It’s that age old concern, how do you make sure that your toddler is getting enough fruit and vegetables in their diets? Especially when children can become so fussy and decide that they hate anything that resembles something healthy. The last thing you want is this fussiness to last well into the school years, after all, you don’t want to be serving chicken nuggets and chips for years to come, and tomato ketchup isn’t exactly one of their five a day!
Luckily, I have a child that who loves their fruit and vegetables, but if you’re struggling to get your child to eat healthy there are definitely some tips and tricks out there to help. By far my favourite trick is the “hidden healthy” method where you can hide healthy foods like fruit and vegetables into their meals without them even knowing!
1: Home Comforts
During the cold winter’s nights there is nothing quite like a big bowl of comforting food like cottage or Shepherd’s pie. And this is a perfect food for some hidden vegetables! Sure the carrots and peas in the mince mix might look like an easy target for toddler picking, but it’s also very easy to switch out the mash potato topping for an alternative. You could go for a carrot/suede root mash instead, which will add a splash of colour or you could go for a cauliflower mash that looks more like the original. This is also a great food to make in a batch and freeze to save you time on busy nights.
If your toddler loves their fries, why not make a veggie alternative? Parsnip, sweet potato and courgette chips can be made in the oven easily and give the same shape and feel of a chip but with added vegetable goodness. I know faffing around with vegetables is slightly more time consuming than grabbing a bag of oven chips from the freezer, so why not try these ready made ones from Sainsbury's?
2: Interactive Foods
Children love interaction and meal times should be no different. Make a quick and easy mini vegetable crudité plate full of fun and colourful vegetables with a healthy dip like hummus. The kids will love dipping away and crunching on their snack.
Or, if you want to get your toddler eating more adventurously, why not try your hand at creating your own sushi? Now don’t worry, no raw fish here, but you can easily make some vegetable versions with leftovers like grated carrot, cucumber and asparagus. This can also be a great way to add some essential fish oils to your child’s diet by adding some cooked tinned tuna or other fish such as cooked smoked mackerel. Get the kids involved making it too! They are far more likely to want to eat it if they get to help make it. Especially sushi which is bite-size and easy to pick up.
Of course, we don’t always have the time to make sushi from scratch so you can always order some in as a healthy option from your local takeaway. Plus, the kids will adore the idea of someone bringing food straight to their door. See what your local has to offer here.
We all know the mess a toddler can get into with a few berries or a banana, but that doesn’t mean we give up trying to get them eating enough fruit. One easier way, though, is to make your own homemade smoothies with just some ice, milk and fruits. Not only is this a great way to use up some old fruit, but you can also use frozen fruit, which is cheaper and allows you to make them on a adhoc basis! In summer, you can even add your smoothie mix to lolly moulds and make a healthy cool treat full of calcium and fruity goodness.