Baby Tips

What Snacks Can I Give My Toddler?

Your child is now learning to eat more solid foods and is more active. Good nutrition gives your child what he or she needs for growth, health, and energy for playing, moving, and learning. 

Growing kids often get hungry between meals. Check out My Baby Nursery for all your baby product needs. 

However, many packaged snacks for kids are incredibly unhealthy. They’re often full of refined flour, added sugars, and artificial ingredients. Snack time is an excellent opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients into your child’s diet. Instead of highly processed snack foods, fill your child’s tummy with whole foods that will provide energy and nutrition.

Here are a few suggestions to help you feed your toddler. 

What Foods Do I Offer My Child to Eat?

Offer your child the same healthy foods that you and the rest of your family enjoy. Give your child foods with different flavours and textures. Include a variety of:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Whole-grain foods
  • Protein foods

Make sure that the foods you offer are prepared with little or no added salt or sugar. Include foods that are higher in a healthy fat like salmon, avocado and nut kinds of butter.

How to Pack Healthy Toddler Snacks, Step-By-Step

  • Invest in a set of durable containers to help keep the food from getting smashed. These are our favourite containers, whether you like glass, recycled plastic or stainless steel.
  • Pack balanced snacks that include a fruit or a veggie and a protein or fat. It’s great if it consists of all of these food groups, but having at least one item of produce and either fat or protein means that the snack will keep your toddler full longer.
  • Set dedicated snack times to prevent a fun food accessible for all! Toddlers need predictable routines, and snacking can be a distraction, an activity, and something to do while they ride in the car. To avoid this, which can lead to more caloric intake than they need, have snacks regularly and sit down to enjoy them. (This also helps to prevent choking.)
  • Be flexible! While always keeping a snack or two in the bag for myself and your kids, there’s something to be said for going with the flow. If your toddler doesn’t want what you’ve packed or you happen to be somewhere that has delicious snack options, go for it!

What Should My Toddler Be Eating?

The toddler years are full of exploring and discovery. The best thing you can do is offer your toddler various foods from each food group with different tastes, textures, and colours.

How Much Should My Toddler Be Eating?

Your job is to decide what foods are offered and when and where they are eaten. Let your child decide which of the foods provided he or she will eat and how much to eat. Day-to-day and meal-to-meal appetite changes are expected. You mustn’t make your child clean his or her plate.

What Are Some Snack Ideas for My Child?

Baby Tips

Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent snack for kids because it’s a good source of protein and calcium. Calcium is essential for kids’ developing bones. Some yogurts also contain live bacteria, which benefit the digestive system.

Most yogurts marketed to kids are high in sugar. Instead, choose plain, full-fat yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey. Still, make sure not to give love to infants under 12 months old, as they’re at a greater risk of a severe infection called botulism.

Popcorn

You may consider popcorn junk food, but it’s a nutritious whole grain.

As long as you don’t drown it in unhealthy toppings, popcorn can be a healthy snack for kids. Air-pop your popcorn, drizzle it with a bit of butter, and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top. However, use caution when offering popcorn to younger children, as it can be a choking hazard.

Celery With Peanut Butter and Raisins

Celery with peanut butter and raisins sometimes called “ants on a log”, is a fun way to get your child to eat a vegetable. 

Cut a stalk of celery into three or four pieces, spread peanut butter inside the celery, and arrange a few raisins on top of the peanut butter. These three foods combined provide a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat. Just be sure to buy peanut butter without added sugar or vegetable oils.

Nuts

Nuts are high in healthy fats, along with fibre and antioxidants. Dietary fat is essential for supporting growth in children.

Doctors used to recommend withholding nuts from children due to the risk of an allergic reaction, but more recent evidence suggests that introducing nuts at an early age lowers this risk. Nevertheless, nuts can be a choking hazard, so make sure your child can handle the texture before giving nuts as a snack.

Trail Mix

As long as your child is not allergic to nuts, trail mix is a healthy snack for kids to eat on the go. Most commercial trail mixes contain chocolate candies high in sugar, but you can easily make your own at home. For a healthier version, mix nuts, dried fruit, and whole-grain cereal.

Sliced Pears With Ricotta Cheese

Pears are a sweet treat and easy for a little one to eat when they’re cut into slices. Pears are high in fibre and beneficial plant compounds. Spread each piece with ricotta cheese to add a yummy source of protein and calcium to your child’s snack.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a fresh and creamy cheese that’s soft enough for even infants to eat. It’s rich in protein and a good source of selenium, vitamin B12, and calcium. Vitamin B12 is essential for proper growth and brain development in children.

You can serve cottage cheese by itself, top it with fresh or dried fruit, or use it as a creamy spread on whole-wheat toast.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast for kids but also makes a great snack. Oats are high in soluble fibre, increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and other health benefits. Skip flavoured packets high in sugar, and make your oatmeal with whole, rolled oats. Add about 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and some diced apples for sweetness.

If you make the oatmeal with milk instead of water, it will add additional protein and calcium.

