The baby and toddler aisle at the local supermarket can be a confusing place for dads wanting healthier snacks for their young children.
Every dad knows that one of the keys to an easy life (OK, easier life) with a baby or toddler is to always have a snack on hand. Toddlers can be enticed into doing all sorts of things they might otherwise refuse with the lure of a tempting treat.
But in fact, snacks are more than just a way to make a dad’s day run a little more smoothly. Nutritionists say that baby and toddler tummies aren’t big enough to absorb all the nutrients a growing child needs in just three meals a day (even if you cook them yourself). Young children want snacks because their bodies need them.
Well, they need some of them. The problem with snacks for kids – and indeed snacks for anyone – is that so many these days are packed with unnecessary additives, and most commonly salt and sugar. Parents recognise this problem. A survey by baby snack food brand Organix found that:
- 87% of parents say they want more healthy and nutritious snacks,
- 72% want savoury snack food choices they can give to their baby, whether at home or out and about.
So what should dads look for in the snacks they give their children. Here are a few ideas…
1. Read the label
Dads need to get familiar with food labels. In particular, if there are additives in the list of ingredients on the back of the packet we should ask ourselves why.
Not all additives are bad, but it’s fair to ask why a baby or toddler snack needs flavourings, added sugar, and extra salt. The best bet is to go for snacks that contain as few additives as possible, and in particular look out for added sugar and salt. Not only is it bad for children now, it teaches them to regard overly sweet or salty foods as the norm.
In a nutshell, look for fewer ingredients, and simple ingredients. Snacks and finger foods should be made from the sorts of ingredients that you recognise.
2. Ignore the packet
Use the front of the packet to tell you what the product is, but ignore the sales pitch. Pictures of smiling parents and active, ruddy-cheeked children mean nothing if claims about health and nutrition are not supported by the ingredient list on the back. And remember, a few added vitamins mean little if a snack is packed with sugar.
3. Forget the bad stuff, what about the good?
So we don’t want to feed our children unhealthy ingredients they don’t need. The other side of the coin is that we do want to feed them healthy nutrients that will help them thrive.
- Fresh fruit and veg obviously make great snacks (served in appropriately small pieces for small mouths)
- The snacks you buy should also serve up a range of healthy nutrients.
- For instance, snacks that contain vegetables and pulses will give your children extra fibre and B Vitamins. The more natural the ingredients a snack contains, the healthier it is likely to be.
4. Savoury snacks are great
According to the Organix research, more than two thirds of parents want more healthy options in supermarkets. That’s not surprising. Sometimes wandering the baby and toddler aisle of a supermarket means being confronted with an endless procession of sweet treats. Not all sweet foods are bad, of course, especially in moderation, but dads should mix up sweet and savoury snacks to give children a balanced appreciation of tastes.
It’s also not a good idea to use the promise of sweet treats as a reward. That gives small children the idea that sweet foods are somehow better than their savoury counterparts.
Organix – baby and toddler food you can trust
So snacking can be complicated, but the basic message is to read the label, go for natural, and avoid added flavourings, sugar and salt.
With that in mind we’ve teamed up with Organix to offer DaddiLife readers the chance to sample some of their new snack flavours. Organix Goodies Cheese and Onion Lentil Hoops, and Goodies Cheesy Pea Snaps, are toddler snacks containing more than 65% lentils and 65% peas, and made from purely organic ingredients.
Organix Pea Puffs for babies, meanwhile, are made with just two ingredients – 80% organic pea and 20% organic corn. Both of these foods come with the Organix no junk food promise – with no added salt, sugar or flavourings.
This week, we’re giving 3 winners 4 packs of the Pea Puffs! For you chance to win simply enter below. Good Luck!