18 Quick And Healthy Snacks For Toddlers

18 Quick And Healthy Snacks For Toddlers

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Is your toddler asking you for a variety of snacks? You must be wondering how the little one’s appetite has increased so much that you are unable to meet his demands for more food.

The rapid growth and development make a preschooler crave for between-the-meal fillings. Toddler snacks are an ideal solution as they provide extra calories and other nutrients as well. But it can be challenging to make a toddler snack healthy yet tasty. Which is why MomJunction brings a list of 18 best toddler snack recipes that are easy to make and are super healthy! Watch as your toddler finish all the snacks down and asks for more.

Best Toddler Snack Food Ideas

Snacking can be prepared with any food, but that might just take away the nutrient factor. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following food categories for healthy snacking among toddlers (1):

1. Fruits:

Fruits are rich in vitamins and antioxidants while low in fat and net calories (2). And, fruits must always be served fresh as they tend to degenerate quickly from bacterial contamination. Fresh fruit snack ideas could include:

  • Thinly sliced apples, peaches, pears
  • Sliced cherries, grapes, strawberries
  • Mashed bananas
  • Oranges broken into sections

Best time to serve: Fruits make a good evening snack for toddlers due to their low calories, which leaves enough space in the preschooler’s tummy for dinner.

2. Vegetables:

Vegetables are rich in minerals and keep the stomach full for longer thanks to their rich fiber content. Vegetables must be chopped, boiled, and if required mashed before serving to the little one. Ideas for vegetable snacks are:

  • Mashed peas
  • Diced and boiled carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes
  • Steamed cauliflower, broccoli
  • Finely-chopped and boiled green beans
  • Boiled and coarsely blended spinach

Best time to serve: Vegetables are an ideal afternoon snack for toddlers since they act as an appetizer for lunch.

3. Dried fruits:

Dried fruits are rich in glucose and minerals and are an excellent source of instant energy. Toddlers mostly love dried fruits for their naturally sweet taste. Examples of dried fruit snacks are:

  • Dried raisins and apricot
  • Dried and chopped apples, peaches, pears
  • Finely chopped dates and prunes

Best time to serve: Since dried fruit is rich in fructose – the natural fruit sugar, it makes an excellent morning snack for toddlers when they need the maximum energy for the day ahead.

4. Protein snacks:

Meat, nuts, and protein-rich beans such as soybeans, fall under the protein category. These lean protein foods are also rich in vitamins, micronutrients, and unsaturated fat, which is a healthy fat. Some protein snacks are:

  • Soybean tofu cubes
  • Mashed chickpeas
  • Slices of boiled or baked fish
  • Shredded boneless chicken
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Almond, peanut, and peanut butter

Best time to serve: Protein foods can be given at any time of the day. Nevertheless, they make a good bedtime snack for toddlers since most of the muscle growth, tissue repair, growth hormone release, and protein synthesis happen during the night’s sleep (3).

5. Bread and cereals:

These snacks have high fiber content and are rich in micronutrients. Examples of this preschool snack idea are:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain biscuits and crackers
  • Dry cereals made from whole grains
  • Cereals and crispies made from rice

Best time to serve: Cereals give the body a healthy start for the day, making them the perfect morning snack for toddlers.

6. Dairy products:

These include milk, milk products, and milk derivatives but do not include processed dairy products such as ice creams, packaged milk shakes, etc. The ideas for dairy product snacks are:

  • Sliced or grated cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fresh yoghurt
  • Milk with no added sugar

Best time to serve: Dairy products are seldom given alone and are usually compliment another snack item, such as cheese with bread. Therefore, you can serve dairy products as a morning snack with bread and cereals.

There is a wide variety of snack ideas for a toddler, but it is important to know how to serve them right.

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The Ideal Way To Serve Snacks To Toddlers

There are certain combinations and ways in which you should serve snacks. Below are some vital points to keep in mind for a healthy snack for the preschooler.

  • Snacks must not replace meals. When giving snacks to the toddler, keep in mind that the little one still has to eat a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The snack food is merely a complementary in the toddler’s diet and not the main course.
  • Stick to a quantity: One way to prevent a toddler from skipping meals due to snacking is by giving the snacks in small quantities. Experts recommend no more than half to one cup serving size of snack food per snack time (4). It prevents overeating while also leaving space in the toddler’s stomach for the main meals of the day.
  • Have a snacking schedule by giving the snack exactly at the same time every day. This sets a healthy routine for snacking, and the preschooler will feel hungry at a fixed time. It will also prevent any demands for snacks at odd times.