A Piece of Cheese

Cheese is mainly made up of protein and fat and is a good source of calcium. Studies show that eating cheese and other dairy products are linked to better overall diet quality.

Full-fat dairy foods significantly contribute to a child’s nutritional requirements for calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A and D. Cheese provides children with the high-quality protein needed for proper growth. Protein will also help them feel full between meals.

What’s more, some studies note that children who eat cheese are less likely to get cavities.

Veggie Pita Pocket

Some parents think it’s hard to get their kids to eat vegetables. But if you make it fun for them, they’re more likely to try the veggies. Spread some hummus in a whole-wheat pita pocket and slice up raw veggies, such as carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, and bell peppers. Let your child pick a few veggies and fill the pita.

Veggies are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, and many kids don’t eat enough of them.

Fruit Smoothie

A fruit smoothie is an excellent way to pack a lot of nutrients into a small snack. You can also add veggies to a smoothie. With the sweetness of the fruit, your kid may not even realise they’re in there.

Use whole, fresh ingredients and avoid fruit juice, which is high in sugar. There are countless combinations you can try, but here is one smoothie recipe to get you started:

Berry Smoothie

Ingredients for four servings:

  • 2 cups (60 grams) of fresh spinach
  • 2 cups (300 grams) of frozen berries
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of plain yogurt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of whole milk or almond milk
  • One tablespoon (20 grams) of honey

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Keep hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator for a quick, high-protein treat. Eggs are highly nutritious and an excellent snack for kids. They provide high-quality protein and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, riboflavin, and selenium. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that are beneficial for eye health. Furthermore, they’re one of the best food sources of choline, a vitamin necessary for proper brain development.

Banana Oat Cookies

Homemade banana cookies are a healthy snack for kids that tastes like a treat. These cookies get their sweetness from mashed bananas rather than refined sugar. Refined sugars are associated with health problems in children, such as an increased risk of heart disease, childhood obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Banana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Three ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) of coconut oil
  • 2 cups (160 grams) of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (80–90 grams) of mini chocolate chips or dried fruit
  • One teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place spoonfuls of the cookie mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes at 350°F (175°C).

Raisin Snack Packs

Raisins are dried grapes. They have nearly all of the nutrients found in fresh grapes — but in a smaller package. Raisins contain a decent amount of iron, a nutrient that many children don’t get enough of and which is needed to transport oxygen throughout your body.

Moreover, raisins pack plant compounds, including oleanolic acid, which may protect your child’s teeth from cavities by preventing bacteria from adhering to them. Raisin snack packs are an easy grab-and-go snack that’s much healthier than most convenience foods.

Turkey and Avocado Roll-Up

A turkey and avocado roll-up is an easy-to-eat, healthy snack. Turkey is a good source of protein, which is responsible for building and repairing tissues in your body. It’s also very filling, which can help kids feel satisfied between meals. Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats, along with fibre, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, several antioxidants, and vitamins C and K.

To make a turkey and avocado roll-up, first, peel and slice an avocado. Gently toss the slices in lime juice to prevent browning. Wrap one piece of turkey around each avocado slice.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, a nutrient that can be converted into vitamin A by your body. It contributes to healthy eyes and skin. Homemade, baked sweet potato fries are a nutritious alternative to french fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • One fresh sweet potato
  • One teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil
  • Sea salt

Peel and slice the sweet potato. Toss the potato in olive oil and sprinkle it with sea salt—Bake on a cookie sheet at 425°F (220°C) for 20 minutes.

Pickles

Pickles are cucumbers that have been fermented in salt and water. They’re a good source of vitamin K, and some products also contain probiotic bacteria, which are suitable for the digestive system.

Pickles containing vinegar don’t contain probiotics, so look in the grocery store’s refrigerated section to fix live cultures. Avoid sweet spots, which are high in added sugars.

Kale Chips

Kale is considered a superfood, as it’s packed with nutrients but low in calories. Children can get all the vitamin A, C, and K they need in a day in just 1 cup (65 grams) of kale.

Though most kids won’t jump at the chance to eat this leafy green raw, kale chips are a tasty snack that might change your child’s mind.

Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • One small bunch of kale
  • One tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
  • One teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Tear the kale into pieces, then wash and thoroughly dry it. Toss it in olive oil and seasonings. Spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350°F (175°C) for 10–12 minutes. Oversee the oven, as the kale can quickly burn. My Baby Nursery has the best range of high chairs for your baby. Check them out here.

Carrot Sticks and Hummus

Most kids love to dip, and providing them with a healthy dip is a great way to get them to eat their veggies. Hummus is one option. It’s a thick, creamy spread made from chickpeas, which contain fibre, folate, and plenty of antioxidants. Hummus tastes yummy with carrot sticks or other raw vegetables.

Energy Balls

Energy balls taste like cookie dough but are made with whole, nutritious ingredients. You can make these snacks with either ground flax or whole chia seeds — both source of fibre, protein, and antioxidants.

They’re a healthier alternative to commercial granola bars, which are usually high in sugar and artificial ingredients.

Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (80 grams) of oats
  • 1/3 cup (115 grams) of unfiltered honey
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) of almond butter
  • 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds (55 grams) or whole chia seeds (110 grams)
  • One teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) of dried fruit

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Roll the mixture into small balls and refrigerate. For a treat, replace the dried fruit with chopped dark chocolate chips.

Bell Peppers and Guacamole

Bell peppers are naturally sweet and highly nutritious. They provide a good source of fibre, vitamin C, and carotenoids.

Carotenoids are plant compounds with multiple health benefits, including supporting eye health. Bell peppers taste delicious dipped in guacamole, a creamy spread made from mashed avocados.

Whole-Grain Crackers and Nut Butter

You can make your sandwich crackers by spreading a little nut butter, such as almond butter, on whole-grain crackers. This snack has a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat.

However, choose crackers for your kids carefully. Many hackers are full of refined flour, hydrogenated oils, and even sugar. Instead, choose crackers made with 100% whole grains and seeds.

A Piece of Fruit

A piece of fruit is a convenient and healthy snack for kids. Most fruits contain fibre and essential nutrients like potassium and vitamins A and C. Bananas, apples, pears, grapes, peaches, and plums are examples of fruits used for grab-and-go snacks.

Cut fruits like pineapple, cantaloupe, and mango into bite-size pieces and store them in small containers for convenient snacks.

Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadilla

A quesadilla made with peanut butter and banana is healthy and tasty. Peanut butter is a great way to give your child a source of healthy fats and some protein. Bananas are a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, and fibre.

This simple recipe combines peanut butter and bananas in a yummy snack.

Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • One whole-wheat tortilla
  • Two tablespoons (30 grams) of peanut butter
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon

Spread the peanut butter over the entire tortilla. Slice the banana and arrange the slices on half of the tortilla. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the bananas and fold the tortilla in half. Slice it into triangles before serving.

Olives

Olives are rich in healthy fats and packed with powerful antioxidants that protect your body from damaging molecules called free radicals.

Olives are soft and easy for kids to eat. Make sure you purchase pitted ones for kids or remove the pit before serving them. Different varieties have their flavour. If you have never offered olives to your child before, start with mild-flavoured black olives.

Apples and Peanut Butter Dip

Apple slices and peanut butter are a delicious combination.

The skin of an apple contains pectin, a soluble fibre that feeds friendly gut bacteria and improves digestive health. Peanut butter has a thick consistency, which may be difficult for kids to use as a dip. Mix a little bit of plain, full-fat yogurt into two tablespoons (30 grams) of peanut butter to make a smooth, creamy dip for apple slices.

Frozen Fruit Popsicles

Frozen fruit popsicles are a yummy treat for kids and relatively healthy. Most store-bought popsicles are full of artificial flavours and refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. But you can easily make your own, and your kids may enjoy helping.

Purée frozen fruit or berries and a small amount of fruit juice in a blender. Pour the mixture into popsicle moulds or small plastic cups. Cover with foil and insert a popsicle stick into the popsicles through the foil. Freeze overnight.

Half of a Sandwich

Sandwiches don’t have to be just for mealtime. Half a sandwich can also make a healthy snack for kids.

To build a healthy sandwich, start with whole-wheat bread, pick a source of protein, and include a fruit or veggie, if possible.

Here are some examples of healthy sandwich combinations:

  • cheddar cheese and thinly sliced apples
  • mozzarella cheese and tomato slices
  • peanut butter and banana slices
  • turkey, Swiss cheese, and pickles
  • ricotta cheese mixed with finely chopped veggies
  • hard-boiled egg, avocado, and tomato
  • cream cheese and cucumber slices

Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Feed My Toddler?

Baby Tips

It is essential to avoid foods that may cause choking:

  • Greasy foods such as whole grapes; large pieces of meats, poultry, and hot dogs; candy and cough drops.
  • Small, hard foods such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, raw carrots, and raisins.
  • Sticky foods such as peanut butter and marshmallows.
  • Always cut up foods into small pieces and watch your child while he or she is eating.

Also, your child may have some food allergies. The most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts and other nuts, soybeans, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Many children grow out of food allergies. If you think your child might have a food allergy, talk with your doctor.

What Do I Do If My Child Is a Picky Eater?

  • Offer new foods one at a time, and remember that children may need to try fresh food ten or more times before accepting it.
  • Avoid “short-order cooking.” Serve at least one food you know your child will like, but then expect him or her to eat the same foods as the rest of the family.
  • Make food simple, plain, and recognisable. Some kids don’t like mixed food (like a casserole) or food that is touching.
  • Never force your child to eat the food he or she doesn’t like. Offer multiple choices so that he or she can choose something he or she does like.

Final Tips

  • Set a good example of healthy eating for your child.
  • Plan regular meals and snacks and give kids enough time to eat.
  • Plan a quiet time before meals and snacks. Kids eat better when they are relaxed.
  • Don’t use food as a reward.
  • Involve your children in making the food.
  • Use child-sized plates, cups, forks and spoons. Looking for the best tables and chairs for a baby playroom? Look no further. My Baby Nursery has you covered.
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