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

  • Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   Have a healthy Easter with The Infant & Toddler Forum’s suggested menu for toddlers!
  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   Why is salt important for my toddler’s diet? Sodium, which is in salt, is important for healthy muscle, stomach and nerve function as well as being an essential component in the blood. Children need some sodium to grow.
  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   Although the number of people in the UK forced to turn to food banks has been on the rise for a number of years now, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already worrying situation even further. Data gathered by the Trussell Trust shows that there was a 47% increase in the number of people relying on foodbanks during the first six months of the pandemic compared to the same period last year. It seems families with children have been hardest hit with 2,600 food parcels being provided for children every day.