5 Healthy Snack Hacks: Keeping it Simple and Nutritious Both At Home and On-the-Go

5 Healthy Snack Hacks: Keeping it Simple and Nutritious Both At Home and On-the-Go

When it comes to snacking, we like to keep things as easy as possible for our little ones. Reading labels is good, but it can all become really confusing and the process gives us a headache pretty quickly. So, what do we do?

We keep it simple. We stick to a “whole foods” diet as much as possible (and we don’t mean the store; we literally mean foods in their “whole” form!). The more we learn about food, the more we understand that the less we do to it, the better it is for ourselves and our babies.

A recent article about how packaged toddler foods contain large amounts of sugar and salt got us thinking: what can we do to both make healthy choices and keep ourselves sane? How can we feed our babies wholesome, natural foods that incorporate well into our on-the-go lifestyles, as well as while at home? We are busy moms and we don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying certain packaged items from the grocery store, so long as we know what to watch out for and mix in fresh snacks whenever possible. With that we bring you…

5 Healthy Snack Hacks

  1. Purchase organic dried fruits. Keeping a few bags of organic dried fruits in your pantry allows for a healthy snack that you can also easily grab on the go. A favorite for us is organic raisins, because they contain fiber, potassium, and vitamins. You can also try cranberries, banana chips, mango, diced dates, prunes, blueberries, and whatever else you find in that aisle of the grocery store – the possibilities are endless! Because the fruit is dried there is no need for refrigeration, making it easy to tote around. These are inexpensive, and you’ll find that the ingredient list is awfully short – which is a good thing.
  2. Keep it simple, keep it whole. One of the easiest ways to keep it healthy at home is to make wholesome, healthy snacks both accessible and easy to serve up. Favorite ideas here are: sliced apples with peanut butter, sweet peppers (they are fun to crunch and an excellent source of Vitamins A & C!), a toddler veggie platter, diced grapes, fresh berries, oranges, bananas, cheese, diced avocado, diced tomato, diced cucumber, and yogurt.*A side note about yogurt: while it may sound ironic, it’s best to steer clear of yogurt marketed to babies. Sure, it’s got Elmo on the packaging, but when you flip it around and read the ingredients you’ll find a ton of added sugars and mystery ingredients that offer no benefit whatsoever to your little ones. (What the heck, Elmo?!) It’s better for the health of your entire family, and is more cost-effective, to purchase a tub of plain organic Greek yogurt or regular yogurt and flavor it on your own if you like. My go-to is adding fresh berries, a drizzle of honey, and some flax seeds.
  3. Serve plain organic, unsweetened apple sauce. You can of course make your own apple sauce, which is a great option to keep on hand while you’re home. But I like to also keep some store-bought applesauce on hand in the pantry for those times I need to grab-and-go, and since these don’t require refrigeration, it makes my life easier!
  4. Sliced cheeses. Purchase a few blocks of organic cheeses to have on-hand when your baby needs a snack. You can serve on its own, or alongside a fresh fruit such as sliced grapes or fresh berries. To save time, dice up some cheese on a Sunday and you’ll have it ready-to-go for the week!
  5. Re-define “on-the-go” snacks. Living a busy lifestyle does not mean you have to rely on processed snacks for your toddler. For instance, using the idea in #2, you can even put together a “trail mix” made of your baby’s favorites by combining some in resealable bags, making these great for when running out the door. #3 doesn’t require refrigeration, so you can toss a few in your diaper bag for easy access. Whole wheat crackers, bananas, and clementines are portable favorites as well. And for #4, and others that need to be kept cool, purchase a small insulated lunch bag (you probably already have one) and take snacks with you – we do it all the time! Examples of snacks you can toss in there are sliced apples in a plastic baggy, diced grapes, diced grape tomatoes, and a fresh fruit/vegetable smoothie that you can put in a sippy cup and take with you (made from fresh fruit and yogurt).

Keeping it simple also means we can get rid of certain things. Here are some things you don’t need:

Juices. Juice may taste good, but every doctor we’ve consulted agrees: there really is no nutritional need for your little one to drink it. Water will do just fine, and she will get all the ‘juice’ she needs from fresh fruits. You can save juice for a snack or healthy treat at home, such as juicing a pear and apple together and serving to your little one. If you like, make it a creamy treat by adding a few tablespoons of yogurt, some berries…the possibilities are endless! You can even freeze these into popsicles for a cool spring and summer snack. Also, getting rid of the juice boxes means one less thing for you to have to buy at the grocery store, which is a WIN in our book.

Unhealthy crackers. While crackers can be a great option for on-the-go, too many brands out there are white flour-based, overly processed, and made with unhealthy oils. Swapping out these crackers for ones made with whole grains, and healthier oils, makes them healthier for your child, rather than just a filler that isn’t adding any nutritional value.

Too many snacks. If you are finding it’s hard to keep your baby’s interest during meal times, think about how often your baby snacks during the day. If they are picking all day long, they will likely have less of an appetite for lunch or dinner. By limiting snacks to once or twice per day, they will have a better appetite come dinnertime – and be less likely to reach for snacks when they are fussy or bored.

For more ideas, check out this article on Parents.com: The 20 Best Snacks for Kids.

So tell us: do you have any quick, healthy snack ideas? Share them in the comments!

About Alessandra Macaluso

Alessandra Macaluso is author of What a Good Eater! and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible, host of the Real-Deal Brides Podcast, and blogger at AlessandraMacaluso.com. Alessandra’s work is featured in several anthologies, most recently But Did You Die? which is the fifth installment in a New York Times bestselling series. She has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and many other online publications. Her original screenplay “Polar Suburbia” placed as a semi-finalist in the Moondance Film Festival. Alessandra is mom to two toddlers and a twenty-five pound Maine coon cat who believes he is a dog. She spends her time driving her OCD husband completely nuts with her constant rearrangement of scenery in their home. Learn more at AlessandraMacaluso.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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