Snacks are essential to keeping your toddler from getting cranky between meals. Let him help make his own snack so he learns about kitchen safety. Any snack you serve should include protein and fruits or vegetables. Not only are these healthy foods, but they'll keep him full and satisfied for hours.
A half of a whole-wheat bagel, graham crackers or a whole wheat tortilla can serve as the base for nearly any kind of spread your child likes. Let him spread low-fat cream cheese and a dollop of fruit jelly onto a bagel or crackers. Or spread a spoonful of peanut butter over a tortilla. Help him arrange raisins or small chunks of apples on top and roll up the tortilla. Nearly all toddlers enjoy getting their hands dirty, so let them use their fingers rather than a knife.
Although toddlers can't operate the blender, they can help with every other step in making a healthy fruit smoothie. Let your toddler choose the fruits she wants and help her wash them in the sink. Use a knife to cut off any stems, or cut larger fruits such as melon into chunks. Let the child pour a few handfuls of fruit, a few spoonfuls of yogurt and a quarter cup of orange juice into the blender. When the drink is smoothly blended, help her pour it into a cup.
Let your toddler help prepare baked goods to teach him about following directions. Choose a recipe for blueberry muffins or zucchini bread that includes applesauce, which will make the dish moist and avoid much of the butter required by many baked good recipes. Let him help measure ingredients and dump them into the bowl. He can even help mix up the batter and pour it into the prepared pan.
Chips and Dip
Store-bought chips are packed with fat and salt, but making your own at home is easy and healthy. Let your toddler tear whole wheat tortillas or pitas into pieces and spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake them until the edges start to brown. Serve a small bowl of the chips, along with salsa, ranch dip or hummus for dipping. Put a couple slices of avocado in a bowl and let her mash them up. Add a sprinkle of salt and some chopped tomato to make guacamole.
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