Fruit-loving toddlers with (relatively) little fighting
Ever surprised at the extreme reactions your healthy cooking receives from your toddler? I try not to let it get to me, but some nights I think ‘SERIOUSLY?! That meal’s divine!!’ It seems some toddlers just love the less-than-healthy stuff. Mine, for example, could easily live on toast and potatoes, and literally gags at most veggies I pass his way. So in desperation I went on a mission to make all the healthy food I love, all the COLORFUL stuff, really fun to eat. After a whole lot of searching and testing, and some inspiration from Pinterest, I now manage to get my son to eat most of his fruit & veggies. A few extra minutes in meal prep time is usually all that’s required.
1. FRUIT TO GO – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CONTAINER
There’s something about a fun container with *any* food in, that toddlers seem to love.
These were a hit with my kids:
- muffin tray
- ice tray
- star/heart shaped plastic bowls
- a mug (I kid you not)
2. FRUIT FUN – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PICTURE
Anything seems to be fun to eat when it’s part of a fun picture! Here are some ideas:
- Different color berries layered in a glass mug
- a ‘sun’ lunch with carrot, celery, melon sticks in a circle around a dip
- a ‘sun’ dinner with fishfinger & roast veggie sticks around a tomato dip
- The first letter of their name, made with anything really 🙂
3. PLAYING WITH YOUR FOOD
When you’re in a brave mood, try these. Great fun for toddlers but will require a bit of cleaning after.. Messy play is always a win!
- veggie sticks in a cup, with a clean plate and a bowl of dip – get drawing!
- ice tray with jelly & fruit blocks. Warm the bottom of the tray up in warm water to get the jelly to pop out easily. Try different color jelly in different compartments, and mix and match the fruit colors too. A bowl of these colorful blocks is always a hit!
- Soldiers – french toast finger men with berry heads & shoes, and a ‘floor’ of honey.
4. IT’S ALL ABOUT VARIETY
A study published in the January 2012 issue of Acta Paediatrica, reveals that children prefer plates with a great variety of foods—seven items and six different colors, so the study showed. Once you get the hang of it, this can be really quick and easy. Try to be more aware of colors and variety each time you go grocery shopping. Everything from fruit, veggies, nuts and grains can go into these colorful meals, so get grabbin’ and have fun creating these awesome dishes for our little one!
Try keeping the food creative and ‘alive’; it goes a long way in making each meal with fruit and/or veggies fun to eat!
How do you keep your toddler’s food interesting and fun to eat? Let us know your tips and tricks for getting your toddler to eat healthily, we’d love to hear them!