Created on: January 23, 2013
Little tummies require nutrition throughout the day. While three square meals a day is important, toddlers will often become hungry during the times of the day between meals.
In today's busy world, many moms and dads are on-the-go with their toddlers along for the ride. It is convenient to pull into a fast food drive-through or keep a stash of M&Ms or cookies in the car for the times a toddler gets hungry, but these aren't the most healthy options.
Here are some healthier ideas for on-the-go snacks:
• "Finger friendly" dried cereal
Dried cereal in a small covered container is easy to pack and is manageable for a toddler to hold if she is in her car seat or other area. Cheerios is often a good option, although there are other brands and flavors that would be just as appealing. The best part about dried cereal is that it requires no refrigeration.
• Small pieces of fruits
Bite sized pieces of fruits and/or dried fruit is another healthy option. If you're sitting waiting at an appointment, a small bag or container of fruit is usually an appealing snack for a toddler. Consider apples, raisins, dried cranberries or blueberries.
A small container of cubed cheese also makes a good snack for toddlers. If she prefers cheese in a sandwich form, you can always grill up a sandwich and pack it along. Toddlers are often very open to the idea of a cold grilled cheese sandwich. (If you're going to be gone for many hours, be sure and bring an ice pack to keep the cheese from spoiling).
• Chicken nuggets
Another possible option is to make homemade chicken nuggets by roasting them in the oven. These wrap nicely in foil and could provide a good protein boost during the day.
Crackers are a good standby snack. Most kids love Goldfish, and there are plenty of grain cracker items on the market. Check your grocer and see which ones are lower in fat, sugar and preservatives. The crunchiness is fun and usually the taste is appealing to toddler appetites.
Many parents may worry that snacking in between meals may ruin a toddler's appetite, however, sometimes they need that extra energy boost. When you're on-the-go, especially if the errands you must run are necessary and cannot be avoided or postponed, you don't want to have a cranky and hungry toddler.
"Snacking is not a bad thing - in fact, it's a good thing - and it can actually help keep kids from overeating at mealtime," says Netty Levine, RD, CDE, a dietitian and diabetes educator at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to WebMD.
Toddlers eat smaller portions at a time and may get hungry quicker than you do; packing some healthy snacks can help keep her from feeling those hunger pangs throughout the day.
While junk food cannot always be avoided, and could be fine in moderation, varying some healthy snacks into an on-the-go lifestyle can help ensure a toddler grows up with a natural inclination for nutritious eating.
Learn more about this author, Leigh Goessl.
Click here to send this author comments or questions.
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
On-the-go snack ideas for toddlers
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.