Healthy Sandwiches for Toddlers
Toddlers enjoy eating with their hands, and sandwiches can be an entertaining way to encourage self-feeding. Any old sandwich won't do, however, because certain combinations are loaded with saturated fat and salt. Instead, create tasty sandwiches that also supply essential vitamins and minerals that your toddler needs to grow and develop properly.
Fiber is an essential nutrient for your toddler, but if she eats sandwiches made on white bread, she might not be getting the amount she needs. White bread doesn't contain much fiber, which is the part of plants that can't be digested. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and can prevent your child from becoming constipated. The nutrient might also cut her lifetime risk of certain health problems such as heart disease. Your toddler needs 19 grams of fiber per day. Making her sandwiches on whole-wheat bread is a simple way to help her reach that goal. One slice supplies about 2 grams of fiber. Whole-wheat bagels and English muffins are fiber-rich bread options as well.
Condiments and Spreads
Certain condiments, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing, can add an unhealthy amount of saturated fat to your child's sandwich. If your toddler enjoys the taste of mayonnaise or salad dressing, opt for reduced-fat versions to keep her intake of saturated fat low. Mustard is fat-free and can replace these condiments as well. Spread whole-wheat bread with hummus, which supplies fiber and protein, or guacamole, which contains a good dose of fiber and potassium. Stir fruit puree, such as applesauce or berries, into reduced-fat butter to create a condiment that supplies vitamin C. Use the mixture to complement a lean turkey or chicken sandwich.
The ever-popular peanut butter and jelly create a nutritious sandwich filling. Peanut butter supplies protein and fiber. Look for jelly made with fruit and fruit juice rather than added sugar to improve the nutritional value of the sandwich even more. Skip packaged deli meats, which are high in sodium, and use leftover chicken or turkey. The meats add protein and iron to the sandwich and contain far less salt. Add a slice of cheese for a good dose of bone-building calcium. Top with fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber slices and avocado, to add fiber, vitamin A and potassium to the sandwich. Spread whole-wheat bread with reduced-fat cream cheese and top with sliced strawberries for a sandwich that supplies calcium, protein and vitamin C.
Make a pizza sandwich. Spread one slice of toasted whole-bread bread or one half of a whole-wheat bagel with low-sodium pizza sauce. Top the sauce with mozzarella cheese and melt it in the microwave for a few seconds. Add a second piece of toasted bread or the other half of the bagel. Stuff a whole-wheat pita with cottage cheese and chopped tomatoes for a sandwich rich in calcium and vitamin C. Chop a hard-boiled egg and scatter it over a piece of toasted whole-wheat bread. Top the egg with cheese and another piece of bread to make a breakfast sandwich high in protein and calcium.