A good parent is a master of disguise.
We’re not even kidding!
The tricks and ploys that we need to devise to get healthy food into our toddlers call for higher grade, out-of-the-box thinking.
When our little ones start preschool or attend a child care center, the challenges are even greater. How can you be certain that your child is getting what they need to function at their best, while still enjoying their packed lunches?
In this article, we look at the top five essentials that little minds and bodies require to stay healthy and snacks for toddlers that include these elements.
Calcium is necessary for the development of bones and teeth. Since our bodies can’t make calcium, it needs to come from an outside source to ensure strong skeletal growth. Plus, building a good store of calcium in their younger years equals less bone loss as your children grow older.
Between the ages of 1 to 8 years, children need around 700 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. This can be found in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified products, and some fish.
Snacks for toddlers that include this vital ingredient include:
- Cheese squares
- Cream cheese or hummus with crackers (a go-to snack for many!)
- Kale chips
- Roasted chickpeas
These little bite-sized pieces of goodness are cheap, easy to prepare, and will suit even the fussiest children.
Vitamin D works alongside calcium to promote bone health.
Parents of toddlers should aim for some vitamin D each day, adding some of these healthy, tasty snack ideas to their diet:
- Boiled eggs
- Fortified milk
- Cereal and fruit bars
And don’t forget that our bodies make vitamin D from sunlight, making outdoor fun even healthier.
Fiber helps the body to regulate sugar levels and appetite and prevents constipation. It also helps to clean out the digestive tract and control cholesterol levels.
A 4-year-old child will need about 25 grams of fiber, based on a 1,500 daily calorie diet, and a toddler would require around 18 grams per day.
Good sources of fiber usually go together with other healthy nutrients and important vitamins. Healthy snacks for lunch boxes include berries, chickpeas, sugar snap peas, avocado, or apples and pears (with their skins).
B vitamins offer a huge range of benefits for little bodies, including a healthy nervous system, energy levels, red blood cell growth, good brain function, muscle tone, eye health and so much more.
Vitamin B12 helps to keep the blood and nerve cells in tip-top shape, and toddlers will need some each day.
Boiled eggs, smoked chicken strips, beef jerky, fish cakes, nuts, and seeds make great finger foods for lunch boxes. Just be sure to check whether your child is allowed to take nuts to school.
Vitamin E (along with vitamins A and C) works towards a strong immune system. Additionally, it acts as an antioxidant to combat inflammation and is great for vision, skin, blood, and the brain.
Aim for some daily by including nuts, seeds, a peanut butter sandwich, sliced peppers, and cubes of mango in your toddler’s lunch box.
Healthy Snacks for Toddlers Are Worth the Effort
Simply put, children who enjoy a varied and nutritious lunch are better equipped to deal with the ups and downs of their day at school.
It may seem daunting, especially for new parents, to ensure that their little people get all the goodness they need for the day. But packing healthy snacks for toddlers is easier than you think: avoid candy, avoid too much salt, keep it natural, and offer a variety of foods.
If setting your children up for success is important to you, please feel free to chat with one of our caring team members who can answer any questions you may have.