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Food & Toddlers.
Just the sight of those two words together in one sentence can strike fear into the hearts of many!
I think most of us will, at some point or other, have been on the receiving end of a food-related toddler melt down - whether your child is a fussy eater or not, they all tend to go through picky phases where they suddenly decide that the foods they loved just last week are now disgusting and won't be tolerated.
In our house for example, we have a 3 year old who has absolutely adored tomato ketchup for the past 2 years and would eat it on its own if I'd let him - but one day, all of a sudden, he decided that he HATES tomato ketchup and point blank refused to eat any of his dinner because it had simply shared a plate with the offending ketchup!
Of course ketchup refusal isn't the end of the world, in fact it's probably a good thing that he's gone off it as it isn't the healthiest thing but the fact still remains - toddlers and food can be troublesome and it can be difficult to keep up with their ever changing whims and fancies.
As well as ensuring that they're simply eating enough to fill them up (something I find hard enough it itself as my children seem to flit from eating enough to satisfy a football team one day and picking like a bird the next day!), you also have the worry of ensuring that they're eating a healthy balanced diet and it can be tricky to know how to do that - particularly if your child isn't a lover of fruit and veggies in their natural form which many children aren't.
A 2011 study showed that the estimated population prevalence of dietary inadequacy for children aged 18–35 months was 91% for vitamin D and 31% for iron while their energy (calorie) and protein intakes were higher than required.
Obviously as parents to 2 toddlers, this is worrying and I have to admit that I don't offer my children any vitamin D supplements at present as I hadn't been able to find any that I felt suitable for my children at their young ages.
However, I have recently learned that fortified milks are a great way of helping to ensure that your children are getting their recommended intakes of nutrients and that just two 200ml servings of SMAPRO Toddler Milk provide 100% of a child’s vitamin D, as well as containing calcium, vitamins A and C, Iodine to help support normal growth and Iron to help support normal cognitive development.
Since discovering this I've begun to add it into my middle child Noah's diet and have been looking at the foods I offer to him, to ensure that he's getting the nutrients he needs.
Noah is now 13 months old and he's started to eat the same evening meals as us pretty much all of time which makes dinner times much simpler - but does mean that we need to be mindful that what we're eating is healthy and appropriate for him.
We tend to eat a lot of pasta with hidden veggie sauces, roast dinners, and salmon dishes as he and his brother both love all of these meals.
But where I really struggle is lunch time.
I don't like to give Noah much bread at the moment as I worry that he doesn't have enough teeth yet to properly chew it and I've always been nervous about choking hazards, so I like to try find lunch ideas other than the standard sandwiches and toast-based offerings.
Over the past week or so I've experimented with a few different lunch ideas, here are some of Noah's stand out favourites:
*Veggie Frittata Strips
This frittata is super simple to prepare, and makes the perfect finger food for little hands - you can disguise pretty much any veg you fancy in there - i've made it with aubergine, courgette and roasted peppers before and all have gone down a treat - but broccoli is a firm favourite as broccoli is such a great source of so many nutrients including vitamin K, C, E and B6 as well as being a good source of fibre.
To make, simply chop the broccoli to small pieces (of a size that your child could comfortably handle) and fry in a little olive oil to soften (or boil if preferred, but I think it works better if the broccoli isn't too wet/soggy.)
Transfer to an oven proof dish.
In a bowl, crack 3 eggs, add 1 tbsp of plain flour and mix together - add a couple of handfuls of grated cheese and mix again. Pour over the broccoli and top with a little more grated cheese. Bake at 180 for around 15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool before cutting into fingers.
*Banana Pancake Bites & Sunshine Smoothie
Bananas are a favourite with most kids and mine are no exception - they can't get enough! As the pancake bites feel like a bit of a "treat", I like to serve them alongside a fortified berry smoothie to make sure they're getting any many nutrients into them as possible at lunchtime!
First step is to prepare the pancake batter - Put 100G of plain flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre, crack two eggs into the well then pour in 300ml of milk and a tbsp of sunflower oil. Mix well until a smooth batter is formed.
Slice a banana with the knife at a slight angle to allow for longer slices which will be easier for your toddler to grip - heat a little oil in a frying pan, dip each slice of banana into the pancake batter and coat well and add to the frying pan. Fry on each side until golden and serve! Yummy!
For the smoothie, add 1 ripe banana, 4 or 5 strawberries, 200ml SMA PRO Toddler Milk and 1 tbsp of honey to a blender, whizz and serve!
To take a look at some of Noah's other favourite meals lately, and how to prepare them in video form - take a look below!
IMORTANT NOTICE: SMA® PRO Toddler Milk is suitable for young children from 1-3 years, as part of a healthy balanced diet and it is not a breast milk substitute. Breastfeeding should continue for as long as possible.
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