My 21 month old stringbean is a grazer. A snacker. A wont-be-caught-dead-without-some-type-of-food-in-hand type of kid. He’s also a great meal eater. He likes just about everything and is always willing to at least try a food. That’s not to say we don’t have our dinner battles. For instance, the other day he wanted to eat 4,000 raisins instead of the taco we made him…which is annoying because he LIKES tacos. A lot. He just really wanted raisins. We are mean parents, so we didn’t let him eat his weight in raisins. Instead we laid down the law and told him he either ate the taco or ate nothing. He finally caved and ate taco (though he tried to do so without our noticing…the little stink!). But this type of struggle is rare, and we are extremely fortunate that he is not picky (yet).
Since he is a snacker, we like to try to keep a big variety of easy (yet relatively healthy) snacks on hand for him. Even though he’s not picky, he does have clear preferences and they change from day to day. He scans the options and is quick with a “no” and head shake when you identify a food item that he doesn’t want. Below is a list of his favorites, which we try to always keep in the house (and the diaper bag, as appropriate). As long as we have at least some of these on hand, we’re sure to (at least eventually) get a “yes!” and sometimes even a happy dance.
We love Gogurt in my house!! Ian is a huge yogurt fan, and I love that we don’t have to worry about his shaky spoon usage (and the messes that may result). The only downside is that Ian likes to cram a LOT of the tube in his mouth, so he usually ends up a somewhat spitty a drippy. But, he’s gotten a lot better, and after he’s eaten half he gives it to me, and I cut it so it’s easier to manage. If only it already came in half-sized portions!
2) Applesauce Pouches
There are tons of applesauce pouches on the market today. When Ian was still eating baby food, I made it all myself (except in rare cases), and I bought reusable pouches for easy storage, serving, and transporting. After he was done with baby food, I still used those pouches, but I put applesauce in them (I would buy a jar and just fill the pouches myself). Then we got busier, and I got lazy, and so now I buy premade applesauce pouches. We’ve tried a lot of them, but our favorites are GoGo Squeez (which I love because of the variety!) and Motts (which I love because they are normally the cheapest and generally have the least sugar).
3) Mott’s Apple Juice Freezer Pops
These were an on-a-whim purchase when my mother-in-law was visiting. It probably took a good 2 months for Ian to really decide that he likes them…and now he REALLY likes them. When he wants a freezer pop, he will pull on the freezer handle and say “pop! pop! pop!” And when I grab it out of the freezer and cut off the top, he does a little happy dance (and sometimes a song). Then he greedily grabs it (generally with a “take kou”, aka Thank You), sucks on it, and goes “oooh, COLD!”. It’s hysterical. These pops are long enough that he usually only eats half of one at a time…so I just cut off the extra plastic, put the remaining pop in a baggie, and stick it back in the freezer. Then when he wants another one (that day, or the next day), I give him the leftover piece.
When Ian was a little baby, we bought him Puffs. They were like baby crack; he loved them. I’ve never seen anyone get so excited over a food in my life (well, except maybe ice cream). As Ian got older, we tried to come up with a more economical snack that would be in the same general segment as the Puffs. Enter Kix! They are small enough that the are very portable and easy for him to eat. We can just fill up a small bowl and leave it on the table and he can grab a few whenever he wants. And one box of Kix lasts a LONG time. Don’t get me wrong- Ian’s not stupid. He knows Kix are NOT Puffs. And if he sees a Puffs container (we had some in the house still because they are great for carrying small snacks), he expects Puffs to be inside and will actively seek them out. But as long as you don’t pretend the Kix are Puffs, he’s fine.
5) Fruit Snacks
These aren’t the healthiest snack we have in the house, so we try to restrict how many he gets, but man does he love them! They’re a great incentive and reward for good behavior, and they also keep him occupied for quite a while (as he attempts to fish them out of the pouch). We’re cheap, so we buy the Great Value fruit smiles. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to mind.
6) Fruit (grapes, clementines)
We try to always have fruit in the house. We prefer grapes because they are bite sized, last a while, and are easy to serve. But when there’s a good deal on clementines we buy them since Ian loves his oranges (and a bag can last at least 2 weeks). Often, Ian will even request fruit as an after dinner dessert- a major win!
Another Ian favorite. As mentioned above, some days he would be content to eat nothing but raisins. The most ridiculous thing is when he grabs a handful and tries to shove it all in his mouth at once…even thought he never succeeds at getting them all in his mouth, he continues to try. At least he’s persistent, right?
Ah! Goldfish! Every kid’s favorite snack. Ian likes to eat them, smush them, play with them, feed them to us, and even drive them around in his toy cars (yes, I realize this is weird). On the plus side, he doesn’t mind if they’re stale (though I mind, as that’s almost always when he tries to feed them to me).
So there you have it! A list of our favorite snacks. And they are pretty affordable, too. What snacks do you keep around? Is your little one a snacker, too?