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Pick up some helpful tips to make sure your toddler is consuming a healthy diet.

Trying to get your toddler to eat a balanced diet can be challenging, to put it politely. But with a little patience and creativity from you, eating healthy can be a lot of fun.
While calorie amounts vary by child, a meal plan filled with whole grains, fruits and veggies, calcium-rich foods and lean protein sources, is standard issue. So is limiting added sugar and salt. Try these mom-tested tips to help make "good" and "good for you" feel like the same thing to your toddler:

Easily-Mashable Foods

  • Oatmeal (fibre, carbohydrate)
  • Banana (potassium)
  • Avocado (fibre, potassium, vitamin C)
  • Roasted sweet potato (Vitamin A, potassium)
  • Strawberries (Vitamin C, potassium, fibre, antioxidants)

Frozen Foods

  • Pay special attention that the size of the frozen morsel is large enough to not present a choking hazard
  • Homemade juice pops made from 100% fruit or vegetable juice (ice cubes in a sippy cup are generally well-received)
  • Low fat frozen yogurt (calcium)
  • Blueberry smoothie made with yogurt and frozen blueberries (calcium, antioxidants, Vitamin C)

Foods to Slurp

  • Whole wheat spaghetti (magnesium, fibre)
  • Soup (room temperature) through a straw
  • Tomato soup (Vitamin C, potassium, copper)
  • Chicken noodle soup (selenium, protein)

Foods to Dip

  • A favourite among most toddlers
  • Fruit pieces in low fat vanilla yogurt (protein, calcium, riboflavin)
  • Carrot sticks (thinly sliced) in hummus (Vitamin A, fibre, calcium, zinc)
  • Cooked broccoli trees in low fat plain yogurt (calcium, potassium, Vitamin C)
  • Cooked snowpeas in low-fat ranch dressing (protein, manganese, potassium)

Finger Foods

  • Peas (chromium, fibre, magnesium)
  • Whole grain "O"-shaped cereal (calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate)
  • Cooked chickpeas (folate, fibre, protein)
  • Cooked carrot coins (Vitamin A)
  • Turkey meatballs (protein)

Sticks

  • Open-faced toasted cheese on whole wheat bread cut into sticks (protein, calcium, fibre, riboflavin)
  • Cheese sticks (protein, calcium)
  • Carrot sticks (thinly sliced) (Vitamin A)
  • Fish sticks – baked, not fried (protein)

Easily-Mashable Foods

  • Oatmeal (fibre, carbohydrate)
  • Banana (potassium)
  • Avocado (fibre, potassium, vitamin C)
  • Roasted sweet potato (Vitamin A, potassium)
  • Strawberries (Vitamin C, potassium, fibre, antioxidants)

Edible Artwork

  • Veggie faces
  • Spinach hair (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, magnesium)
  • Carrot nose (thinly sliced) (Vitamin A)
  • Cooked black bean eyes (iron, protein)
  • Cooked chick pea teeth (manganese, folate, fibre, protein)
  • Encourage your toddler to create his own

Tips:

  • Use fun shapes.
  • Cookie cutters, melon ballers, pizza cutters and measuring cups are all tools you already have on hand.
  • Use silly containers.
  • Toddlers find food so much more appealing if it's served up in a (new) flowerpot or on a fun plate. Be creative.