Lets just be honest for a second: sometimes feeding your kids is hard. Wealthy or poor, one child or six kids, working mom or stay-at-homers – we all just want our kids to eat healthy portions of healthy foods. And we all face different challenges:
Some of us have kids that are bonafide picky-pants. These are the kids that eat the same foods over and over and would rather go hungry than try something new that they almost certainly would like if they gave it a shot. On the other hand you have the quote “good eaters”, the ones that try lots of different foods, including the occasional vegetable. I happen to have one of each, and sometimes it’s hard to not like my adventurous eater a little better than her picky sister, at least at mealtimes.
Another challenge that moms face is time. The thing about toddlers is that they usually don’t tell you when they are beginning to feel a little bit hungry. Most of the time they wait until they are on the verge of becoming full on ravenous wild beasts that need food NOW. Like right now, or maybe even ten minutes before now. This is where you learn that toddlers are extremely prone to the condition known as ‘hangry”.
Something else I think we can all agree on is that we want our kids to eat things that are healthy, or at least that contain more nutrition than bad stuff. And if we could do that in a cost-effective manner, then we would really have something!
So we want yummy, quick, healthy, and affordable. Here are a few of the toddler snacks I love that fit that description:
We love fruit! Our favorites for speed of delivery are bananas and blueberries because those can be served almost instantaneously. If you have two extra minutes to spare for prepping you can slice strawberries, apples, or grapes, or peel a clementine. Or you can make these fruit popsicles to keep on hand for healthy treats on hot days. Melons like cantaloup or watermelon are a fun way to mix it up when they are in season.
Cheese is a big favorite around here. We like all mild types of cheese for snack time, like mozzarella, mild cheddar, or Monterey Jack. You can get string cheese, cheese cubes, or you can cut slices off of a bigger block if you want the slightly slower but least expensive option.
A few months ago I started using this recipe for homemade yogurt and it allows me to make an entire gallon of yogurt for about $4.50! Life changing, for me at least. A lot of people like fruit in their yogurt so you can customize that to your taste, and I like to mix a few tablespoons of quick cooking oats into the yogurt to absorb some of the liquid to make self feeding easier for new spoon users. I also sweeten with honey instead of refined sugar.
Graham crackers, ritz crackers, or cheerios are a good choice for this food group. Surprising fun fact: chocolate cheerios have less sugar in them than honey nut and they make your milk chocolate! Another thing I love is granola bars. This is my recipe that I like for toddlers because it’s not tough or crunchy like a lot of the prepackaged ones.
Sneaky is the name of the game when it comes to veggies. The only two ways that I have successfully snuck them is by putting tons of spinach in all their smoothies and by inventing this recipe for chocolate hummus that they dip their strawberries and graham crackers in.
On The Go Snacks
Travel snacks demand special consideration. The key is to find the combination that meets most or all of the requirements we listed before, plus can be packed up with getting melty, crumbly, or smushy.
Craisins or raisins, and applesauce pouches – dried fruit is a great non-messy finger food. When we are home we eat homemade applesauce, but when we are on the road applesauce pouches are the way to go.
String cheese – prepackaged for convenience, and if you freeze them you don’t even need to pack a cooler for them to stay good for a few hours.
Fruit snacks (gummies) – these are something that I only buy for treats or traveling. There are a couple high fruit/low sugar options that are passably healthy for those occasions. If anybody out there has a good recipe for healthy, homemade gummies hit me up!
Pretzels and peanuts – these are good options for older toddlers and preschoolers. They aren’t messy and they keep you full for a while.
My general policy is to provide one thing from two different categories for snack time, and then three different things with bigger portions for meals. There is so much more that could be said about snack time (because we all know that snack time is a big part of life for toddlers and their mamas) but this about covers the highlights of the snack menu we love at my house. I hope you’ve found some helpful suggestions and I would love to hear what YOU love to snack on with your wee ones!
Jordan writes about all things food
and books over at Read. Eat. Repeat.
She eats, reads, and lives in small
townTennessee with her husband
and two little girls.
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