What is it with toddlers and their always changing preferences? One week my daughter will eat any and every single thing in sight, the next week she’s insistent upon a diet of chicken nuggets and cheese or refuses to eat anything at all. While I try not to stress about it too much, I still work towards making sure that my children eat relatively rounded and nutritionally sound diets. Getting a toddler to eat healthy can be tough! You want them to eat well for optimal health, growth and development, but don’t want to drive yourself (and them) crazy while doing so.
Below are a few simple ways that I’m able to sneak some extra veggies and nutrition into my children diet:
1. Nutritious Snack Options
If your toddler is anything like mine, 30 minutes after any meal, they are banging at the pantry or refrigerator door in search of a snack. I try to always keep as many nutritious options available as I can so I can easily grab them quickly. Fruits, fresh veggies with dips (hummus, guacamole, black bean dip, ranch, etc,), string cheese, greek yogurt, Gerber organic veggie crisps, whole grain crackers and peanut butter are all great options for making it between meals.
2. Let Them Choose
If toddlers are striving for one thing, that’s independence. Allowing them to decide between two healthy options when it comes to food choices is an easy way to prevent fighting when it comes to eat healthier.
3. On-The-Go Options
We’re constantly on the move and we need options that can easily travel with us while providing my kiddos with the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. One of our favorite snack options right now are Gerber Organic Veggie Crisps.
These crunchy veggie crisps are made with real organic veggies and has 3 grams of whole grains per serving. I absolutely love that they have a much lower sodium content compared to the leading veggie chip/snack! They only have 35 mg sodium opposed to the staggering 105 mg in other brands. With so many foods being so high in sodium, I’m so happy to see a company is working towards lowering sodium content, especially in snacks for our toddlers.
You can pick these up at your local Walmart. Right now Ibotta has a $1 off coupon which makes them super affordable (plus, Ibotta is amazing for saving money so easily)!
Found in the baby food aisle alongside the wide array of Gerber products.
4. Sneak It In
When all else fails, sneak those fruits and veggies in. We love adding spinach, oats and protein powder to smoothies to enrich their nutrition. My children drink them happily and have no idea that they are getting their veggies at the same time. Cold-pressed juice has been another winner. Spaghetti can easily be enhanced with the addition of food processed carrots/zucchini. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) have been a huge hit too!
Just like adults, there are times that kids are “hungry” when they are actually thirsty! Allowing kiddos access to water throughout the day is so important for their health, learning, energy and allowing their body to work at it’s full potential. Kids don’t always recognise the early stages of thirst, which can makes them especially vulnerable to becoming dehydrated (especially when physically active and warmer temperatures). To make water a bit more fun, add fruit slices, ice, use fun cups or colorful straws to entice children to drink more.
6. Try and Try Again
While your child may downright refuse to eat certain foods one day, don’t stop trying. Kids need to be introduced to some foods over and over before they begin to willingly eat them. Also, be sure to switch up the way it’s prepared (whether that be raw vs. roasted veggies, different dipping sauces, etc.). Get creative when it comes to those picky foods. Presentation can be everything with young kids so make it fun and colorful at times.
7. Praise Healthy Choices
When your kids make healthy choices or request healthy and nutritious foods, praise the heck out of it! My kids thrive on positive praise and I definitely notice that it solidifies healthy behaviors and choices.
Are your kids good eaters or do you get creative to encourage them to eat healthy? Share your tips below!