Easy Snack Recipes For Kids - Fun Snack Food Ideas
How to Serve Healthy and Appealing Toddler Snacks
If you have a toddler, feeding them a healthy and nutritious snack may not be the easiest task. Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters. In addition, one day they may love something and the next day they decide they hate it. That's why it's important to try make healthy and nutritious foods appealing to toddlers. If they're enticed to try a food, they're more likely to enjoy it and continue to like it. Try serving kid-friendly foods to your toddler that are not only nutritious, but also appealing to them. They'll be eating nutrient-dense snack foods without complaint.
Cooking with Kid-Friendly Foods
Choose kid-sized foods.When you're looking for nutritious foods to feed your toddler, you need to make sure you pick appropriate foods. Choosing items that are small in size or that are "toddler-sized" will be helpful.
- Toddlers need to have smaller sized foods. Their hands, fingers, mouth and teeth are smaller than adults'. Cutting up foods or purchasing foods that are smaller in size make it easier for your toddler to hold and eat them.
- The appropriate size of foods will depend on the age of your toddler. Very small items (like halved grapes) are needed for toddlers around the age of one and two. By ages 4 to 5, it is safer to allow them to have slightly larger food items under close supervision.
- Try items like: grapes (cut in half), dry cereal, whole grain crackers, hard boiled eggs, pitted cherries or sugar snap peas.
- You can also make foods toddler-sized. Cutting up or chopping foods into bite sized pieces also works.
Make snacks dippable.Another great way to get toddlers to enjoy more nutritious foods is by allowing them to dip. Consider serving nutritious foods with a fun dip for your toddler.
- Toddlers get an enjoyment at having some control over how they eat their foods. If you provide them a little bowl of sauce, they get to decide how much dip to have with their foods.
- Serving foods with a dip is also a great way to get your toddler to try new foods or ones they previously didn't like. For example, if they didn't like carrots before, try serving it with hummus.
- Ideas include: fruit with a yogurt dip, whole grain pita chips with hummus, sugar snap peas and ranch dip.
Try sweeter foods.Part of the reason toddlers are such picky eaters is that they have more sensitive tastes. Be mindful of this and choose foods that are naturally more sweet.
- Toddlers frequently have no issues with fruit. That's because fruits naturally sweet and more palatable to toddlers.
- Vegetables can be a little bit bitter which can turn toddlers off. Stick to naturally sweet vegetables to help them expand their tastes.
- Sweeter veggies to try include: sugar snap peas, corn, sweet peppers, beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin and carrots.
Choose softer foods.Another thing to consider when serving toddler-friendly food is the texture. If foods are too hard, it may not be a food your toddler can eat well.
- Your toddler may seem to not like certain foods, when in fact they're just having some difficulty chewing or eating them.
- Foods that are too hard to bite through or too difficult to chew won't be appealing to your toddler.
- Make sure foods are soft enough for your toddler. You may need to cook things or cut them in very small pieces in order for your toddler to enjoy.
- For example, you could blanch raw vegetables. They're usually very hard and crunchy, but once blanched are slightly softer and easier to chew.
Avoid foods that may be a choking hazard.“Slippery foods” (whole grapes, large pieces of meat or chicken, hot dogs, candy); small, hard foods (nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, raw carrots, raisins); and sticky foods (peanut butter, marshmallows) can all pose a choking hazard.You may want to avoid these foods entirely until your toddler is older, or you may just need to be extra careful with these foods, making sure you cut them to the appropriate size for a toddler.
Watch for allergies.The most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts and other nuts, soybeans, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Most kids outgrow their food allergies, but it is important to identify them to avoid serious reactions. If your child experiences any of the following after eating, they may be having an allergic reaction: hives; swelling; itching lips, tongue, or mouth; abdominal pain; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; wheezing; shortness of breath; or lightheadedness.
- Some children may have a serious, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction to foods known as anaphylaxis. If they experience swelling of the airway, serious difficulty with breathing, a drop in blood pressure, or two or more of the above symptoms simultaneously, call emergency services immediately.
Toddler-Friendly Snack Recipes
Try some quick and easy snacks.You don't always have time to prepare an elaborate snack for your toddler. There are a number of things you can keep on hand or quickly whip up that your toddler is likely to find appealing. These things include:
- Small cubes of cheese and diced apples
- Canned pineapple chunks
- Whole grain, low-sugar dry cereal
- Whole grain crackers with cottage cheese
- Plain low-fat yogurt with sliced strawberries
- Sliced banana
- Sliced avocado
Build fruit kebabs.A great way to get your toddler to eat a healthy snack is by getting them involved in the preparation. Fruit kebabs are a great toddler snack plus they can help make them.Note, however, that wooden skewers can present a safety hazard — make sure your child is seated when eating the kababs.
- Start by washing a few of your toddlers favorite fruits; however, if there is a fruit they don't like, this is a great recipe to use it in since it'll be paired with items they do enjoy.
- If fruits are large (like pineapples or melons), slice the fruit into 1 – 2 inch pieces.
- Thread fruits on a wooden skewers. Alternate between each different type of fruit.
- For example, put on a strawberry, followed by a small piece of pineapple, followed by half a grape and end with a pitted cherry. Serve immediately or put in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Make a homemade snack mix.Another recipe that your toddler can help you make is a homemade snack mix. It's fun for them to dump ingredients in a bowl and stir together.
- Set out a variety of nutritious snacks that your toddler already enjoys.
- Hand your toddler a 1 cup measuring cup. Have them scoop up 1 cup of each of their favorite items.
- Ask them to dump each item in a large bowl. Give them a wooden spoon and allow them to stir together their snack mix. Serve your toddler a 1/2 cup portion.
Serve fruit nachos.A unique and very toddler-friendly snack are fruit nachos. Your toddler will be able to help you make these and enjoy them.
- Start by slicing an apple and a pear into 1/4 inch thin slices. These will be your chips. Layer them on a plate or baking sheet in flat layers.
- Melt 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, heat up about 1/2 cup of peanut or almond butter. Stir each until they're slightly fluid.
- Dip a spoon into each the chocolate and peanut butter. Have your toddler drizzle the chocolate and peanut butter over the apple and pear slices.
- Then, have them sprinkle on 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut and a dusting of cinnamon. Serve immediately.
Make kid-friendly "sushi."Although traditional sushi is not a toddler-friendly food (young children should never eat raw or under-cooked fish), you can make a look-alike version of this finger food at home using toddler-friendly foods. They'll be excited to enjoy this unique food.
- Start by laying out a 12" whole wheat tortilla. Spread on 2 tablespoons of garden vegetable cream cheese in an even layer.
- Then layer out two to three slices of turkey or ham deli meat and one to two slices of their favorite cheese. On top of the cheese, arrange a single layer of baby spinach leaves.
- Roll the tortilla up like a jelly roll or a sushi roll. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerator for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Take the "sushi" out of the refrigerator and slice in 2" rounds. Serve immediately.
Encouraging Your Child to Eat Nutritious Foods
Lead by example.If you want your toddler to eat more nutritious foods, the first thing you need to do is lead by example. If you're not eating well, your toddler may not either.
- You may be surprised how much your toddler is learning from you. But at this age, they're mimicking their parents behaviors a lot.
- Toddlers are watching what you eat, how you eat and how you're talking about different foods.
- Talk positively about healthy foods and let them see you having healthy and nutritious foods at meals and snacks.
Let your child pick out nutritious foods.One great way to get your child interested in healthier foods is by letting them help choose their foods. Consider bringing your child along to the grocery store with you. Let them get involved in picking some of the foods they will eat.
- Talk about healthy foods and finding foods to have as snacks. Stroll through the produce section and ask what they would like to have as a snack.
- For example, as you're passing by the fruit, mention how much your toddler loves fruit and how it'd be a great snack. Then ask them to pick something out to eat that week or day.
- Also, try to stay out of "trouble aisles." If your child loves chips or cookies, stay away from the aisles that have them. If they're not looking at it or see it, they may not ask for it.
Get your child involved in cooking.In addition to letting your toddler participate in the shopping, let them get involved in some food preparation.
- Studies have shown that if you allow your kids to get involved in the cooking or preparation of meals or snacks, they're more likely to eat them.
- When it's time for a snack or your toddler mentions they're hungry, ask them if they'd like to help you make their snack.
- Make sure to choose tasks that are toddler-friendly. They can stir, roll out or help measure different foods.
Be patient.With all things, it pays to be patient with your toddler. They may not like a certain food initially or be reluctant to try it. But be patient and take your time as they grow and expand their palates.
- Studies have shown that it can take a toddler 15 – 30 tries of a food item before they begin to learn to like it.
- This is especially true with some vegetables and whole grains that have a slightly bitter or unique flavor or texture.
- They key to getting your child to eat healthy snacks, is to keep presenting healthy foods over and over again. In time, they will become used to and accustomed to these foods.
- If your toddler doesn't eat a certain food or snack the first time, that doesn't mean they don't like it. Give them a few tries.
- Give your child multiple opportunities to acquire the taste of nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.
- If you eat these foods with your toddler, this example helps your toddler see that this is part of a normal routine.
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