Feeding your toddler: cooking & nutrition for caretakers


Nutrition for toddlers is a hard nut to crack. Getting Claire and Heidi to eat a balanced diet has been one of our biggest concerns as parents over the years! Seriously, sometimes I wondered how it was possible that Claire grew at all: one day, she would eat nothing but bread. The next, nothing but vegetables and fruit. Later that same week, she would eat nothing but meat. I calmed my fears by telling myself that over the week, she was somehow getting all of her nutritional needs met. But on a day-to-day basis, I couldn’t help but be concerned. When parents are at work and there’s a caretaker handling mealtimes, the concerns can multiply.


I was so excited when I heard that Open Table was partnering with Strong Start to offer a nutrition and cooking course intended for caretakers of toddlers. The four week course covers daily recommended servings of various food groups and macronutrients, as well as tips for getting kids to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Nannies also learn about the challenges and risks faced by caretakers when it comes to getting toddlers to eat, including pickiness, food allergies, and choking hazards. Students will also participate in activities to help them design family meal plans, communicate with parents about food and nutrition, shop, cook, and manage mealtimes. In each session, caretakers will learn at least three dishes to try at home with their toddler, and they will bring home samples of what they make.

tots at the table

I feel like this is just what Nairobi parents need – a program specifically designed for nannies and caretakers, teaching them the building blocks of child nutrition and how to encourage healthy eating habits for our little ones. One of the really special things that Strong Start provides in all their classes is training on communication. So many parents I know are concerned that their nanny only tells them what they think the parent wants to hear, and may brush over some of the tougher parts of the day. This course specifically trains caretakers on how to communicate with parents about mealtimes and planning. Another great aspect of the course is training on how to handle picky eaters. Personally, I can’t wait to learn some of these tricks! It could come in really handy in our house (I think Heidi and Claire are taking turns being the picky eaters at our table).


If you’ve got a caretaker at home who is responsible for providing your toddler with meals and snacks during the day, this course will give them the tools they need to plan meals, provide your child with a healthy variety of foods, and deal with mealtime challenges. The four-week course runs on Saturday mornings, from May 14 – June 4, and costs 8,000 KSH. More details below!

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The Cooking & Nutrition training was great! Our nanny reported that she really loved the chance to learn important information about nutrition as well as practical ideas for creating delicious and nutritious snacks for our toddler. I’ve  really noticed the change in the types of meals she’s prepared, as well as new strategies for encouraging our little one to develop good eating habits. We’ve learned a lot too along the way! Highly recommend the course.
– Mary Tangelder

I was so grateful to see the Cooking and Nutrition course notification, and my nanny thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a chance for her to explore new foods and new techniques, and also to understand the science behind how to plan a nutritious meal. She has got my kids helping out in the kitchen now, and every day we come home to delicious smells and new tastes. ‘
– Radha Karnad

Photos courtesy of Tejpreet Kaur and April Dodd, used with permission. This post was sponsored by Strong Start and Open Table, both of which offer services I love! Tej and April are both amazing women, and inspiring entrepreneurs. Thanks so much for supporting services that make Mama Mgeni possible!

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