When it Comes to Toddler Nutrition, It Helps to be Sneaky
If we ate practically nothing but air and expended tons of energy the way toddlers do, we might be able to actually look skinny in our skinny jeans. Isn’t it amazing how a single bite of waffle, half a strawberry, and a raisin they found in the couch cushion can fuel their shenanigans for hours on end?
When it comes to toddler nutrition, it helps to be sneaky (you know, like when you hide in the closet to eat your snacks on the sly). Swap out a serving of milk for a more nutrient-dense drink, like PediaSure or Boost. Or make good use of your food processor and sneak pureed veggies or fruits into pudding, juice, popsicles, peanut butter — the possibilities are endless. Cut produce and cheese into small chunks and leave them on a low shelf in the fridge where your little one can easily access them. Replace regular salad dressing (for dipping veggies) with a Greek yogurt-based dressing — or make your own, with plain yogurt and a packet of ranch seasoning — for an extra punch of protein.
Don’t stress out if your kid doesn’t eat. Despite the straight-up refusal of nutritious food at times, your toddler is not going to waste away. Promise. The majority of kids go through phases where they act like you’re trying to poison them when you dare suggest they take a bite of something. All you can do is keep offering a variety of healthy choices, and be confident in the knowledge that it won’t last forever — before you know it, you’ll be seriously debating whether padlocking the fridge is a good idea.
Scary Mommy Tip: Asking your toddler for “help” (don’t expect much actual assistance) with food prep — stirring, rinsing, combining ingredients — may inspire her to eat more.