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Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

Toddlers are naturally good at regulating how much they eat, but their small stomachs make it difficult for them to get all the calories they need at mealtime. Between-meal snacks, served midway between meals, can help your toddler get the calories she needs to grow and thrive.

Providing healthy foods for toddlers is important because habits developed at young ages can carry over for a lifetime. When a toddler is used to eating healthy foods, he is less likely to turn to junk food when he is old enough to make his own decisions. Here are a few easy snack ideas that are not only healthy but that also taste great.

Nuts

Nuts are simple, healthy snacks that are great for toddlers. Some parents are afraid to give their child nuts out of fear of allergic reaction, but only 2% of kids are genetically predisposed to nut allergies. According to Johns Hopkins Children's Center, for most children, eating nuts at a young age can help prevent developing an allergy in the first place. What's more, the American Academy of Pediatrics says parents can offer nuts to children age 6 months and older, as long as they don't show signs of other food allergies. Because many whole nuts can pose a choking hazard, however, nuts should be ground up before being given to children under 4.

Dried Fruits

Other healthy snack options for toddlers are dried fruits. At around 9 months, when babies start eating finger foods, they can try raisins and other dried fruits chopped up into raisin-sized pieces. Dried cranberries, blueberries, and currants make great snacks for toddlers as long as you break up clumps so pieces can be eaten one at a time. Larger dried fruits, like prunes, dates, cherries, and apricots, should be cut up into raisin-sized pieces.

Pumpkin Seeds and Trail Mix

Pumpkin seeds and trail mix are easy, healthy snacks for toddlers as well. Roasted pumpkin seeds can be given to toddlers who have teeth strong enough to chew regular solid foods, around 18 months to 2 years of age. They can also be ground up and added to other foods. Trail mix is another excellent choice and can be purchased pre-made or made yourself using granola, nuts, raisins, dried fruits, cereal rings, and carob or yogurt chips.

A Lifetime of Healthy Eating

Providing healthy snacks for toddlers now can help them develop good eating habits that last a lifetime. Nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, and roasted pumpkin seeds are good choices that are both easy and delicious. Offer your toddlers healthy foods, and they're more likely to make smart snack choices once they're old enough to choose for themselves.

Healthy Recipes for Toddlers

Though the ideas above are great snacks in themselves, some toddlers and parents may prefer a more well-rounded, hearty snack for children that prefer to spread their caloric intake throughout many mini-meals. Check out these simple ideas from our Health Nut and Registered Dietitian to find ideas to suit your child’s palate.

Spirulina Smoothie

Spirulina Smoothie Recipe

Serve a soft helping of scrumptious fruits and veggies with the blend of naturally healthful foods. This smoothie supplies an abundance of the vitamins and minerals your child needs!
Ingredients: Spirulina, banana, fresh spinach, apple juice, crushed ice, lemon juice.
Total Time: 2 minutes | Yield: 2 smoothies

Blueberry Chia Jam Bars {gluten-free, vegan}

Blueberry Chia Jam Bars Recipe {gluten-free, vegan}

A soft sweet that is sure to become a favorite, these delectable desserts utilize natural sugars and the superfood chia seeds to supply a healthier treat.
Ingredients: Raw almonds, gluten-free rolled oats, chia seeds, maple syrup, water, vanilla or almond extract, blueberries, cacao powder, coconut oil.
Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 16 mini bars

Banana Bread {gluten-free}

Banana Bread Recipe {gluten-free}

Bread is an essential staple in any home, but finding a nutritious, gluten-free variety can pose a serious challenge. Enjoy the delightful taste of homemade banana bread with this surprisingly simple recipe.
Ingredients: Overripe bananas, eggs, coconut oil, applesauce, almond milk, honey, vanilla extract, brown rice flour, coconut flour, walnuts, gluten-free rolled oats, baking soda, baking powder.
Total Time: 1 hour | Yield: 12 80-gram servings

References

BabyCenter. (2014, January). When can my baby eat raisins and dried fruit? | BabyCenter. Retrieved February, 2016, from http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-eat-raisins-and-dried-fruit_1368500.bc

Lock, C. (n.d.). Kid-Friendly Nut Recipes. Retrieved February, 2016, from http://www.parents.com/recipes/nutrition/kid-friendly-nut-recipes/#page=1

Parenting Healthy Babies. (2015, February 27). Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds For Kids. Retrieved February, 2016, from http://www.parentinghealthybabies.com/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds-for-kids/