Last year, I collected a list of my 15 Favorite Stocking Stuffers for every little at-home chef. The list was a hit and gave many subscribers new healthy stocking stuffer ideas.
From a mini silicone whisk that my daughter still uses EVERY time we scramble eggs to the 7-ounce size of WeeSprout reusable squeeze pouches, these stocking stuffers proved to get used again and again in our household as well. Now as we gear up for another Christmas, I thought I would share my newest list for our 15 Favorite Healthy Stocking Stuffers of 2016.
1. Freeze-Dried Fruit: Whether you opt to buy full sized bags of freeze-dried fruit from Trader Joe's (my daughter is obsessed with the mango ones) or Just Veggies for any easy finger food for growing infants (and older kids!), I appreciate the non-perishable nature of freeze-dried foods. For stocking specifically, the variety packs are a great item! One, they fit in stockings better than full sized bags. Two, they give your kids a variety of options to try that can be spread out among several stockings. From whatever ones they like, then you can start buying full sized bags of those to toss in the car for an easy, healthy, on the go snack option!
2. Mabel's Labels: I have been a sucker to many different types of labels over the years. From those sold on Groupon to ones that seem like a steal of a deal on Zulily, I have burned through a fair share of labels. Except, doesn't that defeat the point of these? The only reusable labels that actually "stick" to their claims of holding up to heat, the dishwasher, and the wear and tear of daily washing, are Mabel's Labels. We have only used ONE sticker on my oldest daughter's lunchbox for the past year and a half compared to competitors labels not even lasting a month on a bottle for our youngest. It amazes me that in 10 months, we have burned through more labels for our younger daughter (using "off brands") than I have in over 2 years of using Mabel's Labels for our older daughter! I will no longer veer from Mabel's Labels for sales on other brands, but rather be stocking our youngest's stocking with these this Christmas!
3. Pick-ease: Some kids LOVE to use their hands. Others can't stand the feeling of food on their fingers. Regardless of which category your kids fall under, Pick-ease make a fun option for eating finger foods. Used to pick up anything from slippery mango to berries stuck in the "treat circle" of their Yumbox, Pick-ease offer a fun and safe alternative to toothpicks.
4. Lunchbox Love Notes: For the child who is starting to read, these can be the sweetest touch to a lunchbox. While we all may want to write a little note on each kids napkin, the reality is packing lunches and getting out the door each day is enough work as is. Lunchbox Love Notes make it easy on parents, especially for those packing lunches for multiples. With sweet sentiments on one side and fun facts on the other, these offer endless engagement with kids of all ages - with minimal effort required from you, the parent!
5. Sippy Cups: I have reviewed the Lollacup before here, but these are another sippy cup we have since come to find and love. With a design that comes more highly regarded by experts in speech and feeding therapy, like Melanie Potock, these sippy cups lack the more traditional protruding "spout." Instead, these cups offer 360 degrees of "spout," training your kids young mouth muscles how to drink from more of an open cup than a sippy cup. This is a terrific in between option for kids still learning how to use standard cups and make a solid upgrade to any family's cup cabinet.
6. Reusable Straws: Whether you are a fan of silicone or stainless steel, investing in a small set of reusable straws is a worthwhile investment. Reducing the waste of standard straws while also improving kids ability to "suck" without biting a traditional straw in the process, these straws are helpful for any smoothie-loving family. For all Lollacup owners, you may also consider getting a new set of weighted straws to put in your kids stocking -- if theirs has seen better days.
7. Squeeze Pouches: Squeeze pouches are a hit with many ages. By making them a special treat versus an everyday food, squeeze pouches are a fun item to also include in stockings. I personally prefer to make my own using these reusable pouches, so that I can control the quality and quantity of the ingredients. On occasion that I need a non-perishable snack on the go though, these do offer an easy option to keep stashed in the car, diaper bag, or while travelling. My biggest recommendation when choosing however, is to READ THE INGREDIENTS.. Avoid those with added "fruit juice concentrates," which are added, unnecessary sugars. In general, look for ones with less that 12 grams of sugar per pouch (~100-120 grams) and at least 2 g of fiber. Some of my favorites are those by Earth's Best like Wholesome Breakfast Apple Raisin, and Wholesome Breakfast Sweet Potato Cinnamon.
