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Health Snacks for Babies and Toddlers

As your child starts to grow older snack time is one of the best opportunities to introduce your child to different varieties of healthy food options, which in turn would help to increase the number of vitamins and nutrients in to your child and gotten in the child’s diet. This in turn helps with keeping up the child’s energy so your child is able to play, explore and learn new things. Begin this process at six to nine months and above by allowing your child to be able to consume approximately two to three nutritious snacks daily.

As a mother you want to ensure that your baby receives all the nutrients needed for them to grow healthy, including healthy snacks from will ensure that your baby is:

  • Learn the appropriate eating habits that will help them in the future like meal time or snack time could play a role in both socialising and increasing healthy eating habits.
  • Every opportunity given when consuming enough calories for babies like snack time should be used as an opportunity to eat healthy snacks due to the fact that babies have small stomachs that fill up quickly so they tend to eat multiple times daily in order to be able to have enough energy needed to support their rapid growths.
  • Eating the right amount of proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and all essential vitamins and minerals needed to feel the rapid development occurring during the first one to three years of life.
  • Offering your child, the same healthy foods that the family eats could be another way of including it into their diet. Including foods like salmon coma avocados and nut butters etc. Ensure to give your child different flavors to keep things exciting for them.
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You can even keep offering your child breastmilk till they are at the age of two years.

NOTE: When preparing food for your child it is very important to avoid putting salt or sugar into their food which is not needed and could cause harm and avoid snacks with added sugar or salt.

When it comes to what to offer a child you should them water which is the best option when your child is thirsty. Offer water in between meals and snacks. If your child is no longer breastfeed you can give farm pasteurised whole cow milk with meals and snacks. If you feel your child doesn’t drink cow’s milk, firstly, talk to your health practitioner or paediatrician about this and the best option to offer the child. when the child gets to the age of two plus years you can start giving the child low fat milk options such as skim milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverages but keep it at a limit.

It is very advisable to avoid sugary drinks, sweetened milk, sweet and fortified soy beverages, 100% fruit juice, fruit beverages fruit flavoured drinks made from powders or crystals. The reason for avoiding 100% fruit juice is because most of them are made with high amount of sugar and are very low in fibre instead offer whole fruits.

Some snack ideas:

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  • Whole grain cereals and oatmeal with unsweetened milk
  • Plain yogurt with fruit popsicles or soft fresh fruits with a little honey
  • Mashed avocado on whole grain toast
  • Bite size pieces of cooked beef or chicken or tofu with vegetables
  • Milk or yoghurt-based fruit smoothies.
  • Unsweetened apple sauce with whole grain crackers
  • Cubes of cheese with green crackers
  • Oatmeal pancakes
  • Peeked cucumber spears
  • Cottage cheese with berries
  • Soft fresh fruits like grapes, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, mangos, watermelon [ ensure they are without the seeds before giving the child], oranges, peaches, bananas etc.
  • Steamed carrots, string beans, green beans, zucchini, clack beans with plain yogurt, vegetables with hummus or homemade black beans sauce as dips.
  • Whole grain muffins with fresh fruits
  • Nut butter spread on whole grain crackers etc

When choosing snacks make sure that they are high quality wholesome. When choosing food for your child rather than falling for trains that snacks are a way for a child to binge on junk food. Focus on providing snacks for chewing rather than sipping because calories from drinks are often void of nutrients and fibres and loaded with sugar, additives and caffeine.

Be safe. One of the most important things to do is to supervise your child while they eat, make sure to offer food that are in terms of texture size, shape appropriate for your child’s abilities. Ensure your child is not crawling, walking, running, or sitting in a moving stroller or car seats while eating to avoid situations like choking hazards which are more common in children below the age of four due to the fact that they have small airways and have less control over swallowing. Ensure they are always seated while eating or taking their snacks. Encourage them to take small bites at a time when chewing food. When it comes to giving them vegetables like carrots make sure they are well-cooked and soft or grated.

Instilling healthy habits:

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Develop an eating schedule with flexibility to manage your child’s needs when it comes to food, like when the food would be available rather than creating an environment in which eating is an-all-time activity which could lead to situations like obesity if not controlled.

Remember that kids should eat roughly six times each day but it’s up to you as a parent to determine the what, when, and where of eating, in order help your child to have a healthy relationship with food. Avoid giving your kids whatever they want. When it comes to food being in control of what they eat and ensure that they are things nutritious for them. Yes, sweets snacks can be giving but they should be kept at a minimum to ensure that it doesn’t become a necessity in the child’s life.

If the child has food allergies if you have any concerns or more questions about which food would be good for the child, talk to your child’s doctor or paediatrician, or registered dietitian or public health nurse to prevent allergic reactions in the future.

About Bayan Bosinovski

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