A toddler's appetite can be as unpredictable as the weather — one moment he's such a voracious eater, he'll take whatever you give him with gusto, and in the next, he'll refuse even his favorite dish. It's quite hard to figure out how to meet their nutritional needs, especially when their food preferences change as they grow.
Entrepreneur Eric Corpuz, 44, says this is exactly his son Titus's typical behavior with food.
"He used to love tocino [and] ate anything we gave him," the father of one says, but his toddler's eating habits changed drastically in the last year.
"When he turned 2, he started being picky — making use of all his senses and carefully looking and checking, touching and feeling, and smelling before taking that bite," Eric says. "And when he does, sometimes he would spit out the food because the taste didn’t sit well with him."
So what's a dad to do? Tap into his inner foodie, of course! Eric sums up his success in feeding his toddler vegetables in the following tips.
How to include vegetables in your toddler's diet
1. Introduce vegetables into your child's diet early.
"We began feeding Titus vegetables when he turned 1, but we were still processing his food. First, it was carrots, potatoes, broccoli, and spinach. Then we introduced ampalaya (bitter gourd), which he also liked.
2. Take your cue from your child.
Because Titus enjoyed his first smoothie made from boiled ampalaya and fresh oranges, Eric figured it was a brilliant way to get his son to eat vegetables. "I even show him what's in it — I tell him it will make him stronger — and now he looks forward to having his serving of fruit-and-vegetable shakes."
3. Be inventive.
Though he cooks only as a hobby and has no formal culinary training, Eric's dishes are wife- and son-approved! Titus's favorites include pancit bihon, sauteed vegetables, and fried rice. "You just need to know how your child prefers his veggies," he says. His secret weapon? "Oyster sauce!"
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Eric's recipes are simple enough for anyone to follow (yes, Dad, even YOU can make them!), and are infused with nutritious vegetables your picky eater won't even notice. He shares the simple steps below.
Two ripe bananas Other fruits in stock — it can be apples, avocadoes, oranges, melons, strawberries, pineapple, etc. Kale (2 leaves) /spinach (5 to 8 leaves) - don't include the stems 1 bottle of Yakult Milk, half a cup Ice Honey optional (Eric uses raw wild black honey)
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Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (rough, tiny bits might make your child refuse it), and serve.
Note: Leftover smoothie can be frozen as popsicles. You can also reblend it frozen so it will have the consistency of a sherbet or ice cream, which you can then serve as an afternoon snack.