Mealtime can be one of the most challenging parts of your day with a toddler. It’s incredible how big of a mess such a small person can make in very little time! Luckily, I have found that taking some time on the weekend to do a little food prep helps to make mealtime each day much easier.
In this post, I will include six of my favorite foods to prepare ahead of time. These foods are sure to keep a toddler full of good nutrients and energy, and to take the headache out of preparing your toddler’s meals.
This week, I urge you to pick one or two of these foods and get ahead of the game. Your toddler will thank you… actually no, they probably won’t thank you. But, I’m sure you will thank you!
1. Sweet Potatoes
Thankfully, I know very few children who refuse to eat sweet potatoes. When they’re prepared correctly, sweet potatoes don’t need anything added to them to make them taste good. They are loaded with good vitamins and carbohydrates that your toddler needs.
Preparing these are simple. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Rinse your potatoes. Then, pat them dry and wrap it with aluminum foil. Place them in the oven and let them cook for about an hour. You can tell when they are done when a butter knife can slide right through the potato with little to no effort.
I would suggest eating a serving right then and there. Then, remove the potato peel and store it in your Tupperware container for the week. You can serve sweet potato along with any meal, and know that your toddler is getting something they enjoy that is also full of vitamins.
Another great tip that I have found useful, is whipping up some healthy muffins together. Your toddler will love the activity of cooking in the kitchen with you. It is a great learning activity that can be useful to you as well.
I enjoy making a delicious pumpkin, banana, or zucchini muffin with as many clean ingredients as possible. You can serve one along with fruit for breakfast, or you can give it to your little one after dinner to help them fill up on something you know is good for them.
Try these recipes:
Chocolate Chip Banana & Zucchini Muffins | Recipe by: The Nutrition Twins
Flourless Pumpkin Muffins | Recipe by: My Whole Food Life
Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins | Recipe by: Well Plated
Another great idea is to go ahead and make a vegetable to go along with meals throughout the day. You can make a pot of green beans, mixed veggies, broccoli, corn, or steamed carrots. Since you will have this on hand, it can easily be added to a meal or snack.
My go-to for preparing flavorful vegetables is to start with fresh or frozen, organic vegetables. I like to cook them in low sodium, organic chicken broth. I add a bit of butter, salt and pepper. The chicken broth add flavor to the veggies, which will make your toddler more likely to eat them.
Another food option I like to include in my toddler’s food prep is rice. Go ahead and prepare a couple of servings of regular brown rice, depending on how many people will be eating it during the week.
What’s great is, there are so many ways to change it up. One day, you could toss it with teriyaki sauce and mixed veggies and call it fried rice. Another day you could add butter, salt, and pepper, and then top it off with the mixed veggies you prepared this week.
5. Raw Fruit & Veggies
In my experience, I’be found that planning and efficiency is what helps me to meet my goals. If I want to make sure my toddler is getting all his or her servings of fruits and veggies, I must plan and make it easy!
Pick your toddler’s favorite fruits and veggies, and get a head start by chopping them into bite size pieces.
Be sure to keep in mind, not all fruit keeps well after it’s been been chopped. I find that strawberries can become sweet like candy when they’re cut ahead of time. Some other fruits and veggies that keep well are pineapple, bell peppers, cucumbers, grapes, watermelon and more.
6. French Toast // Pancakes
Who doesn’t love pancakes and French toast? Most kids that I know love both of these breakfast foods. The best part about making these is that I often make way more than I need, and get to save the rest for a sweet and filling breakfast all week! I like to freeze leftover French toast and pancakes, and then pop in them in the toaster in the morning.
The best part? You can make a healthier version of pancakes that you and your toddler will love. Try this Banana Pancakes recipe out this week!