There are numerous ways to prepare healthy snacks for toddlers. Keep reading to find out more about them.

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Toddler Snack Recipes

We present to you the best toddler snack recipes in various categories of snack food ideas.

Veggie snacks for toddlers

1. Vegetable sauce dip with bread

Vegetable sauce dip with bread

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The plain toasted bread gets an interesting twist when served with a lip-smacking, yogurt-based, vegetable sauce.

You will need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened fresh yogurt
  • 2 cups cleaned and chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Slices of whole wheat bread

How to:

  1. Blend yogurt, coriander, spinach, and garlic cloves together.
  2. The iron-rich vegetable dip sauce is ready. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so it thickens.
  3. Toast some bread, cut each slice into four pieces, and dip each piece in the sauce before serving it to the little one.

2. Vegetable rainbow chips

Vegetable rainbow chips

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Here’s a colorful, delightful, and healthy snack. Need we say more?

You will need:

  • Thin chip-sized slices of carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, and bottle gourd
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F). Grease a baking tray with vegetable oil.
  2. Place the vegetable chip slices on the baking tray. Grease the slices with some vegetable oil and place the baking tray in the oven.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or till the vegetable slices shrivel and become light brown.Bring them out of the oven, and the colorful fun snack for toddlers is ready.

3. Corn salad

Corn salad

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The perfect idea for a healthy salad with a dash of lemon juice for a delightful tanginess.

You will need:

  • 1 cup corn pieces
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How to:

  1. Boil the corn and onions till they are tender.
  2. Place the cooked vegetables into a large bowl. Add to it the tomatoes, coriander, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. Mix the vegetables well, and the delightful vegetable snack for the toddler is ready.

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Protein snacks for toddlers

4. Peanut butter rolls

Presenting a simple, three ingredient protein snack that packs a ton of nourishment.

You will need:

  • 1-2 cups of peanut butter
  • 1 cup toddler cereal
  • 1/4 slice of bread

How to:

  1. Mix the peanut butter and cereal. Spread the mixture on a small piece of bread.
  2. Roll the bread. Refrigerate the rolls for three to four hours and the high-protein snack is ready.

5. Fish spread with crackers

Fish spread with crackers

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Crispy crackers meet nutritious fish meat, and we get a hearty snack for the toddler.

You will need:

  • 1 cup fresh boneless fish pieces
  • 1 cup fresh coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups of water
  • Unsalted plain crackers

How to:

  1. Boil the fish until it is well-cooked. Transfer the fish and the water (stock) into a blender.
  2. Add coriander, salt, and black pepper, and blend them all.
  3. Transfer the fish spread to a bowl and use as a dip with crackers. A snack packed with the goodness of fish protein.

6. Pan-fried tofu

Pan-fried tofu

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The crispy tofu snack is easy to prepare and is high in protein.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of cubed tofu pieces
  • 1-2 teaspoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Heat the oil in the pan for a few minutes.
  2. Place the tofu pieces, and cook for a couple of minutes on medium flame.
  3. Turn the tofu and cook for a couple of minutes. Let the tofu cool before serving it to the little one.

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Fruit snacks for toddlers

7. Fruit puree with crackers

Fruit puree with crackers

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Spread fruit purees on crackers for a snack perfect for any moment.

You will need:

  • 2 cups fruit assortment of strawberries, pear, blueberry
  • 1 cup water
  • Packet of plain unsalted crackers

How to:

  1. Blend the fruits with water to make a thick puree.Spread the thick fruit puree on crackers and the snack is ready.
  2. You can refrigerate the cracker for a few hours to thicken the fruit puree. This is an easy to prepare toddler snack for day cares where there are several preschoolers to feed.

8. Fruit salad

Fruit salad

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Make an interesting fruit salad with an assortment of colorful fruits and a hint of lemon juice.

You will need:

  • 1 cup mix of strawberries, chopped apples, bananas, fig, and orange
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to:

  1. Put the fruits in a large bowl and pour the lemon juice on it.
  2. Stir the ingredients well. Add more fruits or lemon juice as per taste and serve this delicious fruit salad snack to the preschooler.

