HEALTHY FOOD LIST FOR TODDLERS – Kids are known to be picky eaters, making them eat what is healthy and will help them stay active is a difficult task altogether. Children often develop a natural preference for food they enjoy eating the most.
So, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. No matter how good your intentions are, it is always going to be difficult for you to convince your child that fruits are as sweet as blueberry cheesecake.
We have a solution to this. How about covering up healthy meals under the wrap of their favourite food? Without making healthy food dull, give junk food a makeover with staples like multi-grain, wheat and ragi accompanied by goodness of vegetables and fruits.
Another way to get them to eat healthy meals is to work on the presentation. A bowl of soup with a dash of crème poured artistically or chopped fruits like bananas, strawberries, oranges, kiwis presented creatively on a plate with loud and bright colours will pull kids towards fun foods.
Healthy Food List for Toddlers
Here’s a treasure trove of ten healthy recipes that your kids will absolutely fall in love with.
1. Multigrain Pizza
Replace the regular pizza base with a healthy multigrain base. Use a fresh pesto sauce instead of ketchup and use some healthy toppings.
2. Lentil-Mushroom Burgers
Presenting, burgers in a healthy avatar. Make the patties with mushrooms and sneakily hide some lentils in them. Place them between whole wheat buns, serve and then watch them disappear.
3. Ragi Cookies
Draw a smile on their faces with a batch of ragi cookies. Ragi is packed with calcium which makes it great for kids in their growing phase. Ragi turns brown on roasting and can easily pass off as chocolate cookies. You can also try oatmeal and raisin cookies for variety. Let them experiment in the kitchen with you while baking, this way you could make them learn about healthy eating.
4. Coconut Banana Fritters
Marinated bananas with lemon and sea salt coated with bread crumbs and dessicated coconut and then baked to perfection. Honey over caramelized bananas? Yum! Kids won’t be able to resist this one.
5. Eggless Atta Cake
Yogurt, cinnamon, nuts, whole wheat flour and jaggery – all together will make a healthy tea time cake. Surprise them with a treat every once in a while.
6. Melon and Kiwi Fruit Smoothie
Blend Kiwi, melon, grapes, papaya, honey, milk and oats together to get a delicious and refreshing smoothie for summers. You can serve this fulfilling cold beverage between meals or as a quick healthy breakfast.
7. Whole Wheat Pasta in Mushroom Sauce
Nothing is better than home-made pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce. Choose whole wheat penne and throw in some veggies. You can also puree the veggies with the sauce.
8. Oats Idli
Made with roasted oats, mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, a pinch of turmeric powder and steamed, these idlis make for a great healthy lunch box meal.
9. Fresh Corn Bhel
Corn served under the cover of tangy chutney, lime juice and fresh coriander. This one serves as a great evening snack.
10. Chicken Ball and Spinach Soup
Spring onion greens, garlic, crumbled chicken cubes, mushrooms, spinach leaves and bean sprouts all come together to make this super delicious yet healthy and wholesome meal.
11. Whole Grain Cereal
With vitamins, calcium, and fiber, a bowl of enriched whole grain cereal with milk and fruit is a power-packed snack or healthy start to the day. For a fun and flavorful twist, try our cute clusters with yogurt-covered cereal and dried strawberries.
The protein in this kid-friendly snack keeps energy levels high until dinnertime. We like to stick salt-free pretzel sticks into cubes of low-fat cheese to make “satellite snacks,” but you can also make cheese more interesting to kids by cutting it into fun shapes with a cookie cutter and making kabobs with your favorite fruit.
Kids go crazy over these delicious sippable treats, and they’re packed with nutrients. Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, 100 percent orange juice, and a banana as the smoothie’s base, then experiment with a combination of cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It’s a great way to sneak two or three servings of fruit and fiber into your child’s diet.
If you feel like all your kids eat are bananas and apples, try introducing vitamin C-packed fresh strawberries to their diet. For a perfect snack when you’re short on time, try this vitamin- and protein-rich snack with only three ingredients. To add an extra-healthy option, choose whole wheat crepes.
