6 top secrets for sneaking fruit and veg into your toddler’s diet

You know yourself that getting your toddler to sit down long enough to eat, never mind eat a balanced diet, is tricky! And if they’re a fussy eater or going through the “no” stage, it’s even more difficult. So rather than worrying if they’re getting nutrients, it’s time for you to have fun and get sneaky with fruit and veg!

What vitamins and nutrients does my child need?

Just like you, your toddler needs a varied diet to get all the starch, iron, protein, calcium, omega 3, vitamins and minerals to develop into a strong and healthy child. This great Baby Centre article gives you lots of information on these food groups and which foods contain them.

It’s not just physical development that a balanced diet can influence. Eating well in the early years can also help your child have a happy relationship with food later on and be more adventurous in the foods they try.

Making fruit and veg fun for kids

If you cook most meals and snacks there are plenty of opportunities to sneak in fruit, veg, dairy and meat without your toddler noticing. And even if you haven’t time to cook from scratch, there are still lots of little ways you can add the most important food groups into prepared meals.

  1. Make dips & veg - Buy pots of houmous, guacamole or soft cheese and arrange colourful veg like peppers, carrot and cherry tomatoes in fun patterns on the plate. Or try making your own veg houmous by blending up chargrilled veg, chick peas, lemon and garlic.
  1. Have fun baking together – Make healthy banana bread, carrot cake with cream cheese topping, blueberry and banana muffins or oatmeal and raisin cookies.
  1. Healthy snacks – Forget crisps and chocolate and make your own ice lollies with fruit and yoghurt, or put their favourite fruits on cocktails sticks and freeze them.
  1. Homemade soup – This is a great way to use up veg and get lots greens into your child’s diet. You can make it easier to eat by thickening the soup with potato.
  1. Veg pasta – Rather than using white or brown pasta, you can make “spaghetti” from squash by cooking it first and forking the flesh out or if you have a spiralizer try courgetti and sweet potato bolognaise
  1. Veg confetti – Whizz up carrots, squash, cauliflower or mushrooms and sprinkle on pasta. For a super healthy pizza, you could sprinkle veg confetti on the base and top with cheese and a tomato sauce doctored with pureed peppers and carrots.

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If you’re struggling to get your child to stay at the table long enough to try your cooking, try a follow-on highchair like the Knuma Connect. This adaptable 4-in-1 furniture transforms into a mid-height highchair with a 5-point harness, so your toddler can sit at the dinner table for longer and enjoy your veg-packed meals!

When and why your baby will love being read to

Reading a bedtime story to your child may be one of the things you’re looking forward to most when they’re a bit older, but the good news is, it’s never too early to start.

From the moment they’re born, you can ‘read’ books with big colourful images and interactive puppets and peepholes. They’ll pick up on the tone of your voice and love being cuddled. As dads ourselves, we’ve all commented on how bedtime stories were a great way for us to get involved in the bedtime routine. After a bath and bottle, cuddle up in bed with the Knuma Huddle crib attached to the bedside and read together until baby falls asleep, then you can lay them safely down without waking.

Why are bedtime stories so good?

Not only is reading a great way to make your baby feel loved, safe and calm, there’s also mounting evidence that children who are read to master language much quicker than those who are not, according to Dr Lyons at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland.

And the benefits don’t stop there. Here are 8 more benefits of reading to your child at any age:

Helps brain development – by having fun with voices and sound effects, you’ll help engage their auditory cortex

Reduces stress – reading helps calm your baby and, as they grow up, it can help them deal with any troubles by giving them characters to relate to

Improves speech - as your baby becomes a toddler, they’ll start jabbering when they read and picking up how words are pronounced

Widen their vocabulary – explain the meaning of new words as you go along and they’ll make sense of it in relation to the story

Improves their language – by hearing the same words in different contexts, they’ll use the words more naturally in their conversation

Improves their creativity – by reading fanciful stories, you’ll help their own imaginations run wild

Provides a moral code – as they get older they will start to learn right and wrong from stories and how to care for their friends and family

Teaches them how reading works – reading to your child not only teaches them that reading is fun and creative, it also teaches them that words and pictures sit on a page together and that we read left to right.

No matter what age your little one is, putting on silly voices and venturing into magical worlds together is as much a benefit as it is a pleasure – for both parents and children.

 

 

 

Baby weaning

10 baby food recipes for weaning and solids

At Knuma, we think weaning your baby onto solids is a big and exciting step for mum, dad and baby. You’ll soon get to know what they like to eat and you might get a few new creations for the grown-up menu!

Breast and bottle milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs for the first few months so most parents start weaning (or complimentary feeding) at about six months. The NHS says there are three clear signs you’ll see all together that baby is ready to try solids:

  1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
  2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves
  3. They can swallow food – Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

Getting the basics right

CONNECT 01One of the first things you’ll discover is just how messy solids can be! Sweet potato puree in the hair, clothes, chair and floor is not easy to clean up, but a good highchair can make a real difference. The Knuma Connect 4-in-1 Highchair is made from stylish beech wood, so not only is it stable for wriggling babies, it’s hardwearing to withstand lots of cleaning.

The Knuma Connect tray is coated in Melamine and is completely flat for easy cleaning in seconds. The machine washable seat cushion is also designed to be hygienic, with no unnecessary creases to trap foodin and a five-point harness that goes over the shoulders and between the legs to keep wriggling to a minimum. What’s more, being a 4-in-1 highchair, Knuma Connect grows with your baby from a full-height highchair to a child’s chair and table, so it rivals other baby furniture like the Stokke Tripp Trapp and the Micuna Ovo and various others for versatility and longevity.

What will you try first

The good news is, weaning can be much more exciting than baby cereal! By keeping the menu
focused on nutrient-rich foods, you’ll be serving up brightly coloured, naturally tasty foods. And as you both get more adventurous, it’s amazing what herbs and spices you can add, rather than salts and refined sugars.

First foods (you can add a little breast milk or formula to make any of these easier for young babies to eat)

Sweet potato – babies love their natural sweetness and they’re packed with vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Simply peel, cook and mash the sweet potato into a smooth puree.

Avocado – rich in unsaturated fat, avocados are great for baby’s brain development. They can be filling so peel and puree them as a side dish.

Banana – babies need carbs to keep their energy levels up and fibre for digestion - and ripe, thoroughly mashed bananas are pack full of both.

Although you’re only introducing solids gradually, your baby can become constipated. So keep them well hydrated with water and fruit purees and try making a diluted prune juice.

As your baby’s system gets more used to solids, you can try a whole variety of interesting and tasty baby foods like blueberries, pear, mandarins, butternut squash, lentils, greens, broccoli, meat, carrots, tomatoes and peas. Try these baby recipes:


For older babies aged 10 months plus, try these baby food recipes: