Toddlers enjoy eating with their hands, and sandwiches can be an entertaining way to encourage self-feeding. With August being National Sandwich Month, we feel that it’s important to 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. 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.
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 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.