15. Healthier Baked Goods
Your child will never guess you’re sneaking fruits or vegetables into her diet when you bake them into yummy muffins or breads. Banana bread, zucchini muffins, and carrot bars are a few of our favorites for kids. Our tasty Yam and Jam Muffins contain beta-carotene and potassium from the sweet potatoes, but only you will know.
Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, and children love it dressed up. To add taste and nutritional value, whip up a yogurt parfait with berries and granola or make a homemade fruity yogurt pop that beats sugary store-bought frozen treats any day.
You can mix anything with a calcium-rich cheese quesadilla: chopped vegetables, leftover cooked chicken, or even shrimp. Try our Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, which are easy to make and fun for kids to hold. Don’t forget to buy a chunky veggie salsa — with the folate in the corn, the lycopene in the tomatoes, and the fiber in the beans, this snack packs a nutritional punch.
18. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet spuds are some of the most nutritious vegetables around: They’re packed with vitamin A and are good sources of B6, C, and folate. These simple, delicious chips are great alternatives to the greasy, store-bought variety.
19. Peanut Butter
This versatile childhood favorite has plenty of protein and fiber. For a change, try making silly PB&J sandwiches with toasted mini waffles or rice cakes instead of bread, or try it with yogurt and raspberries in a yummy frozen treat that’s super fun to eat.
One egg provides a 4-year-old with almost one-third of her protein requirements for the day. Keep a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge (they last for seven days), or scramble an egg and roll it up in a flour tortilla. Another great idea: our easy breakfast pita that can be made the night before for an on-the-go meal.
Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for kids. It has an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron. Serve hummus with cut-up vegetables or salt-free crackers for dipping, or use it to make a pita bread sandwich.
Pasta is a fabulous source of complex carbohydrates. Pick some in your child’s favorite shape, and cook up a batch to keep in the refrigerator. At snacktime, microwave a half-cup serving tossed with veggies or cooked chicken and jarred tomato sauce. Our easy protein- and fiber-rich penne has only four ingredients and is done in 20 minutes.
Rich in fiber and available year-round, pears come in many delicious varieties. Serve up equally nutritious canned pears with a small bowl of low-fat cottage cheese or pack a juicy whole pear in your child’s lunch box. For an after-school snack, our Pear Pinwheels are perfect picks with three easy ingredients.
24. Snack Mix
Toss together a healthy combo of nuts, pretzels, whole grain cereal, banana chips, and popcorn for a handy, portable snack. Nuts contain must-have minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. Try our kid-friendly Nutty Popcorn and Fruit Mix, or make up one of your own yummy combinations!
25. Low-Fat Ham
It tastes just as good as regular ham, but the low-fat version is much healthier and a great way to boost your child’s protein intake. Roll up a slice on its own or with a piece of cheese, make mini crustless ham sandwiches, or try our Ham and Cheese Crepes with diced ham, melty cheese, and tomatoes baked inside.
Raisins have a lot of good things going for them such as fiber, potassium, and vitamins. Even if your picky eaters aren’t going for a handful of raisins out of the box, we have a super yummy raisin snack they won’t be able to pass up. Kids will love to dip and swirl apple wedges or carrot sticks for a healthy and delicious scoop of creamy covered raisins.
Apples are the go-to healthy fruit, but if you’re feeling the boring apple blues and want to switch up your applesauce routine, try this delicious Instant Apple Crisp to get the vitamin C and fiber you’ve come to count on from apples. For an added treat, sprinkle with fresh blueberries and a dollop of low-fat vanilla yogurt.
28. Whole Grain Waffles
For a fun alternative to peanut butter and jelly, try whole grain waffles for a boost of iron and vitamins B6, B12, and A. These cool, kid-approved waffle sticks topped with reduced-fat cream cheese and a fruit jelly are a refreshing change for snacktime.
What kid doesn’t love cookies for snacktime? Instead of buying the high-sugar, high-fat varieties from the store, bake up a batch of our low-fat Oatmeal Cookies and feel better about serving cookies and milk. The best part is you can add in whatever you want — try raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, or nuts to boost the nutritional value and taste.
