Ever had a “hangry” toddler in your midst? Eyes bulging, face crimson, mouth drooling, high pitched squeaks emanating….it’s not pretty.
My 2.5 year old is an utter monster when she’s hungry and as a parent there is a fine line between getting the monster fed with whatever is within reach stat and making sure she has a healthy, nutritious snack to gobble down.
I know I’m not alone when I say that it’s often a struggle to come up with some creative snack ideas to keep your child fed nutritiously.
I wouldn’t say I have a picky, fussy eater – but she definitely has her moments when the same snack offered at daycare pick up just isn’t going to cut it and sends her over the edge into tantrum land.
I also know that just like her mama, she is a “grazer”. She likes to snack frequently during the day and doesn’t do a ton of eating in one sitting.
That’s when we rely on healthy, “well-timed” snacks, which can help balance out an uneven diet, tiding toddlers over between meals and keeping them from getting so hungry that they become unyielding terrors. Most toddlers do well with three meals and two or three snacks a day.
The good news is that toddlers aren’t aware of “junk food” at the age of 2-3 and the influence you have on your child’s eating patterns is amazing at this stage. They’ll basically eat what’s served to them (for the most part) and as parents we can try to take this opportunity to set the stage for some healthy food choices.
Here are few super easy healthy snack ideas and tips:
- Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies that are easy to eat and are colourful (raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, red, green, yellow peppers, etc)
- Think small, easy to handle bite sized portions. Cutting up cubes of cheese or chopping up an apple in slices rather than chunks is a novelty to your toddler. Trust me, offering snack choices creatively helps!
- Dips – my toddler loves any type of “dunking” – things like hummus and veggies or yogurt and strawberries keep your little person interested and occupied for a few moments.
- Offer a couple of snack choices — let them decide if they want nuts and raisins or carrots and hummus. A few snack options are a great way for your toddler to feel in charge of their food choices.
- Involve them in the prep process. Its easy to have them peel a clementine or mandarin or pull the skin from a banana. They feel pretty grown up when you include them in the process and they take an interest in the food they are eating.
These ideas are just a start! You don’t have to be a supermom to put together creative snack ideas…trust me! If I can do it….you can too!
Plus, below are a few foodie blogs that I absolutely LOVE that offer a TON of information and creative food ideas from babes to toddlers. Check them out!
www.babyfoode.com – Michele is a mama of 2 and her blog is an amazing resource with tons of recipes and ideas broken down into baby food, toddler food AND family recipes! She also has a bunch cookbooks and ebooks that are filled with yummy recipes!
www.joyoushealth.ca – Joy McCarthy is my go-to for healthy, amazing food inspo and since having her sweet baby Vienna she has cooked up some amazing tasty and healthy recipes for babes and toddlers. Rosie absolutely loves her Good Morning Breakfast Cookies and her Strawberry Chia Pudding – both are staples at our house!
www.sproutright.com – Founder Lianne Phillipson-Webb’s book and website is a great resource for parents offering simplified nutritional information for your little people and for your family. She covers topics such as introducing your baby to solids as well as how to cope with food sensitivities and allergies your toddler may develop.