*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Heinz Infant.
All babies are born with an innate desire to eat and generally speaking, eat well they do! It's rare to hear a parent complain of a lack of appetite in the very young. Babies are plump little bundles of joy and they are a pleasure to parent on every level! It's a universal fact.
Somewhere after baby's first year however, the desire to sit and eat, peters-out somewhat. It's nature's stubborn progression to lead a toddler elsewhere, to learn about their world in greater depth. While that's undoubtedly fabulous, the trouble is, their food tends to be left behind in favour of their new pursuits. Sure, kids will eat when kids want to eat, but the frustration left in the aftermath of this well-observed fact, is what drives all parents to question themselves endlessly and needlessly.
We all know little people are not so good at monitoring their every need, which is cause for concern. It's where us parents come in with our abundant worries.
Am I doing it right? How can I bring my toddler back to the table? Is he or she eating enough? Are they getting all their nutrients; all their food groups?
Does it sound familiar?!
Despite our excessive worries, it's not actually that hard to entice a toddler to eat! Heinz baby foods have a proud 60 year heritage of feeding infants successfully, and their quality produce and expert cooking methods are something all mums can both trust and rely on, when it comes to feeding their babies. It really helps to know that Heinz baby foods are lovingly approved by nutritionists who are also mums themselves, and the pouch and jar products are steam-cooked with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Heinz source a variety ingredients right here in Australia - such as apples, peaches and pears from the Goulburn Valley, pumpkins from country Victoria and meats which are sourced from trusted suppliers around Australia. All this is delivered to the Heinz specialist baby food facility in Echuca in country Victoria for their pouch and jar products. Their expertise sees all the right flavours and textures mastered to entice even the fussiest of kids. Don't hesitate to enjoy the convenience this brand can offer you!
One of the easiest ways you can encourage your kids when it comes to food, is to involve them in the food preparation process. You guessed it - pop on an apron, open the cupboards and fridge and get cooking with whatever you have on hand - together!
It doesn't have to be an epic affair either. Keep it all simple for best results and the least amount of stress on your part. Use fresh ingredients full of colour and textures and have your toddler roll-up their sleeves and immerse themselves in the task alongside you.
Consider anything simple as your child's task alone, such as the basic choices that they might make about ingredients for example. Talk them through their efforts and offer praise for new skills mastered and subsequent taste attempts of the things you have created together.
It can certainly help to have a set of smaller kitchen items on hand for your little one too. Some utensils reserved just for them, that are considered 'special,' will provide lots of motivation and fun. Many homewares stores sell simple baking sets designed just for kids. These are inexpensive, but a priceless tool, when it comes to enticing a fussy eater to explore the world of food with a new and enthusiastic outlook and appetite.
For a quick and easy bake that is both simple to prepare with your toddler and can also be enjoyed by the entire family, try these super little pizzas. These can provide a mutually relaxing baking experience with your child. Pizzas offer kids the best opportunity to get tactile with the food groups while also guaranteeing consumption at the end of the process. And who doesn't love a good pizza? Even toddlers appreciate those!
Mini English Muffin Pizzas for Toddlers
Makes: As many as you wish.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Baking time: 5-7 minutes.
One packet of English muffins
One tub of real cheese slices
One punnet of cherry tomatoes
A quantity of deli meat such as small mild mini pepperoni circles or shredded ham if you prefer
Tomato sauce or tomato paste
Italian herbs to season - either fresh or dried
One small cookie cutter to cut cheese shapes (optional) or grated tasty cheese to top.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
Finely slice all vegetables, meat and fresh herbs if you are using them.
If cutting fun shapes into your cheese, prepare these too and set all ingredients out on a board or platter so that your toddler can get into the fun stuff!
Slice each English muffin that you intend to use in half. One muffin will make two mini pizzas.
Spread your tomato base onto the muffins and sprinkle each with a dash of the herbs. Mix this blend together as you spread over each muffin base.
Grab one enthusiastic toddler and let them get creative! Food choices, placement, artistic control - the fun's all theirs!
Pop the pizzas onto an oven tray and bake in the oven for between 5-7 minutes or until the bases are golden and the ingredients are sizzling.
Serve and enjoy!
Another way to gain the interest of your fussy toddler, is to try serving these pizzas (and as many foods as you can manage) on a platter which is then shared by other family members. Little kids hate to miss out, so get around any lingering stubborn behaviours surrounding food by making your food communal. Not only will this bring about good results on the feeding front, but also make your parenting life a little less hectic with less cleaning up.
Foods served this way offer choice and choice is a powerful factor when it comes to feeding kids. (The same applies to kids of all ages too!)
If you're still struggling to manage your child's reluctance to eat or just find yourself too time-poor to do it yourself - don't stress! There's always a nutrient-packed healthy option available in the Heinz Infant range of baby foods to offer to your child.
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