Is getting your toddler to eat new things is like snagging an actual picture of a chupacabra - a thing of legends and myths, that only existing in lore? I am right with you, folks. If I would let Kiddo eat chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese every day, she would love it. Yes, I do serve it a lot (I buy the organic kind)...but lately I have been really trying to introduce new foods. After many tries, many "Do you want to try this?" from me when we were at the neighborhood Japanese place, she now actually loves California rolls.
Getting new foods into those little bellies isn't Mission: Impossible, but it is a mission you have to accept and take on and keep going...it's frustrating sure, but the payoff is huge. The main thing is to begin with small changes and praise often - even if they only take one bite. It will turn into two bites the next time and soon they will be asking for certain dinners.
Want a few ideas? Eating healthier and getting some new favorites on the menu can be as easy as making simple switches with basics they already love.
Say your kids love rice - make the switch to brown rice and boost that whole grain and fiber intake. Make it even yummier and fool them a bit by adding a few of these into cooked rice:
-- Chopped tomatoes, a bit of lemon juice and a bit of olive oil.
-- Bits of mangos, black beans, lime juice and olive oil
-- Cooked chopped broccoli, a bit of soy sauce
-- Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and a bit olive oil
Black Bean Soup
Think of this as a new way to get some protein into your kiddos and an awesome way to introduce soups to little ones, as this soup definitely stays on the spoon and is easy to scoop. It is fun with dollops of sour cream and let them add the cheese to the top of it.
One 19-ounce can black beans, undrained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon bottled or fresh lime juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup preshredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, optional
In a medium saucepan, combine the beans, corn, salsa, water, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes. Serve in individual bowls and top with the cheese and sour cream as desired.
New Twist on Pasta
I love the Makeover Moms who have great recipes for healthy yet kid-friendly favorite foods. Their Amazing Ziti is a good one to try to get your kids to eat something other than spaghetti - the kicker here is the whole-wheat pasta!
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
2 large carrots, shredded (about 2 cups)
Two 10 3/4-ounce cans 30%-less-sodium tomato soup
2 cans water
8 ounces dried whole wheat blend ziti (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and carrots and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat. Add the tomato soup, water, ziti, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir until well blended. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and cook, covered, at a low boil, until the ziti is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and serve in individual bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
What are some of your favorite new menu ideas?