All You Need to Know About Everyday Toddler Snacking
All You Need to Know About Everyday Toddler Snacking
Toddler foods bring amusement and excitement all at the same time. Most Parents wear creative hats with a motive to find ways to make them finish their plates. A toddler finishing their plate is like clearing each round of Master Chef. It is manageable to make an infant (drink up) a porridge, it doesn’t work that way with a toddler. Many factors come into play especially during their meal time. It is no different with snack time.Food elevates everybody’s mood unless you are a busy toddler. There is no meal time in the day when they decide to play! Yet, as parents we follow one thousand routines with hardly 10 going right in a day. Interestingly, many studies suggest that almost 20% of a toddler’s daily energy comes from snacking. That’s a big deal if you are focusing on healthy options without using fillers.
Snacking is a great way to encourage kids focus on much healthy options along with variety. Most of us binge eat and consider them snacking. A lot of us are not aware of actual benefits of snacking. Adults categorize snacking differently. We name them mostly on the basis of weight: as weight-loss foods or weight-gain foods.
Let us stop a moment and think about their actual nutritional value. Toddlers need high level of energy to run their day. They need a mix of everything to keep their day running, from Carbohydrates to fats, Proteins from every source to dairy, fruits and vegetables, legumes, you name it, they can have it. This is the only phase where we can boost their immunity with valuable nutrients. It is easy to list 100 healthy foods for toddlers, but when we focus on everyday foods, we really need to sort down the list.
Toddlers tummies are smaller in size, they are active throughout the day and burn their calories quickly. What’s more important is customizing snacking according to your toddler. Some kids eat good portions at meal time, whereas others eat lesser portions. Snacking is a way we can counterbalance this, we can give smaller portions to the former and larger portions to the latter set of kids.
Similarly, weight is an issue with toddlers too. However, it is easier to set a routine and make them follow it. An overweight toddler can start with smaller portions of fruits and vegetables whereas an underweight toddler can start with high protein and carbohydrate foods. With no more doubts in mind, let’s get started with the list of must-have everyday toddler snacks.
Begin the Day with..
Starting the day right for a toddler is as important as starting our day right. Is it right to start the morning with a snack? A common question which many parents ponder upon. For most of us starting the day with a snack isn’t close to conventional. Many of us cannot differentiate between a healthy, filling snack and a filler snack.
What do you think is the best snack to start the day with?
Food – I love nuts. I eat them all the time, they’re easy to carry around, and I am never hungry all day long. — Mehmet Oz
Exactly, starting your day with a protein filled bowl of nuts nuts as a morning snack adds up to good health and a bright day. It is good to start the day with fruits and Nuts. We know nuts are nutritious and filling as an early morning snack,what we don’t really focus on is the long-term benefits of eating a bowl of nuts everyday. There is variety in nuts and they are tasty raw food that children like to taste. We can add benefits of a wide range of nuts here:
Almonds — Some kids love the soaked version and others love it as a crunchy snack. Few Almonds everyday aids digestion, boosts immunity, boosts brain development, strengthens bones and teeth and so much more. Since Almonds are rich in proteins and dietary fibers they are good for overall health.
Pistachios — These tiny little green monsters are high fat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids perfect for snacking in the morning. A few kernels in the bowl makes it a protein filled snack containing loads of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus. Phosphorus is essential for proper psychological functioning and Vitamin B6 reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Walnuts — It is known as the Ultimate Brain Food for many reasons. Some toddlers would prefer to eat the nut just the way it is, whereas others would love it added in their recipes. They are an excellent source of protein and a rich vegan source of Omega-3 fatty acids thereby helping in muscle repair and supports cognitive health. They also contain high amounts of fiber maintaining the gastrointestinal health. Vitamin B6 in walnuts are absorbed readily by the body thereby reducing most chronic health problems.
Dates — The natural sweetener for early morning cravings. Apart from snacking them in a bowl, dates can be added to smoothies or milkshakes. This is an healthy way to boost potassium levels since it helps maintain energy levels even after high level of activity. The Selenium in dates lowers various types of cancer and helps promote cellular health.
This protein-rich bowl can be given as an early morning snack or a mid-morning snack depending on your toddler’s routine, but it is a must have bowl everyday. If you feel your toddler isn’t chewing it properly, feel free to run it coarsely in a blender and add it to various foods.
Banana, Pomegranate, Apple — A bowl of cut fruits are a good choice for a mid-morning snack. A moderate breakfast is acceptable for a toddler who devours fruits and nuts.
Berries — Kids love color and most kids love berries. They are the most colorful among foods and they are not any short of nutrition. They are delicious and impressive in comparison to most foods. Rich in antioxidants, berries protect cells from radical damage.
Wind up the day with..
Some kids eat well in the morning, whereas a few others eat well in the evening. The best time to have a evening snack is between 4 pm to 6 pm. Most toddlers nap just one time in a day. Some do it after breakfast and a few others after lunch. Usually kids wake up hungry after a nap. Keeping the evening snack light and small makes way to a good dinner. A snack fills for an hour or two making it a starter to dinner. Some tastier and healthier versions of evening snacks are here:
Millet Cookies — Most millet cookies are healthy and light for a evening snack. Most millet are suitable for kids. This is also a better option than most biscuits available. Millet is easily digestible and rich in multivitamins and protein. One of the best ways to introduce millet to toddlers is through cookies.
Millet Ladoos — There are numerous variety of snacking options with Millet. An evening snack which is readily devoured by toddlers is Ladoo. Keeping millet ladoos made of palm sugar or jaggery is healthier than store-kept sugar versions. Though it will take time for kids to enjoy it, these are must-have energy balls for them.
Millet Murukku — Those crunchies and twists are snacks for all ages. Toddlers will love the look of it and intrinsic designs attract them. As simple as it looks, these are best evening snacks and act as appetizers since it contains enough spices that aid digestion.
Though most included in the above list fall into this category, there are still some travel-friendly snacks available.
Puffed Rice Chikkis — Puffed rice is one of the best options during travel and chikkis are high in iron content. A travel friendly food which fills the little one’s tummy without making them feel nauseous.
Pomegranate — These tiny red pods help children play and eat. Rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, this is a natural super food for toddlers. It’s rich antioxidant properties acts as an immunity booster and eliminates intestinal worms.
Fruits — Some kids wake in the middle of the night. We highly recommend most fruits. The best choice for the middle of the night would be Apple or Banana.
Snack time is not junk time. Kids understand this as they eat these everyday. They will understand that tastier fast foods does not mean healthier, yet, healthier foods can be tasty too. Set a routine and build this habit as a family. Toddlers watch what we eat, choose what you eat wisely so they make it their habit.