As parents, we want to raise healthy and happy kids, and this starts with the food we give them and the example we show them. Lucky for us, there are SO many options for healthy alternatives out there–we just have to find them.
I recently went to the Natural Products Expo in L.A. and was overwhelmed with joy at how many companies are trying to make food with natural and quality ingredients. As great as it was, I missed Diego and I started thinking about what foods I give him. Snacks are the one category that I seem to buy packaged food the most, because I grab them when we are in a hurry and need something easy. Anyone else?
So in the spirit of spring cleaning from any junk food in my home, I made a healthy snack food swap for kids. Think of it as those “Eat This, Not That” sections we read in magazines…but now for our kids. These are easy switches and taste slightly different for a HUGE change in nutrients and ingredients.
Healthy Snacks For Toddlers
Salty Snack Swap
Next time you are going to a barbecue, traveling, or having a mid-day snack, try reaching for Boom Chicka Pop’s sea salt popcorn instead of potato chips. Boom Chicka Pop popcorn has fiber, whole grains, and is low in calories and is much more filling. For our kids, it’s not necessarily the caloric difference in the snacks but the fat, salt, and artificial ingredients. Let’s check out reasons why to toss out the chips.
Potato chips are…
- High in saturated and trans fat
- Contain empty calories aka no nutritional value
- Are insanely high in salt
Potato chips pack heavy, negative effects without even filling us up. Here I read that a study found potato chips to be “the most obesity promoting foods for youth to consume”. YIKES!
Chocolate Treat Trade
Every kid loves chocolate pudding, especially since it’s easy to eat and no teeth are required! BUT don’t let that “high in calcium” marketing trick fool you. Pudding is nothing but sugar and is low in calcium. Even if it is “sugar free” that just means they will be using a chemically made sugar that still spikes blood sugar.
Most toddlers don’t need dessert, but luckily this chia pod has nutrients that could make it a fiber-full snack or on-the-go breakfast. The chocolate flavor Chia Pod taste just like chocolate pudding but is made with almond milk, water, cacao, and chia seeds. (For my fellow Scottsdale moms, you can find them at Whole Foods, but they are sold in-store.) Plus it’s an easy self-feeding treat! You can find more information on their website.
Toddlers can have trouble digesting chia seeds, so consult your doctor before introducing chia seeds to their diet.
If you want to take it up a notch, you can make your own healthy and amazing tasting chia pudding that YOU can also enjoy as a healthy snack. Here’s my favorite chia pudding recipe:
Quick & Easy Healthy Chia Pudding:
- Two tablespoons of organic chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon of chocolate or vanilla protein powder, preferably plant-based. I love Garden of Life and Plantfusion.
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or MCT oil (if you are using MCT start with small doses so it doesn’t upset your stomach)
- 1 cup almond milk
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small mason jar and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours overnight. I promise, you will love it! This chia pudding has good fats and fiber and it’s also delicious!
Sweet & Crunchy Swap
Graham crackers are my favorite traveling snack to have with me. I usually throw the packages in a reusable storage bag and bring it in my bag for not only Diego, but for the whole family!
Cookies are a favorite for everyone, but the fat and sugar not only increase chances for diabetes, but they weaken the immune system and the gut’s microbiome. Instead of a sugary cookie, opt for whole grain graham crackers that are low in sugar and perfect for any nut or dairy free kids.
Little Lollipop Treat
Whenever I think of artificial coloring, I think of candies like those little lollipops. They are cheap and always given out at banks and other places as a treat for kids. But instead, I keep a handful of these Yum Earth Lollipops in my car that are organic and use actual flavored with fruit and veggies! Suckers can coat teeth with sugar and really hurt them.
Another reason why I love Yum Earth is that they are 100% dye free. They use ingredients like turmeric, black currant, carrot, or apple to create natural coloring. Keeping lollipops on hand that I don’t feel guilty about giving Diego with loads of chemicals has been a lifesaver.
Here are some Instagram accounts that I loooove to follow for healthy food inspiration for Diego and also Dustin and I!
And that’s all for my list of healthy snacks for toddlers! If you guys have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comments below or on my Instagram!