Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Are you stuck in a snack rut?

Recently I have been attending a free healthy lifestyle programme for 2-5 year olds and their families, provided by the NHS. The sessions focus on nutrition and activities to keep your family fit. I'm only half-way through the 6-week course so there is more to come but so far I have found it interesting and helpful.

Three meals and two snacks is the recommended daily eating pattern for toddlers under 5, here in the UK. A morning and afternoon snack should help contribute to your child's balanced diet, helping them achieve their 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. I often find myself  struggling for variety when I give my son his snacks. Fruit always seems an easy healthy option but if he's eating fruit at mealtimes, I don't want to overload on it. There's a wide selection of organic, sugar and salt-free toddler snacks available in the supermarkets but I don't like to rely on those all the time.

In the last session of the aforementioned healthy lifestyle programme I attended, we talked a bit about snacks and were given some suggestions of healthy snacks to give our children. For those of you like me who sometimes feel stuck in a snack rut, I thought I would share the ideas with you:

  • 1 slice of medium wholegrain toast with low fat cream cheese / marmite / ham

  • 1 mini pitta bread / crispbread and low fat hummus

  • 1 crumpet with low fat spread

  • 1/2 bagel and low fat cream cheese

  • small sandwich filled with cheddar cheese & cucumber / cheese spread & tomato / tuna & sweetcorn / ham & tomato

  • 2 crispbread / bread sticks and low fat cream cheese

  • vegetable sticks and dip, eg. low fat hummus, guacamole, salsa

  • plain unsweetened popcorn (25g)

  • rice cakes or Ryvita minis

  • handful of nuts / seeds (not for any nut allergy sufferers or young ones at risk of choking)

  • piece of fresh fruit (dried fruit is advised for mealtimes only to help protect your child's teeth)

  • cereal eg. 1 Weetahbix, 30g porridge

  • no added sugar custard / rice pudding

  • natural or healthy eating yoghurt

  • 1 plain biscuit

  • 1 slice fruit bread / malt loaf

  • wholemeal scone with low fat spread / sugar free jam

  • 1-2 oatcakes
What kinds of snacks do you give your toddler? Do you try to give them a wide variety or do you find they always want the same thing no matter what you suggest?
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1 comment:

  1. I read this when you posted but remember not commenting as I had nothing to add - your list is pretty comprehensive :)

    Babyzoid is happy with any snack as long as it's edible. If Daddy's in charge then she gets all manner of unsuitable stuff like choc digestives. Not good!

    Oat cakes with cheddar is on the snack menu this morning and a slice of homemade Madeira as a naughty afternoon tea treat :D xX


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