Your toddler needs a half a gram of daily protein for every pound of their weight. For a 3 year old that’s roughly 15 grams a day. Protein is so important to build up their strong muscles, boost their metabolism throughout the day, and it even gives their little immune system a hand. It’s not just their body being benefited by the cell growth that protein provides, but their brains too! The cell growth that protein assists in strengthens the connections between neurons to help them learn language and speech skills all while they have enough energy to play all day.

How does protein do it? Well the secret is in the amino acids! In digestion, amino acids are the part of the meal that your body keeps to utilize for all the great things needed to keep us alive and well. Each has a different function, and our human bodies need twenty different amino acids working together. Nine of these must come from food, and that’s where protein rich foods come into complete the picture.

Simply, protein is essential for your little toddler to grow into a strong, smart, happy hero of their own. So be their hero now and make sure their diet contains plenty of protein!

A-mino it! Protein is important!

Obviously meat sources are the simplest solution to fill this need, but in fact providing a variety of protein sources can help to ensure that your toddler doesn’t get sick of their favorite and go with inadequate nutrients. If you’re relying on a variety of sources, when the day comes along that they can’t stand chicken or lentils, you know you can always turn to beef, quinoa, soy, or their favorite legume.

When you’re providing multiple proteins in their daily meals, they’re also getting the benefit of varied nutrients besides protein offered in those foods!

We’re all for offering foods to children in their whole form so they can get used to a varied diet, but sometimes with picky eaters it makes life easier for you and for them if you can sneak some healthy ingredients into typically “unhealthy” snack foods. Thus introducing…

Toddle Tots!

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and Napoleon Dynamite knows best. Even if your toddler doesn’t know who Napoleon Dynamite is, your little one and you can still benefit from his wisdom.

Why stick just to boring potatoes in your tots when you can be stuffing them full of the best parts of a diet?! Veggies and protein can be the toughest things to get a picky eater to stomach, but these yummy tots
are hiding both and are still just as dipp-able!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chick peas
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs + extra
  • ½ cup cheese
  • 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instead of breadcrumbs, you can make a gluten free version by mixing up some multi-grain GF crackers and GF oats in the food processor beforehand. Or, if you don’t have breadcrumbs in your pantry (as was my case!) this alternative is just as yummy!

Preheat oven to 350. Steam carrots and then combine all ingredients in a food processor. Adjust mixture to make a dough by adding more breadcrumbs if too soft, and mixing in another egg if too dense.

Lay out breadcrumbs on a surface and roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into tot sized nuggets and bake for 15 minutes, flipping sides in the middle.

If you want to stick closer to tradition, another alternative is to add some shredded potatoes into the mix after you’ve processed it. This version is just as delicious!

Tots will be golden brown when they’re done, enjoy with your favorite sauce!