Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Travel Snack Pack for Toddlers


In preparation for an upcoming family trip across the country (wish us luck!), I've been looking for ways to make travel easier on Sebastian. Since mealtimes can be tricky even in the best circumstances, snacks for toddlers are essential to getting through a long and busy day. 

Now when determining what snacks would go in each section, I started with our usual daily snacks (toasted oat cereal, raisins, nuts) and then looked for some new options I could mix in and try out now and see if Sebastian liked them. My nearest grocery store doesn't have a large selection of toddler specific foods, so I headed to Target where they have a large assortment of snacks for little ones


It was there that I spotted Gerber® Lil' Beanies™. I picked up the two flavors they carried (Original and White Cheddar & Broccoli). I was immediately intrigued by the information I saw on the package. Lil' Beanies™ are made from navy beans and each serving delivers 2 grams of protein (9% daily value), 1 gram of fiber, and 10% daily value of Vitamin E. They are baked, not fried, and they are not made from genetically engineered ingredients. I try to serve my kiddo snacks that provide him with nutrients and not just empty calories, so the protein and fiber in these snacks sounded like a good choice. And they certainly looked like something Sebastian would enjoy, so I brought some home for him to try out. 

For the snack pack, I wanted to create something that was easy to throw in our carry-on bag that provided a lot of options. I loved the idea of using something with small compartments for several reasons. First, the food stay separate which would help us avoid weird flavor combos like snap pea and raisin. Secondly, it might limit mess making on the plane since the most that could be spilled at once would be one section. And last, what toddler doesn't like to endlessly open and shut tiny doors? It practically does double duty as a toy!

Here is what I included in the snack pack today.


Other items I've included in the pack are banana chips, other freeze dried fruits, and cheddar bunnies. I did not include highly perishable or messy items since we won't be able to refrigerate the food during travel. 

I realize a few of these (the nuts particularly) might not be a good choice for all children. Include what works best for your child and make sure they are seated and supervised when they are eating from the snack pack. You know their readiness for certain foods best.

toddler snacks


He enjoyed the Lil' Beanies™ and wanted to share them with his mama too!

The Lil' Beanies™ were a hit and will be a great addition to the snack pack. We've already taken the pack to the park a couple times and I found it to be a really convenient way to bring a lot of snack options with us without taking up too much space in the bag. And Sebastian was excited to discover new additions to the box. I would call that a #GerberWinWin.

While I'm not the first person to come up with this snack pack, this is my take on it.

I purchased a 14-compartment pill box from the local pharmacy. Although it made no difference to Sebastian, I wanted it to look a little less pharmaceutical, so I scrubbed off the day labels from each little door with a magic eraser.


Smaller snacks fit easily and larger ones were cut or broken in half to fit more easily into the compartments. 


I am glad to have mess-free and nutritious snack options (included Gerber® Lil' Beanies™!) all figured out for our trip. It might not eliminate all stress during our long flights, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. A hangry toddler is never an ideal travel companion. 

Oh, and be sure to check out my previous post for a chance to win a Gerber® "Welcome to Toddlerhood" kit!

Many thanks to Gerber® for sponsoring today's story and making it easy to eat healthy on the go!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Feeding a Toddler (and Gerber Giveaway)



I have to say, feeding a toddler is a serious challenge.

When we first starting introducing food to Sebastian about a year ago, we were really proud of ourselves for getting him to eat all sorts of healthy foods. He gobbled peas and carrots and sucked down kale purees with glee. This isn't so hard, we thought. Our kid loves vegetables, B and I congratulated ourselves as we high-fived.

Ooh, boy. What newbs!

We clearly didn't know that the real challenge isn't getting a baby to eat things, but to get a toddler to eat things that they suddenly and inexplicably don't like anymore. I shared before what I do with leftover bananas when they fall out of grace here. But now I want to talk about how we make sure our eighteen month old kiddo gets all the nutrients he needs, even on days when he isn't interested in eating much of anything.


Mostly we try to serve Seb some of whatever we're eating for our meal, and supplement with his favorite fruits and veggies. Our go-to's right now are roasted sweet potatoes, applesauce, blueberries, raisins, and grapes. Sometimes, that works! Other times, he is only interested in squishing food around and throwing it on the floor. While we try to discourage the mess making, we also know trying to force a toddler to eat his dinner is a lost cause.

We recently were introduced to Gerber® Good Start® Grow Toddler Drink. It is formulated for toddlers like our kiddo to fill in the nutrition gaps caused by incomplete (ahem, rejected) meals. Of course, our first approach will always be to offer wholesome food, but on those days when our meals falls a bit short, it is nice to know there is an option that he will readily accept. 


It mixes easily with water and Sebastian happily gulped it down the first time we offered it to him, so it must be pretty tasty! It is not intended to be a meal replacement, but rather a supplement to a healthy diet. Gerber® Good Start® Grow Toddler Drink includes probiotics, Iron, Vitamin C, D, and E, Potassium, and DHA. It is also GMO free, which I think a lot of moms would feel good about when feeding their toddlers. #formulaforhappiness


Now the fun part! In partnership with Gerber®, Ceci Bean readers have a chance to win a "Welcome to Toddlerhood" kit which will include a sample of this product for your family to try and other surprise goodies! Open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway If you have any best practices for getting picky toddlers to eat or if you've tried Gerber® Grow Start® for your child, please share in the comments!