Easy, Portable Snacks Your Toddler Will Love
Parents of growing toddlers often wonder whether their little ones are eating enough and getting a balanced diet. As children broaden their culinary horizons and venture into solid foods with new textures and flavors, chances are, they’ll become picky eaters.
For parents just trying to get their kid to eat something good, it’s hard to strike a balance between nutritious snacks and palatable treats. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to sneak some goodness into tasty eats your toddler will crave.
Not many toddlers are keen on the idea of trying new vegetables. But if your little one has developed a taste for Tater Tots, he’ll love these veggie nuggets from lifestyle blog Red, Round, or Green.
Begin by shredding carrots in a food processor and steaming broccoli florets in a microwave. Once the broccoli is ready, add it to the processor along with minced garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Blend slightly; the result should be a moldable, doughy mixture. Form into small quarter-inch-thick discs and coat with olive oil and more breadcrumbs. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes.
If your toddler is particularly averse to any sort of spice, you can take out the black pepper. Serve with his or her favorite dipping sauce, like ketchup, honey or mustard.
Many easy snacks for toddlers are characteristically dippable: pretzels, carrot sticks, crackers and the list goes on. It’s easy to focus on the healthfulness of these items, and you may be able to sneak some added nutrition into snack time. While peanut butter has plenty of protein and is a toddler-friendly favorite, try mixing up your options with these nutrient-packed dips:
Hummus:Â Easy to buy or make yourself, simply process chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water and olive oil. Add some flavor by mixing in cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, Inspired Taste suggested.
Nut butter caramel: Mix peanut butter, coconut sugar and milk, Super Healthy Kids instructed.
Creamy avocado dip: Blend avocado, tomato, garlic, lime, paprika, black pepper and salt. Next, mix in Greek yogurt for a creamier dip that’s rich in protein, Super Healthy Kids explained.
Take these dips on the go in small containers along with sandwich or snack baggies filled with your toddler’s favorite treats.
Mini muffins are perfect for toddler-sized hands, and they’re easy to freeze and take out as needed, allowing busy parents to bake ahead for upcoming weeks. It’s also very easy to slip fruits and veggies into these delicious treats without raising a fuss from your picky eater.
Trail mix muffins
These trail mix muffins from Parents are hearty and sure to please.
Begin by preparing the quinoa as you normally would in a pot with boiling water or a rice cooker. Meanwhile, whisk together whole-wheat and all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together brown sugar, crunchy peanut butter, butter, egg yolk, vanilla extract, milk and prepared quinoa. Then, fold in the dry ingredients, followed by dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Next, beat two egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the batter.
Grease your mini muffin tin and fill each well three-quarters full with the batter. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until brown and firm. These muffins can be frozen for up to four months.
Zucchini banana muffins
Adding zucchini to banana muffins not only ups the nutritional value but also lends to a softer texture, Martha Stewart explained.
First, whisk together flour, flax seed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Then, mix in mashed banana and shredded zucchini. Finally, stir in milk, egg and vanilla extract.
Bake in a mini-muffin tin at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean.
Sometimes your tried and true staples are the best way to get your toddler to have a healthy snack, if only they were bite-sized. Handing an entire peanut butter and banana sandwich to tide your little one over until dinner might be a bit much, but cutting it into cubes could be the way to go. For healthy combinations, try turkey and cheese, berries and almond butter, or apple slices and peanut butter.
Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.