How to Introduce Beets to Toddlers
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Beets are a nutritious food filled with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese and folate. These rare nutrients help blood vessels, brain function and keep the heart healthy, too. Do you want your child to learn to enjoy beets early and continue to eat them throughout adulthood? Here are a few recommendations on how to introduce beets to your infants, toddlers and big kids too!
Taste: Explain the taste of beets to your toddler before you introduce them. Beets have an earthy flavor, but they taste sweeter the fresher they are. Some kids love this earthy taste, and others need us to bring out the sweetness of this veggie in order for them to try it. I have had a lot of success when I pair the sugary taste of citrus with beets, because it helps decrease the earthy aftertaste. Try squeezing a fresh lemon or orange slice over beets if your toddler turns up their nose at the first bite.
Drinks: Beets can be an easy vegetable to introduce to kids because of their rich red color and bright juices. I have a fun, but unsophisticated way to introduce beets to kids (especially kids with an active imagination). I call it the Beet Blood Dare. Together, we cut up one small organic beet and juice it (adding a splash of orange juice) to make the “beet blood.” We pour the “blood” into tiny plastic shot glasses and dare each other to drink it (I dare you!). We can take a drink of the “beet blood” or take a sip and let it drip out of our mouth like a pretend vampire or monster. Of course they do the latter, because kids love this crazy idea, but guess what?! They DRINK the beet juice and learn to love the taste too! Winning! Note – beet juice can stain their face and clothing; I have my kids in feeding therapy wear an apron and use Neat Cheeks wipes on their face and hands.
Bulb: You will have the most feeding success if you introduce beets in a texture your toddler will enjoy. Luckily, the bulb of the beet can be eaten raw, cooked, sautéed, steamed, roasted, boiled, pickled and juiced. You can try a variety of ways to familiarize your little one with this healthy veggie! Here are a few ideas:
- Grated Beets: I grate raw beets and sprinkle them on the plate as a garnish, or I mix it with grated carrots for a colorful and easy-to-eat salad.
- Beet Hummus: I love hummus, and I introduce it to most of my feeding clients because it is a great dipper, has lots of protein and is a wonderful food for self-feeders. For an easy recipe, purchase hummus, then juice one small beet and add it to the hummus mixture to increase its healthy power! Of course, you can make your own beet hummus from scratch too (check it out here).
- Beet Salad: I cut up fresh beets and add a splash of orange juice and lots of feta cheese to make a yummy, soft-textured salad.
Want more toddler friendly beet recipes and ideas? Check out our book, Making Mealtime ezpz!
Greens: Surprisingly, beet greens have more iron than spinach and are a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. When I buy beets, I also cook the greens as a side dish. I wash, cut and sauté the greens with butter, salt, pepper and garlic. Toddlers also love it when I add feta cheese or put the greens over rice with soy sauce. Give beet greens a try!
Are you curious about beet greens? What beet recipes are your family favorites? How do you introduce beets to your toddlers? #ezpzfun #beet #myezpzmat
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Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).