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My secret weapon in the toddler vs. veggies battle

Award-winning TV/Video/Print Reporter, Anchor, and Host, Journalist specializing in DIY/design, wife and mother to one little darling

Like most typical 2-year-olds, my daughter has an aversion to all things healthy. The girl can eat popcorn and cookies at a dizzying pace but place a plate of peas or carrots or anything that resembles a vegetable in front of her and I typically get a response that is both adorable and frustrating: "No Mama, I'm good."

She may think she's good, but I know better. I know that veggies are vital to her growth and development. And so I resort to all kinds of tactics in throes of desperation to get her to eat anything that grew in a garden. My go-to, fail-proof hole in her plan to only consume candy? She's a dipper.

Condiments are a toddler parent's best friend. There is something about the prospect of dipping food into a sauce before consuming it that is irresistible to a child. Ruby is no exception. It's amazing what she's willing to try if she's able to dip it in something else first. I know it's a pretty safe bet that if there's something to dip her food into, she's on board and eager to eat.

Hidden Valley Buttermilk Recipe Ranch dip mix is a staple in my home. Stir it into some sour cream and voila, toddler trickery made simple. If I know I've got a hungry family, I'll put out a serving dish with an array of healthy finger foods: assorted veggies like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber slices and pita wedges, while I get the rest of dinner ready. Then I just sit back and watch my plan unfold.

I feel great about my family snacking as long as it's on something wholesome. I know that if I start off with veggies, dinner is off to a great start. Hidden Valley Ranch dip has been a life-saver in the daily healthy meal battle. Little does my toddler know, it's a battle I’m winning.

Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Hidden Valley and SheKnows. All my opinions are my own.

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