There’s this HUGE myth out there that fruit should be avoided or limited.
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Little Spoon; all opinions are my own. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
You’ll hear people say that the sugar in fruit is too high. They’ll make it seem like lots of veggies every day is the goal, and serving fruit is nothing to be proud of.
But what they don’t know is that all the good parts about vegetables — their fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants — those are all present in fruit, too. And vegetables aren’t significantly higher in those benefits, either.
So when you think about getting enough vegetables for your little one, don’t limit it to JUST vegetables. Fruit is extremely beneficial to their health. And the fact that toddlers typically prefer its sweetness? That’s not a bad thing!
The natural sweetness of fruit can help them enjoy those produce servings and satisfy their sweet cravings, while getting in some great nutrition.
Here are some quick tips to increase both fruits and vegetables for your toddler – including the picky kiddos.
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I’m going to share some ways to use Little Spoon to boost fruit and veggie intake at meal and snack times — plus some additional tips, too!
Tip #1: Don’t wait for dinnertime to offer veggies
There’s no rule that says veggies should be at dinner and fruit should be at breakfast. All meals and snacks can be opportunities for fruit and/or veggies. Even if breakfast and lunch need to be super quick, packed up to leave the house, or you need to just grab and go — there are still ways to offer fruits and veggies!
Here are some easy breakfast ideas using Little Spoon smoothies to include fruits and vegetables:
- Instead of plain yogurt – make it a Purple Carrot Acai Yogurt Bowl by stirring in a Little Spoon Purple Carrot Acai smoothie.
- Instead of plain oatmeal – make carrot cake oatmeal without any added sugar, using a Little Spoon Sweet Potato Carrot Cake smoothie stirred in!
- Make cookies and cream “cookie dough” – mix a Cookies + Cream smoothie with 1 to 2 Tbsp almond butter
Tip #2: Lead with flavors that they love
It is okay to add some natural sweetness, especially to more bitter veggies. Toddlers naturally prefer sweeter tastes and that’s okay. Don’t fight it, use it to your advantage!
You could go on wishing that they would love brussels sprouts or kale the way that you’ve learned to love them as an adult. Or, you could look for ways to add flavors they like to the foods you want them to eat.
There’s no reason why you need to make them like sweets less. There’s nothing wrong with them when they like sweet tastes. Just focus on natural sweetness from fruit, that comes along with so many other health benefits.
I know we’ve been conditioned to believe sugar = bad and unhealthy. But that really only applies to excess refined sugar — NOT the sugar that naturally occurs in wholesome fruits.
Little Spoon Smoothies uses flavors your toddlers love — like SB+J (similar to PB+J), carrot cake, and cookies + cream. But with healthy ingredient boosts like beets in the SB+J flavor, sweet potato, carrot, pineapple and flaxseed in the Sweet Potato Carrot Cake flavor, and chickpeas and quinoa in the Cookies + Cream flavor.
There are some recipes on my blog that build off flavors your toddler loves with some bonus vegetables included too, like:
- Healthy Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Chickpeas
Tip #3: Think outside the cracker box for snack time
Convenience foods can have a really bad reputation sometimes. And why? We have such full lives. You cannot be superhuman and blaze through a mile-long to-do list every day.
You have to take the help where you can get it. Sometimes that might look like childcare, or help cleaning your house, or shortcuts to make meal and snack times easier.
You never need to feel guilty about using a convenience item to feed your child.
“But isn’t it better if I make everything for them homemade? Isn’t that the goal” My response would be, better for who? And better why?
It’s certainly not better for you when you don’t have the time, or you’re exhausted, or you’re sick, or you simply have other ways that you want to spend your time. Nothing to be ashamed of there.
And it’s not necessarily better for your child, either. There are so many nutritious convenience items these days. Being in a package does not make a food less healthy than a fresh item!
All that to say, there are lots of snack items that are quick and easy and healthy, too.
You know I’m going to suggest Little Spoon smoothies, of course! But really, my favorites for snack time are the Green Dream and Sunbutter + Jelly flavors. They have more calories than the other flavors so I like them as filling go-tos.
Tip #4: Add an element of fun to fruits and veggies
Sometimes it’s all in a name. I’ve learned this with my son, who is not crazy about the idea of new foods. But if they sound fun, or we do something fun with it? That totally gets him interested.
Like if I say something is pumpkin…no response. But if I say pumpkin pie? Now he wants to try it! It’s such a small change, but remember, kids are all about the fun.
If they are hesitant about trying new flavors, see if you can entice them with the fun Little Spoon smoothie flavors, like Cookies + Cream. Your kiddo will be thrilled to be eating something that sounds like dessert, but you’ll know they’ll be having a nutritious snack thanks to Little Spoon.
Other ways to add some fun:
- Sprinkles: sometimes it just takes a few rainbow sprinkles on top of a food to make them interested in trying.
- Sound effects: I do this when my kids are using a dip– like last night we had broccoli and some Ranch dressing to dip it in. When they would dip the broccoli, I would make a silly sound effect like, “plop” or “bloooop” so it felt like a silly game.
- Tell them to pretend to be an animal: you can always do the classic, “nibble carrots like a bunny,” but when they are hesitant about a new food, I tell them to be like a lizard or a giraffe with their big tongue and lick!
Don’t forget to use code MAMAKNOWS to get 5 FREE Smoothies to try some of these ideas with your little one! (For new customers only. Expires 12/31/21.)