As a busy homeschooling family, we are home A LOT. Snacks can get boring and repetitive around here, and it’s important to me that my children are always trying new foods. That being said, we do have our tried and true favorites. My toddler, obviously, is my pickiest eater and I often plan meals and snacks with her limited palette in mind. Here are some of my go-to snacks that are always a success with my kids, especially the littlest.
1. Hummus and things. We love hummus. I have been giving my kids hummus since they started eating more complex pureed foods. I like that it’s a relatively “clean” food, and has protein. And NO SUGAR! Woo-hoo. It seems like everything has some added sugar these days, so this is a big win in my eyes. We eat hummus with veggies, crackers, pretzels, and I even use it to make sandwiches with cheese sometimes. Heck, you can eat it with a spoon.
2. Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip. Similar to hummus, we love a good dip. Why is dipping so much fun for young children? I can get my children to eat infinitely more if I offer them a dipping option. Again, add some veggies or crackers and voila. You can get a ranch dip packet at most stores or make your own (lots of simple ranch recipes online) and just add it to some greek yogurt for a protein-filled snack.
3. Apples with Nut Butter (or sunflower butter). Now if your little one doesn’t have enough teeth for apple slices just yet, I have been known to peel an apple and hand the whole thing over to my toddler to gnaw on. Especially when teething! But for children who can handle it, slice up some apples and drizzle with some almond butter and honey for a healthy, tasty treat.
4. Pasta Salad. I love this one because it’s fun and the kids can get involved. Plan to make pasta for dinner one night and make extra noodles. Store them in the fridge overnight with some olive oil and the following day, gather the kid (s) for a “cooking” activity. Add whatever you like and have on hand to the cold pasta--olives, cheese cubes, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, any veggie really--my kids love tiny pepperonis. Add some Italian dressing for more oomph. Or not. I’ll probably say this again, but when children are involved in cooking or meal prepping, they are more likely to eat (or at least taste) the food. It’s just the truth.
5. Smoothies. This is another one that you can get your toddler involved in preparing. Add some frozen fruit and your milk of choice to the blender (throw in some frozen spinach too). You can also add a protein like nut butter or protein powder. I’ve also been known to add avocado for creaminess. Let your toddler help you throw everything in and push the button. The whole process of blending is fascinating to them and I don’t need to explain why a smoothie is a healthy snack idea.
6. Cheese and Fruit Skewers. Similar to dip, kids love anything on a stick. I love to get larger plastic toothpicks at the dollar store for snack time. Then (you guessed it), I have the kids help me make fruit and cheese skewers. Cut up some cheese into cubes (grocery stores even have them pre-cubed for you now) or get those fun tiny mozzarella balls and use whatever fruit you have on hand--halved-grapes, watermelon, pineapple, bananas (but put the cheese under the banana slices, they get slippery). The sky's the limit here.
7. Bagel or English Muffin Pizzas: Our favorites are the mini-wheat bagels that you can find on the bread aisle. I look for a pizza sauce that doesn’t have added sugar (but my big goal is to grow tomatoes next year and make our own sauce), and then add whatever cheese and veggies y’all like. Pop them in the toaster or regular oven and enjoy.
8. Tortilla Rolls. My kids really like flour tortillas, so I try to stuff them with as many different things as I can for snack time. Then I cut them into little wheels. My favorite is cream cheese and turkey. We also do cream cheese and jam. You could do refried beans and cheese, tuna salad, SO MANY things. Think about what your family likes and start there.
9. Soup. Soup is usually considered more of a meal, than a snack, but not in my house. We like to break the rules. But seriously, leftover soup, or good old canned soup is a snack staple in my house. Especially tomato soup with cheese crackers. During the Fall and winter, we have all kinds of soup floating around here, it’s a great way to incorporate veggies and it’s just so darn easy to throw it all in a pot and go about my to-do list. Don’t be afraid to heat up some soup for a snack.
10. Applesauce and granola. Homemade or store bought, it doesn’t matter. This snack feels like an apple pie treat and sometimes I hide in the kitchen, microwave it and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of mine when the kids aren’t looking.
Snack time can be a fun part of your day, it doesn’t have to be stressful. It can get a little mess though, so make sure you have great bib on hand--our Silicone Bib is amazing for snack and meal times. Remember, your toddlers are exercising their independence and so they may be resistant to new foods at first, which is just another reason to make snack time fun and easy.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Amanda
Amanda Dixon is a mother of three young children and has her master’s degree in early childhood education. She spends her days homeschooling her kiddos, freelance writing and teaching college. Her favorite things are a good cuppa tea, chocolate chip cookies, books, and her 3 dachshunds.