Ensure proper nutrition at daycare with these excellent snack ideas
Infants have tiny tummies but their nutritional needs are high. Thus, your little baby needs to have nutrient-dense foods, whether he is at home or at the day care. This means that chips and dips or unhealthy junk foods or sweet treats aren’t the perfect food for him.
When you’re with your baby, you can pay attention to what he’s eating, but when he’s at the day care, this responsibility falls on the day care teachers. What you can do to make things easier is pack a few healthy snacks, which will keep your baby satiated and happy. Here are a few easy day care lunch box ideas that your little one will love to eat.
Eggs are packed with protein and very healthy for growing babies. When hard-boiled, they are also very easy to eat. To make sure that the egg isn’t runny, you should boil it for 10-11 minutes. Let the egg cool down before you peel it. This ensures that the egg doesn’t get stuck to the shell. Halve or quarter the egg and sprinkle some salt and pepper over it to prepare one of the easiest toddler snacks for day care.
Stuffed parathas are an Indian mom’s favourite for day care tiffin. These can be customized in a million different ways to ensure that your baby gets something different each day. Parathas can be stuffed with boiled and mashed potatoes, grated cauliflower or carrots, crumbled paneer or soya, or even a mixture of all of these. In addition, you can make the parathas even more nutritious by using flour from different grains. This will make the paratha a rich source of energy, as well as carbohydrates, fibre and other nutrients.
Baked vegetable fries
Kids of all ages love fries but these aren’t the healthiest way to eat vegetables. So, if you’re looking for healthy toddler lunch ideas for day care, how about baked vegetable sticks? You can try making these with potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, carrots and even pumpkin. Baking the vegetables will give them a crunchy exterior and help retain more nutrients. A hummus dip will go well with these ‘fries’. To make a hummus dip, simply blitz together boiled chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, sesame seeds and some seasoning.
Bananas are a great source of potassium and many other essential nutrients. However, they have a low shelf life and can get mushy fast. Once they reach that stage, most children won’t want to eat them. To make such bananas more appetising, you can transform them into banana bread. It looks like cake, tastes like cake, but is way healthier. To make it even more nutritious, replace the sugar with date paste. Banana bread can be baked as a loaf and packed into your toddler’s tiffin as slices. Or, you can bake muffins with the dough.
As a distant cousin of the famous idli, paniyarams are delicious, fried morsels of fermented rice and spices. These are popular toddler meals for day care, especially in South India. Paniyarams are easy to make and can be customised to include vegetable fillings. For a toddler, paniyarams can be heavy on the tummy, and so you may need to include just 2 or 3 pieces in your little one’s tiffin.
Like parathas, sandwiches can be customized in a million different ways. From chutneys and jams to cheese and sliced vegetables, sandwiches can be made with different fillings each day. They are also very easy to eat and make for healthy snacks for day care. You can even fill the sandwiches with leftovers and grill them. To make these sandwiches more appealing, cut them into fun shapes and use a toothpick to hold the ingredients together.
Chocolate peanut butter bars
Full of taste, energy, and also easy to make, these bars are a favourite with working mothers and their toddlers. The best part is that you can make a batch and refrigerate the bars for up to a week. There are many different recipes you can follow- some involve baking, while others do not. For no-bake bars, all you need to do is mix together crispy rice cereal, rolled oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter, honey and vanilla. Let the mixture chill and set in a tray, before cutting them into squares or any other shape.
As your child’s palate develops, you can explore more ideas for easy toddler meals for day care. Don’t pack in too much food because it’ll probably just get wasted. As mentioned in the beginning, your infant has a tiny tummy. Last but not the least, pack the food carefully so that it is easy to eat and causes the least mess.