Many toddlers get the bad rap of being selective or "picky" eaters. For some children, it's an issue of textures, while for others, it's simply a developmental stage. It's important to keep in mind that toddlers need much less food than they did during their first year of life (plus they hardly ever sit still!).
Hence, this age group is notorious for their snacking and grazing habits.
So, take advantage of their tiny bellies (Curious about the size of your tot's tummy? Have him make a fist. That is the size of his stomach.) and offer a tasting adventure on a snack-sized level.
Pack up the stroller and head out to one of Long Beach's three, weekly, certified farmers' markets. Not only will the sights and sounds amaze your little one, the bite-size samples will be sure to lure in new tastes. All of the Long Beach markets are outdoors and is the great morning outing for families.
The vendors at farmers' markets are usually great with offering a sample of the fruit or vegetable being sold. Let your tot sample everything from raspberries to carrots to little dabs of honey. Because you can select a small amount of food to purchase, bring home several types of new foods and get ready to experiment. Shoot for nutrient-dense foods like avocados, sweet potatoes or even different types of cheeses.
And because toddlers love their snacks, try serving up new tastes in small portions. Cut up those farm-fresh fruits and veggies into small pieces. To make it more visually appealing, spear a few pieces with decorative party picks or fancy toothpicks. Toss all your beautiful yummies in a muffin tin or a shaped ice cube mold. Try filling one or two sections with hummus or yogurt so that he can explore different types of dip.
By giving your child so many varieties of tastes and flavors, you're also giving him the opportunity to develop personal likes and dislikes.
Plus, eating new food out of an ice cube mold can be just plain fun!
Have a baby that's getting ready to venture into the land of solid foods? Read Beverly O'Neal's complete guide to making and storing your own homemade baby food.
Looking for dates and times of Long Beach's farmers' markets? Check out the Farmer Net website for a comprehensive list of details.