Toddler friendly snacks

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

  • 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.
  • Vegetarian and vegan diets have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with more and more parents raising their children on a plant-based diet. Toddlers have high-energy needs and small stomachs, so it is important parents know how to ensure their child gets all the nutrients needed for healthy growth and development. The Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help with practical tips and advice for parents considering a vegetarian or vegan diet for their toddler.
  • Encouraging toddlers to keep physically active will help them to develop movement skills, stay a healthy weight and keep a healthy heart. No matter the weather, we have fun activities which will keep your toddler active and entertained this Easter!