can be a nutritious (and delicious) part of your toddler’s diet, providing them with much-needed fuel and helping stave off hunger-related temper tantrums. But if you let your kiddo grab whatever they want to eat whenever they want to eat it, you could be helping to pave the way for a lifetime of dietary struggles.
Keep reading for some snacking suggestions for parents and guardians of children ages one to three.
Snacking Tips for Toddlers
Model healthy eating
Instead of enjoying a different snack than your toddler, choose the same food that he or she is eating. Your mini me looks up to you and will likely want whatever you’re having—use it as an opportunity to be a good role model!
Put an end to grazing
Instead of allowing your kiddo to snack all day long (which can reduce their appetite at mealtimes), give them two snacks daily at scheduled intervals. If your son or daughter knows that there’s another tasty treat in just a few hours, they’ll be more likely to stop eating when satisfied.
Help them recognize hunger cues
Instead of letting your child walk around or play while snacking, encourage them to sit down at the table and focus on their food. This way, they won’t be too distracted to recognize that feelings of hunger have shifted to satiety. Practicing mindfulness while snacking can also help prevent your toddler from accidentally choking on food.
Remain in control
Toddlers often crave independence, but they still need guidance from Mom and/or Dad. To help avoid a power struggle, give your kiddo two to three healthy snack choices so they can feel as though they are the main decision maker, even though you’re actually in charge.
Now that we’ve identified some healthy snacking behaviors, it’s time to identify some healthy snacks for your pint-sized pal. It’ best to skip the candy, cookies and cake (a.k.a. junk food) and focus on balanced snacks containing ingredients from two or three food groups.
Healthful choices may include:
- Plain whole-milk yogurt with berries
- Whole-grain crackers with cheese
- Plain rice cakes with mashed avocado
- Sliced cucumber or peppers with hummus
- A hard-boiled egg with steamed veggies
You can also try these healthy, tasty, toddler-approved snacks available on Vitacost.com*.
Best Heathy Snacks for Toddlers
Available in cinnamon sweet potato and vanilla oat flavors, these organic snacks are rich in flaxseed and “contain 160 milligrams of omega-3 (ALA), an important nutrient during this exciting time of ABCs and 123s!” They're free of gluten and GMOs and were created by nutritionists, pediatricians and real moms!
“Made with only real cheese and none of the artificial ingredients you’ll find in other cheese toddler snacks,” these mild cheddar bites are baked to crunchy perfection. And their packaging is perfectly portable, so your little one can enjoy them at home and on the go!
Formulated especially for tots, this “tasty blend of organic fruits and chia seeds” is available in a variety of fabulous flavors, including sweet potato, apple, carrot and cinnamon; apples and butternut squash; bananas, peach and mango; and pears, peas and green beans. In addition to containing 3 grams of fiber and 720 milligrams of Omega-3 (ALA), it's an “excellent source of vitamins A and C.”
These naturally flavored, melt-in-their mouth, freeze-dried snacks contain three satisfying servings of fruit and veggies per pouch. Made with real yogurt, they’re rich in vitamins A, C and E, and your toddler will love their “truly tropical” taste!
This “is a new, delicious oven-baked snack for toddlers, made with whole grains and real fruits and veggies!” The handheld waffle snack is free of artificial ingredients, added colors and flavors, concentrates and GMOs, and comes in two tasty varieties: pumpkin butter and jelly and apple carrot cinnamon.
This simple, gluten-free take on the classic granola bar contains just five ingredients, including dates and dried bananas. “Each box contains five individually wrapped bars, perfect for your little one's lunch box or an anytime healthy snack. And did we mention that they contain no added sugar?
*Always consult a physician before introducing your toddler to new foods.