* This is a guest post by Olivia Van Buren
Most mothers aim to provide their toddlers with a healthy and balanced diet, but we all know that a busy schedule and picky-eaters can sometimes get in the way of realizing those plans. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a whole arsenal of foods that are easy to make and that most kids love at your disposal?
It is easy to reach for french fries, chicken nuggets, or pizza, which most kids enjoy eating, when you are in a hurry and want to make sure that your child will eat what you present them with. But healthy foods can be enjoyable too!
Avoiding processed foods, especially trans fats and lots of sugar, will benefit your kids a life time. These quick food tips help you cut unhealthy snack foods out of your toddler’s diet, and will save you time and money too!
Fresh fruits with yoghurt
Kids need both calcium and the vitamins and fibers that are found in a lot of fruits. Combining probiotic yoghurt with fresh fruits such as apples, strawberries, berries, pineapple, or any other fruits you happen to have on hand is a great way to make sure that your child gets both these ingredients. A combination of fresh fruits and yoghurt, which you can top with some maple syrup to make it more sweet and interesting, will probably be more appealing to most children than either of them by themselves. Fresh fruits and a plain probiotic yoghurt are far healthier than commercial children’s yoghurts.
Home-made pita bread with dips
Pita bread is relatively easy to make, and quick too. You can make either plain pita bread, or bread with garlic or other spices. There are plenty of Middle Eastern dips that go really well in combination with this simple bread. Hummus is a dip made with chick-peas, garlic, and olive oil that can be very quick to make. Making hummus involves little more than blending these ingredients in a food processor until the mixture becomes homogenous.
Egg plant dips are also wonderful quick to make. Of course, you can also buy these products ready-made, and still offer a relatively healthy and tasty snack.
Nuts, raisins, and dried fruit
Once your child reaches two, these foods are one of the easiest and healthiest snack foods possible. Dried fruits such as figs and apricots can be cut into smaller pieces to make them easier to chew for little mouths. Banana chips are healthy, but still sweet, and dried apple chips are also a favorite among many kids.
Cutting a few different kinds of cheese into squares and then piercing it with a tooth pick and adding cherry tomatoes, pickled onions, olives or radishes results in a healthy feast for the eye that any toddler would find hard to refuse. If they are very small or accident prone, leaving out the tooth pick is a good idea.
Olivia Van Buren is a mother and a journalist. She writes about reproductive rights and natural childbirth.
Image by lindaaslund