A nutritionist friend once told me to think of a toddler’s diet in terms of a full day or even a week. My daughter doesn’t eat a balanced diet at every meal, but with the right snacks I usually manage to convince her to eat one or two veggies, proteins, dairy etc. per day. I consider snacks an opportunity to fill in mealtime gaps. Below are listed two snacks I count toward her fruit/vegetable intake and one for protein. The other is a pretty decent replacement for sugary snacks.
These are all healthy snacks that toddlers love to eat because they’re fun, bite-sized, and tasty!
Note: You will probably notice that a food dehydrator is needed for one of these recipes. Dehydrators are wonderful because they allow you to “cook” foods at low temperatures so that valuable enzymes, vitamins and minerals are not destroyed. If after reading this you decide you’re in the market for a food dehydrator, make sure you buy one that has a temperature control function.
“Roasted” or Salted Nuts
- Pecans – Soak 2 cups pecans in warm water with 1 tsp sea salt for 7 hours. Rinse, place in dehydrator, sprinkle with salt, then dehydrate at 105-150 degrees for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.
- Almonds – Soak 2 cups almonds in warm water with 1 1/2 tsp sea salt for 7 hours. Rinse, place in dehydrator, sprinkle with salt, then dehydrate at 105-150 degrees for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.
- Cashew – Soak 2 cups cashews in warm water with 1 1/2 tsp sea salt for no more than 6 hours. Rinse, place in dehydrator, sprinkle with salt, then dehydrate at 200-250 degrees for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally. Note: According to Nourishing Traditions, raw cashews are not truly raw. They have to be heated to 350 degrees while in their shell to neutralize a toxic oil called cardol. Dehydrating at low temps is not necessary since the enzymes have already been destroyed. Soaking still makes them more digestible, though.
- Pumpkin Seeds – Although not technically a nut, these are still really good! Soak 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds in warm water with 1 tbsp sea salt for 7 hours. Rinse, place in dehydrator, sprinkle with salt, then dehydrate at 105-150 degrees for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.
Nutrition Facts: Nuts are high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats. There is a caveat, though.
Nuts and seeds naturally contain enzyme inhibitors. And by soaking them, you not only release the toxic enzyme inhibitors, but also increase the life and vitality contained within them! The purpose of these enzyme inhibitors is to protect the nut and/or seed until it has what it needs for growing (ex. sunlight, water, soil, etc.). Since the soak water will contain the enzyme inhibitors, and is very acidic to the body, please be sure to rinse your nuts and seeds well after soaking. Source: Avena Originals
Just Tomatoes, Etc.
Perfect for when you’re “on the go,” these freeze dried snacks with absolutely nothing added provide a nutritious alternative to portable junk food. My friend Cindy calls them her answer to Cheerios. Organic varieties available: apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, mango, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, carrots, corn, peas and tomatoes.
Nutrition Facts: Check their nutrition page for a breakdown on each specific product.
Nutrition Facts: Katie calls kelp “help help,” and she’s right. Sea vegetables “offer the broadest range of minerals of any food . . . are an excellent source of iodine [which supports healthy thyroid function] and vitamin K, a very good source of the B-vitamin folate, and magnesium, and a good source of iron and calcium, and the B-vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid. In addition, sea vegetables contain good amounts of lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.” I like Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brand because they dry at low temperatures to keep enzymes active.
Source: WH Foods
Photo Credit: Rotorhead
Recipe at The Nourishing Gourmet. I use half the amount of juice called for in this recipe (substituting with water) to cut down on the sugar.
Nutrition Facts: I’m actually not sure about this recipe. There is conflicting info out there about the quality of commercially available gelatin (UPDATE: Click here for grassfed gelatin). Still, it’s better than cookies ; – )