A hot topic among parents and care givers has always been – how do I get nutrition in to my toddler?
There are millions of articles covering this topic and many have great ideas and creative ways to help you make sure your child is getting their recommended daily intake. In the same breath…. personally I found most of them don’t work and can be a bit far fetched. Toddlers are wise, they know what they are tasting so I feel like dressing food up in cute formations can be a bit pointless, at the same time it may work for some. And thats my point… they are all different and there is no one fits all approach, so please don’t get disheartened when your kiddo turns their nose up at your perfectly put together pancake with hidden sweet potato and a smiley face made of of blueberries and bananas. IT’S OK!
I remember reading a post a while ago which really stuck with me and it was basically saying that kids are not fussy they are just exploring. I have to keep reminding myself that Conor’s taste buds are not like mine and just because something is mouth watering to me, doesn’t necessarily mean he is going to enjoy it as I would. I will eat whatever you put in front of me so sometimes I naively expect that of my child… then I remember there was a point in time where I would only eat mashed potatoes if they where laden with ketchup and loved me a sandwich with just butter an brown sauce!
We weren’t always “good” eaters. I feel like I eat everything now because my family never only gave me what I would eat at that time. There was always fruit, vegetables, fish on the plate regardless of wether it was going to be eaten or not… then slowly slowly you start to try out of curiosity, you give the food a chance. That’s the big takeaway I would take from how I eat if I really think about it. Exposure.
We are too quick to peg a child as a picky eater and only give them what they will eat at that time which can result in them never having the option to try other things.
All that being said, we still worry about everything that goes or doesn’t go in to theirs mouths!
Below are a few things that have been working for me lately (not all the time) it may not work for everyone but worth a shot. My main objective at this point in time is exposing him to everything wether he eats it or not and I’m a big believer in that they won’t let themselves go hungry!
I also try my best to cook one meal for us all… I may vary it a bit but it would be ultimately the one dish for all because I really don’t want to go down the route of lots of different dinners for everyone for future.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds
You can buy these super foods in milled varieties. They literally have no taste and can be put in almost anything in any combination for example: scrambled eggs, porridge, smoothies, pancakes, soup, cakes… the list is endless and the nutritional value of these are up there with some of the best sources of protein, fibre and the omegas.
As I said above, even if you know your child won’t eat carrots or whatever it may be, still put them on the plate along with foods you know they will eat. All we can do is hope for the best.
Most cereals and now even the milk in Malta is fortified with extra vitamins so they are a great choice if you feel your child is lacking in these areas.
Soups as sauces
Pasta is my saving grace, my ultimate go to! If there’s cheese in it, I know it will be devoured! Making a thick soup out of some veggies, throwing in some cream cheese and soaking it up with the pasta can be a great way of getting the vegetables in.
Anything they can dip!
Conor won’t eat a boiled egg or scrambled egg with toast on its own lately but if I boil or fry him and egg And keep the yoke soft then cut the toast in strips (soldiers) he will happily dip and eat away!
Same thing with hummus, he seems to love anything he can pick up and dip so crackers cheese and hummus are always a go to for us too.
I don’t know what it is about them but sectioned lunch boxes are a big hit with Conor. I have a post about the yumbox here. I’ve been using this brand (there are also many others) for well over a year now and have used for picnics, plane trips and beach days. Whatever it is about small sections with a bit of everything, he always eats the majority of what is in them!
Now that he is in kindergarten I send him with one too and the teacher told me he always eats majority of his lunch… so I make sure to pack with loads of different healthy options knowing it’s a fail safe way of getting his needs in for the day.
I suppose the takeaway from all this is that you might have good or bad days, you might have a fantastic eater one day only for your child not to eat anything apart from toast the next.
We all try and want the best for our kids so just relax and try enjoy the ride even when they throw the plate across the room (easier said than done)
Disclaimer* I’m not a nutritional expert by any means and only speak from my own personal experiences.
Please consult a specialist if you feel your child has bigger food issues.