Food shopping and meal planning can become doubly hard once your baby starts eating solids. You need to ensure your child eats meals and snacks that will continue to support healthy development in relation to their age.
To make sure you have healthy meals at home even when you’re pressed for time, it’s good to have a set of go-to foods to regularly include in your grocery shopping list and have in your pantry or fridge. These are foods that are nutritious and easy to prepare or cook. In addition, you won’t have any problems giving them to your toddler since they are delicious on their own or when included in dishes or snacks.
These healthy and tasty foods every toddler will always enjoy eating are:
(1) Fresh fruits
Fruits are naturally sweet and nutritious. They are rich in vitamin A, C, D, fiber, and other nutrients important for the healthy growth and development of your toddler.
Fruits can be served as a snack or even as a complete meal itself. Give your toddler slices of apples, papayas, melons, oranges, pears or a variety of fruits for your little one’s snack. Ripe soft fruits such as avocados, mangoes, bananas, and peaches are great for babies of any age. You simply mash or puree the fruit and you can give this straightaway to your child.
(2) Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods you can give your child once he’s ready for solid foods. And even as he gets older, always include this root veggie on his menu.
Sweet potatoes are great sources of vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, fiber and a number of other important nutrients. Kids love them because of their natural sweetness and color, too. They are easy to cook and can be served in a variety of ways as well.
Aside from mashing or pureeing sweet potatoes, you can also bake and serve them as a side dish for your toddler. You can also serve them as a snack; simply top the baked sweet potato with cinnamon-sugar, vanilla yogurt, or a drizzle of organic maple syrup.
(3) Lean ground beef
Lean ground beef is a great source of protein and iron. It can be used in different dishes that your toddler will love, which include hamburgers, meatballs and meatloaf. You can make tasty and healthy versions of these dishes at home by using lean ground beef which contains less fat.
Consider adding beef recipes to buns, pita bread and whole wheat pasta to make the dish or snack even more nutritious.
Yogurts are rich in probiotics, also known as the good bacteria, which help keep the stomach healthy. This refreshing and tasty food is also rich in calcium, a nutrient important for your toddler’s bone health.
Certain brands of yogurt contain high levels of sugar. It is best to choose plain yogurt or Greek yogurt which are not too sweet and are healthier versions of this food. If you want to make them sweeter, add some organic honey or fresh fruits. Aside from the added flavor, your toddler will get more nutrients, too.
If your toddler is ready or looking for some texture, give him some cereals. Cereals contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which make them complete, healthy meals and snacks as well.
To ensure you are giving your child nutritious cereals (and not the ones that are just sweet and fattening), choose ones that are made of whole grains. Make sure they do not contain high quantities of sugar as well.
Once you add some milk to your toddler’s bowl of cereal, you’ll boost your little one’s calcium and protein intake for the day.
Nutrition advisors say that the key to getting your toddler excited about eating healthy foods is to avoid serving the same dishes or snacks in one day. Give your child a different dish and treat during meal and snack times. In addition, put some variety to the ways you cook and serve these foods so that your toddler will find them appealing and good enough to eat.