Here are a list of snacks that my kids eat:
Its good to try and think of snacks as mini-meals that provide some protein or fat with the starch to keep the little tummies full.
Keep in mind of certain foods being choking hazards for ages 1 to 4 and always watch your child during meal or snack time.
Here is an additional link to some more healthy snacks!
*Remember to watch your child at all times while they are eating and to keep in mind the foods that may cause choking in babies and toddlers.
As a registered nutritionist myself I remember feeling frustrated when I used to see them not touching any vegetables. That is ok! You are doing a wonderful job as a parent/caregiver even serving the kids these nutritious foods. It helps to remind yourself that and just be patient. Just simply put fruits and vegetables on the table at meal time and if they don't eat it, you can show how much you enjoy it! Last night I had put corn on the table with my regular Indian chicken curry and whole wheat chapati (tortillas). They were delighted to hold the cobs in their little hands and bite into them. My 6 year old did fuss as a few got stuck between her teeth. We helped her by teaching her to bite from the side of her mouth. My 2 year old did enjoy holding it and picking at each kernel.
My kids now prefer corn on the cob rather than steamed corn that is cut from the cob or a bag of steamed corn. Its a good idea to try serving different types of the same food. Maybe they prefer a different texture or temperature of the same food. So what is the trick to get a child to eat more of what you want them to eat? Exposure Exposure Exposure!
If you haven't already noticed but by federal recommendations, school lunches should provide a fruit and a vegetable. At the local public school, I choose my child to eat the lunches provided because I see the health benefits of her being exposed to the 2 vegetables on her tray, a fruit, a protein source and a carbohydrate/starch. Honestly like many other busy parents, I don't know if I will get the chance to pack a healthy lunch for my child everyday!
1 - 2 whole beets
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 small apples
2 T of Nuts (your favorite kind!) ( I put chopped walnuts and flaxseeds)
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good quality!)
1 T Raspberry Vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove minced garlic
Begin by steaming beets and cut them into wedges for easier eating. Here is a good website on how to cook beets:
Peel, section and cut the orange.
Place the beets, orange sections and chopped apples on top of the shredded greens.
Whisk together all the ingredients of the salad dressing and pour over the salad bowl
Top with the nuts and seeds.
Note: I usually buy a bunch of the beets. You can use the beet greens in the salad or use it to make chutney/pesto. I suggest steaming all the beets and cutting and storing the leftovers. I take out the beets and put it on the table with the next meal. One extra vegetable exposure for the kids and the family!
They are very important! I remember how hard it was with our busy lifestyle to get my children to sit down with both parents for dinner. Perhaps mornings were a possibility, but even those seemed difficult as getting the kids to brush their teeth, get ready and prepare breakfast or set the table was getting to be almost impossible as we might get late for school or our jobs. So what was left were the weekend breakfast and lunches. I considered that very important at least once or twice a week even!
Now thankfully, with our different schedules and my older one being more independent in daily life skills it’s possible to eat our family dinners. I consider it a beautiful time, sitting down at the table and each of us enjoying food. I make sure I don’t force and only encourage my kids to try everything. I enjoy watching my little one as she devours her favorite food on her plate and mimics our gestures by tasting everything and even trying to serve herself with her little hands. That is my joy. Once I have introduced a variety of foods to my children, I get to learn what their likes and dislikes are. I make sure to have at least one food that each child likes at the table. This way it makes the child feel comfortable and willing to try other foods at the table. For example, today my older one enjoyed her whole-wheat naan, and my little one enjoyed poking a little fork into the diced mango and grapes. I did encourage them to try the Indian lentils or “dal”. Sitting together at mealtime not only teaches the children table manners but also makes eating a meal more enjoyable. There is a lot of research showing the importance of family meals. It brings closeness and stability to the family and children’s lives. It has also been found that kids snack healthier and teenagers stay away from negative lifestyle habits.
Once I feel we are not really doing our family dinners or very little of it, I try to set a goal to make sure we have atleast 1 to 3 per week. Here are a few references that show the documented research on family meal time.
My oldest, came home from school today and declares “Mommy, I tried egg today!”
That called for a celebration for me! Why? My oldest, specifically with certain foods, had refused to eat eggs since she was 2 years. Now after almost 4 years, she decided to try egg on the school lunch tray.
I was happy to see that my trust in all the recommendations based on research does hold true even for my pickiest child! I had to learn not to force her into eating any eggs, but only made sure she saw her parents/family eating it in front of her.
I would set it on the table but never forced her to eat. If we were eating eggs for breakfast, I’d make sure she does eat it in her own way. I would make puddings that were made out of egg yolks.
She mentioned, “Ms. C, my teacher said eggs are good for me.” I felt happy but also confused as to why after so many years of telling her this she never tried it? She loves her teacher and looks up to her. This situation sounded to me like what is called “hero worship.” This is usually seen within a younger sibling who considers their older sibling as a hero and follows their older sibling around everywhere. Maybe she considers her teacher a hero. I could ask Mrs. C to encourage my child to try anything that is the color “green”. I hope my oldest eats more vegetables and maybe after seeing it on her school lunch trays everyday as well as at home and she will one day build up the courage or just merely feel like trying it on her own!