Toddler Friendly Foods that Pack a Nutritional Punch
It’s lunchtime. Your little one just turned two. No more high chair. No more sign language. And no more eating whatever Mom decides to serve. In fact, “no” has become a favorite word at the sight of food, especially healthy food. This is a pivotal time for the nutritional needs of your child, and Goldfish and Gummies are not the best meal plan. The good news is that there’s a wealth of food that is toddler-friendly and full of nutrients.
These nutritional powerhouses are full of the antioxidants so important for cardiovascular health and brain function. Blueberries have antiviral and antibacterial properties that help keep you healthy and shorten recovery time from illness. This fun-to-eat fruit is great by itself or in cereal, yogurt, salad, or homemade ices.
Research shows that oatmeal eaters have an easier time concentrating on tasks and paying attention in school, which are good reasons to include the cereal in toddlers’ diets. It’s also a favorite toddler cereal, especially when mixed with fruit. Even better, it’s high in fiber, protein, and iron, all of which provide a constant supply of healthy energy.
There are so many varieties of this versatile food: pita, tortillas, roti, and matzah, to name only a few. Whole-grain varieties are good sources of protein and iron. When filled or topped with cheese, veggies, hummus, or anything else that suits a toddler’s fancy, flatbreads help keep youngsters healthy and full of energy. Try flatbread pizza or pita stuffed with “surprises” for fun ways to add nutritious foods to a toddler’s diet.
Ever try cinnamon on popcorn or combined with coca powder? The spice itself has multiple health benefits, keeping blood sugar at an even keel and ensuring that energy levels remain constant so youngsters don’t run out of steam two hours after a meal. It also works well with cold and hot cereal, pancakes, yogurt, and sweet potatoes, or when added to muffins, cake, biscuits, and quick breads for a tasty energy boost.
This colorful fish can be prepared in a lot of kid-pleasing ways. Top it with maple syrup for a sweet touch. Serve it as a salmon cake, salmon patty, in salmon salad, or serve a small piece with something your toddler likes. Make sure to buy the wild-caught variety, which is lower in mercury and higher in omega 3s. The latter is vital for its ability to promote brain development at any age.
Also known as garbanzo beans, they might be nature’s perfect food. High in fiber, protein, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron, chickpeas are exceptional for heart health and muscle- and bone-building. Complex carbohydrates provide fuel for a toddler’s busy lifestyle. They’re ideal whether eaten alone or added to salads. For variety, make your own hummus by mashing chickpeas with olive oil and use it as a dip or mayo substitute in sandwiches.
Another babyhood favorite because of its cheerful color and sweet taste, the versatile sweet potato is full of vitamin A, an antioxidant so important for eye health. After washing, poke a few holes with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and top with applesauce, maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, or yogurt.