A toddler is always on the move trying to explore so feeding times may be difficult. This is the time they eat a little food or even refuse to eat all which makes them hungry more often, and the best solution is offering them snacks.
When you give healthy snacks in between meals, it will help keep the toddler full even if they eat a little during meal times and they will avoid being cranky when they are hungry. A healthy snack consists of a blend of proteins, calcium, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
When choosing snacks for a toddler, make sure they are healthy and offer a variety of them so that they can boost the nutrient intake of your toddler. What you offer your toddler is what he/she will take so ensure you give nutritious meals and snacks so that they get used to them. A new food to a child is often not accepted, but you should continue giving from time to time till they finally accept it.
Make sure you schedule your snacks so that they are not taken when they are almost taking their meals as they will refuse to take it. Most toddlers take two to three snacks per day, i.e. midmorning, midafternoon and after dinner if need be. Scheduling is important so that the toddler can learn the routine and they know what is expected of them.
Some of the snacks you can give a toddler :
- Fresh fruits rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, and fiber, such as bananas, mangoes, plums, apricots, grapes, avocado, apples
- Fresh vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, beet, broccoli, cauliflower, kales and beans.
- Dried and pureed fruits such as prunes, peaches, pears, and apricots.
- Dairy products such as cottage cheese with fruits unsweetened or low-fat yogurt and you may add fruits
- Whole grain cereals with little sugar
- Hard boiled or scrambled eggs
- Fruit milkshakes and smoothies
- Oat bars, rice cakes, whole grain cereals
- Fish such as canned tuna, white fish, peanut butter on bread.
- Give a little 100% fruit juice if the child gets thirsty, offer them water or milk instead.
Avoid processed and prepackaged snacks as they tend to contain high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Keep salt and sugar to the minimum because when they get used to them it will be difficult for them to eat foods without sugar or salt.
If your toddler can feed himself, give bite- size foods such as thinly sliced fruits, whole grain crackers. Don’t give a lot of snacks to the toddler as it may overwhelm him or even overfeed.
Some toddlers are picky eaters so it may be difficult to know what they want. You may choose to offer a few healthy snacks each time and let the toddler choose what they want.
Don’t keep less nutritious snacks such as chips and sweets in your home or offer the child as he will continually ask for the sweet things. Serve colorful snacks as they contain the most nutrients, and the toddler will be encouraged to eat.