I am a big believer in the ‘snack box’. It is like a lunch box, but also contains many many many snacks. Because toddlers tummies are so unpredictable. Some days they are hungry little hippos, hoovering up body builder sized plates of food. Other days it is flat out food refusal. So I like to prepare for every scenario. Enter: the snack box.
Each morning I prepare the snack box for the day. I like to include a variety of fresh and yummy food for my little human. I go mostly fresh and homemade and I steer clear of empty snacks that hold no real nutritional value and don’t fill his tummy.
I like to include a variety of food from each food group, in every colour of the rainbow. This includes dairy, protein, fruits, veg and whole grains. Toddlers like routine and predictability. They thrive on it. So I like to include my sons favourite foods, things I know he will eat. But I also mix in new flavours. Until they too also become favourites. I use the 80% favourite and loved and 20% new and soon to be loved rule. I also strive to keep the food as non messy as possible because it is normally consumed on the go. Definitely no spaghetti bolognese in my snack box. I save that for the dinner table.
So what goes into my snack box? Here is a sample of what to include that you can use for inspiration if you are stuck for ideas. A lot of the recipes come from One Handed Cooks as I absolutely LOVE their recipes and their food philosophy.
- Plain Greek Yoghurt. I buy the tubs of Tamar Valley plain greek yoghurt and have a reusable squeeze pouch (from Eat Teeth Sleep) that I fill up and use again and again. Money saver! But the Tamar Valley Kids are also popular in an emergency and have only 3g of sugar per 100g.
- Fresh Fruit – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, mandarin, kiwifruit and apple are our favourites.
- Dried Fruit – sultanas and apricots
- Vegetables – cut up carrot sticks (or baby carrots), cucumber sticks, red capsicum strips, cut up cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas. Using a spiralizer making vegetables into ‘noodles’ or ‘worms’ also works well as they look more fun.
- Dips. If your toddler is fussy, try serving veggies with a dip on the side. Best part about dips is they can also be filled with veggies. Try green hummus , guacamole or carrot
- Hard boiled egg
- Mini savoury and sweet muffins. My favourites are these cheesy corn and carrot. I add sultanas so they are both sweet and savoury all in one delicious little muffin.
- Oat bars. My son is obsessed with these and I never leave the house without one. Oat bar was actually one of my sons first words. I always add grated carrots to maximise the vegetables.
- Cheese and vita wheat crackers.
- Ain’t nothing wrong with a good old sandwich. I use whole grain bread or pita wraps with a variety of toppings. Here are my favourites:
- Peanut butter. Add banana if you are feeling crazy
- Egg and lettuce
- Cheese, avocado and tomato. I sometimes toast these ahead of time too.
Using a sandwich cutter is a fun way to make sandwiches more interesting for toddlers. Especially turning them into dinosaurs or unicorns.
- Pasta Salad. Whole grain pasta spirals or penne with mixed veg. Veg including sliced cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, peas, roast pumpkin and I always add some cheese. Maybe homemade pesto.
- Vegetable fritters. You can put any combination of veg in these. I use this recipe as a base and make it based on whatever I have in the fridge at the time.
- Zucchini vegetable slice. This is a classic, but an amazing lunch option because you can pack extra veg in there. I usually add mushrooms, red capsicum and carrot. I omit the bacon and use wholemeal flour.
- Vegetable quinoa balls. They can be a bit hit or miss with my son, but are good as a side option. If your toddler doesn’t eat them, they are delicious for you too!
- Pumpkin Loaf with cheese on top.
- Nuggets. A healthy version! Either this chicken recipe or this veg recipe. Sometimes I make the chicken ones as ‘sticks’ instead of nuggets just to mix things up.
All of the above recipes can be made ahead of time and frozen in portions in the freezer, ready to just chuck into your snack box to go. They are all things that I enjoy too so I can have a little taste if I am hungry.
Be sure to invest in a good cooler bag and ice pack. Always pack water and you are good to go! Happy snacking.
If you enjoyed these ideas, why not check out Quick Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers for more inspiration. I would love to hear what you pack in your toddlers snack box. I am always on the hunt for further inspiration.
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