The kitchen can be a battlefield. This is something, most likely any mum has experience. We know all too well how challenging it can be to get your “5 a day” and we are adults! We should know better and opt for a plate filled with veggies, protein, and complex carbs instead of pasta with canned tomato sauce. But who has the time to cook and make dinners from scratch? Or even if time isn’t the issue: How do you mask the taste and look of broccoli to make it end up in your baby’s mouth instead of on the floor?
Sneaking in veggies when all your baby eats is puree, is pretty simple. Once you start feeding them more solid food, it can get trickier, as the delicate dance between textures and tastes can make or brake a dish for toddlers. Luckily there are tons of recipe books and blogs that can help make every bite more nutritious.
Here are our favourite ways to create foods that are packed with flavor and full of veggie goodness, the recipes we’re recommending are great for ages 12 months and older.
Hidden veg meatballs
This recipe from Yummy toddler food contains ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) and is a matter of blending all the ingredients in a food processor to make sure the ingredients stay invisible. Feel free to switch up the veggies you use or even make this an all-veg recipe using quinoa, more cheese, and breadcrumbs to substitute the meat. Lentils also make for an amazing meat-like flavor and are packed with protein. You can serve them with brown rice or whole grain pasta to complete the dish.
We’ve got three words for you: Baked. Broccoli. Tots.
These are absolutely life-changing as we can attest ourselves as the flavor of the broccoli is not too over-powering they are toddler friendly. You can even add more veggies like carrots to the mix if you little one doesn’t respond too well to green foods. Baked in the oven and dipped in (healthy) ketchup, these are a keeper for life.
Stews are an amazing way to include loads of different coloured vegetables and grains into a perfectly balanced meal. One of our favourite recipes is from Green Kitchen Stories. The best thing about stews? You can get creative and swap out different ingredients according to preference.
For inspiration on the go, we highly recommend checking out the Baby Led Kitchen App boasting tons of healthy recipes that the entire family will love. For even more input and a wonderfully-written article on how to introduce toddlers to a variety of foods, check out Green Kitchen Story’s piece.
What else can you do?
It seems obvious but leading by example can make a huge difference. If your little one sees you eat fruits and veggies, they are likely to pick up this habit from you.
During those early years, you still have a lot of influence on the relationship your child develops with food. Make sure candy bars, chips and sweetened drinks (especially soft drinks and anything including added sugar) stay out of your kitchen. This will not only have a positive effect on your kid’s diet but your entire family will benefit.
Click here for lots more helpful tips and tricks around introducing your baby to solid foods.
What are your secret veggie recipes? Share them with us in the comments below.