Pre-prepare your foods. There are some foods that should always be in your house. Some foods should be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator so you can easily work them into recipes. Examples: bake or boil chicken, cut up some fruits and veggies, have chopped spinach in the freezer.
To Juice or Not to Juice
Serve only 100 percent fruit juice. One 4- to 6-ounce serving a day is plenty for babies, toddlers, and children under age 7; kids over age 6 may drink up to 12 ounces a day. You can dilute fruit juice with water to cut calories. Better yet, if your child is thirsty, serve milk or water.
Tools to make toddler eating more fun...
- Egg Slicer Toddlers love having their hard boiled egg in pretty neat slices. But that's not all this slicer can do. Use it to slice strawberries, mushrooms, kiwi and more.
- Melon Baller Kids like foods kid sized. Use your melon baller to slice melons, papaya, mangos and more.
- Cookie Cutter Use a cookie cutter to make sandwiches more fun.
- Peanut Butter This versatile childhood favorite has plenty of protein and fiber. For a change, try making silly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: Instead of bread, use toasted mini waffles or rice cakes.
- Sweet-Potato Chips Sweet spuds are one of the most nutritious vegetables around: They're packed with vitamin A and are a good source of B6, C, and folate. Just slice sweet potatoes very thin and spray lightly with a little olive oil. Bake until crispy.
- Whole-Grain Cereal A bowl of enriched whole-grain cereal with milk and fruit is power-packed with vitamins, calcium, and fiber. Add some berries to get some great anti-oxidants in!
- Cheese The protein in this versatile snack keeps energy levels high until dinnertime.
- Eggs One egg provides a 4-year-old with almost one third of her protein requirements for the day. Keep a bunch hardboiled in the fridge (they last for seven days), or scramble an egg and roll it up in a flour tortilla.
- Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, and children love it dressed up. To keep sugar content to a minimum, buy plain yogurt and mix it with your child's favorite fruit preserves, fresh fruit or granola.
- Quesadillas Cheesy quesadillas are a calcium-rich snack that have protein as well. You can mix anything with the cheese including chopped vegetables, leftover cooked chicken, or even shrimp.
- Hummus Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for kids. It's got an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6 and iron.
- Fruit Rich in fiber and vitamins--they are great cut up or used with dips.
- Smoothies Kids go crazy over these delicious, sippable treats, and they're packed with nutrients. Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, orange juice and a banana as the smoothie's base, then experiment with a combination of cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It's a great way to sneak two or three servings of fruit into your child's diet. Add an extra dose of fiber and / or protein powder.
- Snack Mix Create your own! Toss together a healthy combo of nuts, whole grain pretzels, whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, and popcorn for a handy, portable snack. Nuts contain must-have minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc.