Getting Toddlers to Eat Whole Fruits & Veggies
Getting toddlers to eat and enjoy whole fruits and veggies is tough. My 18-month-old daughter was an incredibly picky eater, which was a challenge for me since my husband and I live an all-natural lifestyle. I had a hard time finding things she wanted to eat with the food we had in our home, and felt at a loss on how to adapt her taste to like fruits and veggies that were free of added sugar, preservatives, etc. I fortunately came across a brand called Once Upon a Farm, which is an organic, non-GMO, and preservative-free line of puree pouches! What was amazing about these pouches were how they were free of added sugar, and just packed with real fruits, veggies, and other nutrient-dense ingredients (i.e. coconut, flax seed).
I was willing to give anything a try that was made from whole foods that my daughter might like, so I grabbed a bunch of flavors; Green Kale and Apples, Chocolate Ever After, Carrot-y Coconut-y Quinoa, just to name a few. I tried it myself first, since I like to always be informed of what I’m feeding my daughter. They were all absolutely delicious, and what made these pouches stand out more to me than other baby food was the fact that it tasted real, and not overly-sweet. Instead, the flavors of the ingredients each stood out, tasted natural, and had just the right amount of sweetness without overpowering the natural tastes of fruits and veggies.
Now the real test: Would my daughter like them? To my pleasant surprise, my picky girl took to them right away (and not just the chocolate one, even the avocado one, and the Green Kale and Apple (which is her favorite). It felt like such a huge relief that my daughter who barely wanted anything other than milk and sweets was enjoying something that was nutrient-dense. Once my daughter was excited about the food pouches, I decided to take her food journey to the next level and incorporate some whole, non-pureed fruits and veggies in with her Once Upon a Farm pouches. This way, I could get her used to more textures and be able to eat some of the same foods I cooked for me and my husband.
Mixed with the pouches, she has been eating more and more whole foods. The Once Upon a Farm blends have really aided in changing her taste pallet, allowing her to enjoy the tastes of natural foods. I know I’m not alone as a parent in trying to get my picky eater to eat healthy and become used to different textures, so I want to share with my readers some of my Once Upon a Farm/Whole food combinations that my daughter loves!
Breakfast: Once Upon a Mickey Waffle
Using the Chocolate Ever After and Strawberry Patch purees, I created a vegan chocolate waffle that my whole family enjoys! It has a slight, rich chocolatey taste but is packed with fruits, veggies, healthy grains, and proteins, and has no refined sugar. My Once Upon a Mickey Waffle recipe is delicious served fresh, and my daughter also enjoys when I cook these waffles, then break into small pieces and refrigerate to use as a snack for her to nibble on later. You can get my Once Upon a Mickey Waffle recipe here.
Lunch: A Wonderful World of Color Veggie Wrap
For lunch, I decided to make a sweet and savory wrap using the Wild Rumpus Avocado pouch, which has organic avocado, banana, pineapple, and mint. I spread the puree on a whole grain tortilla, and using a vegetable peeler I shaved strips of carrot and jicima to place on top.
To finish off the wrap, I added some slices of ripe avocado, creating the perfect combination of sweet, smooth, and crunchy! Not only did my toddler love this wrap, but so did I! The puree served as a great wholesome wrap spread, as opposed to a mayo that would have had few nutrients.
Dinner: Try the Green Stuff, It’s Delicious!
This puree and whole food combination is one of my favorites! It is the Green Kale and Apples puree topped with quinoa and roasted butternut squash. The butternut squash takes a bit of time to roast, so in the meantime I gave my daughter one of the pouches to snack on while I was busy in the kitchen!
Often times Amelia loves to squeeze food pouches to watch all the food come pouring out, so to give me peace of mind while I was cooking, I popped a Choomee top on her pouch. The Choomee top prevents the puree from being squeezed out of the pouch by your child’s hands, and helps the pouch contents last longer, since they have to suck the top (similar to a baby bottle) to get the food out.
With her pouch and spill-free Choomee top in hand, I pre-heated the oven to 450 F, put cubed butternut squash on a cookie pan, drizzled with melted coconut oil, and sprinkled with cumin. Place your butternut squash in the oven for 30-40 minutes. While your butternut squash is cooking, you can make your quinoa. For quinoa, you want one cup of dried quinoa to 2 cups of water. Bring your water to a boil, then lower your heat and add your quinoa, cooking for 15 minutes.
Once you quinoa and butternut squash are ready, squeeze a Green Kale & Apples pouch into a bowl, and top with the items you just prepared!
This meal pairing is now one of my toddler’s favorite go-to dinners! We ate at the table with her, having for ourselves butternut squash, quinoa, and asparagus. It felt great to all sit at the table together and get to eat most of the same foods, and knowing we were setting a natural food lifestyle precedent for our daughter!
Dessert: A Minnie Mug Cake
For dessert I created a nutrient-dense Minnie Mug Cake using the Once Upon a Farm Strawberry Patch blend (Strawberries, coconut, and flax seed). Instead of cooking in the microwave, I baked it in the oven to help preserve as many vitamins as possible.
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg white
- 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1.5 Tbsp coconut or almond milk
- One Strawberry Patch food pouch
- Optional toppings: yogurt, strawberries, and banana.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- Put all of your ingredients into one bowl, mix well.
- Spray a mug or ramekin with non-stick spray (I used coconut oil), and pour your ingredients in.
- Bake for 14-17 minutes in the oven.
Before consuming, allow your cake to cool to solidify a bit more (you can stick in the fridge to speed up the process). To frost your mug cake, you can top with yogurt, bananas, and strawberries. Amelia loved piling the bananas on her cake!
My Picky Toddler Miracle
For someone like me, where cooking brings pleasure and food is an important love language in our family, it has been a wonderful experience to see my daughter liking a wider variety of foods. The Once Upon a Farm purees have helped adapt her pallet for the better, and instead of forcing fruits and veggies upon her she now readily tries them. And knowing even when I can’t cook, she has a healthy option on hand with the puree pouches makes me be able to breath a huge sigh of mommy relief, knowing my daughter is getting the best nutrition possible; so important for a growing girl such as her. If you are also trying to get your toddler to eat whole fruits and veggies, you can try these combinations or experiment with your own, beginning with the Once Upon a Farm all-natural food pouches.
The pouches can be ordered online, and are available at many stores, you can find their store locator here. To find out more information about Once Upon a Farm, you can visit them at:
Photo Credits: Once Upon a Farm