Monday, March 26, 2012

Healthy & Yummy Toddler Snacks

photo by ramasamy chidambaram
Toddlers don't have to be as picky as they tend to be. If we feed them the right foods from the start, they will develop a taste for healthful foods. It's much easier than giving them junk food first and then trying to switch to vegetables! Of course toddlers will still have a sweet tooth, but you can satisfy their cravings with better options. Try feeding the following yummy snacks to your toddler.

Raisins and other dried fruit: Sweet and chewy and more nutritious than fruit snacks. My son's favorite is dried apricots.

Plain air-popped popcorn: I've never had a kid complain even though they've had microwave/theater popcorn.

Plain yogurt with granola and fresh fruit: Granola's sweetness will mask the tartness of the yogurt. If your child still doesn't like it, try Yoplait kids' yogurt. It has 25 percent less sugar than other kids' yogurt, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. Or make a fruit salad coated in a little vanilla yogurt.

Nuts and all-natural peanut butter: Excellent source of protein and good fats. See if they like the nuts raw and unsalted for an even healthier option. (Note: Some pediatricians recommend toddlers not eating nuts and nut products until they are two years old).

Plain tortilla chips: If you have to have junk food, choose the one with only two ingredients, one of them being a whole grain. Skip flavored chips.

Various veggies: Think outside the carrot stick. Try cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, celery (make ants on a log using peanut butter and raisins), or cooked squash (my son likes spaghetti squash with olive oil and salt).

Fresh fruit: Introduce a new fruit every week: kiwis, pineapple, various melons, peaches, nectarines, papaya, persimmons, plums, blood oranges, pears, or olives (it's fun putting them on your fingers and then eating them).

Graham crackers: Good replacement for cookies.

Annie's all-natural shells & cheese: Tastes way better than Kraft macaroni and cheese. I like to add in mixed veggies.

Fruit juice popsicles: Freeze 100-percent fruit juice (and maybe some fruit bits too) in popsicle molds for a cold, sweet treat.

Of course, you can also continue feeding them all the healthy foods they ate as babies, found in my post Cheap and Easy Baby Food.

Happy eating!


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