Need: Ideas for Toddler Finger Foods
There are often times where I need to be out with my little one (age 2), but it is either dangerously close to meal time, or she's just hungry. I really need ideas for healthy snack foods to give her which are pretty complete nutritionally, require no utensils, and don't make a mess.
I don't need a recipe, unless it's too complicated to be explained simply (which I highly doubt in this case). Thanks.
I understand that messes are a given (just look at my car's upholstery), I was just trying to have people keep in mind that the food is for a toddler on the go-lol, so something with a sauce or condiment is probably not going to work. Recommending dry foods was probably what I was after, but I didn't want to limit suggestions if they were good, because I'm always looking for ideas.
Keep in mind, I don't really need "special" food for toddlers. I'm trying to grow a chowhound here ; ) Unusual ingredients are welcome. She is very good about trying things. She may instantly spit them out, but at least she tries them, and very often, foods "grow" on her.
Thank you for the suggestion so far, and I guess I'm doing fine, because I already offer her all of the suggestions given so far. I don't want to sound like an ungrateful know-it-all, so please don't think that I won't welcome more suggestions.
not specific suggestions in know, but general advice first
the sooner you introduce varied flavors to a child, the sooner they will expand their palette.
remember it takes a dozen times for kid to try something before they can even decide if they actually like it or not - do not just accept the 1st no as a permanent thing..
my son is 4 now. he loves olives, apples, strawberries, parmesean cheese, to name a few
"do not just accept the 1st no as a permanent thing.."
I never do. My mom does this with my kids, and it drives me nuts. I'm always happy to see them put something new in their mouth. In the toddler's case, it often comes right back out, but that happens much less frequently as time goes on. I try to keep the pressure off, and always want them to try it, but they don't have to finish it. I definitely don't make special food for the kids though. If they're hungry, they'll eat, even if it's not their favorite.
Mine really like fruit leathers, all manner of dried fruit, baggies of any cereal, and whole wheat pretzels and crackers. They like anything frozen - tube yogurts, waffles, fruits, veggies (all still frozen - I take a cooler with an ice pack if we're out for the day). Plus, you wouldn't believe the healthy monstrosities I get away with calling "cookies" (whole wheat flour, oats, applesauce, dried fruits, nuts, very little sugar). My hoodlums (2 & 5) like to bake, so they like it all the better if they made it themselves. They especially like to make and eat biscotti (pumpkin whole wheat is pretty healthful). Generally when we're going to be travelling, I check out what's new from Kashi or make a trip to Trader Joe's.
My kid is 31 now, and I'm still laughing out loud about the "don't make a mess" in Sebetti's post. I once had to clean scrambled eggs out of the hanging light fixture in the dining room.
But to answer the question, I used to keep frozen fish sticks around. I have no idea if there's anything weird in them, but my son has grown to healthy adulthood. I also fed him asparagus. Another thought, but nothing I ever tried because they didn't have them back them, would be Trader Joe's turkey meatballs. They come frozen and you could microwave them quickly.
I guess I wasn't reading carefully, didn't realize you need things for when you weren't home. Bananas and apple slices are handy. Packaged string cheese is an option. Nature Valley granola bars aren't too awful, and there are worse things than pretzels. I still can't get around the mess thing. It seems like a given with a two year old.
Sadly, there is no super-food that can supply a complete nutritional package - the best you can do is mix and match.
I used to keep 2 - 3 small baggies of cheerios in the car at all times.
tangerines or other easy-peel citrus
If I knew they'd be consumed sooner rather than later:
cheese sticks (thankfully there's more than just string cheese out there now)
small (1 slice of bread cut in half) single item sandwiches. (before 2 yrs, I cut the crusts off since they did pose a challenge - no impact later, at 2.4 he's eating crusts now)
I know this sounds basic and you're probably already using those items but you just can't do anything too complicated - anything that can be taken apart, will be.
Oh, and please don't take this the wrong way but...'don't make a mess?' HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
(I think I could feed a family of four for a week with the crumbs that I vacuum out of my backseat on a weekly basis.)