Aoife’s been walking for a while now, so I’m calling myself the mom of a toddler. She’s definitely not a baby anymore, that’s for sure. For the time being (although if you know about parenting toddlers, you know schedules can change overnight), Aoife eats three meals a day and has an afternoon nap. Forever, she’s been a great eater and I’m thrilled that, at least for now, she eats pretty much anything we put in front of her, especially if it’s something we are eating too.
Snack time happens shortly after I get home from work, so I take that time to make a cup of tea and sit down with Aoife while she has her snack and talk about the day with her. We talk about what she and Daddy got up to during the day, and we talk about what we’re going to do for the rest of the afternoon. This is great one-on-one time, and I get a moment to breathe between work and all-out “Mom time”. For the sake of routine and getting into healthy eating habits (which helps avoid choking, not to mention the mess of finding crumbs in the couch cushions), when at home we always sit at the table in the high chair for snack, just like we do for meals.
Here’s a quick listing of some of Aoife’s favorite snacks.
Not by itself, obviously. Peanut butter is super kid-friendly, and it’s a great protein source for vegans and vegetarians. It’s also super affordable, easy to find, and goes with so many different things. We’ve used it in several different ways:
- On top of a banana and sprinkled with hemp seed (a great source of omegas, protein, and fiber!)
- On a toasted slice of bread (great when short on time or when there’s nothing else handy – we all have those days, right?)
- Mixed into a bowlful of those “puffs” sold in the store. I don’t buy a lot of packaged foods for any of us, so it’s rare that we have these on hand. I bought a tub of them because we needed something while on the go, and once we were at home they seemed so empty and not very filling. Enter peanut butter – pour the puffs in a bowl, add a tablespoon of peanut butter, and stir. In this case, I also added more hemp seed.
- On a leftover pancake from our big Sunday breakfasts. Just pop that pancake in the toaster (my husband claims they’ll fall apart, but maybe that’s just the non-vegan ones that he grew up with – I have not had that happen in my adult life!) and add some peanut butter. No need for syrup at snacktime.
Peanut butter is also great with apples – one of my favorite snacks on the weekends (I try to follow the No S Diet – a topic for another post).
Any Kind of Fruit
Are blueberries in season? What about trying mangoes or papayas for a change? Fruit is a very simple snack to have at any age, and it’s great for toddlers because so many times you can just throw a clementine or an apple in a bag and go if you’re in a hurry. Add peanut butter if you need it to be a little more substantive, but for most kiddos, the piece of fruit (especially when high in fiber) should be enough to hold them over until dinner.
I think avocados are technically a fruit, but I’ll categorize them differently here because they’re not exactly going in your ambrosia salad anytime soon. Avocados are full of good fats, which every growing kiddo needs for their healthy brain. They are pretty filling, and the texture is easy to eat. Try mashing the avocado and then spreading it on a piece of toast, much like you would do with peanut butter.
Mixed Vegetables / Potatoes
Even my good eater sometimes leaves a bit of lunch untouched. When this happens, it’s easy to cover her plate and pop it in the fridge, bringing it out again when it’s time to sit down for a snack. Aoife responds to this really well, and it ensures that she gets the nutrients that she missed out on at lunch. If you don’t have any leftover from lunch, there’s no harm in grabbing some frozen veggies and warming them up in the microwave. And potatoes, whether they are mashed, roasted, or even sauteed a bit, are a filling and tasty option. Sweet potatoes can help mix it up a bit, if you’re looking for something a little different. If they haven’t already been cooked, plan ahead – they can take quite a while to bake and sometimes that’s not an option when a toddler wakes up – they want their snack now!
A tall cup of water is essential for snacktime. Aoife drinks soy or almond milk at her three meals, so at snacktime we mix it up and give her something more refreshing. Water is also a huge factor in making that little brain grow bigger and stronger, not to mention the rest of her body. We also have water throughout the day, especially as the weather gets warmer and we do more playing outside or running in the stroller.
What are your kids’ (or your!) favorite snack foods?
Great toddler snacks from around the web:
Keep in mind, this is what works for us. I hope to inspire you, and I appreciate your respect about how we choose to raise our healthy and happy girl!