My philosophy on baby/toddler diets is “try your best.” I try my best to give Dylan a wide variety of nutrient dense meals but I don’t freak out if he eats a non-organic noodle or, god forbid, something with refined sugar. Dylan started eating solids around six months and the goal was just to expose him to a variety of foods. I was still breastfeeding so I knew he was getting all the nutrients he needed from me. After I stopped breastfeeding (when Dylan was around 14 months) I started to worry more about his diet. Dylan has always been a good eater (does it look like this kid has missed a meal lately?) but we all know toddlers are unpredictable. One day they love something and the next day they’re chucking it all over the floor. They might even love something and still toss it… I guess it is pretty fun!
Dylan can sometimes be picky with different proteins and vegetables. I worry that he’s not eating a balanced diet or that he’s still hungry (every Jewish mother’s worst nightmare). However, I discovered one sure fire way to get him to eat almost anything…mix it in sweet potato!
Sweet potatoes are one of the first foods I introduced to Dylan and he has always loved them. I love sweet potatoes because they are not only delicious but loaded with vitamins, fiber, potassium, and a bunch of other good stuff. I learned that if I mixed any type of protein, grain, or vegetable in a mashed sweet potato, Dylan would gobble it up!
Below is a list of things I’ve mixed with sweet potato that Dylan has devoured:
- white fish
- beans (black beans and great northern)
- brown rice
- summer squash
Here’s an insanely simple recipe for one of Dylan’s favorite sweet potato meals:
*I would describe myself as a completely average (maybe a little below-average) cook. Please excuse my recipe writing skills!
Ingredients: makes 2-3 baby meals
- 1 sweet potato
- 1/4 pound salmon
- large handful of baby spinach
- a handful of broccoli crowns
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Pierce sweet potato several times with a fork and place on foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake sweet potato for about an hour (it should feel pretty soft when done).
- Cut broccoli crowns into small pieces and give spinach a rough chop.
- Place broccoli on a steaming basket over a pot of boiling water and cover. Steam broccoli for about 3 minutes. I love using this silicone steaming basket .
- Add spinach to steaming basket and steam veggies for another minute (until soft enough for baby) .
- When sweet potato is almost done add the salmon to the same baking sheet. Bake salmon with the sweet potato for 12-15 minutes.
- When everything is done let cool for awhile.
- Scoop out sweet potato flesh and mash it with a fork.
- Cut salmon into little pieces and mix into sweet potato along with the broccoli and spinach.
- Serve half of the mixture to your baby and save the other half for the next day!
If your toddler is refusing to eat certain foods, give this sweet potato trick a try. Hopefully it will work as well as it has for Dylan!
I’m always on the lookout for new recipe ideas. What are your child’s favorite healthy meals?