Healthy well-timed snacks help in balancing out an uneven diet and keep hungry toddlers from driving you crazy.
Snacks not only get in much needed nutrient down your child’s stomach they also tide toddlers over between meals. Toddlers often seem too preoccupied by the world around them to slow down and eat.
Others do not seem interested in eating what is served at meal times.
Basically children need about 1,100 calories a day but often do not eat a lot at one sitting to hit that mark. This is where snacks come to the rescue of distressed parents.
From the onset you need to know that your child’s eating behavior will be influenced by the decisions you make everyday.
Toddlers cannot run to the supermarket or fast food outlet to get chips or juice.
They eat what they are served and ask what they know is in the cabinet. If you make right decisions at this stage, you are likely to have it smooth later on.
Healthy snacking ideas for your child involves stocking up on healthy foods. Choose foods that are highly nutritious and strive to avoid processed and pre-packaged treats.
Processed foods usually lots of sugar, fat and salt. Once your child gets hooked on these snacks, you will have a hard time weaning him or her off these foods.
Nutritious snacks may mean more work but the rewards are worth the effort. You can consider making finger-friendly, bite-sized snacks to allow the child to feed on his own. Ideal snacks can be:
- Whole grain crackers or mini-muffins
- Fresh fruits cut into small pieces or thinly sliced
- Low sugar breakfast cereals
- Shredded or thinly sliced cheese
Also check: The top 45 of all the best baby foods
1- Scheduling the snacks
Setting up a schedule will help your toddler to learn that there is a time for everything. Kids do better with a routine, so strive to serve snacks at particular times everyday. This will help your child to know what to expect.
Experiencing the sensation of being full and hungry after a few hours teaches your child how to respond to hunger cues.
This will assist them to know when to eat and when to stop which is vital in maintaining a healthy weight. If you allow toddlers to snack all day without a schedule, children may lose the ability to detect when they are hungry or full. Such children tend to overeat and get obese.
2- Let toddlers choose
While you may consider your toddler a baby, you need to understand that he/she is increasingly learning to take control of his/her life. Snacks are a great way of offering children the opportunity to be in charge of their lives though in a limited way.
You can offer the toddler a variety of nutritious snacks and let them choose what and how much they eat.
Most of the time your child will prefer certain snacks over others, if this happens resist the urge to stick to foods that he likes. While this may be hard for parents of picky eaters, sticking to a variety of foods will help to establish a healthy eating pattern.
To avoid food battles, you can consider coupling snacks that your child likes with new snacks. If the new snacks are rejected, do not give up, just continue offering them. Keep in mind that it may take as long as ten attempts before your kid decides he actually likes the new snacks.
In some instances the toddler will not be able to finish his snacks, do not fret over this however avoid making the mistake of offering alternate snacks.
Remember healthy snacking ideas for children involve establishing good eating patterns. You want the child to learn that food is only available at certain times and they need to choose from what they are offered.
3- Avoid bribes and add fun
Parents often bribe their children by promising or offering tasty treats as incentives to finish food or encourage them to eat certain snacks.
Using sweets as a bribe gives your child the wrong impression. Your child begins to think that the tasty treats are more valuable compared to other healthy meals.
Use cookie cutters to make shapes from whole-meal grain bread, low-fat cheese and whole-grain tortillas. Make a tower out of whole-grain crackers or funny faces on a plate using different types of fruits. You can also consider showing your kid how to eat diced fruit with chopsticks.
4- Sweeten it up
Most people have a misconception that healthy foods have to be bland; however this is not always true. To satisfy your child’s sweet tooth you can offer frozen yogurt and low fat puddings.
You can also consider making smoothies with milk, frozen or fresh fruit and plain yogurt.
5- Establish snacking zones
To promote healthy snacking ideas for your child, you should consider designating snacking zones. These can include the kitchen and other appropriate places.
Avoid letting your child snack while watching television as this is likely to result in mindless munching. If your child wants to snack while moving around, consider offering carrot sticks, cereal bars or a banana.