Toddlers between the ages of two and four are notoriously picky eaters, even those living in households with family members committed to healthy, natural diets. This can be very frustrating for parents and caregivers, especially since fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are what little ones’ bodies need to thrive!
To help you through those particularly challenging, tantrum-filled days, here are some healthy and natural meal and snack ideas for toddlers.
Lots of kids love noodles and mac ‘n’ cheese, but you can make this toddler-staple healthier by adding a protein punch. Look for chickpea-based pasta or noodles made with zucchini to swap out in place of your kiddo’s favorite comfort food.
There are also sneaky ways to make rice healthier for toddlers, such as vegetable-based “rice” that’s packed with nutrients. Cauliflower in rice form takes away some of the texture of this vegetable that kids often don’t like. It’s a low-carb, low-calorie alternative to actual rice and filled with antioxidants, calcium, and potassium.
PB&J with Fresh Fruit
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make easy lunches for kids, but you can make this favorite toddler food healthier too without an epic meltdown. Choose low-sodium, natural peanut butter and swap the jelly out for fresh blueberries, strawberries, or bananas. Use multi-grain bread, and be mindful about nut allergies if you are sending the sandwich to daycare or preschool.
Raisins and Dried Fruits
For healthy snacks, try raisins or other dried fruits with your toddler. They are easy finger foods that don’t create big messes and deliver the nutrients of real fruit in an attractive form. To control your child’s sugar intake, choose dried fruits with low sugar and no preservatives.
Whole Grain Crackers and Cheese
Crackers and cheese make a satisfying snack for toddlers and can be a healthy choice. Instead of salty or buttery kids’ crackers, serve whole grain crackers instead. The healthiest types of cheese that kids like include mozzarella, Swiss, and cottage cheese.
Fresh Fruit and Veggie Smoothies
When you can’t get your toddler to even look at a vegetable or piece of fruit, hide it in a smoothie! Smoothies offer a sweet and soothing taste without having to actually take bites of anything crunchy or with skin to chew through.
For further inspiration, check out these other Seagate blogs for ideas about raising healthy kids: