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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 15, 2018

                                                7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                                7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                                Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                                                Video Summary

                                                Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                                                There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                                                This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                                                Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                                                In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                                                One Exercise, multiple benefits

                                                There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                                                By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                                                When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                                                Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                                                In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                                                What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                                                What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                                  1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                                  Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                                  • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                                  • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                                  • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                                  • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                                  2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                                    Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                                    Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                                    3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                                      Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                                      4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                                        Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                                        A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                                        A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                                        On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                                        5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                                          Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                                          6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                                            Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                                            7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                                              Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                                              How to hold a plank position

                                                              1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                                              2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                                              3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                                              4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                                              5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                                              6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                                              7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                                              Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                                              Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                                                How to improve your plank time gradually

                                                                1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                                                2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                                                3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                                                Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                                                Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                                                You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                                                • Prolapse
                                                                • After prolapse surgery
                                                                • Pelvic pain conditions
                                                                • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                                                • Previous childbirth
                                                                • Overweight

                                                                Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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