[Kendall] As a mom to a 19 month old, I’m finding that I have to be a little tricky when it comes to getting good, whole foods into that little belly of his. He loves food, but there are certain things that he doesn’t want to eat as a toddler – like carrots, zucchini, beans and avocados! – he loved these as a baby. The only veggies I can get him to eat these days without hiding them in something else are peas, squash, sweet potato, and sometimes cherry tomatoes…and that’s about it. Of course, being a huge fanatic of leafy greens, I’m always finding ways to sneak those in. I also want to make sure he gets plenty of healthy fats (so important for adults too!), and of course, proteins.
And I’ve read about how if you start your kiddos on good whole foods, real veggies, etc., they’ll want to eat them. They won’t be picky eaters. While I’m sure that’s true to some extent, I think that when you’re dealing with a toddler who just wants to declare his independence, you may just be SOL (sh*t out of luck) sometimes. I’ve also heard that it often takes eight times of trying a certain food before your child will like it and want to eat it. I’ve found this to be true in some cases, but there are just some foods that he doesn’t like. At least, for now (or just on certain days).
I’m sure this will change in time. I don’t want mealtimes to create any pressure for my little guy or me, so I give him the healthy whole foods he will eat, try some others at different times (the majority of which get spit out and tossed on the floor), and then sneak in the rest.
I also don’t make a separate “special” meal for my kiddo. He eats what my husband and I eat with some modifications, mostly to make it easier for his little hands and fewer teeth. We aren’t a strict vegan or vegetarian household, but do eat a plant-based diet, so he is exposed to some quality animal food. Interestingly, he isn’t much of a meat-eater (but neither am I).
The result of all of this is a mama who has turned into quite the creative toddler food chef! Interestingly, many of these concoctions I’ve come up with are things I enjoy quite a bit myself. It’s also gotten me to make raw veggie juice every day. I used to juice maybe a few times a week. Now, its daily because it’s the easiest way to get some good veggie nutrients into my little guy – he gulps down my juices! I also make smoothies packed full of healthy stuff: avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and nut butters, kale, spinach, carrots, coconut, and a banana or some applesauce to make it more palatable for picky little taste buds. I hide pureed veggies in sauces or scrambled eggs, make chia pudding (he loves it!), and hide good stuff in pureed soups.
My latest concoction turned out to be super yummy, mucho easy to make and of course, healthy-healthy: Strawberry-Mango Sorbet! The little guy loved it! Only four ingredients in the food processor: avocado, strawberries, mango, and hemp seeds. I would say that next time, I would also add a little baby spinach or kale to get some greens in.
Avocado: Considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they contain in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium. Contain fiber, protein, and several beneficial phytochemicals, which may protect against various disease and illness. Anti-aging properties, fight cancer, anti-inflammatory, regulate blood-sugar levels, help maintain a healthy heart and much more!
Hempseed: According to Nutiva, hempseed “is considered by leading researchers and medical doctors to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Shelled hempseed ispacked with 33 percent pure digestible protein and is rich in iron and vitamin E as well as omega-3 and GLA.”
Strawberry: Rich in vitamins C, B5, B6, K and have been found to increase anti-cancer agents in the body. Adds some sweetness for Mr. Picky Eater.
Mango: Aids in digestion, helps improve concentration and memory, high in antioxidants, iron, fiber. Also sweet.
1/2 cup frozen mangoes
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Allow strawberries and mango to soften and thaw a bit by setting out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add water, a teaspoon at a time to help ingredients blend, if necessary. Serve sprinkled with hempseeds on top if desired.
Note: Best served immediately to maintain sorbet-like consistency. Can store in freezer and let thaw, then stir a bit before serving. Also, can store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but be aware that the color will change as the avocado loses its greenness due to exposure to the air. Still tastes great!