The Importance of Healthy Snacks for Toddlers
Posted on Jun 13, 2012 by Guest Writer
Toddlers need a variety of nutritious foods throughout the day to stay healthy. Because their stomachs are small, between-meal snacks are an essential part of their diet. The challenge for parents is to find nourishing foods that are easy for the active toddler to eat. Conveniently, there are many flavorful options available for parents to prepare at home.
A classic snack for toddlers is “ants on a log.” Fill washed celery sticks with peanut butter and top with raisins. The combination of carbohydrates and protein in the raisins and peanut butter provides energy while the water-rich celery helps to keep them hydrated. This treat can be varied by substituting other nut butters for the peanut butter and other dried fruit for the raisins. To reduce choking risk, make certain that the fruit is soft and small.
Bite-sized pieces of fruit can be fun if served with a dipping sauce. Greek yogurt is a low-fat option that can be flavored to make it more appealing. Interesting additions include nut butters, mint and vanilla. Consider adding honey and cinnamon for dipping apples.
Toddlers really enjoy smoothies. These drinks can be made by blending ice, Greek yogurt, and any seasonal fruits. Frozen bananas will help make the beverage creamy. Smoothies can be flavored to simulate milkshakes by adding vanilla and sweetener to the mix. This will create a vanilla shake; add cocoa powder for a chocolate shake or any fresh or frozen fruit. The variations on these are endless and provide a low-fat treat filled with vitamins and minerals.
Homemade popsicles are great during the summer. Many stores carry popsicle molds during the spring and summer. Fill them with any smoothie recipe and freeze until solid. Treats can also be made with pureed fruits. Contrasting colors in complementary flavors can provide a nutrient-rich change of pace.
Like fruit, vegetables are more fun for toddlers to eat if it is served with dip. Use store bought ranch dressing or create your own according to the likes of your family. Begin with a base of Greek yogurt and a splash of lemon. Add fresh herbs and chill for a couple of hours before serving. Serve with whole grain crackers or toast for a well-balanced snack.
Another simple pairing is low-fat cottage cheese and fruit. Some children also appreciate applesauce mixed into the cottage cheese. When the child is old enough, nuts can be added for additional protein. Drizzle maple syrup or honey over the top for added flavor.
During the formative toddler years, it is essential that children get a wide variety of nutrients to help their bodies and minds form properly. These types of snacks will help to ensure that your toddler is well-nourished.
About the author: Briana Kelly has over 5 years experience writing content in the area of childcare education. She regularly writes on behalf of Giraffe Preschools
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