We have approached an age of toddlerdom that is no-longer really one that I can actually ‘control’ what my girls will eat, rather it is mainly about the choices they make on their own. And to two year olds- its all about the choice making ability.
..and if you don’t let them make the choice, heaven forbid, you’ll be shunned for choosing applesauce over goldfish crackers at snack time.
Up until the twins were 13 months old, I prepared fruit and veggie purees, along with oatmeal for their ‘mealtimes’, and if they hated my puree that day, or randomly rejected the oats I had made (which always broke my heart because of the ounces of breast milk mixed into it..) they nursed just fine every 4 hours – no hungry bellies. After their one year milestone, I introduced them to a ton of new, interesting, and albeit scary foods, and while some they ‘liked’, others it took several attempts t get them to try, eat, and eventually accept that they liked it.
For reference- it can take up to ten attempts of introducing a new food, so don’t give up after the first 2 or 3 rejections:)
We still battle it out at meal times because my kiddos have never been outrageously ravenous eaters- even when they were teeny- never more than 7 ounces in a bottle on their very last day to drink from a nipple. I had to be mindful of the amount of purees and oats I offered because if they ate too much, they wouldn’t nurse well. During that first year we ate yogurt & fruit puree in the mornings for a ‘snack’, and veggies and oatmeal in the evenings as ‘dinner’. I had a hard time not comparing my gils to other babies around me that were drinking 8+ ounces of formula/breast milk and eating three meals a day.
That just wasn’t happening in our house, and that’s okay!
All that being said- snacks are a big deal in this house. I know and find satisfaction that if they don’t eat well at a mealtime, they’ll be asking for a snack in an hour or so. It is for all these reasons that I keep a TON of healthy snack options in the house.
I’ve mentioned some of our favorite healthy snacks HERE
, but I thought this list was in need of an update seeing that the girls were just about 18 months when that post was published. We have gotten pretty creative around these parts in attempts to introduce new foods (snacks) – it always seems to go better when they are in the form of a snack over the pressure of sitting at the dinner table.
When it comes to feeding myself – and now my family, I have a responsibility to keep things relatively healthy. Sure we have things like Oreos (mini golden Oreos are amazingly addictive..) and Fruity Pebbles in the house – because, well, we ARE human. Being a dietitian seems to tag me on the back and 100% healthy, 100% all the time. I’d say about 80/20, folks. 80% of the time I make solid healthy choices, and the other 20% is for cookies, Sour Patch Kids, and too much Mexican Food for dinner.
So – as a mom, regardless of my educational background, I have this responsibility to provide great nutrition to my kiddos and husband. There is a TON of junk on the market – even that labeled as ‘alll natural’ or ‘organic’ can still be highly processed and filled with sugar. Even organic sugar. What.
Sugar is sugar.
See more on organic HERE
There are a ton of ways to eat, purchase, and choose foods- but really, the basics of healthy, clean eating (and I mean real clean eating – not some cleanse.. because those do not happen in this house.)
Whole food ingredients | Fresh produce | Lean meats | Minimal sugar + pre-packaged foods
Preparing meals and snacks for babies, toddlers, adults can be exhausting- but as I have always said, a little preparation goes a really long way. Being prepared with not every single item on the list below is necessary, but taking steps to making these options a regular habit can make your life much easier when it comes to figuring out what in the world to feed your family (or yourself!)
I small confession- a conglomerate of these snacks have actually become ‘on-the-go’ meals in the car. The best of both worlds, right?
So, here we have it:)
All natural peanut or almond butter + apple slices
(a totally NONscary way of making it)
applesauce + graham crackers
mango cubes + lowfat yogurt
banana slices + almond butter (justin’s nut butter is our favorite)
kale chips (chopped kale tossed in olive oil & kosher salt; baked at 275 degrees for 20 min)
hummus + sugar snap peas
+ tortilla chips
cucumbers + cherry tomatoes + 0% plain Greek yogurt
edamame + baby carrots + light ranch dressing
popcorn + cashews
cottage cheese + sliced peaches + pineapple chunks
string cheese + apple slices
celery + peanut butter + raisins
trail mix + frozen greek yogurt
avocado + whole grain bread
sweet peppers + black beans
fruit pouch (we like ella’s kitchen)
dried cherries + multi grain cereal
zucchini sticks + red pepper hummus
orzo + cherry tomatoes + all natural deli turkey (boar’s head) + vinaigrette dressing
fruit yogurt smoothies (stonyfield farms)
goldfish crackers + string cheese
pretzel sticks + nutella
cucumber + watermelon cubes + feta cheese + balsamic
berries + dry roasted (unsalted) almonds + cheese cubes
apple slices + grapes + cubed melon
tortilla chips + fat free (organic) refried beans + tomato salsa
graham crackers + low fat cream cheese + strawberry preserves
tortilla + peanut butter + banana
popcorn + dried apricots
broccoli + carrots + cherry tomatoes + light ranch dressing
plain yogurt + blueberries + honey
clementines + banana slices
cheese cubes + wheat crackers