by Katie Serbinski
If your toddler is anything like mine, then you know the day can revolve around snacking. Because I'm not one to shy away from what life is like with a toddler, I've pulled together a few of our favorite snacks that include a serving of fruit OR vegetable, plus protein and/or whole grains. When it comes to balancing our snacks, I try to include two of those four food groups.
I've divided these snack ideas into options for busy days and ones for days when you might have a little extra time to try something new.
If I'm missing one of your toddler's favorite snack, feel free to share below. We can all use new snacks in our repertoire.
5 Toddler Snack Ideas for Busy Days
For the busier days, which seem to be every day when you have a toddler, here are my five picks. The key here is to find dips and spreads your whole family likes. Prep some fresh fruit and veggies at the beginning of the week and serve them alongside these snacks.
1. Cottage cheese: This one might surprise you—it surprised me that my toddler wasn't turned off by the texture of cottage cheese. I was thrilled when he asked for seconds from my cup. Now I give him his own cottage cheese parfait that includes dry whole-grain cereal and fresh or canned fruit.
2. Hummus: This is THE go-to snacking protein for my family—for the big and little kids alike. Whether you spread it on crackers or sandwiches or use as a dip for cucumber slices, carrot sticks and bell peppers, hummus is a great, healthy snack. It's messy though. Don't say I didn't warn you!
3. Avocado: A healthy fat and creamy food, my toddler loves avocado cold and cut into slices—eaten solo. But have you seen all the love for avocado toast lately?
4. Nut butter: There's a lot to love about this classic "dipper" for apples, celery and bananas. Nut butters—which include peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter and more—are protein-packed spreads that are great on whole-grain toast, waffles and pancakes, too.
5. Whole-grain cereal: We eat cereal dry with a side of fruit, but you can eat it any way you'd like. I'd recommend looking at the nutrition facts label and choosing a cereal that that has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
5 Toddler Snacks for When You Have Time
These ideas are for the days when your toddler decides to take a LONG nap and you find yourself wanting to spend a little more time in the kitchen.
6. Muffins: What I love about making muffins for toddler snacks is that one batch lasts a few days or even weeks if you make a double batch and freeze some. Freezing works for any muffin recipe I've tried. I recently made a recipe for Banana Bread Mini-Muffins that my toddler can't get enough of!
7. Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get extra fruit and veggies into your toddler's diet. Mix in a little milk for added protein and calcium, among other important nutrients. We love any smoothie involving peanut butter and chocolate, like my Chunky Monkey smoothie. My husband's favorites are green smoothies. Click here for an all-star list of green smoothie recipes!
8. Oatmeal: From bars to bites to plain old oatmeal with fresh berries, you can't go wrong with the whole-grain, fiber goodness found in oatmeal. My toddler's favorite? Oatmeal made with a banana and blueberry smile, of course!
9. Trail mix: Homemade trail mix is SO easy and can be adapted to include your child's favorite add-ins, such as Goldfish crackers, pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit or nuts. And my favorite: chocolate chips.
10. Kabobs: This is my new favorite. I love alternating cubed cheese and fruit to make homemade kabobs. My toddler loves pulling off the bites and talking about the food colors. Just be careful not to let young children play with pointed skewers.
Here's to snacks that are perfect for toddlers—and honestly just as delicious for parents—for those rare moments when your kids want to share!
Katie Serbinski, MS, RD, is founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition, a healthy food and lifestyle blog where she shares her "me time" with other health-minded parents. On her blog, you'll find simple, family-friendly recipes, tips for new parents and realistic nutrition advice. Connect with Katie through email Katie@MomToMomNutrition.com or Twitter @MomNutrition.
by Katie Serbinski