Tot-Smart Staples

For Toddlers: 2 to 3 years
Clean fuel for busy little bodies is key, says Melissa Halas-Liang, RD, CNSD, founder of Toddlers need to graze all day, so stock up on easy-to-pack snacks, on-the-go foods and quick energy sources. Offer peas, cooked diced carrots, small cubes of pineapple and other finger foods; toddlers love to feed themselves. Soft foods and small bites are important to minimize choking hazards; cut hard or crunchy foods into tiny pieces to avoid choking. Variety is also crucial, says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006); toddlers may start to shun vegetables around this age, so be clever about sneaking red, orange and green vegetables into every meal.

Tot-Smart Staples: 2 to 3 years
• hummus
• pumpkin seeds
• eggs
• sweet potato chips
• precooked frozen brown rice
• sulfite-free dried cranberries
• English muffins
• canned pineapple cubes (packed in juice)
• organic string cheese
• red and yellow pepper strips
• single-serving plain yogurt
• frozen veggie burgers
• grated zucchini
• frozen waffles
• tomato sauce
• rice crackers
• cantaloupe
• unsweetened kefir
• fresh or canned peaches (packed in juice)
• gluten-free baking mix

Quick-Fix Recipe: 2 to 3 years
Gluten-Free Carrot-Zucchini Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

These delicious muffins taste like treats; toddlers won’t guess they’re getting a serving of fruits and vegetables in each moist nugget.

1 very ripe banana
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (find it among cooking oils)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated fresh zucchini
1 cup grated carrots
2 cups quick oats
1 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup crushed walnuts*
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mash together banana, applesauce and coconut oil. Stir in egg, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir in zucchini and carrots.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, mixing just until combined. Stir in walnuts and cranberries.

Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins to fill each muffin compartment. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins. Serve warm.

*Omit walnuts if your child has a family history of nut allergies.