Children are wired to prefer sweet foods. Their taste buds are highly sensitive and receptive and are more inclined towards sweeter tastes. Science understands this to be a way for babies to be more attuned to their mother’s milk. Hence, when your child prefers that bag of candy over a bowl of vegetables, it is not necessarily because they reject it out of stubbornness, their biology makes them that way. In saying this, these sugar craving tendencies have to be moderated because if not monitored, it could lead to obesity. Therefore, it is a good thing to devise some healthier alternatives to their natural inclination to candies and sweets.
Some summer snacks that your toddler will love:
- Fruit popsicles – What better way than to give your child their dose of vitamins and minerals than from a homemade ice cream made from their favourite fruits. In a paper cup or an ice cream mould, pour some coconut water to fill it only about halfway up. Add some small cut-up cubes of their favourite fruit like mangos, strawberries, pineapple, peaches and so on. Add a little honey to give it some extra sweetness and freeze it. This is a low-calorie and high-nutrient rich food. They get all the minerals from the coconut water and necessary vitamins from the fruits. In addition to this, it is a delicious snack.
- Yogurt bars – On a baking dish or a plate lined with baking or parchment paper. Spread out the yogurt and add some fresh fruit like strawberries, mangoes, kiwi and so on. Put the plate in the freezer and then take it out once it’s frozen. Cut them up into bars and serve them cold. It is a refreshing and delicious snack that is packed with probiotics from the yogurt which improves the immune system and gut health while the fruits give great nutrient nourishment.
- Hummus platters – Hummus is an extremely nutritious food that is packed with a lot of plant-based proteins. It is one of the best foods to give toddlers because of its soft texture and subtle taste. Side it with some cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers or capsicum and that is the perfect snack for children with a more savoury tooth. In addition to this, they get all the benefits of a delicious snack with quality food.
- Watermelon slushie – This is a personal favourite among many and what’s better its only 3 ingredients. Cut up a watermelon and remove the skin and seeds (for a smoother slushie) leaving just the juicy red mesocarp. Put this in the freezer until it is completely frozen. Take it out of the freezer and put it in a blender with a little milk and honey. Blend it until it is smooth and adjust the amount of milk depending on how much watermelon that you are blending, but start slow. Adding honey adds a little more sweetness to the dessert. Pour the slushie into a cup and let your toddler relish this creamy, healthy snack. Watermelon is a perfect summer fruit and this is a great way to spice up the fruit for your child.
- Apple and nut butter nachos – If your child loves any nut butter, they will love this. Thinly slice some washed apples and place them on a plate. Pick a nut butter that they prefer (almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, etc) and drizzle it over the apple evenly so that each slice of apple gets a good serving of the nut butter. Sprinkle some chocolate chips and if they like coconut, then add some shredded coconut as well. The best part about this snack is that the flavour is not too overpowering. The apple is rich in fibre and when paired with some nut butter, it keeps them full for a lot longer.
A big trick to getting children to eat their meals and snacks is to make it as visually appealing as possible because, like most people, children eat with their eyes too. Breaking the redundant cycle of monotonous foods for snacks and making such healthier alternatives makes eating and snacking monumentally more interesting and fun for children. It truly is a best of both worlds situation where they get healthy, nutritious and fun snacks to eat while you get the peace of mind that they are getting all the nutrition that they need.