Every parent wants to give their child the best possible start in life, including providing them with healthy snacks. However, preparing a snack for toddlers can be daunting, especially when you don’t know where to start. Thus, having the best healthy snack ideas ready in your back pocket is best. From raw veggies to whole grain crackers, we have got you covered with some of the most healthy toddler snack ideas that are also easy to make!
How Many Toddler Snacks Do You Need?
Like most parents who worry whether their toddler is getting enough to eat, you are not alone. It is common for parents to wonder about the correct number of snacks their toddler should have daily. Many factors contribute to how much your toddler should eat in a day, such as age, activity level, and appetite.
First, let me just say that having a child that needs more snack time than other kids is not bad. This is perfectly normal, as no two kids are the same.
Toddlers that opt for a few foods at each meal and eat every few hours probably get the right amount of food during the day. If they seem to be snacking more often, that’s okay too.
Do not compare how many healthy toddler snacks your kids need, as this can differ greatly from child to child. But to answer the question, most young toddlers need to eat every 2 to 3 hours. That means they need three regular meals plus 2 to 3 snacks. If you’ve given your child big meals throughout the day, one snack can be in the late afternoon or evening.
Tips for Yummy Toddler Food Snacks
It is always better to start with an idea of how to prepare healthy recipes or what to opt for in a healthy snack. Toddlers are very active, so they need snacks packed with nutrients, not empty calories. Here are some tips:
Make Them Mini Meal Snacks
Healthy snacks for toddlers don’t have to be 100% snack foods. This is especially true when your child doesn’t eat much during regular mealtimes. Snacks are a great way to fill in the nutrition they are missing due to eating less at meals. So don’t be afraid to give them mini meals as snacks. This could include items such as:
- Fresh fruit snacks
- Thinly sliced cheddar cheese or other types of cheeses
- Deli meats such as turkey or ham
- Nut butter and whole grain snacks/crackers
There are virtually endless possibilities for healthy snacks that are toddler-friendly and nutritious. But, remember to keep them small and not too filling as a big meal before bedtime.
Serve Two Food Groups
To balance a snack and make it more nutritious, serve two food groups. For example, partner hot dogs with carrots or apples with peanut butter. This will help them get more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in their diet while also filling them up.
Customized Your Food Packs
Every child has their preference, type of appetite, chewing abilities (whether they like crunchy foods or not), and so on. For example, some may like healthy dairy snack ideas, while others prefer savory snacks. Be mindful of their allergies and be careful when mixing new foods.
Preparing an Easy, Healthy Toddler Snack
Again, the right balance between the mixes of different food groups is essential to ensure that your toddler gets the most nutrition from their snack. The key is to not go overboard and fill them up too much before a meal or bedtime. As the rule of thumb, prepare at least 1 to 2 protein foods/healthy fats combined with 1 to 2 fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
Protein Foods & Healthy Fats
- Eggs/hard-boiled egg
- Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, or any drinkable yogurt
- Nuts and seeds
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fruit leather
- Mandarin oranges
- You can also go for canned fruit, freeze-dried fruit, apple chips, and dried fruits as long as there is no added sugar.
- Baby carrots
- Celery sticks
- Cucumber slices
- Grape tomatoes
- Veggie chips are also a popular substitute
- Rice cakes
- Tortilla chips (baked)
- Whole-wheat bread
- Almond butter on a wholegrain toast is a popular afternoon snack for toddlers
- Peanut butter or other types of nut butter are also a good source of protein and healthy fats
Snack Ideas for Toddlers on the Go
There are times when you, as a parent, don’t have the luxury of time to prepare a healthy snack for your toddler. This is where some prepackaged snacks come in handy, as you can just grab them and go.
Just be mindful of the sodium and sugar content in these packaged snacks. As well as choking hazards for young toddlers. Some good on-the-go snacks ideas include:
- Applesauce pouches
- Dried fruits
- Fruit leathers
- Granola bars (without chocolate coating)
- Nut butter packets
- Pita chips
- String cheese
Also, you can try out the newest addition to the on-the-go Snacks for Toddlers, BoboLinks Beef Sticks. This is a healthy snack alternative that is perfect for those busy days.
They are made from 100% grass-fed beef and are naturally fermented with live cultures. These beef sticks are perfectly shelf stable and do not need to be refrigerated. So, you can just grab a pack and go! It lasts for up to 6 months without any refrigeration.
BoboLinks are also a great source of protein and healthy fats, which makes it the perfect snack to help your toddler stay fuller longer. You may want to pack an extra one for yourself too!
Tips on Packing Snacks for Toddlers
Now that you know some easy and healthy snack ideas for toddlers, let’s talk about the next step, packing them. Packing can make or break a child’s appetite; if their food looks good, they’re more likely to eat it. On the other hand, if it looks dull, they might not be as enthusiastic about snacking.
Invest in Durable, Child-Friendly Containers
First, you need to invest in good quality, durable, and child-friendly containers. There are many great options out there that are both BPA-free and leak-proof. This is important because you don’t want any contamination and unwanted spills. Do they have a favorite character or animal? Are they into dinosaurs or vehicles? You can find all sorts of great containers that will make mealtime more fun for them. Opt for stainless steel or recycled plastic containers as they are more durable and eco-friendly. While glass containers are mostly not recommended as they are more prone to breaking, if you want to use them, get some silicone sleeves to protect the glass or simply be there to help your child open it.
Fill Half the Container with Veggies or Fruits
This is a great way to ensure that your child gets their daily recommended fruit and vegetable intake. Pre-cut them into bite-sized pieces so they are easy to eat and not too messy. Some great fruit and veggie combinations include:
- carrots and celery sticks
- cucumber slices and grape tomatoes
- mango chunks and blueberries
- apple slices and grapes
Fill the Other Half with Whole Grains, Protein, or Healthy Fats
I’ve mentioned that combining greens or fruits with proteins and healthy fats is the perfect snack for toddlers. This will help them stay fuller longer and have sustained energy throughout the day.
Set Dedicated Snack Time
This is important to instill healthy snacking habits in your child. It will also help them be more mindful of their eating and not just snack on anything and everything in sight. Snack time should be around 30-60 minutes after a meal or whenever they start to get fussy and 2 hours before starting the next meal.
This way, you are registering in your child’s mind what to expect or what’s coming next. Snack time should be a happy and fun experience for your toddler, so make sure to create a pleasant environment during this time.
Adjust Portion Sizes
Not every child has the same appetite, so make sure to adjust the portion sizes accordingly. If your child is still hungry after finishing their snack, you can always give them a little more. And if they’re not that hungry, don’t force them to finish everything in their container. Instead, just put the leftovers away and save them for later.
Enjoy the Process
Keeping your child fed and nourished can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Just take it one step at a time and enjoy the process. Snacking is a great way to bond with your child and create lasting memories. So, have fun and make the most out of it. Don’t stress too much about getting everything perfect. Just relax and enjoy your time with your little one. This way, you’ll be able to create a healthy snacking routine that works for both you and your child.
Preparing snacks for toddlers is more than just giving them something to eat. It’s about providing the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. By allowing them to experience different tastes and textures, you’re also helping them develop their palate. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is necessary to be mindful of what you’re giving them. Take your time reading different snack recipes online or invest in a couple of cookbooks. This way, you’ll be able to come up with various healthy and delicious snacks that your child will love.
Thank you for your time reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and informative. Stay tuned for more great content like this. Snack away!