Any mom of a toddler or preschooler knows that the culinary daring of young children is pretty low. You want your kid to eat healthful snacks, but you might have a hard time convincing her to try something. Most little kids respond well to "fun and silly," so making snacks that make your child laugh are a sure bet when it comes to getting her to eat.
Snacks on a Stick
You can't go wrong with food on a stick. Something about it just appeals to small kids -- and maybe their parents, too. You might even find that your toddler or preschooler is willing to nibble on something he might otherwise turn his nose up at by simply threading it into a skewer. Cut the sharp points off first to prevent an injury. Alternate bite-size pieces of banana, strawberry, pineapple and angel food cake. Or pieces of tomato, mozzarella cheese cubes and bread. Cooked carrots, green beans and zucchini work well, too. No matter what you put on the stick, make sure the pieces are cut small enough to prevent your child from choking.
A good number of little kids like to carry around a collection of tiny objects in their hands. Cater to this by serving a plateful of tiny bites. The novelty of it might just be enough to get your picky little one to sample something new or something she has previously declared yucky. Place some tiny chunks of fruit, cheese, vegetables, crackers or bread on a plate at snack time. Try new and different things or combine a couple of choices to increase your child's palate. A bonus of this method of serving snacks is that there isn't much chance of choking.
What's more fun than eating a snack shaped like a dinosaur or a dog? Little kids love something out of the ordinary, so a snack that doesn't look like a snack is a fun and silly way to serve something new. Slice grapes in half and line them on a plate. Use black frosting to pipe on eyes and feet and you have a caterpillar. Use apple slices to make butterfly wings and small pieces of berry to make the body and the spots on the wings. Cut a small peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the body of your child's favorite animal and use carrot chunks to make the legs, ears and tail. Slice a black olive in half about three-fourths through and fill the cavity with cream cheese. Stick in two tiny pieces of carrot to make feet and you have a penguin.
Faux Dessert Snacks
Most toddlers and preschoolers aren't going to turn down an ice cream sundae for a snack. Use this to your advantage by making a faux treat. Fill an ice cream bowl with Greek yogurt and top with berries and a small drizzle of chocolate syrup. Or use a doughnut maker to cook healthful muffin mix. Your kid will think he's having a treat, but he's really eating a nutritious snack. Use a melon-baller to make watermelon and cantaloupe rounds, and top them with a small scoop of whipped cream.