Kids grow up fast. But that age when kids are big enough to ask but not yet at school can be fun. You watch as they learn to master their first words, go from tottering around to running through the house and giggle at just about anything. It is also a time in their lives when they are non-stop eating machines. Toddlers are growing at such an enormous rate that they can barely eat fast enough to keep up!
But they need to, and that is why having snacks that are both tasty and nutritious on hand is so important when toddlers are around. Unless you are the kind of person who can outdo Martha Stewart at whipping up something tasty, you might want a few new ideas. Here are some tried and true snacks we have used around the house that make keeping toddlers fed as easy as pie. Well, if pie is your thing and you love to make crust that is. For the rest of us feeding a toddler is like a never ending task, but one we love.
Chicken and Rice Cups
If you have a rice cooker you can make batches of this up and freeze them for use later. Just add chicken broth instead of water to your rice, toss in some swiftly sautéed chicken cubes and turn that rice cooker on. It will do the job of cooking while you and the kid go dance in the living room or explore toes with the socks off. Add in a bit of a fruity sauce to appeal to their sweet tooth and you have an instant hit on your hands.
Sweet Jerky for Teething
If you have a toddler that is teething this is the perfect solution to two problems in one step! You can make good healthy jerky by slicing up slightly frozen beef or turkey, marinating them in smashed fruit and juice so that it soaks through the meat thoroughly and then drying it. You can do this in your oven quite easily.
Just lay the marinated beef or turkey on a rack and place in your oven at the lowest temperature it will go. Leave the oven door open a crack so that there is air circulating and your meat dries slowly and evenly. Give it several hours for tasty homemade jerky that is perfect for teething toddlers.
Everyone in our house loves these, but they are especially great as a snack for the little tots. I always make double what we can eat and save the rest in little Tupperware dishes for snacking throughout the day. If you can make your own chicken meatballs from leftovers all the better, but good organic chicken balls are handy in the freezer section of any decent grocery store. Best of all they are the perfect size for little hands.
Pumpkin and Squash
In the fall these are really cheap and once you cook them you have tons of great snacking food. You can cook them and them roll them out and pop them in a dehydrator for a quick veggie leather snack. You can cook them up and mash them for tasty food toddlers love to eat with their hands. Just be prepared for lots of clean up or popping the kids in the bath straight from snacking time.