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23 Healthy And Easy Recipes For Your Toddlers

23 Healthy And Easy Recipes For Your Toddlers

There is nothing more important to us than being able to provide only the best for our children. When they’re young this can be as simple as providing them with healthy food options with the right nutrients and vitamins to facilitate growth and well being. Of course giving your baby a homemade meal is the best thing you can do for them, however many parents tend to hide from the task. It’s hard enough trying to figure out what to feed ourselves let alone what to feed our little ones and it can be so tempting to just grab something that is already prepared from the store.

Be rest assured that making your own baby food is much more easy than you think and requires little skills in the kitchen. Once you start you’ll be so happy as mealtimes will be much more well balanced, convenient and fulfilling for both you and your kids.

Ages 6 Months – 12 Months (Purée Galore)

1. Apple – Banana Puree

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    All you need is something to steam the apples in and a blender for this no-brainer recipe. Babies love the sweet combination of apples and bananas. An easy go to recipe for one of baby’s first foods.

    2. Roasted Yams, Apples and Corn

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      Finding different combos of ingredients is probably one of the trickiest parts of making your own baby food. This is another great recipe including apples along with yams and corn. Babies love yams!

      3. Chicken with Carrots & Apple Puree

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        Chicken is a great first meat to introduce to your baby. Puréed chicken is not a very appetizing site (can you say gray anyone?), but by combining it with other colorful ingredients, chicken can become a quick favorite for your little one. This recipe combines chicken with apples and carrots to give the recipe a sweet flavour with lots of texture.

        4. Oats, Avocado & Spinach

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          The reason why it’s so important to start our babies on solid foods by 6 months is because their iron stores begin to deplete. This recipe is a great source of iron as well as fibre, vitamins and protein. A green combination that Popeye himself would approve.

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          5. Vegetable Lasagna

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            Now that you’ve introduced simple combinations to your baby it’s time to start adding more complex flavors. Vegetable lasagna is an easy way to implement a variety of vegetables while giving a great flavor and texture punch. This recipe is guaranteed not to bore your baby.

            6. Cantaloupe Cream

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              This delicious puree will be a great treat for you little one, especially in the summer time when cantaloupe is at its seasonal best.

              Ages 9 Months and Up (Independent Eaters)

              7. Homemade Teething Biscuits

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                Teething can be a wonderful time (note of sarcasm). At this time your baby will be putting anything and everything into their little mouths in search of some type of relief. Teething biscuits are a great way to not only introduce finger foods but to also help alleviate the pain of emerging teeth. Why not try to make your own at home with this easy baking recipe that uses instant rice cereal along with healthy ingredients such as whole wheat flour and coconut oil.

                8. Cauliflower Nuggets

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                  You’ve heard of chicken nuggets, another favorite of toddlers, but how about cauliflower nuggets? Same idea, different values. This is a great way to make vegetables more appealing to your little ones.

                  9. Strawberry Yogurt Bites

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                    This recipe consists of a grand total of two ingredients! Also this healthy yummy treat can be enjoyed by not only your baby but you too.

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                    10. Mini Meatballs

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                      Meatballs are great because they are fun to eat and easy to hold for little fingers. As an added bonus kids don’t care what’s in them so its a perfect way to give them their much needed vegetables.

                      11. Pasta with Soft Cheese and Basil

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                        Pasta is a great way to transition your baby from purees towards textured foods. This recipe keeps it simple by combining pasta with just cheese and basil.

                        12. Banana Oatmeal Fingers

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                          These banana and oatmeal fingers make for a great snack or breakfast food for your little one that’s just figuring out how to eat on their own.

                          Ages 12 Months and Up (Almost There Meals)

                          13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

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                            Yes this is not a toddler only recipe, but one that adults can enjoy as well. Sweet potatoes are one of the best first solid foods to introduce as puree first. Once your baby has some teeth, this recipe is a great next step to continue the love of sweet potatoes.

                            14. Apple and Cheese Quinoa Balls

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                              Quinoa is so hot right now. It’s such a complex grain and incredibly easy to eat not too mention very light compared to its counterpart, rice. This recipe provides a great finger food for your toddler as well as a nice little snack for the adults.

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                              15. Avocado and Blueberry Muffins

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                                Here’s an organic recipe that uses avocados and blueberries along with full fat yogurt (or Greek yogurt). This is a great snack or breakfast option for your toddler.

                                16. Easy Mac and Cheese Bites

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                                  This is a recipe for mac and cheese that starts from scratch, no box of KD required. You can go ahead and freeze any bites as well if they’re not devoured by your little ones first.

                                  17. Chicken Tenders with Greek Yogurt Ranch

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                                    When we think of kids’ meals the first thing that probably comes to mind are chicken fingers. Although they might not seem like the healthiest option this recipe may get you re thinking that. An easy, no fuss recipe for a healthy method of making chicken fingers that your children are sure to love just as much as the processed ones.

                                    18. Chickpea Patties

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                                      These chickpea patties can be made large or small for either your toddler to grab and munch on or for your to eat in a pita. Packed full of protein, these are also great for freezing.

                                      Ages 18 Months and Up (Big Kid Meals)

                                      19. Carrot, Mango, Raspberry Popsicles

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                                        What kid doesn’t like popsicles? Here’s a recipe for homemade popsicles as a healthy alternative to the sugary store bought ones.

                                        20. Fiesta Bowl

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                                          This is a meal that everyone in the family can enjoy. Just lay out the ingredients and everybody chooses what they want in their own bowls. It’s that simple.

                                          21. Power Packed Fruit and Veggie Muffins

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                                            These mini muffins are super fun to eat. You would never guess these little morsels are packed full of so many different fruits and veggies such as broccoli, zucchini, carrots, apples and bananas.

                                            22. Toddler Smoothie

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                                              This recipe is for a starter smoothie for your toddler. It contains the goodness of oats, strawberries, bananas and spinach. The color and texture may be off putting but the taste is definitely yummy.

                                              23. Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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                                                A staple on all kids’ menus is grilled cheese. This recipe offers a more wholesome alternative to the usual greasy far by using extra virgin olive oil and whole wheat bread topped with broccoli and cheese.

                                                This collection of healthy and easy recipes for your toddlers should help you in the journey of raising your little ones and providing them with the best opportunities for growth and well-being. By all means, every child is different and you may find the recipes will be more appropriate for your child at different ages than stated. They are simply there as a guideline and are not the concrete framework.

                                                Featured photo credit: Rainbow/Frederique Voisin-Demery via flickr.com

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                                                Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                1. The Inner Critic

                                                This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                                • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                2. The Worrier

                                                This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                                3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                                This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                How can you control these squatters?

                                                How to Master Your Mind

                                                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                For the Inner Critic

                                                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                                You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                • They rile up the Worrier.
                                                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                For the Worrier

                                                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                • Muscles tense

                                                Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                                For example:

                                                If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                • Muscles tension

                                                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                Breathe in through your nose:

                                                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                Breathe out through your nose:

                                                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                For the Sleep Depriver

                                                (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                • Shut down your thinking.
                                                • Calm your feelings.
                                                • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                The Bottom Line

                                                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                                More About Mental Strength

                                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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