Making sure your toddler gets enough veggies can be a challenge, since other foods – especially packaged foods and carbohydrate-based snacks – are easy to grab and very appealing to kids.
When I get into feeding ruts with Lucy, I try to think about what kind of vegetable dishes inspire me to eat veggies, and then make baby versions of those for her.
Salad is usually a hit at our house. I know the idea of a toddler salad sounds weird, but with all sorts of yummy additions and a great dressing, Lucy loves them (not always, but often). I just chop the ingredients really small so she can easily eat everything.
This one is spinach, pear, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds:
This one is lettuce, apple, sunflower seeds, and green onion:
This is a “deconstructed” taco salad, with avocado, black beans, chopped tomatoes, and fresh green beans. Salsa mixed with ranch dressing on the side for dipping:
When salads and raw veggies aren’t being well-received, I offer roasted, since roasting veggies makes them extra tasty – kind of like “fries.”
Or, there’s always mixing veggies into the foods I know she already likes – e.g. pasta with cheese sauce.
And when even the mixing-in-method isn’t working on a given day (or week or longer), I don’t freak out. I just try to offer a wider variety of fruit, so she still gets nutrients and fiber.
Remember, your child may not eat a balanced meal or have a balanced day, so instead aim to help them have a balanced week. They’ll get the nutrients they need over the course of a week, and you won’t have to battle it out at mealtime or worry that your child is becoming malnourished. If you’re somewhat relaxed about food, they will likely be relaxed too.