Having a preschooler is like having a very tiny teenager who is always demanding snacks. Some days it feels like a full-time job being the bearer of snacks in the house. As a mom of a six and four-year-old, I get this! Thankfully I have come up with some filling snacks that take some of the pressure away. We all have our moments when we don’t care if they have goldfish crackers for breakfast, but when you’re feeling ambitious check out these easy ways to add in healthy foods into your child’s diet.
Avocado and Peanut Butter Sandwiches
One trick I have learned about picky eaters is that texture is a big deal. If it’s not a texture that they like or have any desire to try, it’s a tough sell. Avocado and peanut butter have virtually the same texture when mixed together. Peanut butter also is very strong (and delicious) in flavour. I often mix these two together in a bowl and then add to a sandwich for my son for lunch. He rarely knows that there is anything different because the colours blend together, and it helps him get some extra healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids into his diet. This can also be done with Sunbutter if your little one is allergic to nuts!
Meatless Monday Falafel Bowls
Falafels are not only super easy to make, but they are also really easy for your kids to help with. You can make them from scratch with chickpea flour and spices, or you can buy ready to mix packages in the natural food section of your grocery store and just add water. Your kids will love stirring the mix and making uniform size “meatballs” with an ice cream scoop, and most kids love the taste because it’s not too strong. We serve with ready to serve brown rice (either make a big batch on the weekend, or you can buy already cooked brown rice that just needs to be heated up) and lots of carrots.
Pancakes with Oat Flour and Oat Milk
What kid doesn’t love pancakes? Mine would eat them every day for every meal if they could. Often pancakes are high in processed flour so I began making my own with oat flour and oat milk as the main ingredients. This can be done with any regular pancake recipe, but instead of white flour I add in oat flour (not oats as this would make it lumpy!) and to add variety I use oat milk or coconut milk instead of water. If you’re trying to add in calories for your busy little bees, I would add in 10% cream instead of water and make the pancakes super smooth and creamy. These can also be frozen and reheated for easy breakfasts before school.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This one is a favourite of mine because it’s school-safe (no nuts!) and pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, fiber and iron. This is also a really inexpensive snack if you buy them in bulk. Pumpkin seeds can be found hulled or shelled and both are safe for your preschooler to eat. The shelled pumpkin seeds can be tossed with either salt and a small amount of avocado oil and then roasted, or you can add in a tablespoon of melted butter and cinnamon/sugar and then roast them. Both are amazing and are an easy snack on the go. I would not give these to kids under the age of 3 though, as the shell on the pumpkin seed can be a choking hazard for young toddlers without a lot of teeth.
Navigating the world of picky eating and fitting healthy foods into your day can be so hard. Give yourself a lot of grace though, mama. Some days you will knock it out of the park for healthy eating, other days your kids will live on cereal and hot dogs. You got this!