Your kids will love this fruity combination of tomatoes, cantaloupe, apples, and a hint of lime. If you want to tone down the heat, use just one seeded jalapeno or none at all. Packed with lycopene from the tomato, vitamins A and C from the melon, and fiber from the apple, this healthy and delicious snack is a big winner.
Nuts are made up of healthy fats, which kids need for growth and development, as well as for heart health. Having a little bit of “good” fat in the morning gives your kids a burst of energy to keep them going.
They’ve ranked among the healthiest fruits for years (go, antioxidants!). Now research suggests that in addition to protecting against heart disease and diabetes and improving brain function, blueberries may also help reduce visceral “toxic” belly fat—a type of fat that has been linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Ways to get them in your kid’s diet: They’re a natural go-with breakfast choice (say, tossed into a bowl of granola and milk) and are also great in summer salads and desserts. Try making ice pops by freezing a blend of whirred-up blueberries, yogurt and some honey (after age 1).
“Whole soy foods are an excellent source of lean protein and have potent anti-cancer benefits,” says Beller. “Tofu is great for young girls because it has a protective effect as their bodies and breast tissue are developing—which lasts into adulthood.” Ways to get it in your kid’s diet: Dice and toss tofu into stir-fries or soups; use the silken variety as a sub for yogurt in fruit smoothies; snack on lightly boiled and salted edamame (soybeans)—the kids will have fun popping them out of the shells.
It has a mild flavor and crunch that kids tend to like better than the usual salad greens. And cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, broccoli and kale contain phytonutrients known to lower the risk for many types of cancer, as well as improve digestion.
It also helps clear harmful toxins from the body by triggering the release of enzymes whose job it is to whisk them out. Ways to get it in your kid’s diet: Make coleslaw with low-fat mayo; shred and toss it into soups or Asian noodle dishes.
It contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which are also known to boost brain development, fend off depression and have superb anti-inflammatory powers. Be sure to pick the wild kind, which is lower in mercury and higher in omega-3’s. Best way to get your kid to eat it: Pair salmon with ingredients he already likes. Glaze salmon fillets with orange juice or brush them with teriyaki sauce. Or serve it as salmon cakes, burgers or salad (mashed and mixed with low-fat mayo).
You probably think of the marshmallow-studded beverage, but cocoa powder actually has one of the highest concentrations of flavonoids, a compound known to improve blood pressure and heart and oral health. They may also protect skin from sun damage.
Use at least 70 percent pure cocoa and check that it isn’t processed with alkali (also called “Dutch processed”), which removes most of the flavonoids. Ways to serve it (beyond hot cocoa): Sprinkle it on pancakes, waffles or French toast, and melt some dark chocolate and dunk strawberries in it.
37. Black Beans
“Beans are a great source of protein, as well as fiber and calcium—two things kids tend not to get enough of. The darker the color, the better they are,” says Beller. “They also help guard against heart disease and high cholesterol, which aren’t adults-only problems.
I have a nine-year-old patient with very high cholesterol.” Ways to get them in your kid’s diet: Make nachos or quesadillas with black beans, cheese and salsa; try black-bean veggie burgers, or whip up black-bean hummus.
This herb is packed with antioxidants—vitamins A, C and K—as well as iron, potassium and calcium and can help improve digestion. Some research shows it may even ease headaches, notes Beller. Ways to get it in your kid’s diet: Make pesto and spoon over chicken breasts or stir into cooked pasta. Does your kid freak out at the sight of little green flecks in his food? Welcome to the club! Grind basil up superfine and hide it in sauces, soups, and that ever-popular master of disguise, meatballs.
Research shows that this spice can help regulate blood sugar, which may also minimize those all-too-common mid-morning energy crashes (kiddie meltdown!), says Beller.
Ways to get it in your kid’s diet: Sprinkle it on oatmeal, pancakes, cold cereal and yogurt, and add a few extra dashes of cinnamon to muffin or quick-bread recipes that call for it. “My kids also love it on air-popped popcorn,” says Beller. Or combine it in a shaker with cocoa and sprinkle both together for a superfood two-fer.