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  • Writer's pictureJordan Luster

How to Keep Your Toddler From Snacking All Day: 5 Ideas For Protein Filled Snacks/Meals.

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Whenever talking to fellow mom friends who have toddlers, I’m always asked questions about when and what Jax eats. Most people who know me already know that Jaxon has a very extensive palate. They’re always shocked to hear that my toddler only eats one to two snacks a day. On a typical day, I serve her four meals, and a snack before dinner. (schedule below) 

Jaxon's Typical Meal Schedule

Toddlers have the most ideal metabolism, so they need to eat at least every three hours. If you make sure their meals are packed with protein and nutrient dense foods, it’s not likely they’ll need a snack in between meals. However, be mindful that if your child is used to snacking often, you’ll have to create a schedule (and stick to it), in order to break the habit of snacking. 

Now believe me when I say, I know it can feel like it’s way easier to grab a handful of Cheerios and some blueberries, call it a snack and keep it pushing. It’s convenient, there’s no prep or planning and ultimately you save time. But honestly, how long is that going to sustain them? Now on the other hand, you could take five to ten minutes to make a protein packed meal or snack, and not have to worry about a hangry toddler for another three hours. Both options are going to feed your toddler, but only one will sustain them for a few hours. Not to say that the first option is bad or anything, because sometimes we just want it easy. We don’t always feel like cooking or preparing anything, and that's just mom life! But if you could create daily routines so they know when to expect food and they’re not always snacking (thus you’re not always buying snacks), life could also be easier. 

Typically, Jax only has milk twice in a day. In the morning and at night. I give Jaxon a milk alternative, like many other moms I know, for many reasons. If you are not giving your child cow’s milk, it's best to make sure the milk they’re drinking has a sufficient amount of protein. Jax drinks pea milk, which has about 8-10 grams of protein on average compared to the one or two grams in almond milk. Some other high protein options include (but not limited to) soy and cashew milk. Not only does protein help facilitate proper brain development in young toddlers, but it will also help sustain their appetite between meals. Throughout the day, I serve her water only. On average, she drinks about two sippy cups full of water each day (sometimes more and sometimes less), which also helps her to stay full between meals.

While we have all been home during this COVID-19 pandemic, I keep seeing moms post about the constant snacking. I figured maybe this could help. I can’t speak for every mom and every toddler out there. This is what works best for Jax and I, but I wanted to share and possibly give some insight that could help other moms out. Here are five easy protein packed snack/meal ideas!

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt is packed with protein and pairs well with just about any fruit and cereal. I typically serve it deconstructed on a divided plate with ½ a cup of yogurt, ½ a cup of multi-grain Cheerios and whatever fruit is on hand (usually some type of berry). Sometimes, I swap he cereal for muffins to switch things up.

Nut Butter Waffle with fruit

Whether you make your own waffles or buy the frozen store bought kind, they’re a quick snack that most kids love. Just spread any type of nut butter (I usually use peanut butter), sprinkle with chia seeds (adds protein, iron, fiber and a ton of antioxidants), and then top with their favorite fruit (diced mango, peaches, blueberries and apples are my go to). 

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is a great snack or meal that you can whip up in 10 minutes, then eat on all week. Chicken salad is my go to, because I can repurpose whatever leftover chicken from the week and have a healthy snack on hand. Each time I make chicken salad, I use a different recipe, because I throw in whatever is on hand. Typically my chicken salad includes mayo (or avocado), grapes or apples, pecans or walnuts (sometimes almonds), chopped onion, chopped celery or sweet relish (or both), and a sprinkle of some chia seed just because. Sometimes I serve it with bread, lettuce and cheese, but other times I just pair it with some whole grain crackers and half a stick of cheese.  

Hummus and Crackers

Whether you make your own or buy it from the store, hummus is a healthy, protein filled snack that can go on just about anything. I’ve served it with whole grain crackers, on a tortilla wrap, bread or wheat thins. Add some fruit, and you’ve got the easiest snack that will keep your toddler full until meal time! (Just FYI, I don’t care too much for hummus, but that doesn’t mean my kid won’t.) 

Chia Seed Pudding

This is another snack or quick meal that you can prepare at the beginning of the week to snack on as the days go by. It’s very simple and easy to make. Just mix two tablespoons of chia seeds with ½ of milk, add in whatever fruit your kid loves (I always add berries and banana), and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Mixing the fruit in will add more flavor and sweeten it up. (If you really want a flavor boost, sprinkle some cinnamon in there with a drizzle of honey.)

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