Tag Archives: Healthy

Healthy Eating Habits for Toddlers: Getting Toddlers to Enjoy Nutritious Meals

There is little doubt that trying to get a monkey to learn new tricks is easier than getting a stubborn little two year old to eat a plateful of veggies. However, there are ways to encourage and build healthy eating habits in toddlers and you can do it without losing your hair or your mind.

To begin with, accept the fact that toddlers are unique individuals with minds of their own. Therefore, if broccoli is not what they want, you wouldn’t be able to get them to open those tightly clamped lips. However, you can get them to eat it by exercising a little ingenuity and a dash of imagination. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Use Nutritious Favorite Foods

Every toddler would have a few favorites which would often be somewhat healthy. So, try and give the offending vegetable or fruit along with that favorite. For instance, if bread is the food of the day and banana is not, then try making banana spread and putting it on bread slices. You could do the same with any vegetable, after boiling and pureeing it.

Make Meals Interesting and Healthy

Toddlers enjoy meals that offer something to look forward to. Sometimes, simply dressing up the food would do the trick. So, you could make sweet potato smilies, or clown-faced sandwiches, submarine fish fingers, cutlets in various shapes and so on. That would give them an element of fun along with good nutrition, encouraging them to eat well.

Juices and Soups

Toddlers who don’t enjoy eating fruits would normally drink those in the form of juices and smoothies. So, experiment with a single fruit to begin with and then start mixing them up. The same is true for vegetables and soups. If your toddler is game with food floating in his soup, put in small pasta shapes and have him fish them out with his spoon. Make it interesting and appealing to his tiny but demanding tastes.

Use Variety for Nutrition

Toddlers tend to get bored with the same type of food. So, vary the form and type of dish. Giving them carrot sticks once, carrot cake the next time is bound to keep the element of interest alive and give them additional nutrition as well. You could even use different types of breads and cereals to provide them with both nutrition and variety.

Experiment With Food Temperature

Usually, toddlers who don’t enjoy a food when it is served warm, may take to it when served cold or vice-versa. It may not appeal to or agree with more grown-up tastes, but then, in the toddler world, it is a whole different ball game. So, if vegetable soup is not liked hot, chill it. Try the same with cereals and even, casseroles and other main dishes. Chances are they’d be more appreciated at temperatures different than what they are originally served at.

Make Meals Fun and Pleasant

Mealtimes should always be enjoyable experiences. Threatening, yelling and bribing don’t make for healthy eating experiences. So, make dining a delightful time with smiles, laughter and conversation. Toddlers, like adults, enjoy good company. And if your toddler is extremely social, get a friend, who eats well, over for dinner. It may be extra work, but chances are your toddler may start eating well, just looking at his friend eat.

The book What To Expect The Toddler Years by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff and Sandee Hathaway [Workman, 1996] is extremely helpful and loaded with tips and tricks to get demanding and picky toddlers to eat healthy.

Fussy toddlers and odd eating habits are like most things, a part of growing up. While it is important that they get the best nutrition possible, they should also, enjoy that meal. So, do use these steps to encourage healthy eating habits but also, remember that to let toddlers enjoy food and the experience of eating is most important.

Gluten-Free Banana Pancake Recipe: a Healthy and Tasty Breakfast

Few things are more difficult to give up on a gluten-free diet than the beloved pancake. There are quite a few gluten-free pancake recipes floating around, but most of them lack the fluffy cake texture found in the buttermilk varieties.

This gluten-free pancake recipe has a fluffy, light texture that is usually found only in a wheat flour buttermilk pancake. They fluff up in the pan as they are cooked, just like their gluten-filled cousins.

Use a whisk for stirring: it is very useful for smoothing out the lumps that are in coconut flour, beating the eggs, and combining all of the ingredients together.

Spoon the batter into the pan so the pancake will be a little larger than silver-dollar size at the largest. This ensures that they will cook evenly and will be easier to manage in the pan.

A common way to gauge when a pancake is ready to flip is by the bubbles produced in the batter when it is in the pan. Gluten-free pancakes do not have the consistency to produce those bubbles, so it is necessary to keep watching to make sure they do not become overcooked. Flip once, as soon as the pancake is cooked on one side and sturdy enough to flip. Then flip two or three more times until the pancake is fully cooked. These pancakes darken quickly, so it is important that you do not leave them unattended.

Add a favorite topping. A little maple syrup goes a long way, as the banana provides a natural sweetness. Also, a small amount of maple syrup is included in the mix. Butter or fruit also complement this pancake nicely.

Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (or whole milk, heavy cream, or half and half)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 banana, mashed

Directions:

  1. Heat a pan over medium-low heat with butter or oil.
  2. Whisk together coconut flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolk, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, coconut milk, and coconut oil.
  4. Mix banana in with the egg mixture.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir together well.
  6. Portion into heated pan in spoonfuls. Be sure to keep the size no larger than about three inches in diameter.
  7. Flip when the pancake is sturdy enough. Flip a few times to keep the pancake from getting too dark.
  8. Serve with butter, maple syrup, or fruit.