Toddlers can be stubborn, sticking to their favourite foods and refusing to try new things – especially healthy vegetables!
But with a little planning, and a dash of cunning, mums can make mealtimes extra healthy by incorporating vegetables into an array of their toddler’s favourite meals.
And once their little one is used to eating green veg it makes it much easier to make them a regular part of their diet.
Here are just a few suggestions…
It can be fiddly and take a little time, but punching shapes out of cucumber slices, or making baby tomatoes into little zig-zag edged flowers can make all the difference to a salad.
You can add pureed spinach to a homemade mint chip milkshake with your little one being none the wiser.
Even many adults prefer their veg this way. Drizzle bite-sized chunks of broccoli, carrots, butternut squash or slices of courgette with olive oil and a little salt then roast in a hot oven. Everything gets crispy on the edges and can be popped in the mouth easily.
Make a dish of couscous then add some tiny bits of chopped tomato, carrot or courgette. Add extra flavour with a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette.
Rice can be bland, so brighten it up with a little chopped spinach (you can use the frozen variety) or some peas, chopped asparagus, shredded carrot or courgette.
Most toddlers love a toasted bagel. Make it a veggie bagel by smearing with some pureed soft avocado and sprinkle on a little grated carrot.
Some toddlers hate the texture of cooked vegetables, but love a stir-fry. Try frying slices or small chunks of different veg in a little oil with seasoning – it keeps it crunchy and more interesting! It’s also a quick way to prepare veg and goes great with all meats and fish.
Try adding a little kale or cabbage to your potatoes during the last few minutes of boiling before mashing with butter and a little milk. To make it special serve in individual dishes with grated cheese on the top (brown it under the grill if you have time).
It hasta be pasta:
Italians have the right idea. Pasta (which most toddlers love) can be made much healthier with the addition of vegetables. Strips of courgette or carrot can be stirred into creamy pasta dishes, leek, carrot, broccoli and butternut squash are delicious in cheesy pasta bakes. Shredded carrot can be added to Bolognese almost undetected!
Pizza the action:
Let children help you make mini pizzas and get them to chop up veg to add to the topping.