Tired Of The Same Ol’ Snacks?
Snack time, my favorite. I don’t know about you, but my idea of a favorite snack is a piece of chocolate cake with a caramel machiato from Starbucks. If I ate that everyday I would be in big trouble since my clothes would not fit me anymore! Of course serving chocolate cake and a highly caffienated beverage is not really an option for my 3 children. So, this is more for my own inspiration because I need some new ideas. And because I thought that several heads working together to better snack time for all of our growing and energetic children would be a benefit to all of us!
My (just turned!) 5 year old and 3 year old don’t get snacks very often. If they do it is usually in the morning time between breakfast and lunch. I notice that they are hungrier if they don’t eat any protein for breakfast so I’ll give them a snack. I cut out an afternoon snack a little over a year ago because I noticed that they weren’t eating much of dinner– which was healthier and covered a broader spectrum of food groups. When I cut out the afternoon snack they would eat a healthier dinner. Now my 11 month old is needing a snack in the afternoon and I want to make sure I plan ahead about what kind of foods to offer him. I know that if my other 2 see the baby eating they will start drooling for some too. So, either I will need to decide on a very small portion of snackage for them or tell them they have to wait for dinner. If I plan ahead enough then I can have the same healthy snack available for them in the morning.
In my ideal world, snacks are made from whole grain, whole foods with NO high fructose corn syrup. (I am avoiding a temptation to go off on a ***HFCS tangent….I mean seriously, WHEN will companies stop putting that terrible for you filler in their foods?!) That means that homemade snacks are probably the best option but not always realistic when life gets busy. Grabbing Goldfish and Cheerios are so easy and aren’t bad for you either. But I get tired of serving Goldfish, Cheerios, and grapes for a snack.
When Ewan was little I was great at having a huge variety of snacks available for him so I am going back to my books and magazines and pulling out some of the good ideas.
For the finger food eater (10+ months):
- Avacado chunks
- Cheese chunks
- Soft cooked veges (I like using a mixed vege frozen mix)
- Tofu chunks
- Scrambled egg yolk (for younger than 12 months)
- Hard boiled egg chunks
- Beans, lentils
- Sweet potato chunks
- Whole wheat pasta in small pieces (mix with light ricotta cheese for a protein boost)
- Small pieces of fruit (I just got a giant bag of frozen fruit with cantaloupe, grapes, peaches etc. in it and am using that for snacks)
- Whole grain/wheat pieces of bread, bagels, pancakes, or crackers
- Cottage cheese (totally messy but finger-foodalicious)
For toddlers on up:
Toddlers can eat more complicated food textures and combinations. I used to make muffins, pancakes, and whole grain cornmeal pancakes and freeze them. Then I could pull out one at a time and serve it.
- Hummus with veggie strips or pretzels (cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots)
- Homemade granola (with or without plain yogurt)
- Small piece of whole grain/wheat toast with almond butter and fresh berries
- Whole wheat blueberry pancake
- Whole wheat banana muffins
- Apple slices with Almond or Sunflower butter
- Yogurt parfait with plain yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola
- Apple-Oat Pancakes (recipe below)
- Banana johnnycakes (recipe below)
Good Whole Food Snack Sources:
Apple-Oat Pancakes from Simply Natural Baby Food
Soy, rice, or almond milk can be used if baby is not drinking cow’s milk.
- 1 3/4 c. rolled oats
- 1/4 c. almonds
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs (or 4 egg yolks if baby isn’t eating egg whites)
- 1 1/3 c. milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 1 apple grated
Grind oats and nuts to powder in a blender or food processor. Pour oat mixture into a large mixing bowl an stir in baking powder and cinnamon. Beat eggs and milk together. Grate apple in food processor or by hand. Add the egg mixture and apple to oats. Stir until just mixed. Let batter sit 5 minutes while griddle heats. Bake pancakes on a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over med. heat. Use approx. 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn when top is bubbly and edges are starting to dry. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Yield: 12 pancakes
Banana Johnnycakes from Simply Natural Baby Food
- 1 c. cornmeal
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 1/4 c. boiling water
- 2 tsp molasses or honey
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
Place cornmeal and salt in heat-proofing mixing bowl. Whisk in boiling water and sweetener. Add bananas and stir gently. If batter is too thick, add a little water or milk. Bake cakes on a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over med. heat. Use approx 1/8 cup batter for each cake. Cook 5 minutes. Turn when edges begin to dry. Do not turn prematurely. Cook 3 to 5 more minutes. Remove from pan. Keep in warm oven until ready to serve. Yield: 10 pancakes
So, what yumm-i-o snacks do you feed your kids?
***We live by an incredibly busy railroad and we see train car after train car with the label High Fructose Corn Syrup on it. I mean a row of 25 of them! It is fascinating and gross at the same time. It makes me wonder how much of HFCS I have eaten over the course of my lifetime and how much of one of those cars it would fill. Blech!