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Toddler Food Hacks

I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #GreenGiant campaign, sponsored by Green Giant.  Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

I have found in parenthood, one of the unexpectedly hardest parts has been feeding my kids. From breastfeeding struggles to introducing solids to dealing with picky eating, I just didn’t realize the struggles I’d face when it came to feeding my little one. And not only is feeding them sometimes hard but add the extra pressure of needing to not just fill their bellies but fill them with a nutritious, balanced diet, and you’ve got yourself a prime case for mom guilt.

Not that long ago I shared some of my best tips for getting my toddler to eat (the most important of them being to give yourself grace.) And feel free to check out that post for some of my humbling suggestions. Today, I wanted to expand on that and share a few food hacks for getting your little one to try a new food.

I’ve got 4 toddler food hacks that help Miles try new foods. I hope they can work for you as well.

Food Hack #1 – Novelty

Make the food more fun. New foods can be intimidating to kids, but eating can also be really fun if you let it be. Here are a few ideas:

  • Give them a dipping sauce. I’m not sure what makes dipping your food into a sauce so much more fun, but Miles loves having a sauce. His favorites include ketchup, hummus, yogurt, and honey. I guess the messier the eating experience the better. 
  • Cut the food into shapes. A sliced carrot cut into a star is way more interesting than a circle. You can find food cutters in just about any shape and size. I have this set from Amazon!
  • Use the food to make a smiley face (or any other fun shape or design). This is an oldie but a goodie. You can use fruit to make a smiley face on just about anything. 
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Food Hack #2 – Make It Familiar

Miles LOVES French fries. Luckily for me, it is super easy to incorporate veggies into French fries. I’ve actually found these Green Giant® Veggie Fries® and Veggie Rings® and they are awesome. The Veggie Fries look like fries which he knows and loves but are also different (plus, they have a full serving of veggies, BONUS). Since they look familiar, he’s more likely to try them and it’s a good way to incorporate a new taste. I also love that they are super crunchy. No one likes soggy fries (especially toddlers, trust me.) And a lot of veggie fries fall flat here and are soggy and not the familiar consistency of fries.

Green Giant® also makes Veggie Rings® which gives me another fun way to introduce Miles to a larger variety of vegetables. Green Giant® Veggie Fries® and Veggie Rings® are a great alternative to tater tots as well. You can find these in the frozen section at your local retailer. They are a tasty way to incorporate vegetables into your toddler’s (or even your) life. They are definitely a win in my book. 

Food Hack #3 – Eat Together

Miles is 1000x more likely to try something new if he sees me eating it. While we can’t eat every meal together, I make a big effort to eat with him often and eat new foods around him. He is usually curious about what I’m eating and far more likely to give it a try, even if it’s just a bite that he then spits out!

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I have the natural tendency to want to get something done while he sits and eats. I often find that he doesn’t always eat as well when I do this. I try to fight the urge to tidy up the kitchen and just sit with him while he eats. He’s more likely to focus on eating if I am there with him. 

Food Hack #4 – Make It Low Stress

Sometimes sitting at a table for a meal feels too constrictive to little kids. Try offering new foods in a more relaxed and fun environment. Here are a few things I have tried that work well:

  • Put a new food on the table while he plays
  • Offer it on the tray of the stroller while we take a walk
  • Pack it as a picnic
  • Let him cook with me and taste anything he wants while we cook

I heard once that it can take over twenty exposures to a new food before a toddler will eat it. I have no idea if that statistic is true or not, but it sure does seem like it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was even more than that. Just keep incorporating new foods into their daily lives with these toddler food hacks and hopefully, you will see your kiddos enjoying new foods. Keep at it mama, you’ve got this!