Toddlers require healthy snacks to support their long-term growth. It is important to provide snacks at regular intervals between meals. Consider the timing of snacks starting with one at least one and a half hours before lunch, about two to three hours before dinner and a light bedtime snack if bedtime is more than 2 hours after dinner.
Snacks are compliments to meals and it is recommended that at least two food groups are represented at each snack. Pairing a dairy such as cottage cheese with a fruit, or a protein (turkey or cheese) with a cracker are great ways to achieve nutritional balance.
Your toddler can have fun being part of the process of food preparation which can often increase their interest in trying the new food. Here are some snacks she or he may love to help you make as well as eat!
Yogurt or hummus are great proteins to use as a dip. Help them arrange sliced strawberries or cucumber sticks on a colorful plate and allow them to dip to their hearts content.
Build a tasty stack!
Cheese cubes can serve as edible blocks to stack on a cracker or thin apple slices. As they build their “snack stacks” they are refining their fine motor skills as well. A very important skill for their future.
Toddlers love to explore and pushing buttons to make things happen is always a bonus! Your child can help you prepare a smoothie with all the right ingredients. Together you can pour in milk or add yogurt, lick the peanut butter from the spoon and toss in the blueberries or bananas. The ultimate fun comes as they push the button and see the ingredients whirl!
Here’s a super easy cooking activity you can do together with items you probably have in your refrigerator:
Separate crescent rolls into 2 rectangles. Have your child help you spread 1 rectangle with pesto and the other with tomato sauce. Sprinkle on some mozzarella and roll them tightly lengthwise. Together you can slice each roll into 4 pieces and put on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Bake as directed on package. Store in the refrigerator if there are any left. Yum!