not always have to be prepared with a juicer. I have seen some great tomato juice recipes that involve simmering the ingredients on a stove top, straining it, letting it cool and then consuming.
Our aim should be to help toddlers appreciate the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. It is always good to include fruits and vegetables into their diet on a regular basis (as early as possible).
I encourage parents everywhere to bring their kids into the kitchen and allow them to taste, cook & experiment. Getting involved in all processes regarding food helps to reduce the fear of certain kinds of foods. It also helps to increase exposure in other ways besides their dinner plate.
ALL ABOUT ALYSSA
Alyssa is a first generation Canadian, and her parents are from Barbados and Trinidad. She is the mother of three children, ranging from ages six months to four years old. She didn’t pay much attention to the type of food she put into her body until she weaned her first born. Many health related illnesses are easily preventable through a healthy diet, so her aim was to give her son as much produce as possible while avoiding factory made ‘food’. This is where her interest in homemade baby food was born.