Toddlers prefer snacks over meals – at least my daughters do. The pediatrician said toddlers’ bellies can’t hold large meals, so for some young children it is more satisfying to graze instead of gobble. Toddler snacking is acceptable as long as you are avoiding common mistakes and offering satisfying and acceptable toddler snacks.
Toddler Snacking Mistakes
Snacks During Car Rides
There is no law against toddler snacking during car rides. Road trips are only survivable with a stash of snacks. However, not only can it be dangerous to allow your toddler to eat unsupervised in the backseat, but it is also messy. I’ll never forget the first time I heard about my friend’s toddler choking on a raisin during a car ride. She had to pull over on the highway and even though her daughter ended up okay, she banned unsupervised snacks during car rides.
Snacking to Avoid Boredom
If you give your toddler a snack every time you strap them in a car seat, stroller, or grocery cart, your child will learn to expect food in all of these instances. I’m guilty of giving my toddler a snack to distract them during a stroller ride, but it is important the girls learn to enjoy a walk instead of learning a snack will keep them from being bored. My mom always told me to pay attention while I was eating to avoid mindless snacking.
Too Many Snacks Before a Meal
If your toddler has too many snacks throughout the day, he or she won’t be ready to eat at mealtime. Schedule snack-time between meals and stick to your schedule so your toddler is reassured they will eat.
Handing Out Treats as Snacks
The snacks your toddler eats should be healthy, whole grains, protein or vitamin rich, not sugar laden. Handing out treats as snacks will encourage your toddler to expect a little bit of chocolate that they normally get for going on the potty as a mid-morning snack.
FACT: I’m totally guilty of all these toddler snacking mistakes.
Toddler Snacking Suggestions
The best snacks for toddlers are easy and healthy. My daughters love to eat a variety of snacks – some are healthy and others are not the most nutritious. I try to keep a variety of snacks stocked in our house to avoid unhealthy choices. I buy a lot of snacks in bulk at Costco! We also encourage water drinking (over sugar-y drinks) and limit all natural fruit juice.
Here is a list of my toddler’s favorite snacks:
Hard boiled eggs
Fresh Fruit – Strawberries, Blueberries, Apple Slices, Bananas
Popcorn – All Natural or Homemade