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Get your toddler to eat more fruit and veg

Make food fun for your toddler

Sitting down and being force-fed is no fun for you or your toddler, especially when you have a million and one things to do and never ending battles at meal times make it impossible for you to get anything done.

Instead, try making meal times fun and your toddler will be more willing to eat their five a day.

Get your toddler involved in the cooking process and talk to them about food, where it comes from etc. Let your toddler feel the food and taste it (when safe to do so). If your toddler has helped you to make the food they will be much more eager to try it (even if they have only put some chopped up salad leaves in a bowl.

Also let your toddler use their own knife and fork (children’s plastic ones are great). This means they can practise coordination, feel like a grown up and enjoy their own food.

Use your imagination

Present food to your toddler in a fun and imaginative way. For example, use carrots as eyes, a piece of broccoli for the nose, sausage for the mouth and mash potato for the hair.

If your toddler is having a fishmeal, why not try and present it in the shape of a fish.

Simple things will amuse your toddler and keep them happy.

Clear out all the junk food

If you find yourself tempted to give your child a bag of crisps as a snack because it is easier, throw them out. If you don't have junk food in the house you wont be tempted to give it to your toddler.

If you don't have any junk food in the house you are left with two options:

1) Get your hungry, grumpy toddler dressed, take them away from playing with their toys, battle to put them in the car, drive to the local shop, drag your toddler around while you look for a bag of crisps.
2) Spend 30 seconds cutting up an apple for your toddler to munch on.

Healthy snack ideas for your toddler

Getting your toddler into healthy snacks can be and uphill battle. So here are some ideas to try and see if you can get your toddler eating healthy food.

Trail mix

Mix a combination of peanuts, raisins, dried fruit, cereal, and yoghurt chips in a bowl (your toddler will be happy to help stir them) and give them to your toddler to try.

Fruit jigglers

Cut up small chunks of fruit and mix them in when you make jelly. Let the jelly set then scoop out a cupful and let your toddler have fun trying to get it out, or cut the jelly into wobbly shapes for your toddler.

Fruit salad

Mix your toddlers favourite fruits together. Or take your toddler to the local shop and let them pick out new fruits they would like to try.

Banana dips

Dip a banana in yoghurt then roll it in cereal. Stick it in the freezer and serve when your toddler is after a tasty treat.

Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to disguise fruit. Check out some great smoothie recipes for toddlers.

Healthy meal ideas for your toddler

Still not getting enough fruit and veg into your toddlers diet? Don't worry.

  • Soups are an easy way of getting vegetables into your toddler as you can blend out all the lumps and hide all the good vegetables. Try making fun, bright coloured soups, as these will capture your toddler’s attention.
  • Sauces are another great way of disguising healthy things such as vegetables.
  • Disguise your vegetables in creative ways such as finely chopping or grating vegetables. If they don't look like vegetables, chances are that you can persuade your toddler to try it.
  • Pizzas are a great way of getting your toddler to eat vegetables. Make a homemade pizza, load it up with veg and sell it to your toddler as a yummy pizza and watch it get wolfed down.
  • Roast dinners are a great chance for all the family to sit round the table together and eat. Talk about your day, the weather etc, anything but food. If your toddler sees everyone else eating their veg with no fuss, they will probably join in.