It seems that lately we’ve been hearing a lot of our mom friends complaining about getting their kids to eat…well, eat healthfully. As moms of toddlers ourselves, we face this struggle on an everyday basis. Of course we want our kids to eat healthfully. But sometimes we just want our kids to eat something…ok, anything even, that qualifies as healthy. This can be a tall order in our households, because like all moms, we are constantly on the go. Most days, we need meals that meet the following busy mom criteria: (1) super quick, (2) totally delicious, and (3) contain nutritional value. So today we are focusing on baby and toddler approved meal ideas that you both will feel good about. They hit all three busy mom criteria, and added bonus…you’ll love them too! (let’s be serious, we moms need quick and healthy solutions too)
Garden Lites – Muffins with veggies as the #1 ingredient! That’s right, zucchini is #1. They are also allergy-friendly and made without gluten, dairy and nuts. But don’t be fooled, these muffins are as tasty as they are nutritious, and they come in many flavors (our favorite is the blueberry oat)! They store well in the freezer, and are delightfully soft after about 30 seconds in the microwave. These also pack well from frozen and can easily be thrown in your tote for on-the-go snacking. You can find Garden Lites at many of the big national retailers like Target and Costco, but this company will also ship direct to your house…yes please!
Sometimes you really have to sell your kids on mealtime, and as with adults, presentation matters. Try mixing it up with a bento box like the one shown below from Bentgo. We love this box because it has a perfect-sized compartment for dips – a great motivation for getting those veggies in.
Speaking of dips, babies and toddlers love them. Try serving these protein-rich dip combos:
- Hummus with cut veggies (or try soft canned green beans for babies)
- Peanut butter blended with vanilla yogurt and served with freshly cut fruit
- Greek yogurt blended with freshly cut herbs and served with steamed broccoli
Toddlers often enjoy being part of the meal creation process. Developing meals that include your little ones in the prep process is a win-win for everyone – not only do you occupy your kids while prepping dinner, but you are also engaging their minds with creative process.
One of our favorite build-your-own dinner ideas is taking the build-your-own-bowl craze and making it toddler-friendly.
Start by picking a base grain or startch like quinoa, rice, califlour rice or even some fun-shaped noodles!
Next, offer up the veggies and protein of your choice. Remember, this doesn’t have to be super-gourmet! We like using steamed veggies (often times frozen steamable veggies are our favorite option),rotisserie chicken, or baked salmon fillets broken apart into small pieces.
Finally (and everyone’s favorite part!) are the toppings. Our kids looove shredded cheese, so this is our go to! We also like offering toppings like Greek yogurt mixed with dill or other fresh herbs that your toddler or little one enjoys. Be creative here, if your little one loves goldfish – let them throw a few on to make it their own!
As with every aspect of parenthood, mealtime can be frustrating and take patience and repeat tries. And there is no best approach. Take what works and build from there.
We’d love to hear what works in your household! What are some of your favorite toddler meals ideas?