It’s an hour before dinner and your toddler is whimpering that she’s hungry. You want to give her something nutritious and light to hold her over without spoiling her dinner. Prepare something quick and simple using fresh fruit or vegetables or, if you like to plan in advance, have some healthy cookies or other baked goods on hand to give as a snack.
Quick and Healthy Trail Mix
Combine 1 cup of ring shaped toasted oats with 1 cup crushed pretzel pieces, half a cup of raisins and half a cup of nuts in a large bowl. You can leave out the nuts if your child has an allergy. Feel free to trade the raisins in for another dried fruit your toddler will eat. If you want to add a hint of sweetness, add in half a cup chocolate chips. Divide the trail mix into 1/2-cup portions. Store each portion in a small plastic container or snack-sized zip-top bag.
Yummy, Egg-Free Oatmeal Cookies
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 of a cup of canola oil with 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Mix until the sugar is fully incorporated into the oil. In a small measuring cup, mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 2 tablespoons water and add to oil and sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add in 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and mix well. Stir in 1 cup of quick-cooking rolled oats. If you would like, add in 1/2 cup of raisins. Scoop dough into teaspoon-sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated, 375 degree F oven for 8 minutes. You want the cookies to be soft and only just set. Let cool on a wire rack.
Turn boring raw vegetables into cute critters your toddler will want to eat. Cut carrots or cucumbers into rounds. Top each round with two raisins or nuts for eyes. Place another raisin just below the eyes for a nose. Coat the inside of a stick of celery with peanut butter or cream cheese. Place a row of raisins on the peanut butter to make ants on a log. Turn a cucumber into a racing car by threading carrot rounds onto a toothpick and sticking two rounds on each end of a cucumber stick for wheels. Be careful when serving the cucumber car to your toddler. Take the toothpicks away from him after dissembling the car.
Puree 2 cups of milk, soy milk or rice milk with 1 cup of the fruit of your choice, such a peaches, strawberries or banana. Feel free to mix and match fruits. Add a dash of vanilla. Pour the fruit mixture into a Popsicle mold and the sticks into each mold. If you don’t have a Popsicle mold, use small paper cups and plastic spoons. Freeze for several hours, until solid.