This just in: spring has officially sprung!
Even though it still feels freezing across most of the country—I’m ready for spring and I’m definitely ready to start bringing some seasonal inspiration into meals I’m making for my family. Soups will remain on the stove because I love them so, but I’m shelving the comfort food, cakes and mulled wine in favour of quick and easy sheet pan suppers, salads and sangria.
I’m also getting into the swing of spring with three seasonal ingredients that I hope will add bright bursts of colour to my kids’ plates after months and months of brown and orange food.
Packed with vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium and potassium, I tend to cook with more spinach than kale in the spring. It’s an essential ingredient in our beloved green banana smoothie and this lightened up spinach and ricotta lasagna. For the veggie adverse, it can also be easily masked if puréed and stirred into sauces and soups. You might even want to try giving it the same treatment I gave kale to turn my kids into lovers of the somewhat polarizing green.
I’d love to declare that this is an easy ingredient to add to your kids’ diet, but knowing that two out of three of my own kids aren’t fond of them, it really isn’t so. Still, they’re a nutritional powerhouse not to be discounted and are a great way to bring colour and flavour to the plate this season. My toddler is crazy about these chicken and strawberry kebabs and these vanilla strawberry pudding pops. He also likes them chopped and sprinkled over cereal and yogurt, or blended into smoothies.
An excellent first food for babies, eggs are a staple of my family’s diet and for good reason: they are nutritious, delicious and inexpensive. I always think of spring as egg season and try to incorporate them into our meals and snacks as much as possible. We’re particularly fond of breakfast-for-dinner pizzas, quiche and/or a Spanish tortilla for easy weeknight meals, and I never hesitate to serve scrambled eggs to my toddler for lunch when I’m looking for a quick-cooking dish I know he’ll down with no trouble.
Embrace Fun Shapes
In addition to reacquainting myself with a few of our favourite seasonal ingredients, one of the best things about spring is seeing colour on the plate again. I never thought I’d be the mother that made my food look cute—let’s be honest, when you’re feeding three kids there isn’t always the time—but after the smashing success of these bunny pancakes I made for Shrove Tuesday (note to self: bookmark the idea for Easter!), I know that my little guy really likes to see his food made into fun shapes. Thankfully, there’s plenty of inspiration online for such things, and a quick trip down the rabbit hole of ‘toddler food ideas’ on Pinterest led me to come up with these sweet strawberry flowers pictured above. If spinach, strawberries and eggs aren’t to your little one’s liking, I’m thinking these edible flowers just might be.