10 nutritious winter on-the-go snacks for toddlers
When traveling with toddlers during the winter season, it's important to have a variety of healthy snacks on hand to keep them energized and satisfied. In this blog post, we will provide you with a range of nutritious snack ideas that are perfect for winter travel. These snacks are not only delicious but also easy to pack and enjoy on the go. Let's dive in and get inspired!
Building a healthy snack
Just because you are out and about doesn’t mean we want to skimp on the snacks for your toddler, actually it’s even more important to make sure their snacks will sustain them for a long time to keep their energy up.
However, when it comes to making snacks for your toddler, not all are made equal. While snacks definitely don’t need to be complicated, it is important that they are balanced to ensure your child stays fuller for longer and gets the nutrients they need throughout the day.
Grabbing a piece of fruit for your toddler as you run out the door might feel like the healthy option, but it won’t sustain their energy levels for long. However, when you add in a source of protein or healthy fats as a complex carbohydrate it is going to leave them much more satisfied – and give you a few more moments before they come asking for more!
This ‘balanced’ snack is what we like to call the mini meal mindset. Just as we would serve up a variety of options at a main meal, we want to do the same at a snack time. This means including a source of carbs (or fibre), a source protein or healthy fats and a fruit or vegetable to keep up their exposures and variety!
- • Carbohydrates/ fibre: Wholegrain bread, Cheerios, rice cakes, Vita wheat crackers, healthy muffins, or cookies. These will provide a great source of quick release energy.
- • Protein: Milk, dairy, cheese, nut butter, eggs, legumes. Protein releases energy much slower which helps to keep your children fuller for longer periods of time. Children can only absorb a small amount of protein at one particular meal so that's why it's great to add small portions of protein to every meal!
- • Healthy fats: Nut butters, avocado, olive oil. Healthy fats slow the release of sugars in the bloodstream and support your child's growing bodies. Often foods that contain healthy fats will also contain protein!
- • A fruit of vegetable: keeping up exposures to fruits and vegetables at every meal is the best way to help your toddler learn to like them, especially when served with some of their favourite snack foods!
When you adopt the mini meal mindset to packing snacks, not only will it sustain your little one’s energy for longer it will also ensure they are getting good variety throughout the day and help to boost their mood - We all know the terrors of a hangry toddler!
Snack tips for winter travel
When it comes to travel, whether you are going on a day trip or a bit further afield you want to make sure your snacks are portable, nutrient dense and minimal mess (well as minimal mess as feeding a toddler ever could be!). This comes down to a few different things – storage, food safety and the types of food you select.
Ensure you pack it in a container that is easy for your child to manage themselves, like the b.box mini lunchbox or snack box, can prevent it from being upended in frustration or by mistake. The b.box bowl + straw are also perfect for those little hands to reach in with the no spill guard.
Just because it is cold out, doesn’t mean it’s at a temperature to keep that food safe. Where possible avoid perishable items so you can always have a stock of snacks in your bag or the car. But when you do opt for perishable items like yoghurt pouches or cheese make sure to use a small ice brick to keep food safe.
Food you select
It’s important to keep your toddlers’ favourites in mind whilst also providing them the opportunity to explore new foods away from the pressure of a formal mealtime. We have loads of ideas below.
10 nutritious snack ideas
Using the Mini Meal Mindset to build snacks doesn’t need to be complex. Here are 10 of our favourite mini meals to take when traveling with your toddler this winter:
1. Crackers with cheese and veggie sticks
Vita wheat crackers or rice cakes are a great complex carbohydrate and coupled with cheese slices for that protein hit. It is an easy snack to bring together before you head out the door. Don’t forget to add a veggies option, even better if it’s one they are learning to like to increase their exposures.
2. Bliss balls
Bliss balls are a mini snack in themselves – hitting that carbohydrate, protein, and fruit intake. You can make them with nuts or without like these nut free apricot bliss balls. Couple them with some fruit or vegetables for even more exposure and variety.
3. Toddler trail mix
Cheerios are a fan favourite among fussy toddlers, but as a nutritionist I am a big fan as well – not only are they made on wholegrains, they are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, in particular iron, making them a great base for this toddler trail mix. Serve it up in the b.box bowl + straw to prevent any mess!
Prep Time: 5 mins
- • 1 cup Cheerios
- • ½ cup freeze dried strawberries, roughly chopped
- • ½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
Mix in a large mixing bowl and then serve up ¼ cup trail mix to form individual portions.
4. Ants on a log – celery with peanut butter and sultanas
Ants on a log is a classic snack and for very good reason, with minimal prep this snack brings the nutrition and the fun! Pack the celery sticks full of peanut butter or your toddler’s favourite nut spread and top with sultanas or currents!
