Healthy toddler meal, sardines, sweet potato, turnip, and green beans

Quick Healthy Dinner For My Toddler & Me

  I've been debating on what would be a good first blog post and tonight I decided, no more debating, just go for it, so here goes.  Had a bit of a weird day so got started on dinner later than usual, still wanted a healthy meal but wanted something fast.  I was so glad there was plenty of leftover sweet potato from last nights dinner, so instead of the usual 40 minutes at 400 F in the oven it was a nice 18 minutes and honestly could have been ready in 10 probably but I wanted to time it with our veggies.  My toddler absolutely loves green beans, which she calls "mean beans", toddlers say everything so cutely don't they?  Glad the beans aren't actually mean...just green....  so back on topic we had just enough green beans left for dinner and after a quick glance through the veggies in the fridge I grabbed a turnip too, they actually taste a lot like a radish before they're cooked, really mild after they're cooked though.  My toddler loves "free Costco samples" when I'm cooking, so she was happily munching some thinly cut little turnip sticks while I was whipping dinner together.  I slice them thinner if I want them ready quickly, I've learned how to cut almost any vegetable to be ready in 20 minutes at 400 F so that I can cook almost any vegetable to have variety but still make dinner on autopilot. 

  I literally cook almost every single dinner entirely in the oven, it keeps me from going crazy while trying to get healthy fresh home cooked meals on the table every night.  I kind of chronically burn the candle on both ends so to speak so healthy eating isn't even an option for me, it's a necessity to keep on doing everything I do.  I don't buy everything organic or anything because that can get expensive fast, but I do try to cook with as many whole foods as possible and avoid processed foods, organic or not, as much as I can, because don't let the label fool you, processed food is still processed food, and fresh regular food, beats organic processed food every time.  Also healthy eating on a budget tip, root vegetables tend to be remarkably cheap compared to some of the other vegetables, think carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, rutabaga (still have to get around to trying that one), and a number of others that just aren't coming to mind right now, but they do exist, I promise.  Green beans are often a good deal too.  I have a bit of a 2 veggie rule, I always try to include 2 veggies in dinner, cutting things right to be the same cooking time really helps with that, some trial and error involved.  My motto is pretty much, if you can eat it, you can roast it! I've tried roasting all kinds of weird stuff with varying results, but I did figure out you can roast broccoli!  My daughter attacks roasted broccoli.  Although to be fair she does attack just about anything if it's edible.  I'm convinced she could cook a full 5 star meal if she had a bigger body and the motor skills.  She loves to watch me cook, and then there's the free samples...  I think it's great though for little ones to learn where food comes from, what it looks like throughout the various stages of getting to their plate, and also that a lot of effort went it to that meal that was lovingly prepared for them.

  Back on topic, as for the sardines, Clara prefers them straight from the can to her plate, she loves the fishy flavour, I guess it is less work her way so I just let her have at it.  Me on the other hand I need my sardines a little crispier to convince myself to eat them, fried a few minutes in olive oil and flipped once.  Yes, I fully admit, I'm a pickier eater than my toddler, but to be fair she eats EVERYTHING so the standard's a little high, I'm not that picky, just pickier than her, and she might very well be one of the world's least picky eaters exist...  I don't take full credit for introducing her to lots of flavours early, it's not like a magic formula, it certainly could help, but personality and taste buds definitely play a role too, so no judgment here.  So there you go, in case you're wondering why I've made myself learn to not mind sardines, like would be too strong a word, it's because they're an inexpensive way to get some omega 3s in your diet and as a very small fish they're also very low in mercury.  And I do believe that eating real food is the best way to get all the nutrients you need. 

  When I first read somewhere that sardines were a healthy food for toddlers I honestly thought they were a little crazy, I thought, what toddler is honestly going to take a bite of sardine and think, oooouuu this is delicious, can I have some more?  Clara proved me wrong, she was completely delighted with her sardines tonight, she calls them neen, and she gets excited as soon as she sees me grab some from the cupboard.  Yes, truly, she gets excited, Mommy was a little more excited about the quick easy meal aspect than the flavour.

  I feel like with busy schedules these days healthy eating can be intimidating and look like so much work, some people are really good at batch cooking and advanced meal prep, but others, myself included, are like, when do I even find the time to do that advance prep.  That's why if you can eat it, I will attempt to roast it...  I'm happy to share tips on roasting in the comments, but I just looked at the time and I guess the need for sleep means this is the end of the blog post whether I feel like I was done writing or not.

  From a busy sleep deprived Mommy, I wish you all a good night, or a good day, depending on when you're reading my ramblings.  Signing out... zzzzzzz



Because it's got to be done.  Please be aware that this is no substitution for medical advice (anything I write).  Also I feel it's important to mention that it can take up to 3 hours for signs of allergic reaction to show up in little ones, if they're trying something new, please be aware of this, it can be better to time it at least 3 hours before bed or a nap and when you're able to keep an eye on them for those 3 hours.  Please keep in mind that just because one toddler eats certain things without issue doesn't mean it's the same for everyone, we're all unique.  Also I've heard that sometimes an allergic reaction to some foods doesn't show up the first time, so please keep this in mind, and also it's a great idea to ask your doctor about allergic reactions or research it so you know what to do if one ever happens as well as strategies to help avoid things turning serious.

For people of any age, always be aware of possible allergic reactions, the warning signs, and what to do.  And surprisingly plenty of foods can interact with medications in strange ways so that can be something to talk with your doctor about as well before making any sudden changes to your diet.  Your doctor might have to adjust the dose of certain medications due to dietary changes.

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