3 Crucial Foods Every Toddler Should Have In Their Diet
It’s no secret that some foods are better than others. So when it comes to the diet of a toddler, the goal should be to give them quality, health-promoting, nutrient-dense and gut boosting foods (obviously my favorite being bone broth for toddlers- more below!). Foods that provide a balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein. And foods that help both their minds and their bodies develop- like these awesome, healthy snacks!
Both of my daughters LOVE food (read about our first food introduction here). They eat an alarming amount (here’s what my daughters day looked like at only 18 months!) and my goal is to give them the best food possible to fuel their systems.
In a world where so many adults are misinformed about what is “healthy” it’s no wonder that our children are given sub-par foods – and more often than not it’s not on purpose! We truly just don’t know our options when it comes to our kids’ foods.
While most mamas are aware that chips and fries aren’t the best diet staples it’s hard to know exactly what to feed our babes to make them thrive. Factor in a lack of time, and picky eaters (check out my tips to get kids interested in healthy eating) and so many kids end up fed just not fueled.
The foods in this blog post are nourishing and healing. They promote growth, development and help keep kids thriving.
It’s not easy to keep kids healthy. And more often than not I’ve totally been known to hide veggies in my toddlers’ meals but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Why Choose Quality Foods?
Young babes require more calories per pound than adults in order to grow and develop. While it might seem easy to get all these in, feeding them empty nutrients won’t help the big picture.
Babes need a blend of quality macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins & fats) as well as helpful micronutrients. Thus, a babes diet should largely revolve around real, unprocessed foods (as much as possible). There are so so many foods that meet these requirements! The three foods below are simply my favorite crucial foods in addition to a regular, healthy diet.
When it comes to choosing healthy food for your kids my advice is to pick a few items and work with them. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and it’s to just start then be perfect!
If you’re not quite ready for the foods below, check out this post on Healthy Everyday food Swaps For Kids. Every small change makes a difference.
Chia or Flax Seed
Healthy fats are essential for both developments as well as weight gain in babes and these two seeds take the cake. Fat comes in at 9 calories per gram so it’s easy to get a bit caloric hit from a small amount of seeds.
But even better, both are chalked full of omega-three fats – perfect anti-inflammatory helpers which have been shown to aid brain development. Chia seeds especially have twenty percent protein, a high amount for a seed.
Both seeds are full of fiber which helps babes with digestion and the fats in the help regulate metabolism, build bones, and promote brain development.
That said, the first time I tried chia seeds was on a salad and it was terrible. How boring. Get creative with them and figure out what your toddler actually enjoys (here are five ways to get in more chia!)
It seems as of a late, there are few things avocados can’t do. They are quite literally one of the world’s healthier foods… and babes love them! I’m pretty sure my girls would LIVE off avocados if I gave them the chance.
Avocados are full of healthy monosaturated fats, specifically oleic acid which helps reduce inflammation and specifically starts your babe off on a heart-healthy journey. They are loaded with fiber and antioxidants and while their protein content isn’t high it is complete. Meaning, avocados contain all 18 essential amino acids. Making it one of the rare non-meat sources to do so.
Avocados also kind of make the perfect baby food! Because they’re so soft when ripe they’re hard to choke on. i used to carry one around in my diaper bag (which now makes me sound like a crazy lady) with a spoon and it was the easiest snack for when the girls were teeny!
And while avocados are great by themselves, with eggs or blended into a smoothie for creaminess., you can also make them into a wicked ass chocolate pudding <– trust me, make it. Regardless they should be in your babes diet!
Bone Broth For Kids
I know what you’re thinking… probably along the lines of “Wtf”. Buuutt it’s true. Bone broth (I love chicken) is perfectly healthy for your babe! It was actually the first-ever “food” I gave to my girls and it still makes me happy that I went that route.
That said, homemade bone broth is healthy. The packages in the store won’t contain anything near what a homemade broth will and will probably just overload you on salt. There’s a reason you grandma always wanted to give you homemade chicken soup when you’re sick.. it was because of the broth!
Bone broth for toddlers not only aids nutrient absorption but it’s full of collagen and glucosamine which helps improve bones and joints.
On top of that, the broth will contain a lot of great amino acids (like proline, glycine, arginine, and glutamine) which help from everything from kidney function to gut health.
I became obsessed with bone broth after reading through the GAPS diet (which is a wicked book by the way). If you’re not trying to heal something I don’t think you need to be that intense buuuttt there are definitely some aspects that we should incorporate regularly and bone broth for toddlers is one of them!
And lastly, gut health. Homemade bone broth helps improve your gut which in turn improves your immune system drastically. So basically, bone broth for kids is like giving them some super power building blocks.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Avocados, bone broth and chia seeds. Three foods that should be in every toddlers diet.” quote=”Avocados, bone broth and chia seeds. Three foods that should be in every toddlers diet.” theme=”style1″]
Now, obviously, if you’re vegetarian or vegan you’re going to ignore this last crucial food choice. But if that’s the case, opt for homemade veggie broth! It’s still LOADED with nutrients and will definitely set your kids up amazingly.
That said, I’ll be the first to admit that making your own broth can be super time-consuming! So.. mom hack: bone broth powder I keep a bunch of from perfect supplements on hand for when I need it!
I actually use it:
- to make soups or stews
- to sip out of a mug
- to boil rice
- in a weird-add chocolate, smoothie to sneak it into my girls
It sounds odd but if you’re a bit time-crunched, having bone broth powder on hand is a lifesaver- especially when sick! Use code mamabear10 for a discount.
How To Feed Bone Broth To A Toddler
If you’re considering rocking bone broth you’ve probably drifted across the thought of how the hell to feed bone broth to a toddler. I mean, go drink your broth is going to go over pretty terribly.
I’m super lucky that my girls were used to drinking it so while they were still little it was easy to get in. Nowadays with the three-nager attitude not so much. So of course, I resort to tricking them.
I use bone broth as the base when I cook rice or quinoa (or anything that absorbs). It gives it a nice flavor and we get all the benefits. Win.
I also obviously use it when rocking a soup or stew <– common sense.
The biggest issue I hear from moms though is time. Who the eff has time to make bone broth each week for their kids?! Shockingly enough, I totally don’t.
Mix it with warm water and add in some salt and pepper to sip on when sick or, hear me out on this one.. make a smoothie.
Bone Broth Smoothie
Okay seriously just wait! I know this sounds creepy AF, but the powder makes the smoothie “fluffy” and so light! I toss bone broth powder in with bananas, cacao (cacao powder comes with it’s own awesome benefits), dates and almond milk. It turns into a light fluffy chocolate thing.
My girls love it and I love that I can sneak so many freaking gut boosting things into a smoothie!!
If you’re not into bone broth though, the main component is collagen which you can purchase as a flavorless powder itself (I grab mine from my favorite company)
Whatever way you can swing it, bone broth for toddlers is amazing.. so rock it!
Don’t forget to pin these tips on crucial food for your babes
When it comes to food for your toddlers, these three immune boosting options should be staples (for kids and moms!). Healthy fats, brain boosting nutrients, fiber and protein. These three foods have everything your babe needs to boost their nutrition and give their body the fuel it needs.