5. Blueberry and bran muffins with a piece of fruit
Nothing better than a delicious healthy muffin for snack time. This one is great to prep ahead and stock the freezer. When you are ready to travel, they are the perfect size for the b.box snack box with plenty of room for a piece of fruit as well!
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
- • 1 ½ cups wheat bran
- • 1 cup buttermilk
- • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- • 1 egg
- • 2/3 cup brown sugar
- • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- • 1 cup plain flour
- • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- • 1 teaspoon baking powder
- • ½ cup dates, roughly chopped
- • 1 cup blueberries
- • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin cases.
- • Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk then let stand for 10 minutes.
- • Beat together oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla then add to buttermilk/bran mixture.
- • Sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.
- • Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture until just blended. Fold in dates and frozen blueberries and spoon batter into prepared muffin tray.
- • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
- • Cool and enjoy.
6. Savoury muffins – a complete snack in itself
Savoury muffins like these ones, are a great snack for toddlers. They don’t contain all of the sugar that some sweet snacks contain and can be filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients. Try and choose ones with a few serves of vegetables and cheese or eggs for that protein hit!
7. Hummus, pita chips and veggie sticks
Dips are a great engaging snack for fussy toddlers. If hummus isn’t their style, you could make a protein rich hummus with a different type of legume like this whitebean and pumpkin dip. Serve it with some crunchy pita chips and veggie sticks to keep up those exposures.
Like Cheerios, Weet-Bix are great to top up the nutrients that may be lacking in your fussy toddler’s diet. Naturally sweetened with some apple they are great for kids of all ages.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
- • 4 Weet-Bix crushed
- • 1 cup plain flour
- • ½ tsp bi-carb
- • 1 tsp cinnamon
- • 150 g butter melted
- • 1 egg
- • ¼ cup maple syrup
- • 1 apple, grated
- • ½ cup sultanas
- • Heat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- • Combine the Weet-Bix, plain flour, bi-carb and cinnamon in a bowl.
- • Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter, egg and maple syrup.
- • Stir until just combined and then stir through the apple and sultanas.
- • Scoop 1 tbsp mixture onto baking tray, placing them at least 1 inch apart.
- • Then bake in the oven for 15 mins.
9. Roasted fava beans and dried apricots
Roasted fava beans like these ones are a great easy snack for fussy toddlers. Couple them with dried apricots to round out the snack. Take them out of the packet to help reduce excitement of packaged snacks and serve them in the b.box bowl + straw.
10. Pea crisps + muesli bar
A protein and carb rich combo that brings both a sweet and savoury element as well as a vegetable snack – it ticks all the boxes. This snack is great to have on hand anytime as its non-perishable. When choosing a muesli bar try to opt for one with less than 10g sugar per bar and one that contains nuts or seeds for that source of healthy fats.
Snack preparation and packing
Just like any mealtimes, preparing snacks everyday can get old really fast and let’s not even mention what happens when the snacks aren’t ready the instant your ‘hangry’ toddler comes demanding them.
The good thing about snacks on the go is that you have to have them prepped before you head out the door. But that doesn’t mean we want to be spending time or energy preparing them every single day. So, what is the solution?
Prep big batches, ahead of time
One of the best things you can do to take the work out of preparing snacks to take out while travelling this winter is get prepared. Make up a double batch of the recipe – whether it is pancakes, cupcakes, or cookies and freeze them so you can just pull them out and go.
Store them in individual portions!
Secondly, it’s important to store your snacks in individual portions. But this isn’t just about storing your homemade snacks so you can easily pull one out of the fridge or freezer.
You can also apply this to shelf stable snacks, fruit, and vegetables. Portion out your snacks into individual portions and pack them into your containers ready to go. This not only makes it more convenient but takes all of the thought out of what to serve up for snacks when you are rushing out the door.
When it comes to healthy snacking habits for your kids, it’s important to treat it just like any mealtime and offer them up a food you know they will like a food as well they might still be learning to like. This not only improves their variety, but also takes the pressure off those learning to like foods. Where you can, get your kids involved in helping you prepare, portion out or even pack the snacks.
Most importantly also make sure to pack water to ensure they stay hydrated on the go. When it’s not hot, kids can often struggle to feel thirsty so give them little reminders to have a sip every now and then!
With these healthy snack ideas for winter travel, you can ensure that your toddlers stay nourished, happy, and satisfied throughout your journey. Remember to prioritize their nutritional needs while keeping the snacks exciting and enjoyable. Bon voyage and happy snacking!