Toddlers are notoriously finicky eaters, but thankfully, they can be lured into eating healthy snacks-provided that the snacks in question are also fun! Here is a list of six great snacks to share with your toddler. They are fast and easy to prepare, and are designed to make your child ask for "more, please"!
1. Gone Fishin': Sprinkle about 15 whole grain goldfish on a plate, and give your toddler a some small pretzel sticks. Show your child how to dip the pretzel stick in peanut butter, and use it to pick up the fish. Your child can try "fishing" for other items like whole grain cereal or diced apples as well. The peanut butter is packed with protein for energy, and the whole grains provide much needed fiber to your toddler's diet.
2. Sneaky muffins: Buy or make mini muffins with fruit and veggies inside! You can use canned pumpkin, shredded zucchini, diced apple, or whole blueberries to improve the quality of just about any muffin recipe. Use mini muffin pans to make the perfect side for little hands and little appetites. By adding vegetables like pumpkin, you increase the fiber, and provide a snack rich in beta carotene and Vitamin C.
3. Picture toast: Add a few drops of food coloring to a tablespoon of milk. Use this mixture to "paint" a piece of whole grain white bread. Toast, and serve-your picture will become more defined as the bread toasts!
4. Chopstick pickups: Kids love chopsticks! Most will eat just about anything, if they can pick the food up with their very own set of chopsticks. Be sure to buy a training set if you have a young toddler (they are hinged). Serve a platter of diced foods with a dipping sauce and chopsticks. Try a ranch dip for veggies, or vanilla yogurt for fruit.
5. Make a mix: Let your toddler help pick some favorite foods for a snack mix, and let them help assemble the mix in a big bowl. Having a very small helper will make this process go a little more slowly than if you did it yourself, but your child is very likely to try something he made "himself". Get a big bowl and a wooden spoon, and add a selection of healthy, bite-sized snacks. Whole grain cereals, dried fruits, freeze dried yogurt bites, and seeds all work well. Mix and serve. As long as you use non-perishable items, your mix will store well.
6. Sweet smoothies: Use your blender to come up with some sweet, but healthy drinks. Add a few slices of frozen banana, a sliced strawberry, and some vanilla yogurt, and whirl until blended. Serve with a spoon or straw for a sweet, frosty treat.