Snacking is good for kids. But snacking with Dad definitely doesn’t have to mean the stereo-typically mindless eating of junk food while playing or watching TV. Increasingly, snacking is about incorporating a legitimate light meal into your child’s healthy eating habits. It means thinking up food options that are beneficial for your toddler in-between main meals.
Times have changed-- more and more dads are now seen taking active participation and primary care-giving roles, in the lives of their kids. For some, this a case of necessity, while others make an a choice to spend this time bonding with their kids at home.
Historically, (and from a pop-culture point-of-view), dads aren't generally considered the best figures when it comes to healthy eating with the little ones. They're known to give in to the whims of their kids more often. Even if this is true, it really does take a lot to say no to kids sometimes. (It could also be true that certain Dads just love munching on junk as well.)
Snacking doesn't have to be scientific. But it is important and crucial to a kids health and development of good eating habits. Toddlers need to snack. Their tummies aren't big enough to handle only concentrated large meals. Most kids do best when they eat small portions each several times a day.
So if you’re the padre of an active toddler, learn how to share some healthy snacking habits with your little one. To help you kick off this effort, here are some snacks that you can easily whip up in your kitchen and that you both can enjoy:
1. Mini Pizzas:
Cut an English muffin in half, add tomato slices and grated (vegan) cheese on both halves, grill until cheese is melted, and serve.
2. Peanut Butter & Practically Anything:
Try this and you’ll be surprised at the versatility of much-loved peanut butter. You can spread it on bananas, raisin toast, or graham crackers. You can also make it more fun as a dip for celery sticks or apple slices.
3. Veggie Sticks:
Slice fresh carrots and cucumbers into sticks and dip in hummus. You can also use cooked sweet potato or potato sticks.
4. Snack Kebabs:
Use a child-friendly skewer and thread your child’s favorite fruit. Add a cube of vegan cheese if desired, and alternate until you fill the skewer.
5. Traffic Light Balls:
Choose red, yellow, and green fruits, and scoop small portions of the fruits with a melon baller or ice cream scoop. Arrange the balls on a plate or a small stick, making them look like traffic lights. Your toddler would be delighted.
To make the snack even more interesting to your toddler, ask him to help in the preparation. When it’s time to eat, dads should do what they do best-- throw in a bit of fun by making up stories starring the snacks you just made. Keep this up and your toddler will be looking forward to healthy snacks each and every time.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.