How To Cook Your Toddler Healthy Food On A Budget
You have a toddler and you’re tired more often that not. Understandable. After a long day of playing, reading, watching, cleaning, kissing, hugging and all those other fun elements of being a parent to a toddler, it’s time for dinner. McDonalds or Wendy’s sounds good, and quick. But a few nights of drive thrus adds up on not only the budget, but isn’t exactly the best nutrition wise. And of course, you want the best for your little one. Cooking your toddler healthy food while on a budget isn’t hard, with just a few planning strategies. Check it out…
1. Plan Ahead
You have probably heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” It’s true when it comes to lots of life situations, but especially meal planning. A little planning goes a long way. Decide ahead of time how often you want to go grocery shopping and how much you will spend. Every week? Two weeks? Three? After these numbers are established, sit down and make menus for each day. Choosing “theme” days takes the guesswork out of some menu planning and is fun. For example, Mondays could be vegetarian days (Meatless Mondays, right?), Tuesdays could be pasta days, Wednesdays could be chicken days and so on. After you choose themes, then design specifics meals with a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fruit and/or vegetable.
When it comes to feeding your toddler, balance is key. Toddlers should be eating plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables. Center your son or daughter’s food on a protein and complex carbohydrate and then add a fruit and a veggie per meal. For example, how about a few homemade baked chicken nuggets (much healthier than fast food nuggets), a few homemade sweet potato fries, grapes and green beans? You have a balanced, healthy meal there, which is also easy on the budget!
3. Remember the Colors
Remember the rainbow, and no I am not talking about skittles. When preparing healthy food for your toddler, remember the rich colored foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, carrots, sweet potatoes, just to name a few. Any food rich in color is usually pretty healthy! If you make a game out of the pretty “colors” your toddler will gladly gobble up anything you put before him or her.
4. Don’t Waste Food
One way to save money is to not waste food. Your toddler doesn’t finish his dinner? Save it for the next meal or snack. Buying groceries, preparing meals, and then throwing away food isn’t doing anyone any favors. Make it a habit of saving unfinished food for the next meal or snack. Also, keep an eye on fresh produce and use before it spoils. Check out the expirations dates for various items so you can be sure to use them up before they go bad. There is nothing worse than throwing away slimy spinach because you didn’t pay attention to the expiation date. That is money down the drain!
Feeding your toddler healthy food on a budget isn’t hard if you plan ahead and stick to your plan. Experiment with what works for you and your family and pretty soon menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking will become second nature. You will have healthy delicious meals, full of colors, toddler approved!