Toddlers and healthy eating.
Dear God, give me strength.
I had the idea stuck in my head that it would be easy … if I just gave Charlie the good stuff early and got her used to it from the start … HAHAHAHA. Don’t we change our tunes when we become parents? Many ideas (IDEALS) we have about parenting truly do change, and we pull our heads out of our butts and realise we’re more human than we realised. In fact, we’re damned-well flawed.
So, I’ve tried everything to get her to eat fresh vegetables, as every ‘good’ parent should. Here’s a compilation of pictures of one of our more recent escapades.
Here is a wonderfully exciting and delicious fruit man face. It has a couple of fresh vegetables thrown into the mix. We had lots of fun talking about eating each of his features.
Charlie loved it!
… Except for the vegetables.
I was starting to worry. Would my baby hate vegetables forever? How could I change/fix/manipulate this?
However, when I had a good look at her diet, I realised she was not doing too badly. I haven’t got her eating fresh, raw stuff yet (trust me I won’t give up) but at least I know she’s getting what she needs for now.
Here are the essentials a toddler needs and how Charlie often gets them.
Essential Oils: Flax seeds, fortified peanut butter, walnuts, egg
Calcium: Oat milk, cheese, yogurt
Iron: Fortified cereals, whole-wheat bread, raisins, kidney or navy beans
Fibre: Almond meal, wholemeal flour and breads
Magnesium: banana, milk, avacado
Potassium: baked potato, prunes, prune juice, watermelon
Vitamin A: sweet potato, carrots, spinach, mango, cheese, oat milk
Vitamin B: Many cereals (check for all eight, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, panthothenic acid, biotin, pyridoxine, folate and vitamin b12), milk, cheeses, mushroom, eggs, peanuts, green leafy vegetables, Vegemite!
Vitamin C: kiwi, strawberries, mandarin
Vitamin D: sunshine, fortified cheeses
Vitamin E: kiwi fruit, fortified peanut butter, chia seeds
Zinc: Bakes beans, wheat germ, chicken
As you’ve probably guessed, my little monkey is not the kind of kid who’ll grab a piece of spinach and nosh it down, so I’ve had to be clever in how the food is presented and sometimes it doesn’t work. We’re still trying to get her to eat the pizza. Can you believe this?
Here are some of the ways in which I have added the above foods into her diet.
1. Vegetable packs
I can’t speak highly enough of Rafferty and his little gorilla friend. What a legend. With no added ‘stuff’ this baby food is quick, and yummy. I’ve tried them all.
These friendly little packs come with fruit, vegetables, or both, and can be used in a variety of ways. For small children they are a puree and can be eaten from 6 months. As children get older you can add wholemeal pasta, brown rice, or lentils. They can even be used as ‘sauce’ on other things, especially if you have a little omnivore!
2. Vegetable Muffins
LOVE this one. Using a basic recipe of:
2 cups wholemeal flour (I substitute some of this for almond meal and chia seeds, a staple in my cupboard)
1 cup of milk (I use A2 light. You can try any other substitutes. Oat milk is good)
1 cup of any vegetables you like, grated (you can include raisins, too)
1 cup of fortified cheese, grated (or just two cups of the veges instead of one)
Bake for 20 minutes on 180. YUM!
What I love about this is that I can add products with nutrients that I know Charlie lacks, like Omega 3s. Chia seeds are a super food for a good reason! Also, wholemeal flour doesn’t clog her up like white flour does.
3. Vegetable Pancakes
Using my beloved wholemeal flour and milk (oat milk or almond can be used) I can make any pancake I like. Yesterday we had prune pancakes and next I’ll attempt sweet potato.
4. Avocado Mash
Guacalmole … I love the stuff. We sit down and eat it together with crackers and I can even sneak some fresh chopped tomatoes, and a little red onion in there. Next I’ll try making some hummus.
5. Vegetable Chips
This works a treat for Charlie as a side dish. We use potato, pumpkin, zucchini, or all three. I chop the veges up into chips, use olive oil or olive oil spray, and bake them. She loves it.
6. Adding Wheatgerm.
I sprinkle a little of this onto her cereal of a morning and usually add a drizzle of Active Manuka Honey.
Even better: teach them about veges! I plan to take on advice from The Veggie Mama, as soon as possible. CLICK HERE to see her blog on Getting Kids to eat Vegetables. It’s a lot less deceptive.
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