9. Fruit toast

Fruit toast

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Toasts go well with any topping even fruit purees.

You will need:

  • 1 cup sliced apples
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • Slices of whole wheat bread

How to:

  1. Wash the fruits, and boil the apples to soften them.
  2. Blend the boiled apples, sliced strawberries, and blueberries in a blender. Pour water and blend till it becomes a thick puree.
  3. Toast the desired number of bread slices. Apply the fruit puree spread on each toasted slice.
  4. Place the bread slices in the freezer for a couple of hours, and the tasty fruity snack is ready.

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Cheese snacks for toddlers

10. Mini pan pizza

Mini pan pizza

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Nothing excites toddlers unlike the sight of a pizza, and a healthy homemade pizza certainly makes a healthy snack.

You will need:

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped capsicum
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 3-4 bread slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Put a few drops of oil in a pan and put the bread slice with a small amount of tomato ketchup on it.
  2. Boil the vegetables until they are tender, and then put them on the bread.
  3. Grate mozzarella cheese on the slice. Add some more vegetables on top.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and let the bread cook on a low flame till the cheese melts. Let the bread cool before serving the snack to the toddler.

11. Organic cottage cheese and vegetable mix

Organic cottage cheese and vegetable mix

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Vegetables combined with organic cottage cheese bring together the goodness of greens and milk.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 cup finely chopped green beans
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Boil the carrots and beans until they are soft. In the meantime, heat some oil in a pan. Shallow fry the cottage cheese and boiled vegetables on a low flame until the vegetables cook and the cottage cheese turns light brown.
  2. Let the preparation come to a room temperature, and this tasty organic snack for a toddler is ready to serve.

12. Cheese single vegetable wrap

Cheese single vegetable wrap

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Use those cheese singles in the refrigerator to make this tasty snack for your little one.

You will need:

  • 1 cup corn pieces
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup cubed carrots
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2-3 cheese singles

How to:

  1. Boil the corn, potatoes, and carrots till they are completely tender.
  2. Take a cheese single, and top it with the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle some dried basil and roll the cheese single into a roll. A tasty cheese snack for the toddler is ready.

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Healthy baked snacks for toddlers

13. Chocolate cookies

Chocolate cookies

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The good old chocolate cookies always grab a toddler’s attention.

You will need:

  • 3 cups of plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  •  2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened low fat cow milk cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and cream in a large bowl. Stir them all together thoroughly.
  2. Add baking soda to hot water and pour into the batter. Mix it well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Grease the baking tray with the vegetable oil. Pour the batter into piles of small circular shapes.
  4.  Bake for ten minutes or till the cookie becomes golden brown. Cool and serve it to the toddler. A low sugar snack for toddlers with the delicious taste of chocolate is ready.

14. Dried fruit roll

Dried fruit roll

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This is a dried fruit roll with the goodness of wheat and cow’s milk.

You will need:

  • 2 cups refined wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole cow’s milk
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 cups of finely chopped dried fruits
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Mix the wheat flour with whole milk and make a dough. Add baking soda and knead it further. The dough must be soft and sticky for easy rolling.
  2. Cut the dough into small, rectangular pieces – about the size of a credit card. Place the finely chopped dried fruits at the center of the dough and roll it.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Grease a baking tray with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Place the rolls on the tray and bake for ten to 12 minutes or till the roll has a light, golden crust. The dried fruits melt within thus giving the roll a soft, sweet, and chewy center.
  4. Remove from the oven, cool, and serve the snack to the toddlers…

15. Cereal and dried fruit snack bar

Cereal and dried fruit snack bar

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A snack rich in fiber and nutrients, thanks to a healthy blend of cereals and dried fruits.

You will need:

  • 3-4 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup deseeded dried dates
  • 2 cups broken cashew nuts
  • 1-2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup toddler cereal
  • 1-2 cups milk powder
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender till it becomes a thick paste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Grease a baking tray with vegetable oil. Pour the batter in long cuboidal-shaped lumps.
  3. Bake for ten minutes or till the lump stiffens and becomes golden brown. Cool and serve the crispy snack bar to the little one.

