The Search for Healthy Toddler Food
I’ve been struggling with nutrition as of late. Since becoming pregnant and having all sorts of aversions to food and, well, the entire kitchen, I’ve noticed that I’ve let my toddler’s food choices slip from nutritious to easy to make. Now I’m not saying that things that are easy to make are inherently not nutritious, but it seems like a disproportionate number of quick options are salty or sweet, but not necessarily full of nutrients.
And by nutrients, do I mean fat? Am I alone here in wondering what role fat should play in a child’s nutrition? I think not.
Here is a really interesting blog post that ties nutrition and fat intake (or rather, the lack thereof) to the increased “diagnosis” of ADD/ADHD. I use the quotes (I wish I could use air quotes) to emphasize the difference between the medical diagnosis of a real issue with the catch-all phrase ADD/ADHD to describe all sorts of behavior problems without truly understanding the underlying cause. I realize there is a vast and growing difference.
Back to my point. I’m usually pressed for time in the evenings – you know that witching hour that is dinner, bath, and bed-time. Couple that with a distinct desire to NOT open the fridge and I’ve started throwing together meals as quickly and painlessly as possible. Some days are better, like when I actually make something home-made that includes all the food groups (like easy enchiladas!). But some days are just plain bad.
And lunches – forget about it! Gone are the days of grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwiches. I usually throw some lunchmeat and Pirate booty and peas (if I have some) on her plate and watch her eat it up! My goal has changed from nutrition to feeding her something she will actually eat so we can get out the door to go to the playground. And once there, what do I give her? Crackers. Who have I become?
It’s not that I yearn for the time to fix her homemade granola bars, slow cooked oatmeal or other such treats. Even if I had the time I wouldn’t choose to spend it in the kitchen like that. No, what I need is healthy foods that are good (read: easy, quick AND nutritious) to eat.
Here’s what I’ve come up with as far as snacks go, but I’d love suggestions. The list is short.
Hard boiled eggs: easy and portable, too
Cheese sticks: these had been a staple, but have fallen out of favor. (Note to self: reintroduce)
Raisins (or other dried fruit): sweet and natural
Almonds: a new addition as they are a choking hazard…I break them in half
As I find more healthy toddler foods, I’ll post them.