Thursday, March 5, 2009

Toddler Snacking

If you have a toddler at home then you know that you will not make it through a day with "3 square meals." Instead (if you are like me) you will be serving up not only tres entrees, but also at least two snacks per day (sometimes more).

I feel that I do a relatively good job at making sure my family eats well rounded meals. For breakfast my toddler usually eats cereal (often oatmeal, but lately more cold cereal with milk), some fruit (usually banana and/or grapefruit), and drinks juice or milk - she often takes bites of my toast too. A typical lunch might be milk, some cheese slices, apple slices, lunch meat, and bread with butter or jam (she won't eat a sandwich). For dinner I try to make sure we get at least a bit of all the major food groups (we rarely eat out and I think my dinner skills are adequate). When it comes to snacking however. . . that is another story.

Snacking for toddlers is VERY important, but I will freely admit I am not taking my toddler's snacking seriously enough. Her morning snack usually consists of dry cereal (really inventive - and healthy huh?) I do a bit better on her afternoon snack (but it is boring); this almost always consists of crackers (sometimes with cheese) and either fruit snacks or fruit chunks.

I am not particularly concerned about my girl's eating habits - I know she is healthy and is almost always in the 30-50%tile ranking in weight and height. She also gains weight at an appropriate rate and she always get a great bill of health at WIC and well child checkups. However, I'd like to do better with snacking!

So, I am giving a shout out to ALL of you moms! What snacks do you do with your little ones? What are some good affordable and quick ideas for snacks. I really must improve my repertoire and I am sure there are more moms out there who want to do the same.

As a final note - although this is my first post as an official coauthor it is not THE first. I urge you to read the three posts below that were submitted by Dee Dee (the one who invented this glorious brain child). The first outlines 10 AMAZING products she uses on a daily/weekly basis - many of which I had not thought of or hadn't thought of using in that capacity (thanks for the white vinegar tip, and I also bought some Eucerin cream for my little girl's eczema). The other two are about hot topics which every mom needs help on. And BOY OH BOY do I ever need help with tantrums and toilet learning. Check them out and leave your insights and comments.


Diane said...

This is great!! I really need help in this area...but not so much with the toddler stage yet. WHAT DO I GIVE MY 9 MONTH OLD for snacks?!?! He can't have dairy yet, which if he could I think I'd be ok, but otherwise my selections are boring and getting old. Please help!

Forward With Fun and Faith said...

Delia..I love you!! I have always wanted something like this. I would love to join!
How true that it takes all of us to raise our children!

Jared and Delia said...

Thanks for the post. Good question. I guess I need to be more aware of snacks for my oldest as well. We don't have scheduled snacks. We just play it by ear. Today my son had almonds and an apple in the morning and a banana mid afternoon.

I don't give it as much thought as I should either. My son ranks on the smaller end of the weight scale and so I try to give him a lot of fat. I like Yo Baby yogurt, although it can be pretty expensive. It is the only yogurt that I know of that is made with whole milk. Actually...I think Brown Cow makes some too but our local Walmart doesn't carry it. Almonds are filling, provide protein, and are a source of good fat. The only catch is that your child needs to be 3-ish so he won't choke.

To make sure they get plenty of fruits and veggies, you can't lose giving them for snack.

For 9 month olds, I recommend Zwieback toast and those fruit/cereal puffs. They are still relying on formula or breast milk for much of their nutrition so snacks won't become too important until after the first year. Those snacks are great though for distracting them while you make dinner or during church - save the toast for home though because it is WAY messy.

Megan said...

For my 11 month old, I always try to make sure at least one snack is fruit. whether it is a banana, canned peaches, or something else I have. Then, like Dee Dee mentioned, a bitter biscuit, zwieback toast, or the fruit puffs. I find the parent choice ones are cheaper and basically the same nutrition content as the Gerber, and at out local Walmart are over $2 cheaper.

Kelly Anderson said...

I also need to be more aware of this. Thank you for the question!! My daughter is little in weight so I try to give her healthy fats as well, like avacados and bananas.

Jared and Delia said...

I have been thinking about this a lot since last this was a good post because it got me thinking more on how I can improve. :)

I have to say too...lest anyone feel inadequate in this area, there are days when we have oreos for an afternoon snack, or pretzels. We just had a good snack day yesterday.

More fruits and veggies is always our GOAL, but sometimes I think it is okay to do what is most convenient or sometimes - just fun!

Tink said...

What do you give a 1 yr. old with texture issues? And how do you get your kids to eat so much fruit and veggies? Maybe I need to stop buying fruit snacks and goldfish so they don't have the option? Any suggestions would be great. The baby eats yogurt with baby oatmeal in the morning(thanks for the whole milk yogurt tip-I never realized they made any), and lunch consists of a hot dog and graham crackers or nilla wafers. Dinner is pretty much the same as lunch. At this point I've been glad to get him to eat anything, but is he having too much junk. The hot dogs at least have no fillers and are all beef, but any other ideas?

JeriLynn said...

Our hot snack: cheese and grapes. It's always a hit. Also, yogurt. This is great for a 2 year old.

