Snacking in moderation plays an important supporting role to the main meals, especially for toddlers. Yes, this sounds strange as snacking is typically associated with negative connotations such as spoiling appetite before a meal or creating bad habits.
However, giving the correct snack for the correct reasons should be welcomed. There are 3 types of snacks that actually do more than just fill your baby’s tummy. These include:
Snack To Learn
Your child learns and hones many skills during snack time – fine motor skills when picking up the tiny bites or thin cracker and hand eye coordination skills as well considering how small his fingers are and undeveloped his abilities are.
Snack To Add
Once your baby is in the semi-solids or solids phase, snacks are great in helping him to fill his tummy in-between the main meals. These small nibbles should be nutritious and easily digestible so as to also help meet nutritional requirements without spoiling his appetite.
Snack For Relief
Some snacks are designed to soothe teething woes and provide oral gratification as well. Being curious growing buds, they like to put things into their mouths and snacks present as a chance for them to simply indulge without being reprimanded.
However, with moderate snacking being advantageous, it is important to note that there are some not-so-good reasons to snack as well, and it should be avoided.
- Do not leave your child unattended
Even though snacking is not a main meal, a baby should never be left unattended when eating. It must be regarded as seriously as possible like mealtime feeding. Let your baby sit upright (crawling, tottering and walking increase the risk of choking) on a high-chair.
- Avoid having snacks, all day, everyday
According to dietitian Sally Kuzemchak, toddlers who snack all day won’t be hungry at mealtime and are much less receptive to trying new foods. Instead, have scheduled snack times, like mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Asking your toddler to wait for his snack may be hard at first if he’s used to snacking whenever he wants.
- Do not use snacks as a medium to keep your baby quiet
Constant snacking in car and stroller not only creates a huge mess in the car and stroller, but it also means tots are never really focusing on their food, so they can’t listen to their internal cues of hunger and fullness.
- Stop the snacking before or after mealtime
It’s frustrating when your toddler comes to the table and doesn’t want to eat. “Snacking before mealtime can dull their appetite and may sabotage dinner time too,” advises Sally.
- Do not mix up snack and treat
Most snacks should be made up of the same kinds of foods you serve at mealtime, like fresh veggies and fruit, whole grains like crackers and bread, and protein foods like hard-boiled eggs and dairy. Treats on the other hand tend to come with a chock full of sugar, preservatives, and added colourings. Just be sure your child and you do not mix these up as too much treats is not good for the little one.
Your child may be ready for some snacking action if he crawls with stomach off the floor, begins to self-feed with fingers or starts to use jaw to mash food. Here are some fuss-free snacks for you to pack with you when you’re out and about.
Pigeon Rice Carrot and Tomato Snack is a light snack and easy snack for baby to eat and each pack contains 9mg of calcium, a great nutritional addition to in-between meals. Its crunchy texture helps to develop and also strengthen baby’s jaw muscles too.
Light and airy, the Gerber Graduates Puffs is made from wholegrains, real fruits and Nutriprotect™ formula. It melts in your baby’s mouth for easy digestion and its fun shape and right size makes this the perfect first finger food.
Gerber Graduates Yogurt Melts are packed with real fruit and natural yogurt. It contains live and active cultures – good for your toddler’s digestive health. The delicious, little, no-mess bites are easy to chew and swallow.
Rafferty’s Garden Fruit Snack Bars is a delicious snack made with carefully selected wholesome natural ingredients in a convenient pack. It includes fruits and oats that contain no artificial colours, flavours, additives or preservatives.
What are some other snacks your toddler eats? Share with us in the comment box down below.