What’s the Difference Between a Snack and a Treat?
Did you know there is a difference between a snack and a treat?
- A snack is food you give your child to tide them over between meals. The purpose of a snack is to nourish your toddler the same way a meal would. Snacks are part of a healthy, balanced diet. Snacks are given regularly.
- A treat is that occasional goody you may give your child. Treats do not add much nutritionally to your child’s diet. Treats are often full of empty calories. This means treats provide calories but not many nutritional benefits like fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc. Because of this, treats should not be given regularly.
Usually simple foods that aren’t overly-processed are best for snacks because they have more nutrients. Also, including fiber-rich snacks like fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your child’s diet can help alleviate toddler constipation. Snacks for small children don’t have to be complicated. Keep them simple, and try to offer a variety of snacks throughout the week if you can, rather than just your toddler’s favorite one or two snacks.
Remember to always watch your child when they are eating and chop food up into appropriate sizes when necessary.
Simple Snack Ideas For Toddlers:
Here are some snack ideas organized into food groups:
Grain: (Tip: Look for whole grains, they are more healthy than refined grains):
Slice of Whole Grain Bread
Whole Grain Cereal (like Cheerios)
Cheese Quesadilla made with Whole Wheat Tortilla
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Apple Cinnamon Brown Rice
Fruit: (Tip: Try to vary the color of fruit your child eats)
Vegetables: (If your child doesn’t initially like a vegetable, keep giving it as an option. S/he may come to like it later)
Sweet potato fries
Corn tortilla with avocado
Cheese Quesadilla made with Whole Wheat Tortillas
Grilled Chicken Pieces
Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
Try not to add sugar or empty calories to your child’s snack if s/he will eat it without adding anything. If you are having trouble getting your child to eat certain snacks though, try giving something to dip it in or add a little seasoning to the snack. It’s important to help your toddler eat healthy food.