I try not to give my daughter too many crackers or fruit snacks. My SIL has those as snacks regularly. Her son had a $1300 out-of-pocket dental bill for nine cavities at 3 1/2 years old!!! (Granted, they sedated him, which was most of the expense, but still. . . )

Kelly Anderson said...

I agree that while healthy snacking is the goal, fun snacks some of the time is just the real world. When you want a fun snack, check out:
A lot of them are healthy too! My friend showed me this blog and it turns out that I went to college with the girl who writes it. Small world! Also, my SIL is a speech pathologist who works with children and feeding and she says that it takes 10 times of tasting a new food for a child to decide that they don't like something. She says if you think that your child doesn't like fruits or veggies or has issues with textures, to keep trying and more often than not they will eventually eat it.

Jared and Delia said...

Smoothies - as a drink or frozen into popsicles are a good way to disguise fruits and veggies...although it is more work. I love that I can put three servings of fruit into a smoothie and my oldest son thinks it is a treat. If you add flax seed and yogurt - even healthier and adds some good fat.

Making homemade fruit leather requires no added sugar, is pure fruit, and tastes so yummy. I did it in a dehydrator but I hear you can do it in an oven on low for the better part of a day.

I have heard of a sneaky cook book that puts like four veggies in a spaghetti sauce and you can't even tell. You would have to google it. I think I remember her pureeing things to death to help solve the texture issue.

I wonder how good the vegetable content of those vegetable puffs are...that might be a good option.

Megan said...

A baby food grinder works really well for fruit for the texture thing. However, on vegetables it doesn't work as well. The other thing for fruit and vegetables is juice. Juicy Juice Harvest surprise is supposed to count as at least one serving of vegetables and same thing with their fruit juice for fruit.

Kelly Anderson said...

Yay! This is so great! Reading all your comments keeps reminding me of things and giving me more ideas! Thank you everyone!!

I think the book mentioned above is called "Deceptively Delicious" and it is is wonderful! I have made recipes from it before and totally hidden vegetables places you would have never guessed!

Also the smoothie idea reminded me that an easy snack at our house that is always a hit is frozen gogurts. Much healthier than a Popsicle and requires no preparation.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Thank you all ladies! This has generated excellent ideas for not only snacking but for other meals. This will help me a great deal. . . now I just need to get on the badwagon and make more of an effort!!

Tannie Datwyler said...

Thanks for the tipoff about the book - I just put it on hold at the library.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Does anyone have a good "smoothie" recipe? One with just fruits or fruits and veggies? I want to try it. By the way, the website Kelly suggested is AWESOME - I bookmarked it. Go check it out.

Jared and Delia said...

Tannie is right. That blog that Kay recommended is excellent. So much so that I added it to our favorite sites list. Thanks!

Jared and Delia said...

Oh and to answer the smoothie question. I don't use one. I just make sure there is one part frozen fruit, one part non frozen fruit, and one part fruit juice - add yogurt and a tbsp of flax as desired (the flax can be grainy and it bugs my husband so be careful). To use vegetables, I have only known for it to be done with a really strong blender like a vitamix...especially if you are worried about texture. But hey...I will try this out this week and check back in with you guys to see if it works with just my cheapo blender.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Thanks for the smoothie tip! That's perfect - I'll try it next week. I already bought some new snacks today for my girl to try. I have a hard time getting her to eat veggies though, so I still need tips on that one. I hate to be stupid, but where do you usually get flax seeds?

Jared and Delia said...

Hey I understand. I didn't know until my SIL told me about it. They sell it at Walmart in the cereal aisle. Look on the top shelf. It is ground flax seed. I think you can purchase it as an oil too but you may have to go to Smith's Marketplace or Shangri la.

Tink said...

Wow! Thanks to all your wonderful comments. I'm going to try smoothies for all my kiddos.

Forward With Fun and Faith said...

PB Dip

2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 (3.4oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar

Combine milk, sour cream and pudding mix. Whisk until smooth. Stir peanut butter and sugar into pudding mixture. Mix until well blended. Serve with sliced apple or banana chunks and graham crackers.
Mixed-Fruit Smoothie

2 bananas, frozen
2/3 cup fruit (of choice)
1 1/2 cup of juice (of choice)
1 carton of fat-free yogurt
Combine ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Makes 6 smoothies

Jared and Delia said...

SO it took me a while but I tried the veggies in my fruit smoothie with my cheap blender and it worked out just fine!

I just played around with it. I am sure you could experiment yourself and come up with something better but here is what I did:

I blended a handful of baby carrots almost to a pulp or as close as I could get. Then I added a 1 lb. of strawberries, approx. 2 c. of frozen peaches, one really ripe banana, two handfuls of spinach (I would probably use only 1 handful next was good but you could taste the spinach too much this time which would be bad if you had a picky eater), and filled the blender halfway with apple juice.

I actually didn't even notice the carrots probably because they are naturally sweet. I think Cranberry juice is better at masking any vegetable-ness and will use that next time. It is my favorite juice to use in a smoothie because it adds a little bit of bitterness to the mix to balance all the sweetness of the different fruits. IS possible to add vegetables to a smoothie with a simple blender and still like it!