Bubby is screaming at the store because he’s hungry. My errands ran later than I planned and here we are: a starving toddler on the brink of total meltdown. I am a parent who will give him a snack to hold him over until our late dinner. My problem is that I need a healthy snack that I can whip out of my purse in the middle of the grocery store. While I personally love vanilla flavored puffs and Cheez Its, I know I can’t feed my toddler these kinds of snacks every day, all day. Do you feel me?
(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through then I may get a small commission to aid in my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks 🙂
I needed a mom hack. I needed some tips to handle the hungry toddler at the doctor’s office. I needed to keep my sanity to avoid universal-toddler-meldown-hour at 5:30 PM. I decided to take matters into my hands and figure out a way to make some healthy snack alternatives for my toddler. Ladies, I give you FIVE HEALTHY SNACK ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR TODDLER. You’re welcome 🙂
Frozen Sweet Potatoes
You might be thinking, huh? but yes, these healthy, frozen sweet potatoes will quiet your toddler in no time during universal-meltdown-hour, while you’re trying to get dinner on the table. What I like about these is that I would serve these as a side dish anyways with dinner and they are healthier than mashed potatoes! So how does this work?
Buy your sweet potatoes in bulk. Wash them and cut them up in cubes like so.
Leave the skin on them and boil them in water as if you were cooking mashed potatoes. Depending on the size of your batch, this will take about 3o minutes. You don’t want them to get toooooo mushy, so keep an eye on them. Once they are done boiling and softish, I gently, and I mean gently, toss them in a little butter and cinnamon.
Then I lay them on some cookies sheets (using my silicone baking sheets which I LOVE and easily keeps them from sticking to the pan!) and put them in the freezer until they are hard.
Once they’re frozen, put them in a freezer safe bag. When it’s time for snack time, zap in the microwave, covered by a napkin for about 1min-1min30sec. The skin peels right off! Voila!
Homemade Nutrient Packed Bites (Puffs but for toddlers!)
These bites are awesome because they have a sneaky super veggie in them and your toddler wont even notice. Plus, I get tired of seeing rice and corn as an ingredient in our snacks, so I like the oatmeal alternative. Perfect to keep on hand in your purse or pull out of the freezer to keep in your bag as you run errands.
1 c baby oatmeal (yes, I know toddlers are pass this, but it helps with consistency)
1 T oil (I prefer coconut for healthier reasons)
2-3 Tablespoons of applesauce
1/2 cup of spinach
1 Tablespoon of milled Flaxseed
2 egg whites
1 t baking powder
2-3 Tablespoons of water if you need it for consistency
INSTRUCTIONS: Get your oven preheated to 350 degrees. I recommend blending the spinach, applesauce, and flaxseed first. In mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal and baking powder with the egg whites. Then add your blended ingredients to the mixing bowl. Feel free to add cinnamon too!
TO BAKE: I would put your mixture into a Ziploc bag, twist the top of the bag so you can squish it to one corner, then cut off one of the corners so you can squirt your portions on to your baking sheet. Make them a good size for a toddler! You don’t have to do this, but it takes FOREVER if you just pick up portions with your fingers. (If you’re unsure about how to do this, check out Tips from a Typical Mom. She shows you how.)
I have found that they do best when cooked for about 10 minutes, then turn your heat off and leave them in the oven until they feel like the right crispiness to you! (This made about 100-150 quarter sized bites.)
TIP: You can freeze them too and put them in the microwave or let them thaw in your diaper bag through the day or just eat them frozen with a nice crunch! If you don’t freeze, they’ll keep for about a week.
White Cheddar Cheese & Whole Wheat Crackers
If you haven’t noticed in the toddler snack world, crackers are like a must. Show me a toddler who doesn’t like some sort of cracker and you’ll see my jaw drop. But remember, not all crackers are created equal. While I love Goldfish as much as the next toddler, if we’re going to eat crackers, shoot for crackers that are made with whole wheat (not enriched flour.) Triscuits can be a great, inexpensive, and easy choice. Shoot, you can find them in the off-brand at Aldi and they still have a great simple ingredient list. If you’re a little more particular, many like these are what you should keep an eye out for.
Cheese. Who doesn’t love crackers and cheese? I used to give Asher the simple cheese sticks and then one day I read the ingredients and wondered if I could find a better alternative. I try to go with as little ingredients as possible when I shop. The best cheese choice I found? Good o’l white block cheddar cheese from Aldi for $2.49 a block. Yep. It’s been a life saver and I feel good about no food coloring or extra additives being added to it. Cheese is not yellow folks. Why do we need to buy it colored if we can avoid it? If I can make one little different choice to reduce the amount of processed foods in our diet, then sign me up!
Smoothie Ice Popsicles
I don’t know about you, but I have a little spot in our cabinet where I like to keep those incredible smoothie fruit pouches for my toddler. They are perfect for that quick, on-the-go snack or side when you’re out and about. But that isn’t the norm and Bubby loves smoothies and I am certainly not making them fresh all the time.
The thing I love about smoothies is 1) it can be a good trick to make them think they’re eating something like ice cream, and 2) you can jam pack them with sneaky healthy food and they can be oblivious. Some of my favorite sneaky foods I like to throw in there? Kale, Spinach, Flax Seed, Broccoli (yes, put this in with yogurt, apples and pears and you’d never know!) and of course I like to throw in some exotic fruit to add a flare to our nutrition (like mangos, pineapple, blackberries, etc.).
An easy alternative to the on-the-go puches is to make your toddler a smoothie batch ahead of time. And to make that even easier, use these AWESOME Silicone Ice Pop Tubes. I absolutely LOVE them and their ease of use. Before I had these I just used good o’l ice cube trays and we got by fine. If you’d prefer to stick with the pouch feel of things for ease of use, then these amazing reusable pouches are for you. I used these a ton when Bubby was younger and they freeze just fine.
The easiest way to defrost these is to put them out in the fridge in the morning during breakfast for an easy afternoon snack. OR you could put them in your diaper bag while you’re doing errands and they are nearly perfect when it’s snack time. If you use ice cube trays, then just pop out a few cubes and put them in a bowl in the fridge. Easy peasy for that yogurt based smoothie.
I have always wanted to try some homemade graham crackers but haven’t found a recipe I like enough to share just yet. Of course fruits and veggies are always good to have for snacks, but why not add more tools to our bag?
What about you? What are some of your favorite snack alternatives for your toddler? Let us know below in the comments!