When preparing meals for a toddler, you experience the best of both worlds as a cook. On one hand, every food is new and exciting to your little one. On the other hand, some toddlers can be picky eaters. Although every toddler is different, the best meals provide adequate nutrition for growing bodies and minds, while appealing to even the pickiest eaters.
For a breakfast that looks fun and tastes delicious, use a cookie cutter to punch a shape into the center of a slice of whole grain bread, and place the outer edge on a frying pan sprayed with low-fat cooking spray. Carefully pour an egg into the cut out shape and cook the toast on both sides. Season lightly with a dash of dry ranch dressing and dip mix. The bread provides fiber while the egg has protein and omega-3s. For a sweeter breakfast, layer cottage cheese, whole grain cereal and fresh fruit in a favorite bowl or mug.
Little ones need plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables in their diets. Applesauce is a comforting favorite, and tastes even better when it's fresh and homemade with a drop of natural vanilla flavoring. Sweet potatoes are also packed with nutrients, and can be baked as a tasty substitute for french fries. For a mix of savory and sweet, use a plain wheat tortilla spread with peanut butter and topped with raisins and banana slices. Cut the tortilla into smaller triangles if a full tortilla is too intimidating for the toddler.
Some toddler-friendly dinners are so yummy the whole family will want some. Pasta salads offer a nutrient-rich balance of grains and vegetables. Pasta salads can include fun pasta noodles; try campanelle or tricolor fiori pasta. Add savory ingredients, such as feta cheese and celery, and also try sweet ingredients, such as mandarin oranges for a citrus boost. Tie the ingredients together with your child's favorite creamy dressing. Or use a biscuit round pressed flat as a base and cover one half with pasta sauce and chopped veggies. Fold the biscuit over and bake to create a convenient pizza pocket.
Healthy desserts add extra nutrition to your toddler's menu. As a creative way to blend produce and grains, cube slightly sticky fruits, such as apples, peaches, or bananas. Grind naturally sweetened whole grain cereal into a fine powder. Coat the fruit cubes with the cereal powder. Or during summer, spread a little vanilla yogurt between two graham crackers or whole grain cookies. Wrap the resulting sandwich in a plastic bag and freeze it until the center has a frozen yogurt consistency.
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