For a newborn, there’s nothing better for them than breast milk. As they reach about six months though, they need to be eating a variety of pureed and mashed foods. Post-six months, you’re going to be switching them to solid foods. What they eat in this period is crucial to their childhood development. Parents will need to find foods that don’t contain the chemicals, artificial flavors and additives common in many of our adult foods.
Most parents may have already prepared a healthy dietary plan for their children’s breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. However, snacks also need to be factored into the equation. If you are looking for ideas, here are the 14 best snacks for toddlers to enjoy:
1. Chocolate milk
Chocolate milk is one of the best snacks for toddlers! First of all, it has a rich and luscious taste that many toddlers enjoy. Second of all, chocolate milk is a great way to refuel after a lot of activity. If your child has an interest in sports, giving them a chocolate milk will provide carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals which are all essential for growth at this age.
Fun fact: your children will love eating cereal with their chocolate milk, so give this combination a try!
Healthy fruits are another one of the best snacks for toddlers. Some fruits are filled with a little sugar though, so be careful on when to serve these up. An apple, orange, or something similar works well in late morning or early afternoon when they can make use of that energy.
We thought we’d give bananas their own place on this list as they’re rather astonishing. For a toddler, these snacks going to be very filling and satisfying which is a good thing. They’re also very nutritious and play down the sugar angle which is common to most fruits.
4. Hummus and crackers
Whole grains and legumes pack a lot of nutrition. Snacks like a fine hummus with some Triscuits work well. Whole grain crackers of any variety fit the bill. Hummus can also work great with everything from carrots to celery, cucumbers and other vegetables. Introducing young children to hummus will help set them up for good nutrition habits down the line as well.
If your toddler is extremely active, their nutritional needs may be more intense than the average. Increased needs for calcium and iron – which is what supplies the bones and blood with regenerative potential – can be met through yogurt. The calcium-rich yogurt makes this one of the best snacks for toddlers to eat.
6. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are a positive vegetable you want to include in small amounts in a toddler’s diet. Consider slicing up some bell peppers and dropping it into a salad or serving it with some hummus or a yogurt dip.
7. Easy carbs
Carbohydrates are extremely important to children. Try to select some whole grain bread for sandwiches or similar complex carbohydrate-based products to serve up. Anything with a pasta component, quinoa, or similar whole grain choices work well. Consider a little peanut butter and honey on a piece of whole grain bread. Sweet and packing a punch, these are an easy lay-up for parents in a bind.
Kiwis pack a sugary punch but they’re still very much fruit. Introducing toddlers to kiwis, from a young age, gets them to open up and expand their pallet. As satisfying as they are packed with nutritional value, you’re getting good habits started early.
9. Apples and cinnamon
There are a few different things you can do with apples and cinnamon. You can serve them raw, of course. It can be served with a yogurt dip or with some nut butter. You can also create an apple pie from them or pack them into an apple crunch.
10. Pumpkin seeds and/or dried apricots
If iron deficiency is a worry, pumpkin seeds and dried apricots both have a ton of iron. If you haven’t had them before, believe us when we say they’re tasty! In addition, a single ounce of pumpkin seeds has 14 percent of our daily allowance of iron whereas a cup of dried apricots has 42 percent of our recommended allowance. They also pack with them a punch of sugar, fiber, salt, and vitamin C.
11. String cheese
Yes, we know string cheese fits into the category of prepackaged snacks which typically parents want to avoid. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a low-fat string cheese and pretzels combination is a decent option for a snack. Simple pack and easy to effort, there’s nothing fancy about string cheese. It’s as tasty as anything else you could possibly provide.
12. Healthy granola bars
Not all granola bars are the same so here us out on this one. Whole grain, low-sugar granola bars are what you want to look at. They’re a great snack to provide some quick energy. Avoid any granola bars which look like they contain a lot of sugar. Those are not-so-great and are worth avoiding.
13. Low-sodium lunch meat
The easier the snack, the more likely you’ll make it and that tends to be the pattern with all busy parents. Low-fat, reduced sodium sandwich meats can help supply a great sandwich with some protein. Slap in some pepper jack and you’re good to go.
Avocados are a great food you want to introduce a child to from an early age. You can smush avocados across some toast for a filling, hearty afternoon snack, or slice up half an avocado as a quick bite.