Anyway, I tried one of the products on my son, I won't lie, he did like it but it got me thinking, how much do people spend on snacks like these? You can easily pay anything up to around 50p a pack, maybe more. This could seriously mount up. Also what nutrition do they provide? I'm sure it varies significantly (I'm not saying everything is bad but is it really necessary to feed your child crisps, even if they don't contain sugar or salt?)
So, here are some top tips for interesting snacks which won't break the bank and won't be full of anything you'd prefer not to be feeding your child.
1. Dried fruit. Not for every snack as it is high in sugar but there's no harm occasionally (and better than chocolate). Why not mix up some bits and bobs like the dried apple, sultana and date mix here?
Tasty and full of fibre.
2. There's no need to buy rice cakes specifically for babies or toddlers, just buy normal adult ones and make sure they have no salt and sugar added. My son used to nibble on these quite a lot as a baby. He's gone off them now, well they are a little bland I can't blame him. Add a little hummus to make more exciting!
3. Clementines / satsumas etc are the ideal portable snack. They have their own wrapping, don't need chilling and they're easy to peel. A fantastic source of vitamin C too. Ideal for growing kids. You may need to cut up for younger kids.
4. Cheese is a great snack if you're at home (if you're out and about then it will need to be kept cool.) Again, there's no need to choose pre wrapped cheese pieces aimed at children, they cost a fortune and the quality and maturity of the cheese isn't anywhere near as good as regular cheese aimed at adults. The processed kinds are often produced using rejects and offcuts so I'd rather give him the prime cheese I'd eat myself. There's no reason why kids can't eat mature cheese either. If you buy mild cheddar for your kids, have a taste of it and realise how flavourless it is!
Also mix it up a bit. No need just to stick to cheddar. My son has nibbled on vintage cheddar, feta, brie and even some parmesan (I was cooking and he wanted to try it, a surprising success.) Just be careful on the salt content of the day if you chose cheese for a snack.
5. Snack biscuits. I posted a recipe recently for some cute biscuits. Ok, biscuits are never going to win any awards for health even if there is no added sugar or salt but at least if you're making them yourself you can include butter rather than hydrogenated fats (which may contain trans fatty acids), exclude salt and sugar and include nutritious ingredients like wheatgerm.
6. Vegetable sticks. Why keep vegetables just to mealtimes? My son particularly likes raw carrot but you could try sweet red pepper (capsicum), cucumber, celery etc. Add a dip like hummus if your child is keen. Mix up the colours of the vegetables to look vibrant (and give different nutritional benefits) and you might have a little vegetable lover on your hands before you know it.
7. Popcorn. Yes, really! You don't have to add loads of salt and sugar. If you do want to add in more flavour, why not add some mild sweet paprika or cheese?
8. Muffins. I have loads of muffin recipes on this blog from sweet to savoury. Why not try some cheese and pepper muffins? What's more is because they freeze well you can grab some out of the freezer before heading out and in this sunshine a couple of hours later, they'll be ready to eat.
9. Halved grapes. Always halve grapes until your child is able to cope with them but better to be safe than sorry. It's one of the most common foods for babies and toddlers to choke on. That said, once halved, they are a great snack and a much loved one for most kids.
10. Toast. Might sound odd but peanut butter on toast or bread isn't a bad choice nutritionally for kids. They need fat in their diet and by choosing a low salt, low sugar brand it helps the overall nutrition of the snack.