Toddlers are little balls of energy, and so naturally they feel hungry several times a day. But, because their little tummies can’t hold heavy meals, they need two to three snacks between their meals to keep themselves energized and satiated all day long. If you have a toddler in your house, we are sure you must be doing enough and more to cater to his dietary needs. However, the real struggle comes in when your little one demands sugary or fried foods too often. While it is okay to oblige every now and then, especially when he is tearing the house down with a tantrum, these foods can form unhealthy eating habits.
If you give in to his demands now and then, it is fine, but don’t make it a habit. Since it’s your toddler we are talking about, you know well that not just any snack will do – it has to be healthy!
8 Healthy Snacks You Can Give to Your Toddler When He Feels Hungry
When your little one says he is hungry and you are juggling ten things at once, handing him a biscuit or a slice of cake would seem like an easy solution, but it won’t do any good to his body – not today and not in future. That’s why it’s time to introduce the concept of healthy snacking to him.
1. Carrot Sticks
Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, dietary fibre, and antioxidants. Ideally, eating raw carrots is the best way to avail their nutritional benefits, but since your toddler can’t chew on hard or crunchy foods (think nuts, raw carrots, or seeds) now – you can plan recipes around carrots. And baked carrot sticks qualify!
To make baked carrot sticks, take two medium-sized carrots (washed and peeled). Cut their ends then cut them into sticks. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Place the carrot sticks on a baking sheet, then toss some olive oil and sprinkle some salt as per taste. Bake for about 25 minutes then serve warm. Your little Bugs Bunny will enjoy eating soft and (a bit) sweet carrot sticks!
2. Whole Grain Snacks
For the sake of your toddler’s health, you have to work whole grains into his snacks. Whole grains contain fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins – all of which are important for your child’s health. There are a lot of options in whole grain snacks – whole grain crackers, cereals, or bread. Give these to your child with his favourite dip, and he won’t say no! You can also prepare a batch of ragi cookies to avoid hunger-induced meltdowns. Better yet, keep Timios Zookers handy, which are made with whole grains like wheat, ragi, oats, and cornflour, and are enriched with natural fruits and vegetables. They do not contain any additives or colour and can be eaten directly. Zookers are a perfect healthy snacks that you can give to your child!
Yoghurt, being a dairy product, is high in calcium, which your toddler needs for the healthy development of his bones. Plus, it is packed with protein, which can keep your child satiated for long. The probiotics present in yoghurt will also strengthen his digestive tract. You can either give plain yoghurt to your little tot or add small chopped fruits or whole-grain cereals to it to make it more colourful and nutritious! But keep away those flavoured yoghurt buckets available in the market from your child as they pack in a lot of sugar and are unhealthy too.
4. Fresh Fruits
Now, these are obvious, and we don’t need to remind you why fresh fruits should be your child’s mid-morning or 4 pm snack. But if you haven’t included fruits in his diet lately, then he might be missing on a lot of nutrients. Fresh fruits contain loads of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Although they have natural sugar in them, it can be balanced by the fibre present in the whole fruit. You can offer your child a variety of fruits and let him take his pick. Cut that fruit into small pieces – a plate full of colourful fruits is sure to appeal to him! If your little one has already started going to playschool, you can give him Timios Mini Oaty Bites that are made of nuts, oats, dates and berries. Mini Oaty Bites have no added preservatives or artificial flavours; and they would make for a perfect snack for toddlers and preschoolers. Cut fruits can get spoiled in the lunch box, but these oaty bites won’t. Pack these in his lunch box now and then – he will love receiving tasty surprises!
5. Boiled Veggies
If your child refuses to eat his share of veggies at mealtimes, try introducing them at snack time – when he is super hungry. You can boil veggies like broccoli, carrots, and peas and place them on the sandwich in a cute way to get your child to eat veggies without complaining. At times, try a colourful salad with these veggies. Take mashed peas, diced and boiled carrots and beetroot, and steamed broccoli in a bowl. Sprinkle some herbs and salt, add in grated cheese, and a dash of olive oil, and toss. Since your toddler is too small to chew on hard veggies, you can give him mashed or grated vegetables.
6. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits are a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and essential fats. Dried fruits like dates and raisins are rich in natural sugars, so you can give them as a mid-morning snack to your kiddo to provide him with the energy he needs for the day ahead. Note: you can give him finely chopped dates, prunes, apricots, or raisins if he is over the age of two. Make sure you cut the dry fruits up into small pieces, or they might prove to be a choking hazard. Dry fruits are healthy when consumed in moderate amounts. If you are looking for more options in healthy snacks, pick whole grain snacks, paneer cubes, or fresh fruits. They make for perfect 11 am and 4 pm snacks – plus your little tot won’t say no to these tasty snacks!
7. Boiled Eggs
The ease of cooking them plus the nutrients they offer, make boiled eggs a perfect breakfast and snack. Eggs pack in protein, Vitamin B12, and fats – the three nutrients which are necessary for a child’s healthy development. You can give your child soft boiled eggs whenever he feels hungry. However, if you have never introduced eggs to him before, do it slowly and look out for the signs of an allergy. Follow the 3-day rule and give him boiled eggs three days in a row. Once you are sure that he is not allergic to eggs, you can give them as snacks more often.
8. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese (paneer) is an excellent source of protein and calcium, which a growing toddler needs. Whenever your child feels hungry and comes running to you asking for snacks, give him paneer cubes. Cottage cheese is a rich source of Vitamin B12 and can meet the fat requirements of your little one. But if your child doesn’t like the taste of plain paneer, you can give him pan-fried paneer cubes with a dash of salt.
There are plenty of unhealthy snacks that will tempt your child. You can give in to his desires once in a while, but don’t make it a habit. Give him these healthy and tasty snacks instead to keep him satiated for long and to get him into a habit of healthy eating from an early age.