Snack Ideas for Little Ones
Snacks are an important part of your baby and toddler’s diet. Most children need at least 3 meals and 3 snacks daily to provide enough nutrition for their growing bodies. Depending upon the age of your baby, some ‘snack times’ might be breast milk and/or formula. As the parent, you are in charge of what and when you offer your child to eat. Your child is in charge of whether to eat and how much.
Snack time is a great opportunity to offer foods from food groups that may be lacking in your baby’s diet. So when you are thinking of snacks, consider things from the bread/starch, dairy, fruit and veggie group. Baby’s and children’s protein needs aren’t terribly high, and are typically met via breast milk, formula, cow’s milk and protein foods at meal time. Try to offer 2-3 different foods and/or drinks at snack time. To keep things easy, offer baby what you are having as a snack. You may need to modify it a bit depending upon her age, chewing and swallowing ability.
Use your judgment when trying new foods to determine if it is a choking hazard for your baby. You may need to mash, chop, shred or soft cook some food to make it safe.
Cheese cut into cubes. If using cheese sticks, tear length wise to avoid choking
Yogurt (full fat until 2 yrs)
Frozen Yogurt Tubes
Fruit and yogurt smoothies
Cottage cheese and fruit
Milk (full fat until 2 yrs)
Any fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit will do. For example: Banana slices or strips, diced apples, berries of any kind (for babies, consider peeling fruit and cooking hard ones like apples & pears)
Freeze dried blueberries, strawberries, apples (or other fruit)
Raisins, dried cranberries or apricots
Use leftovers from dinner
Frozen peas, carrots, corn (as baby gets older she may like them unthawed)
Any cooked veggie, for example: zucchini and other squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet or white potato, asparagus Freeze dried veggies
Edamame (soy beans)
Crackers (consider whole grain ones like: Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Kashi TLC)
Bread and bread sticks, frozen waffle, toast strips with butter, bagel with cream cheese or nut butter
Pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers
Dry Cereal (consider whole grain, unsweetened ones like: Cherrios, Rice Krispies, Corn Puffs, Puffed Rice, Kix, Mighty Bites, Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran)
Muffins, granola and cereal bars
Eggs (hard boiled or scrambled)
Nuts and nutbutters
See chart below for foods to be cautious about. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions.
|Honey||After 1 yr||Peanut Butter||After 1-3 yrs *|
|Tree Nuts||After 1-3 yrs *||Citrus or Acidic Fruit||After 1 yr|
|Strawberries||After 1-2 yrs *||Corn||After 1 yr|
|Egg White||After 1 yr||Whole Milk||After 1 yr|
|Wheat||After 8-12 months *||Grapes (choking)||After 10-12 months|
|Shellfish||After 1-2 yrs. *||Chocolate||After 1 yr|
*there is some variance as to when to start certain foods. Basically if there are known food allergies, baby is food sensitive, or there is a close relative with food allergies, then it is best to wait until the later age. If the baby is not food sensitive and does not have allergies, the earlier date should be fine.
Any book by Ellyn Satter. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense is highly recommended.
**Special thanks to Karen Posselt for her suggestions and ideas**
If you have any questions and/or concerns about feeding your baby, his nutrition or growth, please contact Stephanie Brooks, MS, RD at Bay Area Nutrition, LLC for an individual consultation.