When I go for my daily run, it looks like I’ve harnessed an angry silverback gorilla, freshly snatched from the zoo. The stroller shakes so violently and with such ferocity the only logical explanation is a wild animal captured against its will, desperate for freedom.
Nay. It is just my 2 year old.
My toddler has a keen distaste for anything that involves containment. This includes car seats, grocery store shopping carts, and worst of all — the stroller. My child, the same one that runs around all day outside, can’t endure a mere 30 minutes in the stroller.
This presents a problem when I need to squeeze in a quick run to maintain maternal sanity. Running, which should calm the mind and restore vital energy, has the opposite effect when mixed with a raging toddler and several botched escape attempts.
I don’t strap him in, plug into some music, and leave him to his own devices either. Oh no, I have experimented with everything under the sun to keep him happily entertained during a 30 minute run, all of which have failed, miserably. Heck, I even gave him a kite to play with one time. A kite.
To this day there is only one thing that keeps him even remotely occupied for any length of time — snacks. After much trial and error I’ve found three categories of toddler snacks that take the longest to eat, require the most focus, and have countless variations. The last part, variations, is crucial. Give a toddler an awesome snack five days in a row and it’s no longer awesome. Rather it’s primed to be flung starboard side, mid-run. The snacks must be easy to put together and easy to tweak.
Below you’ll find three surefire snack ideas to keep rambunctious little ones at bay just long enough to make it around the block a few times. Godspeed!
The Law of Small Pieces
The more pieces the better. It takes much longer to eat, plus there is a certain thrill little ones receive when being handed a snack that’s brimming with pieces. Cereals work great, but at some point you’ll want to mix it up. Roasted chickpeas are an excellent choice. They are nutritious and can be flavored in countless ways.
Makes: 12 servings
2 cans (15 ounces) drained chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Toss the chickpeas in olive oil and salt.
3. Spread out the chickpeas evenly in a baking dish and bake until crispy (30-40 minutes).
4. Let cool before serving.
Dipping is just plain cool. There is a certain level of excitement that a bowl of something gooey and a dipping mechanism can bring to a small child. Heck, even I get excited. Strawberries are in season so we decided on a simple coconut cream, strawberry, and banana dip. Pair it with banana chips or a neutral cracker and you’re in business.
Coconut Cream, Strawberry, and Banana Dip
Makes: 5 servings
1 can coconut milk or cream
1 cup strawberries
1. Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor. Place ingredients in a bowl and set it in the freezer until the mixture is cold and thick but not frozen. This should take around 20-25 minutes.
2. Serve with banana chips for dipping.
Ice Ice Baby
Aside from lollipops, popsicles come in a close second in their ability to garner several minutes of uninterrupted quiet. They are simple, quick, and can be altered frequently depending on what produce you have on hand. I’m a big fan of plain water or coconut water popsicles with some whole fruit. Telling your kids to “lick until you make it to a berry” can add a few more precious minutes of entertainment.
water or coconut water
1. Fill up the popsicles molds with blueberries leaving a few centimeters of space.
2. Pour water into the molds and freeze until hard (about 4 hours).