8. Smarty Pants Vitamins: While I don't professionally encourage vitamins for every kid, I do think they hold a valuable role in the diet of more apprehensive eaters -- like mine. This is the only brand that I buy our daughter. With all-natural ingredient, no synthetic colors, flavors, or preservatives. and a unique formulation for meeting kids specific nutritional needs, I appreciate the attention to detail Smarty Pants uses in this vitamin. Because of their third-party testing, I trust that what they claim is actually in this vitamin is really there. Plus, with a lightly sugared, gumdrop-shape vitamin, my daughter doesn't miss the inferior Disney-princess or "more fun" Flinstone vitamin options. She eagerly asks for these vitamins daily, making them one of the most cost-effective options on our Subscribe and Save! In the spirit of Christmas, it should also be said that Smarty Pants makes a matching nutrient grant to Vitamin Angels for every bottle of SmartyPants purchased, giving mothers and children around the world access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals.
9. Mesh Feeding Pouch: Enter your about-to-lose-your-marbles-mom here! If you find yourself at home with a fussy, teething tot, these will become your newest best friend. By tucking frozen foods (my daughters like frozen plain yogurt "ice cubes" or frozen fruits best) inside this feeding pouch, your little one can safely gnaw on nutrient-dense options that soothe their gums....and thus save your sanity from the endless screaming. We have tried others, but the loop at the bottom of this one by Munchkin and the flexible mesh bag seems to be the most preferred from my/our family's experiences.
10. Smoothie Coloring Book: I may be a nutrition nerd, but I don't know who could pass up this FREE printable offer from Meal Makeover Moms. You can purchase the printed version on Amazon, or visit the Meal Makeover Moms website to print your own copy for FREE! With healthy smoothie ideas for your whole family plus fun coloring pages for your kids, this is a great way to give kids of any age their first "cookbook" at Christmas!
11. Color the Alphabet Coloring Book: This is another fun and educational option from Meal Makeover Moms. Give your kid the opportunity to learn about fruits and vegetables while engaging with the coloring pages at the same time!
12. Healthy Snacks: Recently, I rounded up a list of my Top 25 Snacks from Target. With so many non-perishable items that become a necessity (when fresh foods aren't available or realistic), enter your email below to get the list with all of my RDN-approved faves.
When fresh foods aren't an option, don't settle for snacks that may "fill" but fail to actually "feed" your child and their growing nutritional needs. Shop with confidence at Target with this free printable featuring my,
Top 20 RDN-Approved Pre-Packaged Snack Foods at Target
13: Spoons: Recently, I read a blog post from a respected Speech Therapist titled, "Choosing the Right Spoon for your Baby," I sure wish I had seen it prior to stocking up on spoons with our first! I love how she lists the best options for each and feeding stage. These are my favorite for younger feeders, while I am sure our almost three-year old would go crazy for this set of construction silverware!
14: Magic Milk Straws: These are such a novelty, but I admit, even I think they are so fun. I am not a huge fan of giving my kids flavored milk due to all the added sugar (read: they basically never get it!). These milk straws, however, add the yummy flavored taste that kids love though without all the added sugar. I won't give these as an everyday item, but true to stockings standard fashion, these make a fun addition!
15: Mickey Table Toppers: Although my 2016 wishlist made a mention to how excited I am to use the ezpz mini mat instead of these table toppers, it would be unrealistic to act like we are never going to need these disposable covers again. From airplane trays to eating out, these disposable table covers are so nice to have on hand. Plus with fun Mickey characters on them, putting these in your kids stocking will make them think THEY are the ones getting the gift. Yay for practical presents that serve to make meal times less stressful and feeding more successful -- for both parents AND kids!
Well, that's all for this year's list! Thanks for scanning through our list of favorites for stocking stuffers. I hope you found it helpful!
Which items are you going to put in your kid's stocking this year?
I'd love to hear in the comments below!
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