When my son (now 7) was a baby, my own eating habits were pretty terrible. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about how much better I feel (both physically and emotionally) when I prioritize vegetables and protein on my own plate.
Now that I have another almost-toddler again, I’m approaching finger foods from a different perspective, attempting to focus on a variety of vegetables instead of so many cheerios.
I admit, that my 14 month old daughter is definitely on the easy end of the scale when it comes to eating. She will try almost anything, as long as there’s variety and you don’t serve the same thing more than once in the same day.
I love how even as babies, you can see children’s personalities emerging.
With all of the crazy things happening in the world lately, it’s been comforting to focus on nourishing myself and my family with healthy food. But, like most of us with small children, I’m short on time.
Here are a few easy ideas for including more veggies in your toddler’s high-chair rotation.
3 easy veggies for babies and toddlers
If you buy these already cooked in the refrigerated section on the store, all you have to do is slice ahead of time and you’ve got an easy, mushy, snack ready any time.
Of course the downside, is that they can be super messy and your toddler may look like they got into a magenta marker when they’re done.
Not on-the-go food, but to me, worth the mess because of the exceptionally high nutritional value and the fact that the texture makes it super easy on baby gums.
2) Roasted cauliflower and carrots
Because of the popularity of cauli-rice, you can now buy bags of cauliflower that have already been transformed into tiny bits at Trader Joe’s and other major grocery stores.
Some people may prefer to “rice” it themselves in a food processor. In my current stage in life, I just buy it ready to go along with shredded carrots and feel no guilt.
- Put parchment paper or foil on a cookie sheet.
- Spray sheet with olive oil. (I use this for spraying).
- Sprinkle diced/riced/graded veggies over cookie sheet
- Spray veggies with olive oil
- Spinkle with salt and pepper
- *Usually, I’m just throwing this into the oven while I have something else cooking, so I just use whatever oven setting the other recipe needs. Cooking it at 375 for about 15-20 minutes should do the trick, depending on how thick a layer of cauliflower you have. Less time if the layer is very thin.
- Remove from cookie sheet. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, then serve!
This one doesn’t seem to last as long in the fridge after being cooked, but it’s so quick to prepare and my daughter loves it that it’s made it into our default rotation.
If I’m making anything in the oven, I’ll just spray and prep it like the above veggies.
Otherwise, I add a tiny bit of oil to a hot pan on the stove, salt, pepper, and then the asparagus for about 7-10 minutes. I usually even pre-chop it into small enough pieces so that I don’t have to cut it for her after.
For me, it has been helpful to find a few easy default options that I can make without much extra effort so that there are always veggies ready and available in toddler-safe-sizes.
Sometimes when life gets busy or overwhelming, it’s tempting for me to put healthy meals as low priority, but I’ve learned the hard way how detrimental that is for my whole family.
Taking the time to prepare and eat real food is a meaningful part of what it means for my family to live simply.