Easy, healthy snacks for moms and toddlers

What do you think of when it comes to snacks? A bag of crackers? Chips? Cookies? These can all be snacks, but even when we are in a hurry, we can aim for healthier snack options. Here are four  tips to help you choose healthier snacks for you and your toddler.

Tip #1: Try to think of a snack as a mini meal. No need to forego foods that you normally eat at meals in favor of more traditional packaged snacks. Got some left over roasted veggies from dinner? Those can be a great snack! Got leftover meatballs? Have one with some veggies for a snack!

Tip #2: Fruits and Veggies. Most of us could could include more fruits and vegetables in our daily diet, in fact,  half of our plates should be filled with them.  Your snacks can include  healthy fruits and veggies too! Start your snack with a fruit or vegetable, and add to it. Think apples, cherry tomatoes, tangerines and bananas,  – all portable “fast food” for mom and perfect if cut up for your toddler. Make sure to cut up small circular fruits (like grapes, tomatoes, etc.) and veggies into small pieces for your toddler, to avoid any choking hazards.

Buy your veggies and slice them in advance so you have them ready to grab and go in your fridge. Sliced green, red and yellow peppers and washed berries, cut up mango and melon are also nice to keep on a shelf in the fridge for an easy-to-grab snack, on the go.

Tip #3: Add protein or healthy fat. Once you have your fruit or vegetable, add a little protein or healthy fat such as nut butters, nuts*, hummus, beans, avocado, yogurt, cheese stick, etc.  Combining a protein or healthy fat with a fruit or vegetable makes for a more satisfying snack that will keep you feeling full, longer.

*For your toddler, a thin layer of nut butter is advisable vs a spoonful, to prevent choking.

Tip #4: Make it well-rounded. Combine multiple food groups  for a balanced, healthy snack. Eating crackers alone for a snack may not be very satisfying but if you add hummus  and sugar snap peas , you’ve got yourself a satisfying, healthy snack that could also be considered a mini meal!

Putting all of the above tips together, here are some healthy, satisfying snack examples:

  • plain yogurt + blueberries + ground flax seeds
  • whole grain pita bread, + scrambled egg + salsa
  • cheese stick + orange
  • almond butter + banana
  • avocado toast
  • whole grain English muffin pizza with shredded carrots
  • ½ whole grain tortilla with smear of refried beans + chopped bell pepper
  • hard boiled egg + whole grain crackers + tomatoes
  • edamame + corn + bell pepper with salad dressing
  • canned salmon + baby spinach + whole grain crackers

Note: The following is a list of foods that are not suitable for children under the age of 4, due to choking hazard:

  • Hot dogs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chunks of meat or cheese
  • Whole grapes
  • Hard or sticky candy
  • Popcorn
  • Chunks of peanut butter
  • Chunks of raw vegetables
  • Chewing gum
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