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Liz Sanders, MPH, RDN

4 Spring Foods to Expand Your Toddler's Palate

Seasonal eating is perfect for exposing kids to more flavors and textures.

With spring comes a huge variety of delicious ripe fruits and veggies. This is 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. Not sure where to start? Here are some springtime staples that are both parent- and toddler- approved.

1. 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.

Why they're good: They're a great source of fiber (which is good for digestion), as well as vitamin C and powerful antioxidants that help keep your tot healthy.

How to serve them: Toddlers 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.

2. Corn

Why it's good: Corn contains carbs, yes, but it's also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber.

How to serve it: For babies, 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.

3. Asparagus

Get adventurous with spring produce and introduce your toddler to some more “advanced” flavors.

Why it's good: This bright green veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein and fiber.

How to serve it: 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.

4. 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.

Why it's good: Popeye was certainly onto something. Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, B6, C and E, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, folate and protein, among other powerful nutrients.

How to serve it: 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 a learning experience for toddlers. Not only are they learning how to enjoy a variety of tastes and flavors, they're also 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.

Updated April 2019

Plus, more from The Bump:

13 Awesome Finger Foods

Top 10 Recipes for One-Year-Olds

How to Deal with Picky Eaters

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