I’ve always been a bit in awe of mums who are organised enough to remember to take healthy snacks with them. I’ve regularly witnessed a toddler in full-blown meltdown mode, only for the non-harassed mother to quickly whip out a carrot stick and calmness to prevail. Honestly, these mums do exist. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.
Instead, up until fairly recently, our trips to the park have often involved a hasty detour to the village shop for chocolate or ice-cream, in a bid to keep the tantrums at bay. I’ve just never been organised enough to think ahead to packing healthy snacks when we’re out and about.
Our trips to the park tend to happen on the way home from school, a couple of hours before tea time. This is also the time of day that both my girls are peckish and ready for a snack. I’ve had many a mum fail moment when I’ve forgotten the snacks and ended up walking home with two wailing children.
Since Baby Girl – now nine months old – started weaning, I’ve attempted to get a bit more organised about the whole mobile snack thing. I try to sort the snacks out first thing in the morning when I’m making breakfast, chucking things in tupperware boxes to take out with me later that day.
This means that while the occasional chocolate or ice-cream do still happen (for the 5 year old anyway), they’re balanced out by healthier options like fresh fruit and veg and non-sugary snack food. I don’t have time to bake up tasty treats like savoury muffins, so I opt for fresh fruit and veg. Favourite snacking staples include blueberries, strawberries, cucumber sticks, carrot sticks and (by far the easiest because it comes pre-packaged in its own skin) bananas.
Baby food brand Organix recently launched a new campaign aimed at arming parents like me with the skills to help their toddlers love good food. If, like me, you’re looking for ideas for healthy snacks on the go then it’s worth downloading their Little Book of Good Food which is packed full of tips, recipes and information.
For example, did you know there’s no such thing as a “regular” portion size for a toddler? It all totally depends on how active your little one is, and how big they are too. Plus, some days they’ll naturally eat more than others. This is really helpful to remember if you’re prone to worrying about how much your kids eat. I find keeping this in mind helps me stay relaxed about food – and I firmly think that a relaxed approach from the parents, offering healthy options but not forcing the issue, will help to create a happy environment at mealtimes. That’s the idea, anyway.
It’s funny, because I often find that if my kids aren’t interested in eating something at home then they’re far more likely to eat it as a snack when we’re out. Take strawberries, for instance. Some days neither of them are interested in strawberries at home AT ALL. Offer them a strawberry at the park though? Then they’re all over it. I think it’s a classic example of a change of scene giving a food the “novelty” factor.
So, I guess, as a recently converted “snack happy” mum, my three main tips for healthy snacking on the go are:
- Think ahead – if this means chucking some fruit or chopped veg in a tupperware container at the beginning of the day, then so be it.
- Don’t write off a food just because your toddler previously refused it. They might not eat it at home but that doesn’t mean they won’t try it at the park later that day.
- Take a couple of different snacks with you just in case your little one’s in a picky mood. My regular go-to snack package (when I’m feeling ultra organised) includes a banana, some chopped cucumber and a bag of rice cakes.
What tips would you add to the list?
Disclosure: Thanks to Organix for working with me on this post. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.