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Dried fruit snacks for toddlers

16. Dried fruit and cereal mix

Dried fruit and cereal mix

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Think instant snacks for toddlers, think dried fruit and cereal mix.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup raisins, dried apricots, chopped dried dates
  • 3/4 cup toddler cereal

How to:

  1. Add dried fruits and toddler cereal in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly.
  2. The easy-to-make snack is ready, and you can store it for further consumption later. It is a dry snack for toddlers that goes well with beverages such as milk or formula.

17. Cream and dried fruit mix

Cream and dried fruit mix

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This snack is packed to the brim with the natural sweetness of milk cream and dried fruits.

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened low fat cow milk cream
  • 1/2 cup dried fruits like raisins, dried apples, dried peaches

How to:

  1. Mix the fruit cream and the dried fruits in a large bowl. If you need more thickness, then add more dried fruits.
  2. Take a muffin mold and pour the cream and dried fruit mixture into each mold.
  3. Refrigerate the mold for four to five hours. The cream stiffens, and the preparation becomes a snack dessert that can be eaten straight from the mold.

18. Dried fruit and fruit puree popsicle

Dried fruit and fruit puree popsicle

Image: Shutterstock

Dried fruits and fresh fruits become popsicles – a toddler’s all-time favorite frozen delight.

You will need:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup whole cow’s milk
  • 1 cup dried fruits

How to:

  1. Clean the strawberries, remove the stalk, and slice the strawberries into small pieces.
  2. Transfer the chopped strawberries into a blender and add milk. Blend till it mixes well. The puree should be thick so you could add more strawberries if required.
  3. Mix the fruit puree and milk along with the dried fruits in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. The next day, pull the popsicle from the mold, and you just made an excellent party snack for toddlers.

These recipes have a healthy homemade goodness in every bite, which is much better than the several ready-to-eat unhealthy snack options.

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Snacks Foods To Avoid

Some snack foods popular among adults are not necessarily healthy and should never be given to toddlers. These foods have high sugar, are rich in saturated fats, and could contain higher amounts of sodium. Here is what you must avoid:

  • Fruit juice
  • Soda/Soft drink
  • Deep fried items such as packaged potato chips
  • Processed products such as salted meat and canned fish
  • Frozen vegetables
  • High sugar snacks such as candies

Fruit juice is often considered healthy, but it has the same amount of added sugar as soda. Experts recommend against giving juices to toddlers as the beverage induces watery stools or toddler’s diarrhea in preschoolers (5).

Other foods such as soda and even packaged flavored milk have a lot of added sugar, which is not ideal for the toddler. Frozen and canned food items are not fresh, and may be susceptible to bacterial contamination.

Along with avoiding these foods, there are some other simple ways to make snacking healthy for the toddler.

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Tips On Healthy Snacking In Toddlers

Here are ways to make snacking favorable for the toddler:

  • Be alert towards allergies: Keep an eye out for any signs of food allergy when a toddler eats a food item for the first time. Common allergic foods are fish, soy, and dairy products. Symptoms of food allergy include skin hives, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Staying vigilant towards allergies helps keep the toddler safe.
  • Do not force a snack if the toddler is not hungry. Skipping the snack if the toddler feels full is okay. Forcing the toddler to eat does not help and instead may cause overeating. Some preschoolers may not be into snacking and prefer having only full meals. It is entirely alright, and you can focus on the main course with such preschoolers.
  • Have a balanced snack diet, just as you might with meals. Serve all types of snacks and ensure there is a balanced assortment of it every week. This way a preschooler can get optimum nutrition from snacking as well.

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Snacking is good when done the right way. Healthy toddler snacks provide additional nutrition and calories that are required by the fast-growing body of the little one. When incorporated properly into the daily routine, snacking may even prevent a toddler from being lured by unhealthy food.

What type of snacks have you tried with your toddler? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.

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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo took writing as a profession right after finishing his MBA in Marketing. Earlier he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Botany & Zoology from the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Rohit has also done a Stanford University certification course on breastfeeding. This botanist-zoologist turned writer excels at life sciences, and at MomJunction he writes everything about pediatrics and maternal care. In between writing and being overly curious, he spends time cooking, reading, and playing video games. LinkedIn profile – linkedin.com/in/rohit-garoo-263115aa
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