Friday, May 13, 2016

Toddler Veggie Pinwheels

Recent research suggests babies 9-24 months of age are not being fed enough vegetables.  Increase your toddler's vegetable intake with these Veggie Pinwheels made with baby food vegetables. 

Hey Friends!

Today I want to stand on my soapbox and discuss the importance of creating a healthy foundation for your little ones' dietary habits.  Research has shown implementing healthy habits during younger years may help to create healthier adulthood habits and prevent obesity.  One of the reasons I initially started this blog was to encourage entire families to place an importance on healthy eating, and use each other to build a support system to do so.  At the time, I noticed that many of my adult-aged clients I was counseling for weight managing were failing to recognize the importance of implementing the changes they were making within their entire family.

Offering my little one a balanced diet is not always easy - most of the time he would prefer to throw the vegetables on the floor for the dog rather than eat them.  But we continue to try and offer him vegetables and often with a creative approach. In addition to vegetables, we make sure most of his meals consist of a lean protein, fruit, and whole grain source.  Recently, I shared what my toddler eats.

Unfortunately most young children (especially babies and toddlers) are not eating balanced meals. Recent research commissioned by Beech-Nut Baby Food confirmed many startling truths about babies dietary intakes.  The researchers analyzed three major studies of babies 0-24 months old from the past 11 years. They found when infants transition from baby food to whole found around nine months of age, the food groups offered start to change drastically.  At this time, they are offered many more sweets, salty snacks, and sugar-sweetened beverages.  Another notable finding was between 9 months and 2 years of age, less than 40 percent of children are eating vegetables, with most of the vegetables coming from potatoes.

Below are some infographics to highlight the researchers findings:

The findings suggest we certainly have room for improvement when it comes to feeding our little ones.  Today I am sharing one fun recipe that is sure to help increase your kiddos vegetable intake.  These Toddler Veggie Pinwheels are made with a few simple ingredients, including pureed vegetables.  While I do think it is important for toddlers to be able to touch and feel their foods, especially veggies, sometimes you have to be creative and serve alternate food creations (like a puree) to entice the little ones.  If I put whole green beans or spinach in front of my son he turns his head, however, the other night when I offered him some pureed green beans he couldn't get enough.  We will continue to work on those whole green beans, but for now, we will offer some nutrient-packed options via alternative forms.

The Toddler Veggie Pinwheels are made by layering tortillas with cheese and green vegetable puree and rolling like a jelly roll. After you roll them they can be sliced into small pieces. The pinwheels can be prepared in only a few minutes and offer a balanced meal or snack option.

Here are some other creative vegetable recipes to offer you little ones:

Your Family's Dietitian,

Disclosure: This blog post was written in partnership with Beech-Nut baby food and my role as a Brand Ambassador.  I was compensated for this post, but all content is reflective of my own thoughts and opinions.   

Toddler Veggie Pinwheels

by Kristen Smith
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40-50 sec

Ingredients (8-10 pinwheels)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3 tbsp vegetable baby food
  • 2 medium-sized flour tortillas
1. Sprinkle cheese evenly on one side of tortilla, place other tortilla on top
2. Microwave for about 40-50 seconds or until cheese is melted
3. Spread baby-food over top tortilla
4. Roll up tortillas tightly like a jelly roll
5. Slice crosswise into about 1/2 inch thick slices
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The researchers reviewed over 50 relevant publications and many of these publications discussed the data from three major studies on nutritional status of infants and toddlers: 1) the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2) Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS II)  3) the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005–2012

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