As my daughter gets older, I realize that naturally I let her explore some unhealthy foods...to a point. She's still TWO. And, quite frankly, two year olds don't need to be having refined sugar and processed foods. It doesn't help their bodies and it doesn't help their moods.
By not giving her M&Ms or Snickers bars, I'm really not depriving her, I promise you. I just have researched this subject a lot and there is no going back...once you know better, do better. And my daughter loves to eat...she gets that from me. We love exploring foods and spices and cooking and baking. When possible, I have her eat straight from a farm so she can see where food is grown. She helps me bake cookies and she is my go to Taste-Tester. Eating higher quality foods is worth it to us. If you don't pay for quality ingredients now, your health will pay for it later - and that is a much greater cost.
I am blessed that where we live, most of our friends are conscious about what they put in and on their children. And they are open minded to learning and hearing each other's opinions and research.
As my daughter entered preschool, I knew I'd have to push back against snacks they serve. We are fortunate that the preschool isn't serving the worst snacks, but I knew they could do better and so far, they have been open minded. The school is sensitive to children with allergies and if there is a child in the school with a certain allergy, they work to make sure the snacks served won't be harmful to that child. And no outside food or drink is allowed.
When I approached the Director of the school, she said I could try to come up with some healthier options if the snacks met a list of criteria that various parents requested. Plus, it couldn't be a chocking hazard for 2-year olds (so no grapes, apples, carrots) and nothing that they would have to prepare or even cut and nothing that would spoil quickly. Oh, and the children had to love them.
So that leads me to this List of Healthy Toddler Snacks that many of you have asked me to share.
NOTE: I am not a doctor nor a dietician nor an allergy specialist. I am not responsible for any incorrect information in this document, so use at your own risk and please do your own research.
I buy most of these snacks from Whole Foods & Thrive Market (online health retailer...you can click on my link for $15 off and I get a credit as well!) and sometimes on Amazon.
List of Healthier Toddler Snacks