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.
- 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.
- Have fun baking together – Make healthy banana bread, carrot cake with cream cheese topping, blueberry and banana muffins or oatmeal and raisin cookies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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!