Courtney is a full-time writer/editor with a degree in journalism, a wife, and a mom to 2 beautiful children.
Meal Time Challenge
Putting the perfect meal together for a toddler is an everyday challenge. Making sure that your little love is getting enough fruits, veggies, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. is even harder, especially when the only thing you end up getting them to eat for dinner is a hot dog bun. Then, just when you think you finally got them to enjoy a somewhat nutritious meal, the next day they want nothing to do with it.
The struggle is real for moms and dads everywhere. Take a look at some fun and nutritious food options that may just be a hit.
1. Homemade Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets
My little one was on a long-time chicken nugget kick. That being the ONLY thing she would eat. I found a recipe for Homemade Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets. It's made with ground chicken, sweet potatoes, bread crumbs, and it's baked! This recipe was a great way to get away from anything fried and filled with who knows what. These nuggets are high in protein and Vitamin A and contain only 2.5 grams of sugar. The best part is, it's egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and can be made gluten-free! (Perfect for those suffering from food allergies.)
All you need to do is mix ground chicken with steamed, mashed sweet potatoes. Bread bite sized balls in Panko breadcrumbs and cook at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.
2. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
The peanut butter and banana sandwich is a quick and easy lunchtime favorite. This can be a healthy option for your toddler as it includes fiber, protein, unsaturated fats, and complex carbs. Also, using banana cuts out the extra sugars that are found in jelly.
Made with whole wheat bread or wrap and natural peanut butter, your little one will ask for this sweet treat time and time again.
3. Healthy Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is an all-time favorite in my household, but the processed, powdery fake cheese certainly is not something I want my toddler eating regularly. With whole wheat macaroni and low-fat milk and cheeses, you can turn this yummy dish into a worry-free meal your kiddo will eat.
Put a little twist on the classic mac and cheese by adding some bits of turkey bacon. Not only will this add to the flavor but boost your little one's protein intake.
4. Crescent Roll Pizza
While this may not be the healthiest option, who doesn't love pizza? Crescent roll pizza is a great snack or lunchtime idea. You can also make this into a fun activity for you and your toddler(s) by crafting their pizza together. Pop open the rolls(it scares me every time, even though I know it's coming), spread the sauce, sprinkle the cheese, and add some fun toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, etc.
This easy recipe has few ingredients and can be extremely versatile. One day can be a traditional pepperoni and cheese pizza, but the next can be fresh tomato and mozzarella. Try it on flaky, buttermilk crescent rolls or an English muffin.
5. Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
Ham and cheese pinwheels are an easy and versatile option to add to your toddler's menu options. You can incorporate different kinds of meat, cheeses, wraps, toppings, and spreads.
Simply add your ingredients on an 8 or 10-inch wrap, roll it up, and slice.
6. Breakfast Egg Cups
Low in fat, calories, and sugar, these breakfast egg cups are a great option for busy mornings! They are easy to make, delicious reheated, and a good source of protein.
Fill a muffin pan with whisked eggs, add in cheese and a variety of other toppings for the perfect breakfast combo. These cups are also a great way to incorporate some veggies for a picky eater. Bits of spinach may go unnoticed but they will add some essential vitamins to your little one's nutrition.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
7. Cauliflower and Cheese Bites
Cauliflower is not one of the most liked veggies in my household, but this recipe adds an essential twist that makes you almost forget that is what you're eating.
Steamed cauliflower florets are put into a food processor then mixed with cheese and egg. Once hand-shaped into patties, you bake for 10 minutes on each side at 200 degrees.
This picky eating phase is just that, a phase (hopefully!). While frustrating and worrisome, the only thing we can do as a parent is keep offering and they may just actually end up loving it. Making meal-time consistent and adding a bit of fun can make a world of difference.