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I would like to offer my 1.5 year old toddler snacks while we are in car and its snacktime or she is hungry. Currently, I rely on goldfish crackers but these are not much healthier than potato chips, especially with the salt and fat.

Is there any non-perishable snack, homemade or store bought, that is healthier? meaning less salt and fat, possible more whole grain, even veggie or fruit based, and with less added ingredients?

  • 3
    How "non-perishable" are you thinking? Do you expect it to be in the car for months, or do you intend to refresh it out every week or so? – Erik Sep 12 '16 at 14:04
  • @Erik, week is fine too, just don't want a daily thing! – Ron Sep 12 '16 at 22:47
  • Please keep comments limited to clarifying questions, and don't use them for discussion (try Parenting Chat!) or answers. – Acire Sep 20 '16 at 15:04

10 Answers 10

9

We usually keep rice cakes as a snack for the kids. They weigh effectively nothing, but are quite large, which means it keeps them busy for a long time. They are soft and melt in your mouth, so no real need to chew, although you could.

They are made from only puffed rice (some with added salt, but not all of them). So the nutritional value is actually fairly low, which makes them good snacks and also useful to bridge the gap until the toddler can get a real, proper meal. They contain no sugar, only carbs and protein, but due to the size-weight ration they effectively don't have much of those either.

As long as you store them in a sealed, dark container they will not spoil for a few weeks at least.

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  • Thats a very nice solution. Any specific brand you use? – Ron Sep 13 '16 at 19:46
  • Just local store brand. – Erik Sep 13 '16 at 21:02
  • In France, we have this brand: BJORG. They make high quality organic product. I don't know if you could find it in the US. bjorg.com/en/range/rice-cakes-and-breads-en – RawBean Sep 15 '16 at 4:51
  • Great food idea but unfortunately makes a HUGE mess in the car! – Rachel S Sep 28 '16 at 16:41
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Dried fruits keep well and the ones without added sugar are healthy. Recently we've had great success with dried banana chips.

NB Some raisins may contain added sulphur to keep them longer.

  • Most dried fruit might be too tough for a 1.5 year old. Raisins would probably be the best choice. – Erik Sep 12 '16 at 14:04
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    Hm, you might have a different sort than I do, then. I have a bag of dried apricots and one with banana chips and my 1.5 year old would not be able to eat either. – Erik Sep 12 '16 at 14:45
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    @Erik, you can always pre-chew them ;P – hkBst Sep 12 '16 at 14:48
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    Dried fruit is high in naturally occurring sugar. They're also sticky. This combination makes them bad for children's teeth. Because of this they shouldn't be described as "healthy". nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Goodhabitskids.aspx – user19912 Sep 12 '16 at 17:27
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    freeze dried fruit might be the solution-they are definitely not sticky. I buy an organic brand, strawberries and peaches, and they literally melt in your mouth. My kids LOVE them. They come in sturdy foil packets that are waterproof and lightproof. Of course, they still contain sugar but once the sticky factor has been removed perhaps dentists everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief? – Jax Sep 12 '16 at 20:18
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Cheerios. Every kid loves cheerios. And now they're gluten free!

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I buy a lot of Organix snacks for my son and these all keep, out of the fridge, for quite some time, provided they don't get too hot.

  • This sounds great, though I live in the other side of the pond! Will search for similar products in US. – Ron Sep 12 '16 at 22:54
1
  • Trail Mix
  • Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Salmon Jerky, etc.
  • Freeze dried, or regular dried, fruit.
  • Bars (we eat Lara Bars), though the "healthy" of this might be somewhat questionable

Of these, there are those that are healthy, and those that are no so healthy, high/low sodium or fat. But these foods are, in their "natural" state, inherently healthy when not consumed in moderation and as part of a varied diet (my opinion). Not all fat is bad, and I generally buy into the idea that only added sugar is inherently harmful.

Individual packs of trail mix is one of my favorites, and they can be bought at Trader Joe's (organic or not), at somewhat reasonable prices.

What I like to do, however, due to mice getting into our stash (regardless of being vacuum packed in mylar/foil/plastic), is to keep it all in a small/medium bag that we bring to the car when we pack up. If you have no risk of rodents (we live in the country), it may not be worth the trouble. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend leaving food in your vehicle overnight.

  • Dried fruit, including Larabars, can cause major dental problems. Good point regarding storage. – Warren Dew Sep 20 '16 at 13:51
  • The high sugar content contributes to its lower spot on the list. My kids are older, and usually chew gum after snacks, and brush and floss - and have no dental problems, so its not really a concern for me, but definitely worth considering. – zugzwang Sep 21 '16 at 21:39
  • Gum actually tends to be better from the dentist viewpoint because all the saliva washes the sugar away. In fact, my dentists have even recommended hard candy, which is pure sugar, over dried fruit. It's not as simple as just sugar content. Children who brush and floss well certainly help, but it's a rare toddler who brushes and flosses really effectively. – Warren Dew Sep 21 '16 at 23:56
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Bread sticks hardly ever go off and kids love too munch on them although they crumble and go on the car interior, flapjack in a sealed container sugary and a bit sticky but will a bait an appetite, banana chips and apple rings are great for teething, homemade oaty biscuits and those packets of mini salamis x

1

We keep a few of these in our car at all times:

  • trail mix: high in protein in case we are delayed for a meal or coming back from an activity
  • apple sauce (unsweetened): good source of fiber, satisfies a sweet tooth. the pouches are great because they don't require utensils
  • cheerios or goldfish: we actually get the organic bunnies, but we keep an entire box in the car

I usually keep a granola bar and/or trail mix in my purse, as well as a lollipop or candy for bribes :)

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If precooked bacon makes an excellent snack for a toddler of that age. It's nonperishable until opened, at which point it would hopefully get eaten fairly quickly. Unlike dried fruit, it has little enough sugar that it's not bad for teeth.

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    I love this option. Bacon is the best thing ever. Ever. – Jax Sep 12 '16 at 20:19
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We keep Veggie Straws in the car since they're healthy and contain vegetables. They don't make a mess in the car and they stay for a while since they come in individually sealed bags as well. I also keep organic fruit snack such as Clif Z ropes.

I keep Larabars for myself in the car!

  • I don't know which ones you're getting, but if I google "veggie straws" I get something that's basically chips made of vegetable. They don't look very healthy to me. – Erik Sep 28 '16 at 19:36
  • It IS chips but they're healthier than standard potoato chips. They are filling and clean to eat. Everyone defines "healthy" in a different way. For one person that means no sugar, for another it means low fat, for another it means organic, and for another it means low calories. – Rachel S Sep 29 '16 at 15:33
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A mix of nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds) and ecologic dry fruits always do the trick for my toddler.

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