Bite-sized snack foods appeal to grown-ups and children. Toddlers enjoy being able to feed themselves with easy-to-grasp bites of food, while adults appreciate the easy clean-up after snack time. Smaller bites of food also travel well, keeping road trips and long commutes peaceful. Serve foods that naturally occur in single bites or bring larger foods down to size.
One of the most healthful options for bite-sized snacking, grapes provide manganese and potassium in a small, sweet package. Berries of every variety are a good size for easy snacking, but serve them under supervision; small children may prefer using bright berries more as paint than as food. Figs and dates taste as sweet as dessert, but contain fiber and vitamins that candy can't supply. Small citrus fruits like clementines and tangerines readily break into bite-sized sections. Chop larger fruits such as melons into appealing shapes and sizes to encourage kids to snack on them.
Olives and cherry tomatoes no larger than grapes are a savory snack option. Kids like edamame for the fun of getting into the pod to eat the bite-sized beans. For larger vegetables, cutting into sticks or strips makes them more kid-friendly. Carrots need little more than washing and chopping to turn them into tasty sticks, but buying bite-sized baby carrots cuts your prep time to nothing. Low-calorie celery contains fiber and makes a good platform for cheese, peanut butter or creamy dips. Broccoli heads sort themselves into bite-sized florets with minimal chopping. Use only the solid outer flesh of cucumbers and not the seed-filled interior pulp to turn these vegetables into small, neat bites. Lettuce leaves help you make other snacks into individual hors d'oeuvres and bites; use them as wrappers to hold soft herbed cheese or finely diced vegetables. Make these veggies more fun to eat by providing some dips. Hummus, peanut butter and creamy salad dressing work well with a variety of veggies.
Chips and Dips
Bite-sized potato or corn chips go well with dip to make a crunchy snack. An assortment of dips let the snackers choose which flavors they'll eat, giving younger kids a sense of autonomy about their meals and older kids an opportunity to broaden their flavor horizons. Classic combinations -- tortilla chips and salsa, potato chips and ranch dip -- please even finicky children. Look for chips with whole grains for extra fiber in your family's diet.
Kids love it at the movies, but they'll also enjoy popcorn at home. Serve a big bowl of popcorn for a home version of movie night. Modern microwave versions of this bite-sized snack take only minutes to prepare and involve no clean-up. Old-fashioned stove-top popcorn feels like a fun family activity. Instead of butter, try flavoring popcorn with a packet of ranch seasoning or a sprinkling of spices. Air-popped popcorn is low in calories and just as high in fiber, making it a healthier option for snack times.
Although bite-sized foods appeal to kids of all ages, very young children need supervision for meals and snacks. Your definition of bite-sized differ from a toddler's; a single piece of cereal that would seem no more than a morsel to you fills a little one's mouth. Cut foods for small children into smaller pieces than you might for an older child. Chop grapes and cherry tomatoes into small pieces for children under the age of 5, and always supervise snack time.
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