Looking for a way to add more veggies to your toddler’s breakfast routine? Search no more. Today I’m sharing five of my favorite vegetables to add to your child’s morning oatmeal to pack it with an additional nutrient-rich punch.
What are the Benefits of Oats?
While oats have gotten a bit of a bad rap lately with concerns that those coming from many major brands may be contaminated with high levels of pesticides that can be harmful to children, oats, in themselves, actually boast a wide array of nutrients. They are a great source of fiber, contain a higher amount of protein than most other grains and provide children with many necessary vitamins and minerals.
How do I choose which oats to buy?
That said, I highly recommend being choosey with your oats so that your family can reap the benefits without the scary junk. This is a time when buying organic is worth the price tag. Not only that, but I recommend even taking it a step further and seeking out a company that tests their products for glyphosate (that nasty, potentially cancer-causing herbicide all of us have been hearing about). We love One Degree Organics Sprouted Rolled Oats in our house, as not only do they meet the above guidelines, but are also certified gluten free. The fact that they are sprouted can also make them easier to digest for more sensitive bellies!
Why add veggies to oatmeal?
Because, why not? Yes, as I have shared above, oats, in themselves, pack in a lot of nutrients. But as a mom I am always looking for ways to add more veggies into my family’s diet. Putting vegetables in oatmeal can be a great way to introduce them to your child for the first time. It can also encourage kids to try one that maybe they aren’t quite sure of just yet. And added bonus, but mixing in veggies, you’ve just packed an even larger array of nutrients in that breakfast bowl.
5 veggies for your toddler’s oatmeal:
Zucchini is by far our number one go-to for veggie-loading our oatmeal over here. The main reason being, it’s virtually tasteless. I grate it and chop it into fine pieces (about the size of our oats). Then, I toss them right into the mix to cook on the stovetop. This Chocolate Zucchini Oatmeal is always a big hit in our home.
Similar to zucchini, carrots can be grated and chopped to be tossed in with your oats as well. They do come with a bit more flavor and add a light sweet taste to your bowl. One of my little guy’s favorite ways to top off a good bowl of carrot oats is with raisins, slices apples, finely chopped pecans/walnuts and some cinnamon.
Cauliflower is a little bit magical when it comes to oatmeal. My preferred way to use it in riced form. You can either buy it pre-cut (fresh or frozen) or make your own. When making your oatmeal, I would recommend using equal portions in the mix. (ie. 1/2 cup oats & 1/2 cup cauli rice). Now, here’s where the magic comes in. Cauliflower rice, in itself, can actually be made into “oatmeal” without any oats at all. If you are looking for a grain-free option for your little one, simply steam a cup of cauli rice, and add in all their favorite fixings just as you would a fresh bowl of oats.
Squash or Sweet Potato
While I recognize these are different vegetables, they tend to give oatmeal that same sweet, fall feel. I find that pureed forms work best when looking for that smooth texture. Feel free to either steam and puree your own vegetables or buy a can of organic pumpkin or sweet potato puree. If you go the can route, try to look for one that has a BPA free liner.
Now this may not be the first veggie you think of adding into your child’s oatmeal, or even the last – but I swear it deserves a place on this list. What I love about spinach is that it really lends itself to making your oatmeal sweet or savory. To make it more appealing to toddlers, I recommend blending it first with the liquid you intend to combine with your oats. Not only does it then give your oatmeal a creamier feel, but the coolest green “hulk, monster, Grinch, frog, etc.” color your child’s mind can run with. For a sweet spinach option give this Green Oatmeal a whirl. Looking for something savory? Try whipping your oats together with some veggie or bone broth and top them off with avocado, a hardboiled egg and a dash of pepper on top.
If adding veggies to your toddler’s oatmeal is something new for them, it’s okay to start slow. Add a few and go from there. I would encourage you to even invite them along side you in making the choice about what veggies to use. The process isn’t about “hiding them” as much as showing your child the diverse array of ways that vegetables can be included in their daily lives. And I bet, before you know it, they’ll be gobbling up bowls of pumpkin, carrot, zucchini oats and asking you for another helping!
Looking for more healthy food ideas for your toddler? Check out these posts:
The Best Veggies for Smoothies