Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Toddler Tuesday: Thank Goodness for Smoothies

    If there is one thing I've learned about toddlers, it's that you always have to be on your toes.  Once you get comfortable and think you have things figured out, everything changes.  Meghan goes through stages where she eats a lot and then stages where she hardly eats at all.  Despite how much she is eating, I have always been able to count on her eating some sort of vegetable and fruit throughout any given day.  It may not always be as much as I would like, but I stay relaxed as long as she gets some of the good stuff in her.  She really tested my ability to stay relaxed about her eating, however,  during the end of last week.  Suddenly, without warning, Meghan started refusing just about anything plant-based.  She didn't want fruit, vegetables, or beans.  The second day after this started, this is what she ate:

breakfast:  plain yogurt (I tried to sprinkle it with a little granola and blueberries and she was NOT happy)
lunch:  cheese
dinner: butter

   I'm not kidding.  There is no exaggeration here.  For dinner, all she wanted was the butter.   She had a plate of delicious food in front of her, but she just pointed to the butter that was on the table and would not relent until that's what she got.  I tried to put it on bread for her.  Oh, no, Mommy, that is not what I meant.  I just want to stick clumps of butter in my mouth plain.  GROSS!  I will admit, at this point, I was starting to stress out.  What if this becomes a constant trend and all she wants is dairy products?
    There is one thing that she usually will not refuse: smoothies.  The next day after her all-dairy day I turned to the smoothie to help rectify the no fruit or veggie situation.  The great thing about smoothies is that you can make it super healthy and it still seems like a treat.  They are great for breakfast and Meghan also regularly eats them for snack.  They are especially nice if you need breakfast on-the-go.  When we need to get somewhere early in the morning, I make a smoothie the night before, put it in her straw sippy cup and refrigerate it, and then in the morning she gets her breakfast in the car.
    For Meghan's smoothies, I start with plain yogurt (the flavored kind has way too much sugar!), milk, and then add whatever fresh ingredients I have on hand.  Here are a few recipes if you need help getting started:

                                    ^^^Notice Meghan's empty cup in the background. :)

Mom's Emergency Super Smoothie
For when your little one isn't eating her fruits or veggies!

1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 milk
1 small handful fresh blueberries
3-4 strawberries
1/4 cup cubed cantaloupe
1 small handful fresh baby spinach
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
1 Tablespoon honey (preferably raw)
3-5 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender (I use my Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth.
This makes enough for 1 large or 2 small smoothies.  I usually fill Meghan's cup and then drink whatever is leftover.
Tip:  When using spinach in a smoothie, it's best to not put the spinach in first.  

Meghan's Favorite Smoothie 
This is Oh. So. Good.  

1/4 cup plain yogurt
        1/4-1/2 cup milk (depending on how thick you like it)
1 banana
2 heaping Tablespoons peanut butter
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies.  Meghan likes to hog this one--she loves it!

     I am happy to report that Meghan seems to be getting back on track this week with her eating.  Today for lunch I pulled out an avocado that I knew was going to go bad if we didn't eat it up soon.  Eating avocados before they go bad is never a problem in this house, but with Meghan's fruit and veggie strike there are a few they are on the brink.  I was nervous as I cut it into chunks and served it to her, but knew my girl was back when she exclaimed, "Mmmmmm, 'cado!"  Here she is gobbling it up:


   I know the last closed-eye picture isn't great, but I wanted to show the empty tray.  She ended up eating an entire half of the avocado, and I was a happy mama.  I'm glad that I have learned that refusing a food one day doesn't mean she is never going to like it.  There are many vegetables that she refused multiple times before deciding she likes them (cauliflower and asparagus included) and it isn't uncommon for her to change her mind multiple times about liking a certain food.  The best thing you can do is continue to offer a variety of healthy foods--eventually your little one will eat (and enjoy!) the good stuff.  In the mean time, sneak it in a smoothie!  

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