These days it seems like every single food or beverage company claims to have the best product on the market, something that your child needs to have in his or her diet. But the options you have for truly healthy snacks for toddlers can actually be very limited, leading to a lot of confusion for well-meaning parents. You may be wondering how to know which snack ingredients are okay for your kids, and which are unnecessary? Or if colored yogurts and processed cheese crackers really are your only options? Having young children requires you as a mother to pay extra special attention to their nutritional needs, but how do you keep meals and snacks healthy enough to satisfy you and yummy enough to satisfy them?
Well, a good overall tip is to stay as natural as possible. Even a healthy food, once cooked, processed, preserved, flavored, and colored… loses any bit of nutrition it may have had and tricks you into thinking your child is eating something good. A smart way to get the most from natural foods is by following “the rainbow rule” when feeding your toddler.
It may sound complicated, but “the rainbow rule” is actually pretty simple to follow: The more colorful the food—red strawberries, orange carrots, yellow corn, green spinach, blueberries, and purple grapes, for example—the more balanced your toddler’s diet will be. You can even make eating healthy into a game, where your child must eat all of his or her colors every day.
More Great Snack Ideas For Your Kids
Here are some other great ideas for preparing healthy snacks for toddlers and young children that don’t require any gourmet ingredients, or much more prep than the time it would take you to grab the sippy cup. (We all know toddlers are picky eaters, so feel free to get creative and try to add foods you know they’ll love.)
- Dried fruits and veggies – If your child doesn’t like the taste of wet carrots or pears, try slicing them up into chip-like shapes and drying them with a dehydrated tool. Doing so can quickly turn all sorts of fruits and vegetables, from apples to kale, into your toddler’s favorite snack. And even more importantly, you will know exactly what ingredients your toddler is putting into his or her body.
- Cereals and grains – It’s important to remember that healthy snacks for toddlers might not be the same as what we’d consider healthy for us. As adults, we see cereals as unnecessary carbs, but to a toddler, iron-fortified, low-sugar options like Cheerios or unfrosted wheat cereals are a nutritional and tasty meal choice for your little ones.
- Protein – Your toddler needs proteins to grow big and strong, but don’t expect them to immediately start liking marinated chicken or grilled steak. Proteins come in many forms, and the nutritional content of yummy peanut butter, cooked beans, or scrambled eggs is enough to get them going and keep them coming back for more.
Hopefully these quick and healthy snacks for toddles will get your mind flowing with even more ideas about new foods you can introduce to your kids. For even more information on how to keep your little ones save, click here.