My good friend has a 2-year-old and often asks me, “What are good snacks?” I think it’s really easy to get stuck in a rut with snacks; I think we all do, no matter what our age.
Her fall back is a bag of rice cakes and a piece of fruit. Whilst these are great, relatively healthy snacking options, if it’s the same every day, they are not oozing with creativity. Snacks are another piece of the puzzle, and I believe we should use snacks (which for babies and toddlers are an important part of their nutritional intake to fuel their rapid growth) to help showcase how wonderful food can be.
The key to good snacks is to be prepared. This means thinking about snacks when you prepare your shopping list and prepping, having the right stuff on hand and prepping them in advance.
When planning snacks, think about covering a variety of colours, textures, and flavours. You can use these occasions to get another fruit or vegetable into your bub, or protein and calcium. With some thought, you can offer different snacks every day without going to too much trouble and still keeping it interesting.
One great asset will be a quality snack box. It’s hard to go past the Yumbox range of snack and lunch boxes. These are great! They are heavy, but the clever design means that they are liquid tight between the compartments, so you can pack a variety of foods and let your little one choose which order to enjoy them in.
Some great options to think about are:
Our family favourite is peanut butter on sliced apple – it is completely delicious, and if you are using a quality natural or homemade nut butter, it’s even better for you!
Savoury Muffins (from my book). These can be frozen so they are easy to have on hand.
Slices of banana bread – slices can be frozen
Mixed vegies – carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks
Variety of dips – hummus, beetroot, carrot, etc.
Mini Keftedes – recipe can be found in my book, and can also be frozen
Toasted cheese wraps
Fresh cut cheese cubes (quality cheese is best)
Natural Greek-style yoghurt (no sugary pouches please)
Cut fruit – apples, berries, grapes, mandarins, etc. (best to keep to the cleaner fruits when snacking on the go)
Cut up French toast
Ham and cream cheese sandwich triangles on wholemeal or multigrain bread
If no nut allergies, then mixed dried fruit and nuts are great
Crackers and Biscuits – choose these carefully. Stay away from the pre-flavoured ones such as “Shapes”, Cheese-flavoured biscuits or the multitude of flavoured rice cakes as these are very high in sodium and preservatives. Sweetness is very prevalent in children’s snacks and not necessary, so be aware. The plainer multigrain style crackers are best and won’t promote the development of a sweet tooth in your child. Offering savoury is always better.
Try to avoid overly-sugary snacks that will not properly fuel your child’s energy needs.
There are so many great ideas. The key to snacking is not to overdo it and not to offer food to your child simply because you, or they, are bored. If they are loving your snacks so much and then not eating their main meal, you might need to cut down on the snacks you offer.
What are some of your winning snack ideas?