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3 Healthy Lentil Recipes For Toddlers And Picky Eaters

Are you looking for lentil recipes for toddlers?

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Lentils are an important protein source in vegetarian and vegan diets. They are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and provide a variety of essential amino acids.  Toddlers especially need these essential amino acids to support growth and development.

NUTRITION IN LENTILS

Lentils contain up to 8.9 gm of protein per 125 ml (1/2 cup) and are a rich source of iron and folate.

Lentils are also an important source of essential amino acids like lysine.

Not just that lentils have some of the highest antioxidant contents in the legume family.[source]

ARE LENTILS GOOD FOR TODDLERS?

It is important to get children used to a variety of foods from the beginning.

Protein is an important building block especially in the growing years. Including a wide variety of proteins from meat and plants is good for the overall health and development of children.

Many parents worry that lentils will be too heavy for a baby or toddler to digest. But, soaking lentils before you cook can make the nutrients more easily absorbable and cooking the lentils makes them easy to digest.

Lentils contain a good amount of proteins, iron, calcium and antioxidants and should therefore not be ignored when designing your toddler’s diet plan.

WHICH LENTILS ARE GOOD FOR TODDLERS?

Moong dal (green gram), tur dal (pigeon pea), masoor dal (red lentils) in split and whole form, are all great options to start with.

As you observe your child and learn which dal suits his system, you can add more variety of lentils like Urad dal (black gram) and chana dal (Bengal gram).

IS IT NECESSARY TO SOAK LENTILS BEFORE COOKING?

Lentils contain antinutrients such as trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid and tannins, which reduce the absorption of some nutrients. Soaking and cooking lentils reduce these antinutrients.

Lentil Recipes - lentil recipes for baby led weaning
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LENTIL RECIPES FOR BABIES

Dal or lentil soup is one way to include lentils in baby’s diet.

Lentil patty is another great lentil recipe that is also appropriate for baby led weaning.

Related reading : Soup recipes for babies and toddlers.

LENTIL RECIPES FOR TODDLERS

During toddler years though some toddlers may become picky about eating dal. I remember detesting the taste of dal when I was a child.

What do you do then? How to include this powerhouse food into your child’s diet?

Don’t worry. This post will help you hide lentils in food in such a way your toddler won’t even notice.

Each of these recipes includes one of my favorite lentil, masoor dal (red lentils), in the whole form and in the split dal form.

Masoor dal is a nutritious lentil for babies and toddlers, it is not only rich in iron and folate. It has a good amount of fiber too.

With anemia a big problem rocking the toddler years, masoor dal must be included more often in dal and other toddler food preparations to boost iron absorption.

3 HEALTHY AND YUMMY LENTIL RECIPES FOR TODDLERS AND PICKY EATERS

LENTIL PATTIES

Lentil patty is ideal finger food for baby led weaning babies and kids any age. I use whole masoor dal for its high iron content. In order to increase iron absorption from the lentil patty, squeeze a little lemon juice on top when offering your child.

Vit C rich foods when paired with iron-rich plant foods help in maximum absorption of iron from the food.

You can even use this lentil patty to build vegan lentil burgers and mix things up from time to time.

Pair with a sweet and sour sauce like this date and tamarind chutney and your kids will be licking every last crumb.

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Lentil Patties

Ophira
baby led weaning friendly lentil patties
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 4 potatoes boiled
  • 1/2 cup whole masoor dal (whole red lentil) boiled
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Mash the boiled potatoes
  • Add the boiled whole masoor dal and all the spices. Mix well together.
  • Combine into small patty size balls. 
  • Use cornflour/roasted semolina flour to coat the patty.
  • Shallow fry on both sides, until ready. 
  • Serve with date and tamarind chutney.
Keyword baby led weaning snacks, lentil patty, lentil recipe baby led weaning, lentil recipes for babies, lentil recipes for toddlers

LENTIL BOLOGNESE

Most toddlers love pasta especially spaghetti. Making this one of the best lentil recipes for picky eaters. This is a great dish to hide vegetables in. Adding lentils gives the regular spaghetti bolognese recipe a boost in nutrients.

lentil bolognese
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Lentil Bolognese

Ophira
Lentil recipe for toddlers
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 200 gms spaghetti cooked
  • 100 gms mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole masoor dal (whole red lentil) boiled
  • 6 tomatoes pureed
  • 5-6 leaves basil
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 garlic pods
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Saute the onions until golden brown.
  • Puree the tomatoes and basil together in a mixy.
  • Add garlic, tomato puree, mushrooms and cook until soft.
  • Add the boiled lentils and spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Add a little water as needed.
  • Once this gravy is ready, serve in a bowl on top of cooked spaghetti.
  • Sprinkle extra pepper, oregano as needed.
Keyword family recipes using lentils, lentil recipe baby led weaning, lentil recipes for babies, lentil recipes for toddlers

LENTIL SOUP: SAMBAR

This one is my toddler’s absolute favorite. He can eat this sambar dal like a lentil soup.

In fact, I used this sambar recipe to introduce new vegetables like drumsticks. Since he already loves sambar he was willing to try the drumstick as well.

Adding vegetables to a loved food can be used as one strategy to get your toddler to try them for the first time.

Related reading : A Week of Healthy Toddler Meals

How To Get Your Toddler To Eat Vegetables Without A Fuss

lentil soup - sambar for babies
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Toddler Lentil Soup

Ophira
Toddler lentil soup with vegetables
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup masoor dal
  • 1 onion
  • 6 tomatoes pureed
  • 1/2 inch tamarind soak tamarind in water, squeeze the juices and use this water to cook.
  • 3-4 pods garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp sambar masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 4-5 leaves curry leaves
  • 1/3 cup okra
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin
  • 2 sticks drumsticks chopped in medium length size
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves

Instructions
 

  • Flash cook the masoor dal in a pressure cooker.
  • In a wok, heat oil and add tadka with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves.
  • When these spices start to pop add tomato puree and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Now add vegetables of your choice, I used okra, pumpkin, and drumsticks for this one. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables are nearly cooked add the boiled masoor dal and dry spices like turmeric, garam masala, sambar powder, and salt. Then add the soaked tamarind water. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice, or enjoy as a soup.
Keyword family recipes using lentils, lentil recipes for toddlers, toddler lentil soup

That’s all for now.

Hope you try these lentil recipes for toddlers. Let me know if your toddler enjoyed these dishes.

More related reading:

Oats Recipes For Toddlers

Ragi Recipes For Toddlers

Understanding Common Toddler Eating Behaviors

How To Encourage Healthy Eating Habits In Children

Do you get creative with lentils too? How do you include lentils in your toddlers food? Leave me a comment below.

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