Toddler friendly snacks

Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist

 

In our often busy and hectic lives, it can be all too easy to offer young children the first treat that comes to hand. Snacking, especially on foods which are sweet and high in calories, can get in the way of a toddler having a varied and balanced diet and frequently eating sweet foods and drink is also associated with a higher risk of dental caries.

Public Health England (PHE) has warned that children are eating three times more sugar in a day than their recommended allowance, with half of this coming from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks. On average, children are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day and a third are having four or more.

A move towards healthier snacks can only be a positive one! To encourage this, PHE have launched a new Change4Life campaign, advising parents to offer children only two sugary snacks a day at the most, of 100 calories each or less. This limit does not apply to fruit and vegetables, and PHE encourage children (as well as adults!) to have five fruit and vegetables a day. The Infant & Toddler Forum recommend no more than one sugary snack each day. As a handy guide, here are some recommended snacks from the ITF for toddlers, along with the recommended portion sizes:

Non-sugary snacks

  • Plain Yogurt (1 average pot – 125ml) with some pieces of fruit
  • 1-2 oatcakes with a few cubes of cheese or e.g. ½ Mini Babybel™)
  • 1 slice bread or toast with butter and marmite
  • 1 -2 tbs hummus with vegetable sticks
  • Popcorn – unsweetened (½ – 1 small cup)

Sugary snacks – limit to one per day

  • 1 slice bread or toast with scrapes of butter and jam
  • ½ crumpet with thin scrapes of butter and honey
  • ½ hot cross bun with a thin scrape of butter
  • Digestive (plain) – ½ -1 biscuit
  • Flavoured Yogurt (1 average pot – 125ml)

For more information, visit our Portion Sizes Table and the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers!

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Further Reading

  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist Keeping up-to-date with all of the guidance on healthy eating and lifestyle when you’re expecting can feel overwhelming! Pregnant women are given lots of advice, but this can often be based on old or outdated information, making it difficult to know what to trust. The Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help, with our practical list of pregnancy top tips. 
  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   Sugar is everywhere, and the trouble is, a lot of the sugar we eat can be hidden in the food we buy – and often in foods we wouldn’t expect! It is no secret that a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet is essential for toddlers’ growth and development, and this includes keeping a close eye on their sugar consumption. The question of just how much sugar is healthy for young children to consume is one on many parents’ lips. Our guide below aims to demystify sugar consumption and provide tips and advice on how to keep your child’s sugar intake within the recommended amounts.
  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   Nothing describes a rollercoaster more accurately than the early months with your newborn baby. With the rush of love and amazing bonding experience that many new parents feel also comes numerous unknowns and challenges which can cause high levels of anxiety. Not always having the answer or being unsure of where to look for trusted information can naturally leave some parents feeling stressed and overwhelmed.