With the summer season in full swing, the days are long and jam-packed with fun activities. But this can sometimes mean that mealtimes and routines change, leaving parents struggling to maintain a healthy and varied diet during weaning and toddlerhood.
Highlighting the importance of good nutrition during the First 1000 Days, from pregnancy right up to two years of age, the First 1000 Days team have come up with simple summer snack tips and recipe ideas from leading dieticians and nutritionists that are easy to prepare and full of important nutrients for toddlers.
To help take the hassle out of cooking for your toddler, the First 1000 Days team have compiled a list of ten healthy snacks that you and your family can enjoy together this summer:
1. A boiled egg and wholemeal toast soldiers
2. Some chopped fruits such as banana or apple
3. A small yoghurt and some raisins
4. Soft cooked vegetable sticks with yoghurt dip
5. Half a bagel and cream cheese
6. A small wholemeal scone with butter
7. Cheddar cheese cubes and seedless grapes
8. Vegetable soup
9. Mini pitta pocket with tuna
10. Hummus or cheese and wholegrain crackers
Michelle Gray, Dietician at Danone Early Life Nutrition, explains why nutrition is so important at this stage: “During the toddler stage, feeding your little one with the right foods rich in iron and other important nutrients has a powerful impact on their brain development and future potential right throughout their lives. It’s a fact - children who get enough iron during the First 1000 Days will do better at reading, writing and maths when they are starting secondary school than those who don’t."
“Your toddler should be having around 3 meals and 2-3 healthy snacks per day. At this stage they won't be drinking a lot of milk - 300mls of milk or growing up milk per day is sufficient as too much will impact their appetite for normal meals. It’s really important that their daily diet includes lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, dairy and wholegrain cereals. It’s all about variety! You should try to expose your little ones to a wide range of healthy meals and snacks which encourage them to make healthier food choices. Remember, toddlers are heavily influenced by their parents’ behaviour, so always try to lead by example. Remember also, it’s a good idea to buy seasonal fruit and veg during the summer months – it’s tasty and affordable.”