Your Toddler This Spring
Spring is here. And so are the many delicious fruits and vegetables that spring brings. This is the perfect time for your family to indulge in the season’s best. It will be a pleasant change from the winter menu, especially for your toddler, as there will be more colors, flavors, and textures on the plate. Plus, introducing this variety will help create healthy food habits in your little one. Always make sure to follow the advice of your health care team when introducing foods, particularly when there are concerns about allergies.
As a parent, you are constantly on the lookout for options to nurture your family in the best possible way. In order to make things a tad bit easier, we have created the following list of toddler-friendly foods to start the spring off right.
Berries like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain lots of great nutrients including fiber, which can be deficient in children. Toddlers tend to love berries’ texture and taste. To create yummy options for your kids, add berries to yogurt or make smoothies and fresh jams. You can also freeze berries so you’ll always have a quick snack handy. Look for a local pick-your-own spot for extra family fun!
Vegetables are packed with calcium, fiber, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and vitamin C. Introducing vegetables early on will help your child develop healthy eating habits. Vegetables to stock up on during spring include asparagus, carrots, peas, leeks, fennel, broccoli, and arugula. Prepare these vegetables for your toddler in interesting ways, like pureeing them or making veggie sticks served with dips like hummus.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds provide essential protein, magnesium, fiber, and good fats. Garnish smoothies, salads, cereal, and soups with nuts and seeds, like flax, chia, and sunflower seeds. For easy digestion, it’s helpful to grind flax seeds before giving them to your toddler. Avoid giving whole nuts; choose nut butters instead, which are a favorite among kids. There are many fun ways to include nut butters in your toddler’s food, from sandwiches to smoothies.
4. Whole Grains
A balanced diet includes whole grains, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Whole grains aid digestion, resulting in easier bowel movements for your toddler. Avoiding refined grains when possible, include a portion of pasta, rice, quinoa, or buckwheat in each of your meals (a toddler requires about 3 to 5 ounces of grains per day). Adding tasty sauces and toppings to your grains can encourage reluctant eaters.
During the warmer months, include lighter proteins like seafood in your toddler’s diet. Seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help brain development. Try fun seafood preparations like fish fingers, seafood pasta, salads, or even pizza.
6. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are rich in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Try pureed or mashed fava, black, garbanzo, or pinto beans. Mashed beans can be a great replacement for mashed potatoes; they also work well in dips like hummus.
Remember that with summer approaching, keeping your toddler hydrated is very important. Children are vulnerable to getting dehydrated, as they consume and retain less liquid than adults do. According to whattoexpect.com, “Toddlers need 4 to 6 cups of fluids daily, including around 2 cups of milk. The rest should be mostly water and some juice, if you’ve introduced it. In the heat, offer additional water 2 to 3 times daily.”
Feeding your toddler everything on this list might be quite a task at first. Start by making some small changes, incorporating more whole foods as you see fit. Know that you’re already on the right track and raising a healthy child.