On entering toddler years, children experience a dip in appetite and a slower rate of growth. At the same time, certain nutritional requirements become even more important for proper growth and development. But selective eating behaviors and picky eating make it difficult to meet the growing child’s needs. While it is not recommended to force-feed children or offer distractions at the table, parents do need to be more alert and creative in helping meet the nutritional demands of the growing child.
Here are 5 nutrition hacks every parent must try. These toddler hacks have helped me through the picky eating and teething phase.
Related reading: Teething foods to feed your toddler
NUTRITION HACKS FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN
1. Sprinkle flaxseed powder on everything
Flaxseeds are a rich source of plant-based omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are fatty acids that are essential for heart health and brain development. The beauty of using flaxseed powder is that in the ground-up form it is more readily absorbed into the body and so easy to use.
Add a tablespoon on porridge, smoothies or add to chapati dough and your child won’t even notice the healthy fats he is eating in his favorite meals. Flaxseeds are perfect for vegetarians and vegans who don’t get their omega 3’s from eggs and fish.
2. Nut butter for life
I rely on nut butter to fill in the nutritional gaps on days of poor eating. Nuts contain an array of nutrients and nut butter is an easy way to get those nutrients on the plate.
Add a little nut butter to toast, smoothies, porridge or on fruit. Most children like the taste of nut butter, popular favorites being almond nut butter and cashew nut butter.
Related reading: How to make nut butter at home
3. Whole eggs on selective eating days
On days with poor or selective eating, one of my favorite go-to’s is eggs. Eggs are so versatile to cook with.
Boil them, scramble them, add to a stir fry or rice dish. A simple and easy way to get more protein in the diet.
4. Energy ball everything
You know me and my love for energy balls. Here are some of the energy ball recipes we make regularly.
Energy balls are a power-packed way to get in carbohydrates from dates, protein, and vitamins from nuts. Plus, children love the natural sweetness. I use energy balls as my number one healthy baby weight gain food.
Make sure though that your child doesn’t overindulge. It’s best to take breaks between batches and go back to other loved snacks as well.
5. Smoothie to the rescue!
Picky eating phase or teething phase, smoothies come to the rescue every time.
Here is how I build a nutrient-dense smoothie every time.
Add some milk of your choice, some fruit, some nuts/seeds/nut butter and some natural sweeteners like banana, honey or maple syrup.
This one is a good option to have in your mommy arsenal against picky eating.
Related reading: How to encourage healthy eating habits in your fussy eater
There you go,
I hope you found this post useful.
Let me know what foods do you use to fill in those nutritional gaps?