How much time do you spend in the kitchen for your toddler? How much time do you spend in the kitchen with your toddler? Toddlers need to eat far more often than three meals a day—five meals or snacks, minimum, is the current recommendation—so you may sometimes feel like you’re never done sorting out toddler food. Maybe you’d rather be taking a watch, cruising Facebook, or spending quality time with your little guy or girl. But cooking for your toddler can be fun if you go the right way about it, and it’s extra-special if you can think of ways to include your toddler in the food preparations and let him learn to ‘cook’ with you.
The good news is, most toddler recipes are so simple they don’t take long to make—and it’s usually easy to find little ways in which your toddler can help. Healthy snacks for toddlers are made of whole, fresh foods, an you can get your small kitchen helper hard at work washing veggies or even peeling them—with a child-safe peeler, of-course.
If cooking for a toddler is so easy and can even be done when the little guy is helping you, why is toddler eating such a worry-inducing concept for many parents? Part of it is that toddlers are naturally picky. If they decide they don’t like something, they don’t, and a thousand parental tears and tricks may not be able to change that. The challenge, then, is that of toddler nutrition: getting good nutritious food into a little person who might have decided he doesn’t like the way nutritious food looks.
That’s where imaginative recipes for toddlers come in; a toddler recipe that combines appetizing looks with good nutritive content is a clear winner in any book. Snacks for toddlers are one way of getting body-building goodness into your little person in small, easy to eat portions, and if you know your child is getting healthy snacks you need worry less about the meals.
Are all adult foods safe foods for toddlers? Almost, but not quite. Things that are really healthy for adults are generally healthy for toddlers too, but some foods that adults can eat in moderation are best avoided entirely by toddlers. These include:
• Caffeinated drinks like coffee, mountain dew, or cocoa-cola
• Foods with high amounts of preservatives or with artificial colors
• Foods with MSG
• Anything containing alcohol, even in small amounts
A toddler should also only be given small quantities of sugary foods, as these can wreck havoc on his blood-sugar levels and set him up for future diabetes or obesity. A cookie should be a treat, not a regular snack.
Of course, your child might also have a toddler food allergy, and then you’ll have to be super-careful about having him avoid whatever triggers his allergies. Some food allergies are relatively benign, others are life threatening. It might help you to realize that most toddler food allergies are outgrown as the child reaches school age; you will most likely not have to deal with this forever.
Have fun cooking for your toddler; remember, this is only a short phase, and it won’t be long before you’ll be packing school lunches!