Research suggests toddlers are more likely to eat unfamiliar and disliked foods if they have watched others eat them first, especially parents.
Moreover, parent and child intake of foods/nutrients is generally correlated and most significantly parents’ consumption of fruit and vegetables is the strongest predictor of their child’s intake.
Show your little one your love of healthy food and how food can be delicious and fun with these creative toddler food ideas that will get your bub one step closer to being a little foodie!
1. Have a picnic
Picnic style dining with a range of different foods can be a great way to introduce variety into the diet of your child, often when food is laid out and they are left to their own devices, toddlers will try a greater variety of foods.
2. Communal-style family dining
Place food in the centre of the table and let toddlers make their own, try chicken burritos with a variety of toppings such as guacamole, tomato salsa, mixed bean salad, shredded cos lettuce and cheese.
3. Create theme nights
Teach kids about certain cultures e.g. Japan and serve home-made sushi, teriyaki chicken tenderloins and quinoa fried rice.
4. Kid’s choice – meals
Purchase a healthy cookbook, let the kids pick their favourite recipe from the book and cook it together on a Sunday night – do this as a weekly tradition to involve your little one in the process.
5. Kid’s choice fresh ingredients
Have a vegetable or fruit picture book and let kids select a type of fruit/vegetable and then cook with it. For example, with apple – do baked apple with yoghurt for an afternoon snack or dessert, or select zucchini and try zucchini boats baked and stuffed with Rafferty’s Garden Moroccan Lamb. This will not only encourage toddlers to eat healthy foods and get excited by food, but also learn about fresh fruit and vegetables!
Remember, mealtime is a time to bond and nourish, not a time to stress. If your toddler has distaste for what you’ve dished up, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Repeated exposure to disliked food is the key to turning the tide on your toddlers’ liking of foods – persevere and have fun with food – you will turn your toddler into a healthy foodie in no time!
Does your toddler love their food? SHARE WITH US in the comments below.