I read about the concept of a “nibble tray” for toddlers online about 2 years ago. I can’t recall the source, but no doubt it was a savvy mom blogger!
The basic idea of a nibble tray is to give young toddlers the freedom of choice in their snacking even from a very young age. A nibble tray is basically an ice cube tray filled with various snacks and left out for the child to enjoy throughout the day.
There are several reasons that the nibble tray has been something Darah and I both have enjoyed using throughout her toddlerhood.
First, setting out Darah’s snacks at the beginning of the day is a great tool for teaching self-discipline. Darah has come to understand that the snacks I put out for her are her snacks for the entire day. She can choose to eat them all at 8am or she can choose to eat them when she feels a bit hungry. It’s really up to her. Make no mistake, the child makes quick work of them whenever I include a few chocolate chips, but otherwise, she has learned not to eat all of her snack for the day first thing, as she has experienced the consequence of this choice (no snacks when she really wants one at 3pm, for example). But ultimately, the control she has over her snacking is a great thing for her independence.
Second, Darah really loves having variety, and she loves to examine all her different options and ask questions about anything that is new to her. This is a really great way to introduce new snack items and help her feel excited about them. Something that might get overlooked if put on a plate (celery sticks) suddenly seems interesting when sticking out of an ice cube tray. It’s true!
Third, I love not having to go get a snack for her 40 times a day when she asks for one. I simply point to her tray!
I highly recommend the nibble tray as a great way to introduce new foods and to help your child learn how to have control over their snack time throughout the day!