“Managing Toddler Mealtimes with Super Foods” | myMindBodyBaby
Is it a bird? A plane? No, a picky toddler!
Now food is more Michelle’s domain than mine; however when I told her about my little antidote to get my toddler, Bronsen, to eat she thought it was worth sharing. For anyone with little kids out there you probably have to summon your inner superhero for most meals to deal with managing toddler mealtimes. From the “I NO like [insert name of food he loved yesterday]”, to repeated requests to stay “on your bum bum please!” it’s a test of mama-patience. And of course there is the classic reminder that if there is room in your belly for a cookie, there is room in your belly for dinner… managing toddler mealtimes can require Herculean patience! In fact, it can make you feel like Hulk Smashing your lovingly created casserole in frustration.
I feel the need to insert a disclaimer because I am not an expert on managing toddler mealtimes. In fact anyone who has eaten with us would question why I am writing anything to do with getting a toddler to eat. We had a baby who would eat anything and now we have a toddler who… let’s just leave it at managing toddler mealtimes is a challenge. He’s up from the table, under the table, racing around the table. Meal times, particularly dinner, are NOT fun right now. His daycare calls him “spirited”. They are being polite. However, with that being said…
Enter Super Powers
We are in the superhero stage of toddlerhood. In fact, Spiderman and Hulk appear to be part of my decorating motif based on the number of figurines scattered throughout our house. Therefore in my attempts to manage our toddler during mealtimes I devised the Super Powers approach.
I can see in the dark!
What toddler (or adult?!) doesn’t want SUPER POWERS? Mine certainly does! On the way home from daycare we talk about what super powers he wants most. At home we pretend we have super powers as we “fly” around the house. So discussing the “super powers” of various foods seemed like a good tactic to help manage our toddler’s mealtime. “See those carrots on your plate? Did you know carrots can help you see in the dark?” Of course, he then wanted us to turn off the lights to see if they had an immediate impact – “ I CAN see in the dark!”. Amazing.
“What about that broccoli on your plate? It’s a little tree – and you’re a GIANT! Let’s see you eat it in one bite. Also, did you know it can help boo boos heal? Ammaaazing.”
More importantly, for us adults, broccoli is rich in not only folate, but vitamins K and C – vitamin C helps build collagen, which in turn supports bones and tissues and therefore helps cuts heal and toddlers grow big and strong!
Not just for two year olds.
However, while this tactic is amusing for our toddler (and has helped us manage some mealtimes a little easier), different foods DO really have “superpowers”! In In other words – Super Foods!
Let’s look at some of the different super powers out there:
- Super Eyes: Carrots. Packed with vitamin A and lutein, these super veggies can help prevent corneal ulcers, macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition, according to my son, immediately help you see better in the dark 🙂 (Bronsen likes these steamed with a little honey drizzled over them.)
- Happy Power: Bananas. Yep! Bananas contain high levels of tryptophan, which converts to serotonin – in other words, a happy-feeling inducing neurotransmitter. They also contain high levels of potassium, therefore can benefit your immune system and blood pressure. In addition, breastfeeding mamas can freeze these and use in Michelle’s Banana Nut Lactation Muffins.
- Hulk Strength: Meat and eggs. Loaded with protein, which is made up of amino acids, these foods can help build lean muscle. Therefore enabling you to better fend off evil villains!
- Magic Power: Coconuts. Seriously – their powers are numerous. Medium-chain triglycerides are packed into coconut oil, and these special saturated fats have many health benefits. For example, skin conditioning, weight loss due to the satiating effect, digestive help, cholesterol benefits – the list goes on. Need to take a poop? Coconut milk has laxative effects. Baby has cradle cap? Rub it on their head!
- Super Sperm: Nuts. Clearly this one isn’t to incentive your toddler. However, you CAN mention this one to your future baby-daddy. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which subsequently support male fertility. To learn more about this particular super food, plus my husband’s Nuts for Nuts recipe to fuel his little swimmers, click here.
Additional Superhero Super Foods
- Sweet potato
Furthermore, as if super powers delivered through dinner wasn’t enough, then there is the lure of the occasional “special treat”. Bronsen looooves his “specials treats”. I really do try to have healthier special treats on hand and I’ve subsequently tried concocting a number of different options over the past year. We often have overripe bananas on hand and this recipe stemmed from efforts not to let food go to waste!
To sum it up, these cookies contain a few of the Super Power foods – therefore, imagine what eating just one of these will do for you. Not only may the lure of these help manage your toddler’s mealtime antics, but you can also sneak a few good-for-you ingredients into them!
Bronsen's "Special Treat" Banana Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 8 dates
- 1/2 cup unsweeted coconut
- 2 tbsp ground flax
- 1.5 cups large flake oats
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips *optional
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Blend banana, peanut butter and maple syrup; add dates and continue blending until smooth (I use a hand blender)
- Stir in remaining ingredients and stir till combined.
- Roll into 12 even balls and press onto cookie sheet (can make 24 smaller cookies if desired – just cut bake time by 3 minutes)
- Bake for 12 minutes or until edges turn brown
- Store in refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for 6 months
We love to see people enjoying our recipes. Therefore, if you give this one a try make sure to take a pic and post, tagging @myMindBodyBaby. In addition, if your toddler takes on superpowers after eating one of these, let’s see him or her demonstrating his new found skills! Have suggestions for managing your toddler mealtimes? Post away!