Is there anything in the world more curious, energetic, and excitable than a toddler?
There’s so much to explore and so much mess to make in the process.
All that energy has to come from somewhere.
When you’re searching for healthy snacks for toddlers to fuel all this fun, you probably want something quick to prepare that still gives them everything they need to grow.
Look no further, mama.
We have you covered.
In this article: 📝
- What can I use to make healthy snacks for toddlers?
- What are good snacks for a one-year-old?
- Healthy snacks for a two-year-old
- What foods should a two-year-old avoid?
What can I use to make healthy snacks for toddlers?
The best snacks for young children contain a mix of macronutrients – carbs, protein, and fat.
This could be fruit (carbs) and cheese (protein and fat), or crackers (carbs) and a glass of milk (protein and a little fat).
Providing a combination of more than one macronutrient helps them stay satisfied for longer!
At this stage, they’re not putting on weight as quickly as they did as newborns, but their brains are still developing faster than they will at any other time in their lives.
To make these new connections, toddlers need quality fuel – vitamins for their immune systems, protein for their growing muscles, carbs for energy, and healthy fats for their brains
These are some of the best foods you can include in toddler snacks:
- Full fat cottage cheese
- Natural or Greek yoghurt (plain/unsweetened and made with whole milk)
- Cheese (softer, lower sodium cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella for those closer to age one)
- Beans and pulses
- Egg, cooked however they like
- Fish, including tinned tuna and salmon
- Berries and cherries (cut quartered)
- Seeds, especially chia and flax seeds (but not whole seeds or nuts, as those are a choking hazard)
- Nut butter
- Dried fruit
If you include a mix of these foods in your toddler’s snacks, you’ll cover all the nutritional bases.
Avoiding snacks that only contain carbohydrates will also help them feel fuller for longer and might (somewhat) stabilize their toddler mood swings.
The only thing you have to figure out is how to combine and serve the ingredients in the way that’s easiest for you.
What are good snacks for a one-year-old?
Although it can be messy, letting your one-year-old feed themselves is important for their coordination and independence.
Snack time is a great opportunity to practice.
Some of the best toddler snack ideas are finger foods or things that they can easily eat with a spoon.
In less than a minute, you can make store-bought (low sodium) crackers or rice cakes into a healthy snack.
Spread them with cottage cheese, mashed avocado, or nut butter and maybe sprinkle some chia seeds on top for an extra dose of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Hanger crisis averted.
For a two-minute option, lower sugar breakfast cereal, berries, and full-fat yogurt is a balanced snack.
Serving the parts separately will also let them practice their fine motor skills as they make a pincer grip to pick up the smaller pieces.
The Parisian option
If you have a little more time, banana French toast is always popular.
Mix a mashed banana with two eggs and a little milk, soak slices of bread, and then cook them in a skillet.
Chopped into fingers and served with cinnamon, you might even find yourself sharing.
Healthy snacks for a two-year-old
By two, your little one knows exactly how fun mealtimes can be.
Even more exciting, they’re probably interested in helping with the prep.
Wrap it up
One of the quickest toddler snacks you can make is a tortilla spread with hummus and filled with whatever cheese, veggies or cold cuts you have in the fridge.
Cut it into small pieces to make it easier to eat and let your kitchen assistant see the snail shell spiral inside.
If you have a little more time, what two-year-old doesn’t love pizza?
Even if making the dough is too much effort, you can use a slice of baguette, an English muffin, or a bagel as the pizza base.
Then let your little one choose their own toppings, broil it until the cheese melts, and serve.
Keep it cool
When you’re feeling organized, you can try a batch of homemade popsicles.
They take half a day to freeze, but all you really have to do is make a smoothie with your toddler’s favorite fruits and a spoon or two of yogurt and pour it into molds.
You can buy popsicle molds or improvise with washed-out yogurt pots and a spoon in the middle to use as the stick.
A fun, lower sugar summer treat.
What foods should a two-year-old avoid?
Thankfully, by the time most little ones turn two, there are very few foods that they need to avoid entirely.
That being said choking hazards are hazards through age four, so still best to practice caution.
Of course, there are allergies and exceptions, and some have already become particular about what they like to eat.
In general, though, the only things you need to say no to are:
Whole nuts and round foods
Nuts and foods such as grapes, cherry tomatoes, hotdogs, and olives are all about the same diameter as a toddler’s windpipe.
Even when they’re two, it’s recommended to cut them in half lengthways to minimize the risk of choking.
Thickly spread nut butter
Although it’s healthy, too much cashew, almond, or peanut butter can also be a choking hazard.
Spread them thinly, mix them into batters and sauces, and avoid giving nut butter as a dip or on a spoon.
Desserts, chips, marshmallows, and popcorn
As well as being ‘empty’ carbohydrates, it’s easy for little ones to choke on a lot of the most popular treats.
Cookies, ice cream, anything with a sugar shell, marshmallows, and popcorn are some of the most common offenders.
There’s an argument for including candy on your child’s dinner plate so that it no longer seems like “forbidden fruit” and they develop a more controlled attitude to less healthy foods when they’re older.
However, if you choose to give them sweets, it’s probably better and safer to go for chocolate (although beware at night, chocolate does have a bit of caffeine).
Hard candy should stay off their plates until at least age 4.
There’s nothing wrong with store-bought baby snacks.
They’re convenient, delicious, and there are always new products to try.
However, if you’re serving puffed grain snacks, make sure to seal any leftovers in an airtight container.
When they go stale, they become spongy.
Like the round foods we already mentioned, they’re the worst size to become stuck in your child’s throat.
Even though your two-year-old has probably discovered how delicious french fries and chips are, try to keep an eye on their salt intake.
They’re growing up, but their little kidneys between the ages of four and eight can only handle 1,500mg of sodium a day between compared to an adult’s 2,300mg.
For infants between one and three, this drops down to 1200 mg.
When you consider that there’s already as much as 230 mg hidden in a slice of bread, it’s easy to go over this limit.
For a full list of healthy snacks for kids, check out our guide: 17 Toddler Meal Ideas.