What do toddlers and parents have in common? Answer: Both are usually too busy to eat. Toddlers are preoccupied exploring the world around them and they keep their parents moving right along with them. They rarely want to sit down and eat and it can be a challenge to try and meet the nutritional needs of a growing kiddo and yourself at the same time. As parents, we worry that our kids aren’t getting enough nutrition so we run ourselves ragged trying to feed them and often forget about our own health. I have been guilty of this time and time again. How do we find balance and get everyone fed at the same time?
I’ve found that the best way to balance all of our diets and keep my sanity is to stock my pantry and fridge with healthy, portable, mini meals and snacks. Healthy snacking is a great way to go when your family is always on the run. As long as you are prepared and have the right foods on-hand, it’s super easy to eat well with minimal effort.
Food That Moves With You:
- Fresh fruit, crackers and cheese- Make yourself and your kiddo a mini appetizer plate (think cheese course at a fancy restaurant).
- Nuts-a quick protein boost. Remember, don’t share these with your littlest eaters unless they’ve already been introduced to nuts and even then, always supervise children when they are eating nuts to avoid a choking hazard.
- Hard boiled eggs- hard boiled eggs are great because they are a good source of protein, B vitamins and Choline They can be made ahead of time and last up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Hummus and baby carrots- Kids love to dip and dash and hummus is a great snack full of protein and fiber.
- Oatmeal Squares or Banana Oatmeal Bites - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and these bars and bites are a great way to take your breakfast with you and a perfect way to eat oatmeal even during the warmer months.
- Smoothies- Frozen fruit, water, soy, rice or cows milk, a quick whizz in your blender et voila!
- Mini Pita Pockets and Wraps- stuff pitas with turkey, avocado, a slice of cheese and a drizzle of EVOO and you are good to go. If you have more time, make a quesadilla with the wrap, some cheese and chopped tomato.
- Yogurt- Great for a protein and calcium boost for parents and kids.
I like to whip up a batch of these Banana Oatmeal Bites on a Sunday so I have them for the week ahead. They keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container and are the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack.
Banana Oatmeal Bites
Makes 24 mini muffins
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- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini muffin tins with butter or line them with mini muffin liners.
2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and rolled oats.
3. In another bowl, combine eggs, bananas, oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Fill each muffin cup up to the top and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will keep for 5 days tightly sealed in an airtight container or plastic baggie.
Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger at TakeBackYourTable.com. She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.