When it comes to healthy food, feeding toddlers can be decidedly tricky. That sweet little baby who happily ate everything you offered can seem to vanish without a trace, only to be replaced with a stubborn toddler who has a strong will and mind of their own and appears to be disgusted with your offer of delicious foods that were enthusiastically received only yesterday.
I learnt the hard way that to a certain extent, this stage is something you just have to ride out. I tried everything with my first child, good cop, bad cop, pleading, begging, airplane forks, stamping my feet, fluttering my eyelashes... but nothing worked! He had a mind of his own and nothing I did was going to change it. Eventually I realised that the only way to survive this stage with any semblance of sanity was to relax and go with the flow - no extra meals or special treatment, just consistently offering a good range of healthy foods for him to choose from.
I found that presenting foods in a fun way seemed to help a lot - divided plates and silicone muffin pans being the serving dishes of choice to ensure plenty of variety in every meal. At our evening meals, eaten together as a family, my children have always been given the same food that we adults are eating, but at lunch time finger foods come into their own.
Finger foods are fantastic for encouraging independent eating and allow children to feel in control of their food choices too, which can be a great way to overcome a stubborn refusal to eat what you want them to eat. Try to offer a good variety at every meal - by giving them a choice of foods, children are more likely to try at least some of them, even if they don't eat everything on their plate.
When my children started eating solid food, I offered them both a mixture of finger foods including vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat and the Goodies range of Organix finger foods. I chose to buy Organix foods because of their simple, short ingredients lists and No Junk Promise never to add any processed sugar, hydrogenated fats, artificial colours or flavourings to their products. They continue to be a part of my children's diet for snacking and adding to lunches even now, 8 years on from my first weaning adventure.
This year Organix have expanded their range to include even more fun and tasty finger foods and their latest offering is this gorgeous limited edition Goodies Snack Chest. My boys love picking out their favourite snacks from their very own treasure chest, it definitely adds extra fun to the snacking experience! The snack chests are available exclusively in selected Boots stores now so be sure to look out for them.
There are so many healthy foods that make ideal finger foods for toddlers - I've come up with a list of over 80 easy finger food ideas just in this post! As well as the list of finger foods below, I'm also sharing some toddler meal ideas which show how you can combine finger foods to make a quick and easy meal to tempt even the fussiest of eaters - you can click through at the end of this post to find full details of those in a separate blog post.
Carrot sticks (raw, lightly steamed or roasted)
Red or yellow pepper sticks (raw or roasted)
Cherry tomatoes (halved length-ways for younger children)
Baby sweetcorn (raw or lightly steamed)
Sugar snap peas (raw or lightly steamed)
Mange tout (raw or lightly steamed)
Green beans (lightly steamed)
Broccoli florets (lightly steamed)
Cauliflower florets (lightly steamed)
Beetroot slices or wedges (ready cooked or roasted)
Squash wedges (roasted)
Courgette sticks (lightly steamed or roasted)
Sweet potato chips (roasted)
Cherries (stoned & halved)
Peach slices (fresh or tinned)
Sliced fresh apricot
Grapes (halved length-ways for younger children)
Apricots (chopped for younger children)
Apple rings (chopped for younger children)
Organix Fruit Snacks
New potatoes (boiled or roasted)
Homemade potato wedges
Cooked pasta shapes
Organix oaty bars
Organix corn & rice snacks
Dairy & Protein:
Rolled ham slices
Shredded roast chicken
Roast beef slices
Hard boiled eggs
Cheddar cheese cubes
Fresh mozarella slices
Cream cheese for dipping
Natural yogurt for dipping
Houmous for dipping (try my homemade carrot houmous recipe!)
As I mentioned above, as well as the list of finger food ideas I've got some simple example toddler meals to share with you too. These meals were all made for my youngest son and presented in silicone muffin pans for a fun change from ordinary plates. I love making muffin tin meals for my children as they really do encourage you to find a good selection of foods for every meal. For full details of these meals, click here or on the photo below.
I hope that this post is of help in the endless battle of toddlers vs healthy food! Have you had trouble getting your toddler to eat healthy foods? Do share any tricks you have in the comments below or across social media using the #NoJunkJourney hashtag – Organix would love to hear about them!
Disclosure: This blog post was commissioned by Organix as a part of a series of posts for the No Junk Journey campaign. I was compensated for my time, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
If you found this post useful please do pin it for future reference! For more fun and healthy food ideas for little ones, check out the recipes section here on the Eats Amazing blog or follow my Baby & Toddler Food Ideas Pinterest board for fresh ideas from all over the web!