Now that the nice weather has finally (finally!) arrived, we’re spending a lot more time outside. This is amazing, of course, but I always forget that more time outside often equates to a heartier and hungrier toddler appetite. My little one craves a few more snacks during his day, which I also attribute to the fact that he seems to have a harder time sitting at the table for extended periods of time these days, so he isn’t eating as much as he should at each meal.
I try to make most of his snacks nutritious, but also save room for a few sweet treats here and there. These seven snack ideas have been very popular with him lately, and most of them can be taken outdoors so as not to interrupt that precious playtime.
Peanut Butter Banana ‘Ice Cream‘: This ‘ice cream’ is made entirely from frozen bananas! I’ve been making a version of this for my toddler for an afternoon snack and he loves it. Sometimes we replace the peanut butter with almond butter, and the almond milk with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. If you prefer the texture of frozen yogurt, this can be served immediately. If something scoopable is what you’re after, store the ‘ice cream’ in a lidded container for a few hours, or until it reaches the desired consistency. In this case, you’ll want to make the mixture before naptime, so the snack is ready when you need it.
Cinnamon-Scented Mango Applesauce: This is great snack option to keep on hand. Apples don’t taste that great in the spring, but when they are cooked down with mango and cinnamon they take on a bright colour and fun flavour. Feel free to get creative with your fruity additions by replacing the mango with frozen raspberries, strawberries and/or rhubarb.
Gourmet Toast: Toast, a staple ingredient around the breakfast table for more than a few decades, has taken on superstar status lately with the arrival of the artisan toast trend. Books are being written on the topic, cookbooks now have chapters devoted to clever creations, and kids still love eating it. I think it makes a great snack, especially when topped with a protein and/or fruit and vegetable. Our article highlights 25 of the best toast toppings for toddlers, so you’ll be sure to find some inspiration here for snack time this season.
Sweet Sugar Cookie Pizza with Fruit Toppings: This is definitely more dessert than snack, but when I pull a small piece out in the afternoon no one complains. I like to make this for playdates and parties, or a casual Tuesday afternoon when I know our spirits need a little lifting.
No-Cook Black Bean Dip: Give the kids something fun to dip into. Serve this no-cook dip with tortilla chips, fresh veggies and/or crackers. I also really love offering sweet potato hummus and tzatziki as dip options, too.
Ham and Cheese Muffins: It’s hard to beat the portability of muffins, and this kid-friendly savoury twist on a typically sweet snack is sure to be a hit with your little one. Pack up a few for the park, or take them outside to eat on the front step while you wait for older siblings to come home from school.
My Favourite Store-Bought Snacks: Some days, store-bought snacks are all I can manage and I’m totally okay with that. I keep bags of dried mango slices, crackers, yogurt-covered pretzel pieces, dried fruits and nuts, etc. on hand for easy on-the-go eating and I recommend most parents do the same. I like to pick up healthy and creative options from the food section of HomeSense and Winners, but obviously most grocery stores carry an assortment of quality items for your young eaters to enjoy.