When it comes to satisfying your toddler’s sweet tooth, fruits are your number one friend. Not only do they offer that sugary taste that most children love, but they also provide a ton of nutritional benefits. My favorites? Strawberries and blueberries. My daughter loves pretty much everything I make for her that has these fruits.
Both strawberries and blueberries are considered brain foods. They are packed with antioxidants which help boost brain health, notes Heidi Murkoff’s What to Expect. In fact, your little one’s noggin is busy “growing, growing, and growing” during the first 36 months of his or her life, and nutrition is just as important as reading and block-building activities when helping your child’s mind develop.
What I love about these fruits is their added property to boost my baby’s immune system. Strawberries and blueberries are also rich in vitamin C. One cup of strawberries, for example, contains more vitamin C than a medium orange, said registered dietitian Toby Amidor at Food Network’s Healthy Eats. Instead of pulling-out those vitamin gummies all the time, then, I like to offer my munchkin a more natural option, straight from the source.
If your little one likes it, there is nothing better than the fruit by itself for a full dose of its nutritional benefits. And, of course, you can also play around with different recipes. Here are a couple favorites. Give them a try!
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE SMOOTHIE
Recipe by Super Healthy Kids
1 container (4 oz) – Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup – cottage cheese, low fat
1 cup – strawberries, frozen, unsweetened
1/3 cup – almond milk, unsweetened
1 tablespoon – honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender. If it’s too thick, add more milk to reach desired consistency. Top with fresh berries and graham crackers for extra pizzaz!
HEALTHY BLUEBERRY OATMEAL MINI MUFFINS
Recipe by Live Well Travel Often
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oats
2 tablespoons whole or ground flaxseeds
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
You can either use regular or mini muffin tins. We like the minis in our house, so much more fun for little ones, and the perfect sized snack. Spray whichever muffin pan you will be using with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl combine flour, oats, flax seeds, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, yogurt, milk, agave, oil, and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes for large muffins, 11-12 minutes for mini muffins. Remove from the oven and set the muffin pan on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. When the muffins are slightly cooled, remove from the muffin pan and allow to cool completely on the cooling rack. Eat fresh or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat frozen muffins in the toaster oven or microwave. Makes 12 large or 24 mini muffins. Enjoy!
By Marisol Bulacio-Watier