Deciding how to prepare healthy meals for toddlers can be difficult. It can be so easy to give in and give them the French fries that they cry for or the candy bars in the checkout lane. Planning healthy meals and snacks however, can be very rewarding for both toddler and parent.
Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. Give the child a whole grain cereal with bananas and milk for a well-rounded meal. French toast with vanilla yogurt and berries on top is also a good option. A general rule is to follow the food pyramid for suggested servings per day. Do not start the day off with sugary foods such as doughnuts or cookies. You can also look for some toddler food recipes here.
Planning Lunch or Dinner
A classic healthy lunch would be a half sandwich of deli meat and cheese on whole-wheat bread. Pizza made on an English muffin is also a good option. For dinner, a chicken stir-fry is excellent for making sure the toddler gets a good amount of vegetables with their dinner. Avoid going through the fast food drive thru lane when needing a quick lunch or dinner.
Snacks are best used to add extra nutrition to the toddler’s diet. Beware of all-day snacking or excessively sugary snacks. Always keep the portion sizes small. A piece of fruit or some cut up vegetables are a great snack. When gone from home for long periods of time throughout the day, pack healthy snacks to take with you so you do not have to rely on grabbing something on the go.
Snacks can be a way to get extra nutrition into the diet, but excess snacking can also ruin your child’s appetite at mealtime. Limit snacking to healthy foods and keep the portion size small. Fruit and veggies make excellent snacks. Children love to dip foods, so try serving raw veggies with low-fat ranch dressing or hummus to make vegetables more fun. Plain yogurt topped with fruit, low-fat cottage cheese or whole-grain crackers and cheese are other healthy options.