Food for Fussy Toddlers

My baby boy is one adamant fellow, who just do not want to touch any veggies or rice. His father being a Bengali and me a South Indian, we have to have rice in our meals. It’s our staple food. But my son (who has started speaking proper sentences now) has said a big ‘NO’ to rice.

He is a very fussy eater. He never liked mashed veggies or broths or soups either. He just likes to eat only fruits, pancakes, dosas, at one point of time used to eat idlis but never a vegetable except for Carrot Cake. If we are lucky, sometimes hidden veggies in burgers, pizzas (preferably homemade) or noodles and pasta (not any more though) would go inside him.

Why we switched from Formula Milk to Coconut Milk – A Superfood.

So what we did is, when he was beyond 2 years of age and still drinking his formula milk, I gradually decreased the amount of formula in his milk and started adding Coconut Milk Powder instead. [As coconut is considered a superfood.] And to our astonishment, my son’s constipation problem vanished just like that. I feel guilty for his suffering of the first 2 years of his life while passing his stools. He used to cry, howl while passing stools. And now we know it was all due to the formula we used to give him.

How to give Vegetables to milk dependent Toddlers?

Then slowly we now started giving him vegetable and grams broth in the nights when he is asleep. After adding some jaggery and some salt, he accepts it but only in his deep sleep. But yes, this is the maximum we could figure out with our stubborn son.

So in this broth, some of the best possible combinations can be

Ingredient 1 – Gram of your choice.

In India, we have a number of colorful grams/pulses called Dal. They are

  • Moong Dal, (Green Gram)
  • Masoor Dal, (Red Lentil)
  • Arhar Dal (Split Red Gram)

which are easy in digestion. In each of them you can again go the split grams or whole, or even with the skin (chilka in Hindi) ones.

So I usually don’t have to repeat the same gram until 3rd day.

Ingredient 2 – A Vegetable.

It’s better to go with 1 vegetable at a time. As our little one’s stomach is still new to adjust, we have to increase gradually and slowly.

So, this choice of vegetable again depends on the availability of it in your area, the quality of it, and make sure its not frozen or processed ones.

A good choice to start with can be

  • Spinach (Palak)
  • Pumpkin (Orange Kaddu/ Sitafal)
  • Carrots (Gajar)
  • Beet Root
  • Ash Gourd/ Bottle Gourd family vegetables

Ingredient 3 – Jaggery

Trust me, sugar is the most harmful substance on earth. So whenever you can, whenever its possible try to substitute it with whatever you can. As in my toddler’s case, I substitute it with

  • Palm Jaggery ( called Patali in Bengali)
  • Go for Mishri (Rock Sugar Granules which are not factory made)
  • Palm Jaggery of any kind
  • Pure Honey
  • Or skip

Ingredient 4 – Salt to taste

A little salt is necessary to provide a taste in the food. Its again a good source of sodium so no worries there.

Superfoods I suggest…

I can totally understand the pain of those parents, who suffers the same when their kids refuses to eat something good. My only advise to them is switch to superfoods.

What are superfoods?

The superfoods have the hidden treasure of many vitamins, minerals, immunity boosting help and a lot healthy fats, proteins which can substitute the need of carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits with fussy kids.

Some of the best superfoods we use are:

  • Ragi (Finger Millets)

Is a potential source of vitamins and minerals, calcium, potassium, many amino acids, good carbohydrates, low fats and a good source of fibre. In India, its a must to be included item in diet of a pregnant women and a new born.

  • Moringa Powder (Drumstick tree Leaves Powder)

Moringa or Drumstick tree is popularly known as the miracle tree because of its immense ability to provide nutrition and ease the micronutrient deficiency conditions.

Recipe: I add a teaspoon of Moringa Leaves Powder in everything I make for my kid, whether its the cake batter (yes, even in cakes, it tastes nothing), soups, fruits juices or his night time vegetable broth.

  • Coconut Milk Powder (after 2 years)

Whether you choose coconut water or coconut milk but its another must include in the diet of your kids. Its rich in iron, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, magnesium & calcium.

Potassium content of 1 coconut = Potassium content of 2 bananas.

  • Coconut Oil Cooking

In this era where people are slowly opening their eyes to the fact that the cooking oils we use are all unhealthy and adulterated and is being the source of various lifestyle diseases, I think switching to coconut oil for cooking reduces all these health risks and provides nutrition too.

  • Sweet Potato

An excellent source of Potassium, Vitamin A & C and fibre, it can easily make way in our toddler’s diet and can prove to be a good substitute for chips and crisps.

Recipe: Thin slices of sweet potato when deep fried in coconut oil, makes delicious and crispy chips.

  • Avocado

Avocados are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, folate and vitamin K. It helps in building a good immune system for toddlers and kids.

  • Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a very good source of dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, B6 and E.

  • Kale / Spinach

Kale and Spinach are a must in kids’ diet because they are a rich in calcium, potassium, fibre, folate, vitamins A, C and K, flavonoids. They are rich sources of iron and anti-oxidants too.

  • Coconut Flour

Why should we feed our children gluten and bad crabs when we can go for its better substitute, Coconut Flour.

  • Cheese slices, Butter cubes, Ghee (Fortified butter)

Yes, fats are good. Better than carbs. Now, I believe it. So i prefer to fill up my son’s stomach with fats and proteins rather than carbs.

  • Carrots

Rich in beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A in our body, its is not only important for a good vision but also for healthy teeth, bones and skin.

  • Beet Roots

Beetroots are a storehouse of essential nutrients. Not only a good source of fibre, its an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C.

So, this was my story of superfoods and how we included in our lifetsyle. We would love to hear your experiences and your recipes and any suggestions too.

Have a good day.

About Author

An ex-ISRO Scientist, a math, music and art and craft teacher, a mentor, and now a mother to a toddler, exploring various avenues for a healthy life and happy family.