It’s not always simple trying to find healthy foods that are appealing to your toddler. When faced with a finicky eater, you can quickly find yourself defaulting to what is easy. Most restaurants perpetuate this by offering kids choices that are extremely limited. It seems every children’s menu contains some variety of mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese and french fries with the occasional apple slices mixed in. Before I became a mom, I remember asking my mother if it was true that all little kids ate was grilled cheese? Aren’t they growing and developing a LOT, so shouldn’t nutrition be important? She responded that getting them to eat anything is often a victory.
Now that my son is 15 months, I see her point. There is truly nothing more frustrating than taking the time to prepare something special just for your child and to have them literally fling it back at you. However, some of the best advice I’ve gotten was to just stick with it, continue to offer a variety of healthy options and you may be surprised what sticks.
It goes without saying that every kid is different- and for each kid, every DAY can be different. But here are some of the foods my son seems to consistently enjoy that I wouldn’t have expected.
- Hummus- It’s already a staple in our house due to my personal obsession with it. We use it as a dip to get him to try different meats and veggies. We also spread it on toast, crackers or make sandwiches with it. Benefit: Healthy protein
- Avocados/Guacamole – This was an acquired taste for me as I grew up so I didn’t expect much, but it has gone over really well. Especially as a dip for veggies or pieces of turkey burger. Benefit: Healthy fat
- Fish- We started offering this when we ate it, and surprisingly he gobbled it up. Now it’s a regular on our menu. Benefit: Omega-3s
- Spinach – Wasn’t Popeye invented to convince kids they should eat it? Fresh spinach can be hidden in many foods- sandwiches, scrambled eggs, pasta and even pizza. Benefit: Antioxidants
- Peas and Beans- They might seem boring to us, but they are easy for little fingers to grab on their own and are simple to chew. I find him picking these out on his plate first at almost every meal. Benefit: Fiber
My son still really enjoys his mac and cheese. I’m just relieved to know that he is getting a better variety of nutrition and (hopefully) developing some good habits for the future. And I can’t help but beam with pride when he hands a chicken nugget back to me, and then devours what’s left of his peas.
Are there any other healthy foods you’re surprised your little ones enjoy?