A toddlers body needs food as fuel – in moderate doses throughout the day so that the body is well fed. Having four or five ‘mini-meals‘ daily helps children overcome food cravings and maintain healthy weight.
Note that the snack foods should not be high in sugar or fat so as to avoid cavities in their teeth and un wanted weight gain. Choose foods that appeal in taste and appearance. If the snack does not look good, it is likely not to be eaten. Lot of this depends on YOU! Children will mimic you (act as you act) so be careful with words and facial expressions.
Fruity Dips– Cut small, bite-sized pieces of fruit and serve with a dipping sauce. Greek yogurt is a healthy low-fat option that can be flavored to make it more appealing. You can add nut butter, mint and vanilla, depending upon your child’s taste. Consider adding honey and cinnamon for dipping apples.
Kebabs or rolls- are their favourite- thread alternate pieces of grilled potato, cooked soya granules, lean ham, cucumber, cheese and cherry tomatoes onto toothpicks.
Mini pizzas– spread tomato paste or spaghetti sauce onto a toasted brown bread, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and any other toppings you like. Heat in the broiler for a minute or two until cheese is bubbly.
Rice cakes – Use leftover cooked rice to make homemade rice snacks, if possible. Mold into shapes while cool and pan fry them. For pan-fried rice snacks, gently shape the rice mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick. If the snacks are too thick, the outside will burn before the inside heats through. Serve plain with cheese or spread with peanut butter or Nutella (chocolate and hazelnut spread). Ready to eat rice cakes come in many varieties and flavors.
Pasta- is a fabulous source of complex carbohydrates. Pick some in your child’s favorite shape, and cook up a batch to keep in the refrigerator. At snacktime, microwave a half-cup serving tossed with veggies or cooked chicken and jarred tomato sauce. Our easy protein and fiber-rich penne has only four ingredients and is done in 20 minutes.
Banana Smoothie- A deliciously healthy snack, this smoothie is full of bananas, honey, yoghurt with just a hint of cinnamon that makes it more-relish. It’s breakfast in a glass and a great way to have a meal on the run. Place all ingredients in a blender making sure that the honey is the last ingredient added. Blend until all ingredients are smooth. Serve in a glass with a shake of cinnamon on top and a slice of banana to garnish. Smoothies can be flavored to simulate milkshakes by adding vanilla and sweetener to the mix.
Fancy Sandwiches– cut bread into shapes with cookie cutters and spread with favorite toppings (meat, cheese, peanut butter, etc.). Skip packaged deli meats, which are high in sodium, and use leftover chicken or turkey. Use meat or boiled egg to add protein and iron to the sandwich with less salt. Add a slice of cheese for a good dose of bone-building calcium. Top with fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber slices and avocado, to add fiber, vitamin A and potassium to the sandwich. Spread whole-wheat bread with reduced-fat cream cheese and top with sliced strawberries for a sandwich that supplies calcium, protein and vitamin C.
Roll-Up Salad– Spread a cabbage or lettuce leaf with peanut butter. Place a celery or carrot stick in the middle and roll up the leaf.
Dried fruit (apricots, prunes, figs)- Dried raisins, cranberries, plums, mangos and other tropical fruits are sweet like candy. Due to their natural sugar content, serve them in moderation but definitely in place of processed sweets.
Soupy Options- Tomato alphabet soup is an healthy option with butter, chopped onion, carrot, celery, vegetable broth, dried basil, black pepper tomatoes and cooked alphabet pasta with reduced-fat milk. How to prepare: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add broth, basil, pepper, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup pasta. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Place half of tomato mixture in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Return pureed soup to pan; stir in remaining pasta and milk. Cook over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently (do not boil). Serve warm.
Plan the snacks around regular meal schedules. Snacks need not and should not interfere with or dull the appetite.