Are you short of ideas for snacks for your 1-4 year old? Something different and nutritious to put in their snack pot?
There are a few things to take into consideration when planning snacks for your toddler. What does the snack give them in terms of nutrition? Is it training them into good eating habits? Why give snacks at all? What to put the snack in is also something to think about!
Minaym have a wonderful toddler snack pot with a detachable lid that is cut so that your toddler can dip a hand in to pick up a snack but food won’t escape if the pot is overturned. A genius idea! Furthermore, when your toddler gets old enough to try drinking from an open cup, our snack pot, minus the lid, works perfectly for little ones to drink from.
On to the snacks themselves - while it is easy enough to pop in some breadsticks or rice cakes - ideally a toddler snack would resemble what is given at mealtimes. The idea being that because toddlers usually don’t eat a lot at one sitting, the between-meal snacks act as a sort of mini meal, allowing you to pack more nutrition into their daily intake. So gradually, over time, as your toddler becomes a young child and is able to eat more at mealtimes, these snacks are phased out and they get all they need from main meals.
Snacks should contain the same elements as meals - protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetables. They should be low in sugar of course! You want to try and avoid the manufactured toddler snacks that come in packets, which are usually expensive and lacking in nutrition.
Snacks low in salt are ideal as getting toddlers used to salty snacks will cause endless trouble as they grow older. It’s also important to try and include nutrients such as iron, zinc and calcium in your toddler’s snacks - iron and zinc can be found in nuts, seeds and pulses as well as eggs; calcium is found in dairy products and soya milks or yogurts.
Ideally, toddlers age 1-4 should have around 60% of their energy and nutrition at their three mealtimes, 30% spread over the three snack times and a further 10% as a dessert for the main meal.
Here are a few snack ideas that would easily work in our snack pot, or another small container that you might use to carry food around when you’re out and about.
1. Chunks of cheese with pear slices and mini oatcakes - cut up some cheese or cheese alternative into small chunks, slice up some pear and pop it into your snack pot along with some mini oatcakes. Rich in calcium, with some vitamin C and good, slow release carbohydrate.
2. Breadsticks with hummus and carrot - hummus is perfect for dipping and is great protein! Add some carrot batons and breadsticks for crunch.
3. Mozzarella slices, tomatoes, pieces of plain pasta - mozzarella is mild and creamy, great for calcium - ideal for toddlers. Add tomatoes for vitamin C and some cooked pasta for carbohydrate and you have a perfect snack.
4. Toast cut into strips, spread with avocado plus sliced apple - simply spread avocado onto toast, slice up, pop into the snack pot and add sliced apple or pear. Bursting with vitamin E.
5. Plain pasta, cucumber strips and hard boiled egg - Rich in iron and protein, hard boiled egg is a perfect portable package - kept cool of course.
6. Mini oat or rice cakes spread with nut butter and sliced banana - packed with protein and taste, most little ones love banana so unless your child has a nut allergy, this is a perfect snack.
7. Kiwi slices with greek yogurt and crumbled oatcakes - slightly messy but full of protein, calcium and vitamin C!
Don’t forget whole milk of course, which is an ideal drink to accompany any toddler snack. Toddlers should only drink milk or water if possible - even sugar free squash contains fruit acid which can erode tooth enamel over time. If you do give squash or diluted fruit juice, make sure it’s at a mealtime to minimise the damage to teeth.
With these ideas you should be well on the way to providing perfect snack pot mini meals for your toddler. You’ll be paving the way to healthy eating too by teaching your toddler great nutritional habits.
If you want to read more about feeding a toddler, then check out our full in-depth guide!
Have a look at our website for silicone snack pots!
Based on nutritional guidelines from First Steps Nutrition.