Snack time is an important part of your toddler’s daily nourishment. It usually involves something lighter and more fun than what is usually served at mealtime, but it should definitely also be healthy. As a matter of fact, you can supplement the nutrient intake of picky eaters through wholesome snacks that you carefully choose for their nutritional content.
Homemade vs. Commercial
Life would be so much easier if the commercially available pre-packaged snacks are wholesome, but more often than not, they have stuff you don’t want getting into your kids. Chemical additives such as preservatives, artificial flavor enhancers, and artificial colors are usually included in the list of ingredients.
And then there’s sugar. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup not only rot their teeth, but also mess with their bodies. It gives them an energy boost that has them jumping off the walls. The insane activity level is unfortunately usually followed by a crash. Sugar also compromises the immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to infection.
If you have the time and know-how, you can just provide homemade snacks for your kids. You know what goes into them and they certainly wouldn’t have anything added to extend their shelf life or make them more commercially appealing.
Homemade snacks may also provide creative bonding moments for you and your children. Healthy baking with toddlers may not be the tidiest activity there is. Also, it might not produce the best-looking and best-tasting fare ever. Notwithstanding this, you cannot equal the preciousness of the experience of making edible treats with them.
Tips for Toddler Kitchen Time
Kitchen activities with toddlers aren’t for the faint of heart. You definitely need to go into them with eyes wide open and your patience reserves brimming. Here are things you need to keep in mind to keep disaster and stress at bay.
1. Start with a tidy kitchen.
You’ll soon be getting it messy, so it’s better if you’re starting with an orderly kitchen. Mess upon mess is usually too overwhelming. Many moms snap under the chaos. Also, cleanup wouldn’t have to be a mountain of a chore.
2. Clean and disinfect the surface you’ll be working on.
There will be lots of spills. To avoid wasting ingredients, it would be nice if you could still mix in the spilled ones and use them. Working directly on the surface would also be an option.
3. Use ingredients that are safe to eat raw.
Those toddler hands are fast. Rarely are parents quick enough to stop their little ones from putting things in their mouth, so if they decide to eat an ingredient during preparation, it would be less of a strain on your sanity if you don’t catch them licking raw egg.
4. Stick to items that are non-sharp, non-pointy, and non-breakable.
You don’t want sharp and pointy objects around a toddler, so limit their utensils to spoons, spatulas, spreaders, and safe cookie cutters. Cups, bowls, and other dishes should preferably be plastic, metal, or wooden.
5. If possible, don’t use heat.
Baking or cooking with kids is fun, but until they know enough not to touch the oven, stove, or food while it’s hot, it’s better if you don’t have to contend with burn possibilities on top of everything else.
There are plenty of no-bake or no-cook snacks you can make instead.
6. Be flexible and focus on fun.
If you’re going for those special moments, don’t ruin the experience by being a perfectionist. So what if the kitchen looks like a calamity zone? It can be cleaned up. So what if the snacks are far from Pinterest-worthy? They’re edible. You and your kid made them, so you should still be proud.
With homemade snacks, you can be certain that you’re giving your children something entirely wholesome. You could also throw in the bonus option of making memories and aiding their cognitive development in the process. Your kids will also be more interested in eating something that they helped make.
Make sure to partner their treat with the drink of choice, either water or milk for 1-3 years old, and you can count on snacking to be at its most ideal.