If you find it hard coming up with a variety of healthy and balanced snacks to offer your toddler each week, don’t fear… I’m here to give you 7 days of MORNING and AFTERNOON snacks!
I get it, children, partners, work – life is BUSY! This is when we can find ourselves (me included!) opting for the same options week-in, week-out. When I had Raffy I had a little more time to plan and be creative at snack times, but since Ada bean came along, sometimes not so much!
This 7-day meal plan of snacks should hopefully take some of the pressure off with what to offer come snack time. If you haven’t already, also take a look at my 7 days of breakfast meal plan. These meal plans are just as much for me as they are for you guys. Some weeks I feel totally overwhelmed and referring to these ideas and my dinner posts on social media give me one less thing to think about. I hope you find them useful too!
Do toddlers need snacks?
In the UK, current recommendations state that babies (under 12 months) do not need to be offered snacks. Their 3 meals a day, along with their usual milk in between meals should provide enough nutrients and energy. After the age of 1, the recommendations say that 2 healthy snacks can be introduced to toddlers and young children (aged 1-5). But in my opinion it really does vary and it depends on your child and how they generally take to food at mealtimes. If your child tends to have large meals (like Raffy did), they may not need the snacks in between, or may only need 1 snack and not 2. For little ones that tend to have smaller portions, their appetite is down (for whatever reason), or they are generally a little fussy, snacks can be a good way to get those nutrients in. Check out my blog on Snacks for Toddlers and Young Children for more information on this topic.
What should I think about when giving snacks?
Snacks should ideally be balanced, meaning they contain a mixture of some of the food groups. I like to see snacks as ‘mini-meals’.
Where possible offer snacks that contain:
- A starchy carbohydrate (e.g., bread, oats, potatoes)
- A portion of fruit or veg (e.g., banana, avocado, broccoli, berries)
- Some protein/iron or dairy food (e.g., lentils, beans, plain yoghurt, meat)
If you’re wondering about healthy fats, these can be obtained from the food groups above and at mealtimes. For example – avocados from fruits or nuts which are protein.
So, here its – my 7-day meal plan of snacks for babies and toddlers:
These savoury fritters are a nice savoury alternative to pancakes. They are very easy and quick to make, and keeping a batch in the freezer has saved me many times.
Pitta triangles with smashed avocado
These quick and easy flapjack fingers are very bish bash bosh! Got leftover porridge from breakfast? Pop the leftovers into a loaf tin or muffin tray with some extra oats, mashed bananas and a dollop of yoghurt and bake them until firm for the perfect snack. Or try my figgy porridge fingers.
Offer alongside a yogurt & peanut butter dip to add some more balance
Boiled egg with corn on the cob
This one is can be prepped when you’re making lunch or breakfast, pop a pan of eggs to boil and cook some extra corn on the cobs which you can store in the fridge in an airtight container. My top tip is to peel the eggs once cooked and then store them, so you don’t have to faff around come snack time or when you’re about to head out.
These overnight oats are amazing and not just for breakfast! I tend to add oats, milk or yoghurt, fruit and some ground flaxseeds or smooth nut butter. Pop all the ingredients into a mini Tupperware pot, give it a little stir and the next day or a few hours later you have a snack ready and waiting.
Veggie sticks with cream cheese
I love to offer a little plate of veggie sticks with some cream cheese spread on top. You can add some extra flavour by sprinkling on some dried herbs. For a sweet option, you could do the same with apple slices, nut butter and cinnamon.
Toast & topping
Toast can be a really quick and easy snack. Here I have my tuna and avocado toast topper which is great for adding fish into your little one’s diet. Some other nice options are tinned sardines and tomatoes, peanut butter and banana or melted cheese and tomato…I think I could write a whole blog on toast toppers (watch this space!).
Oatcakes with cheese/nut butter & fruit fingers
I created my oatcake recipe when Raffy was little. The shop bought versions I was using in combination with other foods in the day were contributing to added salt intake which is when I came up with these.
Hummus, bread & veggie sticks
Great for both adults and children, hummus is a staple in our house – and this butterbean hummus recipe is a big hit! You can use a shop bought one, but for a no added salt option making your own only takes a few minutes.
Tofu fingers with peas and rice cakes
A fab plant-based option and one that doesn’t really require any prepping. Just slice up some tofu, defrost some peas, grab a couple of rice cakes and away you go! When buying tofu, I recommend ‘calcium set’ versions. Swap for mini omelette/scrambled egg with peas if you have no tofu.
Pancake & yoghurt
You know I can’t give you snack ideas without mentioning pancakes! This is because other than being tasty they’re just SO versatile! Lots of flavour combinations, different varieties, toppings to go with them, plus you can freeze them and they’re good on the go. If you don’t fancy traditional style ones, I also have my pancake sheet recipe.
Mini sandwich quarter with hummus/salmon and cucumber
This works well if you’re having salmon the day before, but is a simple way to offer a balanced snack. Mix the salmon with some yogurt if you’re wanting it to be a little more moist.
My oatie muffins have been super popular ever since I posted them on my blog. They are egg and dairy free too making them a great option for those children who follow a vegan diet or have allergies.
Made in minutes, these small but nutrient packed energy balls are good for little ones who don’t tend to have much of an appetite. I love these energy balls for myself, so don’t forget to save one for yourself too!
So, there you have it – 14 snack ideas to offer your toddler during the week!
I’ve tried to make these snacks have one super simple, bish bash bosh option and one that might take a little more prep (or at least prep in advance & defrost the night before). For some of you, you might need more of the quick and easy options, and that’s OK! I have lots more snack ideas in my blog all about Snacks for Babies and Toddlers and I also will be sharing much more on my Instagram Stories soon as I’m starting to give Ada a few more options.
However, I’ve shared a list of a some more snack ideas below, just in case.
And if that wasn’t enough here are some more ideas:
- Yogurt, fruit and milled seeds
- Mini pitta pizzas
- Savoury muffins
- Cooked broccoli with a pot of grated or some melted cheese
- Carton of plain milk/fortified milk alternative with some breadsticks
- Plain/natural yoghurt, fruit & oats
- Cold pasta fingers with a tomato dip
- Sweet potato wedges with a hummus/yoghurt dip
- Mini pot of peas with some fish fingers
- Cauliflower macaroni cheese bites
- Scones with yoghurt and strawberries
- Wrap pinwheels (I have a good recipe for this in my book)
I have tried to keep these ideas simple – either taking a few minutes to put together or foods that can be prepped in advance or use bits leftover from dinner. I’ve also tried to provide plenty of on-the-go options, for more of these check out my Ten Freezable BLW foods.
My top tip would be to utilise your freezer! Almost anything can be frozen. When you have time, batch cook a few things and store them in a freezer, then defrost them as and when you need them. Here is lots of useful information on freezing foods safely.
I would also recommend if taking foods on the go to pop in an ice pack to keep them cool, especially during the hotter months. There are some great smaller sized ice packs available and perfect for when you’re out and about.
I’d love to know if you’ve found this useful!
For more food ideas that could easily be made into snacks take a look at my book How To Wean Your Baby.