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Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

By Gina Direnzo-Coffey, M.D.

Healthy Snacks for Toddlers image

Got a picky eater? Many tastes are acquired so while your child may initially refuse certain foods, he may also eventually learn to like them. Because of this, parents should encourage children to try new foods on a regular basis. Ask your child to taste the new food and describe it back to you. Talk to your children about what is in the food – protein for muscles, carbohydrates for energy or calcium for strong bones.

Healthy Foods for Toddlers

As you introduce new foods and test the waters to see what your child will eat for the time-being, try these healthy snacks:

  • Cheerios or puff cereals
  • Steamed veggies
  • Small pieces of tender meat
  • Fresh fruit (apples, grapes, pears) dipped in yogurt
  • Vanilla wafers or graham crackers dipped in yogurt
  • Pretzel twists
  • Low-fat or nonfat milk
  • Cottage cheese with pineapple chunks
  • Oatmeal with sliced peaches
  • Ritz crackers with low-fat cream cheese
  • Yogurt creamsicles (combine ½ cup plain yogurt with ½ cup fruit juice concentrate and freeze), if over the age of 12 months

Children 8 months to 1 year of age will be able to eat small portions of only some of the snacks listed above. It is recommended that cow’s milk, honey and hard, round foods (such as nuts, whole grapes, raw carrots and round candy) are not offered until after 1 year of age and nuts not until the age of 2. Always supervise your eating child to prevent complications from choking. If you have any questions about what your child should be eating or avoiding, consult your pediatrician.

Healthy Habits for Any Age

To ensure that your child will eat table foods, make snack foods a treat and, instead, try to incorporate small amounts of table food in snack-sized portions when your child is hungry.

As you teach the value of healthy eating, let your children know that snack food is not bad and that sweets can fit into a healthy diet – sometimes. It is fine to treat your family to ice cream or candy from time to time. This will show children that these foods are acceptable in moderation.​​​