Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Guest Post – Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas

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Hello! I am super excited to be able to help Kendra out as she welcomes her little one into her home.

A quick intro about me. My name is Ashley Tomlinson, I am (mainly) a SAHM to 3 crazy boys (yes I said 3!!!) who are 7 1/2, 5, and 2 1/2. I'm a little out-numbered in the house, as my 5 year old pointed out to me the other day, but oh well, I wouldn't have it any other way! I am also an online fitness coach, which I do during naptime. My children and husband are my top priority and I want them to know they have my time and my attention when they are around.

The topic I'm going to be talking about today is healthy toddler snacks. I have a blog over at theashleytomlinson.com that I post dinner recipes on, so this is actually a fun twist to what I normally post about.

Being a fitness coach I have had some experience with finding healthy snacks for myself, but we all know when it comes to kids, in particular toddlers, they are a bit picky. Almost everyday, without fail, my 2 year old decides he will just skip dinner because he would rather not eat what I put on his plate. (sigh!) It's so exhausting!

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So in order to come up with this list, I went to my favorite social media sites and asked a question of what everyone else was feeding their kids. I had some really good suggestion but I would like to first give a few tips when it comes to feeding toddlers.

  • Toddlers are naturally picky! Just because they like something one day, does not mean they will like it the next. Also, just because they don't like it one day, does not meal they will always dislike it.
  • Also, start early! The earlier you get them to start eating some of these suggestions, the more likely you're going to get them to actually stay eating that way. If you try to introduce them healthy things later, like 3 and 4, you're more likely to have a fight. Start offering some of these items when you're introducing solids.
  • Next, toddlers like to eat with their fingers. Spoons and forks are awkward and they don't have a lot of that type of coordination yet. I'm not saying to not give them utensil required foods, it's just easier if they're finger-foods. Also, if you permit this in your house, sometimes they'll eat better if they're up walking around as opposed to having to sit down. (That obviously is your decision and what you allow at your house.
  • Last, make it fun! Let them help you make healthy snacks and, if need be, give them a character name. (This was a brilliant suggestion from one of my Instagram friends!)

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Okay, I think that's it. Now to the list! This is not an extensive list, but it's a list that will help you get started getting your toddlers and kids eating healthier snacks throughout the day. Most can be all pre-packaged and made ahead of time (think about that when you're going out).

  1. Fruits and Veggies- for easier access to these have them all pre-washed, cut, and put into individual sized bags: strawberries, oranges, apples, bananas, pears, blueberries, carrot sticks, tomatoes (my 2 year old loves tomatoes!!!), broccoli, clementine, watermelon, melons, pineapple, sugar snap peas, celery, sweet peppers, cucumbers... you get the idea
  2. Avocados- I love avocados but would have never thought to give them to my child, what a great suggestion from one of my friends! One suggested spreading it on whole wheat toast and sprinkled with salt
  3. Hummus and carrot sticks- I know weird, but they love this too. My oldest was a very picky toddler, and one day I made homemade hummus and he was hooked. If you want homemade put chickpeas/garbanzo beans, salt and pepper, and garlic in a food processor and pulse it. Add olive oil to desire consistency. (for those adults out there that like hummus, I saw a black bean, green chili hummus that I think I'd like to make some time, where you use black beans instead of chickpeas.
  4. Apples and Almond/peanut/sunflower butter- sometimes you can get peanut butter in single serving containers
  5. Cheese sticks
  6. Ants on a log: cut celery into 3" pieces, put peanut butter in the crevice, and add raisins on top (ants). I find that sometimes when I allow them to help me make the snack, they're more likely to eat it. Ants on a log is one of those fun snacks they can help you with!
  7. Muffins- watch the sugar intake on these, homemade are best and (shhhh don't tell them) you can add pureed fruits and veggies to them (one recipe I tried had me put a jar of summer squash baby food in it, more veggies is always good!)
  8. Unsweetened applesauce- better yet, freeze drops of applesauce on parchment paper, peel off, and it's the perfect snack for your toddler, like a homemade fruit snack!
  9. Energy balls... with peanut butter, oatmeal, honey, flaxseed and chocolate chips (here's a great recipe: Click Here
  10. Frozen peas
  11. Smoothies- These have unlimited combinations. One suggestion: 1 c fruit, 1 c greek yogurt, 1 c spinach, 2 c orange juice/Almond Milk, divide up. Also, this is where the fun names can come in: Iron Man (carrot) smoothie, Hulk (kale) smoothie and you can work on colors: Let's make a green smoothie, let's make a yellow smoothie... oh the possibilities!
  12. Edemame (this probably would be consider a vegetable... maybe??)
  13. Raisin packs
  14. Granola Bars- again, watch the sugar content in these, better yet make them at home! Here is a list of 23 different granola bar recipes: Granola Bar Recipes
  15. Yogurt
  16. Frozen Grapes- Put grapes in a gallon-size bag and put in freezer, these are great for summer, or any other time a year
  17. Homemade fruit popsicles: Click here for recipes
  18. Frozen Yogurt bites- better yet, cover a blueberry with yogurt, then freeze them.... yummy! (Place yogurt in a zip loc bag, snip the corner and pipe drops onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes)
  19. Trail mix- this can get not so healthy, but you can put raisins, nuts, dried cranberries, dried bananas in it, and it would be fun to find a little chocolate in it occasionally (or my children's favorite: M&M's)  ;)
  20. Cottage cheese and fruit or tomatoes- my 2 year old loves eating cottage cheese and tomatoes with me, and sometimes I add avocados, but some good fruits are peaches, pineapples, pears
  21. Granola
  22. Mini bagels/English Muffin with peanut butter, jam or cream cheese
  23. Cheese cubes
  24. Hard-boiled eggs (especially around Easter!)
  25. Raw nuts or seeds (almonds, cashews, pecans, and pumpkin seeds are favorites)
  26. Dried fruits (cranberries, prunes, apricots , and apple rings)
  27. Apples and fruit dip- mix 1 T peanut butter w/ 3 T vanilla yogurt
  28. English muffin pizzas- English muffins split and topped with pizza sauce, cheese and chopped veggies or pepperoni, cooked or toasted under broiler for 3-4 minutes
  29. Yogurt covered raisins
  30. Banana "ice cream"- 2 frozen bananas pureed w/ 2 T peanut butter and 1/2 T cocoa powder
  31. Air popped popcorn
  32. Sweet potato fries

Okay, I think I'm done! There's lots of good stuff there. And what's great, you could even try a few out yourselves. :)

Connect with Ashley here:
www.pinterest.com/AshleyTFitnes
www.facebook.com/AshleyTFitness
www.instagram.com/AshleyTFitness
www.twitter.com/AshleyTFitness
www.theashleytomlinson.com

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