Most of us begin our parenting journey with the great intention to teach our children good eating habits. This intention often gets lost somewhere between the sleepless nights and the dirty nappies, however. We start looking for shortcuts, and one of them comes in the form of fast food. The temptation to choose one of the many readily available options is even stronger when we are on the go.
So, how do we find healthy snacks for our kids that are also quick and easy to prepare? Here are some suggestions:
For snacks on the go it’s best to choose fruits that keep well, are not messy, and which the children will like. Some of the options are blueberries, pieces of apple, mandarins, bananas, apricots and grapes. For babies, you may need to puree the fruit and carry it in a small container. If you have a toddler, keep in mind that apples and other hard fruit may present a choking hazard, so it’s best to get the fruit sliced and peeled beforehand.
Some of the choices here are sultanas, dried apples, apricots or cranberries. They don’t take up a lot of space in your bag, don’t create mess and children love them. For young babies you may need to soak and puree the fruit before you offer it.
Toddlers are notoriously bad at eating veggies. But sometimes they’ll eat them without a sound when they are outside and exploring new surroundings, so this is the perfect time to offer healthy snacks. Some veggies you could offer include carrot, cucumber, celery or capsicum sticks, or cooked pumkin, peas and corn.
Babies and toddlers usually love bread and many will be happy with just a bread roll on its own. If you’d like to add more nutrients, here are some basic sandwich fillings you can easily incorporate: Vegemite, cream cheese, grated cheddar, avocado, lean chicken, canned tuna, veggies.
Crispbread, crackers and rusks
There’s a variety of baby and toddler snacks available from the supermarket, but they aren’t always healthy (even if it reads “healthy” on the label). Check the list of ingredients carefully for any hidden additives and preservatives. Ideally, the products you select will also contain no added sugar and very little salt.
To take the stress out of snacking, be sure to carry a couple of different healthy options, especially for picky toddlers. This way your children will get a variety of nutrients and having a choice will help them feel in control.
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