Toddlers adore snacks. They’re often too antsy to eat much at mealtime, preferring to grab smaller bites to nibble throughout the day. So instead of relying on packaged snacks that may be high in sodium, added sugar, and additives, give your toddler the kind of wholesome foods you’d provide at meals—but served up in a fun way. Here are 15 healthy snacks that will nourish your toddler between meals and deliver the kinds of nutrients she needs the most right now:
Toddlers are notorious nibblers. Their small bellies mean they can’t eat a lot at one time—and their nonstop natures mean they’d rather grab food here and there while they’re playing than sit down at the table for a meal.
Feeding your child is a powerful instinct. From that very first newborn feeding, you’re naturally driven to meet your baby’s need for nourishment and respond to her hunger. But just as important as knowing when your baby is ready to start eating is knowing when she’s ready to stop.
I couldn’t wait to start solids with my kids. I was ready with single-grain cereals and rubber baby spoons the minute they each turned four months old. Other moms I know went much slower and felt reluctant (and a little nervous) about making the leap. But though all parents may feel differently about the transition, the most important thing when starting solids is knowing when your baby is ready.
…though all parents may feel differently about the transition, the most important thing when starting solids is knowing when your baby is ready.
If you have angst over whether to buy organic, I understand: Like you, I’ve stood in the aisles of the grocery store weighing the costs and benefits and trying to figure out the smartest thing to do for my family. In the end, I decided to be strategic with my organic dollar. That means I pick and choose which foods I buy organic, based on how frequently we eat them—and in the case of fruits and vegetables, how likely they are to be treated with chemical pesticides. One of the tools I use to make those decisions is the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which includes their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists.
Of the top food-related questions I get asked as a dietitian—“Should I go on a juice cleanse” (probably not), “Do you ever eat junk food?” (yes), and “Are carbs evil?” (no)–the one that seems to give parents the most angst is this one:
When parents, beaming with pride, tell me about their baby who eats absolutely everything placed on the high chair tray, I nod and smile politely. I don’t want to burst their bubble. They don’t know what’s ahead.
If you’re a card-carrying label reader–scouring the fine print on food packages and looking for basic, wholesome ingredients–you may have wondered why the ingredient list on your toddler’s yogurt includes…sardines?
I vividly remember the thrill of starting solids with my boys. I couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces the first time new flavors hit their tiny tongues. Fun and discovery should be themes in these first few months of starting solids. Your baby is still getting much of her nutrition (and calories) from breast milk or formula. So think about this time as exploration—introducing baby to different tastes and textures and getting her ready to transition to a diet of table food at age one.
As your child hits the two-year milestone, you’ll see some big changes: Your toddler will be off and running and learning new words every day. An added perk: Your refrigerator shelf will probably be a little less crowded, since a carton of whole milk doesn’t have to be a fixture anymore.