Spring is finally here…for some of us, at least. With this new season comes a huge variety of delicious seasonal fruits and veggies. This is the a perfect time to get the whole family in on the fun of seasonal foods—toddlers included. Seasonal eating is a great way to help your toddler explore new flavors and textures so they can grow to love a variety of healthy foods. Let’s take a look at some springtime staples that are both parent- and toddler- approved:
Strawberries. In my house, spring has come to mean one thing: strawberry season. Sure, spring brings a lot of other great things, like flowers and more time spent outdoors, but nothing can beat a fresh, ripe strawberry at the peak of its season. Toddlers and young children can enjoy strawberries in a variety of ways. Strawberries are a great finger food when cut into sections that your toddler can pick up easily. You can also mix mashed or pureed strawberries with unsweetened Greek yogurt for a tangy snack with some extra protein and calcium.
Corn. For younger toddlers, corn can be served creamed or mashed to prevent choking on the kernels. When your child is old enough to grasp small pieces of food (this usually happens around the time they can sit up independently), you can serve it in its full kernel form to let them explore the food while honing their fine motor skills.
Asparagus. Get adventurous with spring produce and introduce your toddler to some more “advanced” flavors. Asparagus, like many of these other spring fruits and veggies, can be served pureed to younger children. It can also be served as a finger food, as long as it’s well-cooked and cut up into smaller pieces that are easy to grasp.
Spinach. This is the final frontier for many toddlers. Spinach can be a hard food for many to accept, but it’s worth a little extra effort to get this nutrient-rich food on heavy rotation in your toddler’s diet. Try chopping spinach finely and mixing in an egg scramble. While it works as a finger food for toddlers, it’s a quick and easy meal for parents as well.
While you’re enjoying the seasonal produce of spring, remember that mealtimes are are a learning experience for toddlers. Not only are they learning how to enjoy a variety of tastes and flavors—they are building healthy eating patterns for life. Try to stay consistent and positive. Even if a toddler doesn’t accept a food the first time, you may be surprised to find that they’ll accept the food on the second or third (...or fiftieth) attempt.
Published March 2018