Something I know ALL parents are looking for is quick and practical ways to make life easier for themselves! Feeding kids is HARD and factoring in nutrition and variety is not always easy for parents. In this blog, I wanted to share a few of my favourite supermarket buys that make feeding babies and toddlers just that little bit easier.
These are some of my favourite products to buy that just add a little boost to nutrition and variety, without having to do anything different when cooking or preparing your meals.
It’s very common nowadays for families to opt for plant-based milk alternatives and I’m often asked whether they’re ok for babies and children. I’ve got a blog all about plant-based milk alternatives for kids, but one really important thing to look out for when choosing, is that they’re fortified with vitamins. Ideally opt for varieties that have added vitamin B12, D, calcium and iodine. Organic brands don’t tend to be fortified, and so wouldn’t be suitable for little ones!
Breakfast cereals are a really popular food for kids. They require very little in the way of preparation and, when offered with milk and some fruit, they make a nice, balanced meal. A really easy way to make the most out of the breakfast cereals you’re offering is to check whether they’re fortified with vitamins. Many have added B vitamins (Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin), folic acid and iron. Some also have added calcium. For more on which cereal to choose, check my blog on how to choose a healthy cereal for babies and toddlers.
Eggs fortified with omega-3
Omega 3 is an important nutrient that’s typically found in oily fish. For those little ones who don’t eat or like fish, it can be harder to get enough omega-3. Choosing eggs that are fortified is a really easy way to include omega-3 if your baby or toddler doesn’t or can’t eat fish. Check out my blog on omega-3 for babies and toddlers for more.
Mixed milled seeds
I often share how much I use milled seeds – I especially love adding them to porridge, cereal or yoghurt. They really are one of my favourite ways to add extra nutrients into toddler meals as they’re so easy to sprinkle on to almost anything. One way in which you can boost them even further, is by looking out for packets that have mixed seeds or ingredients. Some brands have added berries, ground nuts or different types of seeds. This is an easy way to add in a greater variety of nutrition.
Pre-cooked grain pouches
When you’re short on time, bread is often the easiest thing to opt for when making meals. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bread, but if you’re looking for simple ways to build in variety, pre-cooked grain pouches can be really handy. They often come as mixed varieties, including multiple different grains, beans or pulses and can be a great way to add these into your baby’s foods, with very little hassle. The only thing to look out for is that they don’t contain salt. Many of the varieties with sauce or flavourings do contain added salt, but there are plenty that don’t have any added salt, which make them ideal for offering to babies and toddlers.
Canned mixed beans
Canned beans and pulses are another of my top store-cupboard staples for weaning and feeding kids as they’re nutritious and so easy to prepare. A REALLY simple way to maximise them even further is by opting for a can that has mixed beans, instead of just one variety. I often talk about the importance of offering a variety of foods from a young age, and it really can be as simple as offering different types of beans. Offering them together in one dish is a great way to add a little more variety of flavour, texture and colour which all helps with little one’s acceptance of new foods.
Lentil or pea pasta
Pasta is another favourite food for little ones, and it can be easy to offer the same type again and again. An easy way to add in extra nutrition is by opting for lentil or pea pasta. It’s often found in the gluten free / “free-from” aisles and it provides additional fibre, protein and iron (if lentil) when compared with regular pasta. You can mix it in with regular pasta to add variety to the colour and flavour as well as maximising the nutrition.
Plain Full-Fat Yoghurt
Yoghurt is a nutrient-rich, easy to prepare food that can be great for adding to porridge, or using as a base for savoury sauces, including as a mayonnaise substitute. I have written before all about the best yoghurts for babies and children, but my top tip for when you’re buying yoghurt in the supermarket is to opt for full-fat, plain varieties. Full-fat offers more in the way of calories and fat when compared with low-fat versions, both of which are really important for babies and young children. Additionally, flavoured varieties aimed at kids are often high in added sugars. Choosing plain varieties allows you to use the same product for the whole family, and means you can use it for both sweet and savoury dishes.
Mixed frozen fruits and veg
Frozen fruits and veg are super handy to have for quickly adding into meals without having to chop or prep them. Choosing mixed bags of frozen fruit or veg – e.g. mixed berries, tropical fruits or veg-medley are another simple way to add in variety. Different coloured fruits and veg offer different nutrients and having pre-mixed variety helps to boost the nutrition without having to think about it!
Tinned fish is another of my favourite foods for feeding kids and whilst most of the time they’re labelled as “boneless,” often you find that some small bones remain. This actually isn’t a problem as the canning process softens the bones enough to make them safe for babies and toddlers to eat. And, the bones in some fish, such as sardines, actually contain more nutrients, including calcium, meaning they’re an ideal food for boosting nutrition!
Hopefully these tips will help you when you’re next at the supermarket shopping for your family!