Toddler Snack Ideas

by Ann on August 27, 2009

The highs and lows of baking.  My last few things haven’t turned out so hot, edible, but I wouldn’t want to share the recipes with you although I’ve purchased much worse tasting things.  My latest failure: oatmeal raisin cookies with yogurt, oat and almond flour.  They look good, they stick together, but they’re soft and blah.  Something I’d want my 2 year old to eat but I assume he’d refuse.  I’ll give it a shot when he wakes up from his nap but I’m betting it’s not gonna work.  So, I wanted to share a few ideas for toddler snacks with you.  People keep asking me to do this (and kid-friendly meals) and I haven’t gotten around to it yet, so I will right now!   Some of the below ideas are not the most healthy or balanced snack, but as long as you do your best to balance out the whole day/few days and feel good about it, then you’ve done well!  On my organic lollipop review, I  mentioned how superior I was to what I fed my child before I actually had him.  Well, not superior really, but in retrospect, it seems that way:)  O is fairly picky and is able to pick out delicious from merely very good and it makes feeding him difficult!  Luckily, he’s a fruit fanatic and though it’s probably too much sugar, it’s mostly natural sugars that he eats.  I do hope your toddler eats everything you eat, but I find mine to be fairly normal in what he eats when I compare him to my friends’ kids - some eat more variety, some less.

  • Organic golden delicious apple - peeled, whole:  O started eating these way before he had enough teeth to eat even normal apple slices - the golden delicious apples are much softer, so easier for their front teeth to get through, and then easy to mash up in their mouths as long as they have some teeth.  They feel pretty cool eating an apple just like big people too!  Plus, they’ve got a delicious flavor so I’m happy finishing what he doesn’t eat!
  • Deer jerkey stick or something similar:  My father-in-law goes hunting sometimes and gets the deer!  A local meat locker makes these delicious yet soft and easy to chew sticks (read ingredients if buying at a store, Whole Foods has good ones, but I’ve never seen any pre-packaged non-refrigerated varieties that Id feed O due to msg, nitrates, etc..).   It’s not something to give all the time, but O goes through phases where he doesn’t want to eat protein at all, or it’s just from yogurt, and so I like to change it up sometimes and introduce something a little different.  I know some dietitians may hate this one due to the sodium but I figure some cultures were brought up eating mostly salted cured meats all winter and they grew up fine.  A little deer/bison/beef sausage now and then is fine.
  • Champagne grapes: Costco and Whole Foods both sell them, Whole Foods has organic which of course is best with grapes especially since the pesticides stick to the skins and you can’t peel them.  Anyway, champagne grapes are tiny little grapes that are extra special for toddlers because you can give them a bunch of grapes, not cut them in half or quarters, and not worry about choking.  Like the whole apple, O feels pretty special walking around with whole grapes on the vine that he can pick off at his leisure - just like big people. 
  • Organic string cheese: O doesn’t care much for string cheese anymore, too boring, but he will eat at least half of it if I first get the stringing started.  I basically rip it up on all sides into little shreds so it’s still attached in the middle - looks like a somehow intact string cheese warzone.  But, because it is all crazy and floppy like that, it makes it a little more interesting to eat for awhile.
  • Applesauce-to-go: You can buy these squishy flat tubes of applesauce to go, some brands add mashed fruits like strawberry or grape, which has been quite a lifesaver many times when O gets hungry and we aren’t in a proper place to sit and eat with a fork and spoon and make a mess.  He gets hungry all the time when we leave the house so my purse is always stocked with treats. 
  • Granola bars/Lara Bars: O likes eating the Oats ‘n Honey bars but they make quite a mess, I break them up and put them in a bowl but they’re still messy, I much prefer giving him Lara Bars (he will eat cherry or apple pie mostly) - but he will also eat the ones made for kids.  Another bar he somehow likes is Greens + Omega 3 Chia Bars.  These are mostly when we’re on the go or in a hurry to go somewhere and there’s not much time to get ready after a late nap.
  • Dark Chocolate Covered Goji Berries:  What?  Okay, not a good snack really, but I have a sweet tooth and sometimes I want to eat candy during the day when O is awake but he’s too smart to let me eat something I wouldn’t allow him to eat.  Silly, I know, but he’s got a little growing body that is most likely more influenced by when he eats than myself, who is fully grown of course.  So, I will snack on these and he’ll demand some so I comply and give him a little handful and we’re both happy!  I get my candy and he gets a little antioxidant punch all at the same time!  Don’t feed before bedtime or they turn into a gremlin due to caffeine in chocolate.
  • Macaroni and Cheese with Frozen Squash (meal): I wish O didn’t like mac ‘n cheese but of course he loves it.  To whatever kind of mac n cheese I make (you can do it with whatever type of box mix you buy too) - I add a little bit of Cascadian Farms organic squash - about half the package, thawed.  I also add extra natural/organic cheddar cheese (which is white, the orange is just dye), and a little more milk to break up the cheese.  He seems to somehow like it more when I add the squash.  The squash is naturally orange so it tricks the eyes into thinking there’s more orange cheese, excellent.
  • Peanut butter and agave open-faced (can be meal): I either buy Earthgrains 100% Whole Wheat (not extra fiber) or Great Harvest bread company has a gluten-free bread made with brown rice flour and buckwheat - their hot dog buns seem to be more moist, so I prefer buying those.  I will slice the bun in half, and just use half, and on the bread or bun drizzle some agave nectar, then spread with creamy peanut butter and cut into little bites and give him a fork so he doesn’t get his hands all peanut-buttery.  He won’t eat Ezekiel bread because it’s too dry.  He’s like me, he prefers them open-faced because too much bread ruins the flavor of the filling!  What a little guy.
  • Convenience chips:  Oh, I know, really not good, but when you’re on the go sometimes they’re just necessary!  I’ll buy the Cheetos natural white cheddar puffs, Pirates Booty (yep, there’s soy in those, good or bad depending on who you talk to, I say a little bit of everything in moderation), Vic’s Light White Half Salt popcorn (top part of bag only, I get nervous about choking hazard and just started giving it to him at 2, the kernels are minimal in these bags and mostly on the bottom.  Previously, I bit the hard part off and gave him only the soft part but not anymore, I still freak out though so he doesn’t get it often), and usually anything baked with either potato or rice and not too tough and understandable ingredients.  There are so many varieties nowadays but I can’t remember names since I don’t buy them that often.
  • FruitaBu smooshed fruit snacks: Basically an organic version of fruit by the food- without any added sugar or colors or fake stuff.  It’s the easiest of all the organic fruit sticks/tubes to eat because it’s soft.  I always have one of these in my purse too!  However, it’s really messy so you need to help with the parchment paper and be prepared with wet wipes.
  • Edamame: Again, soy, but a little bit is okay sometimes - he thinks it’s cool to eat but only eats a little before he gets sick of it.
  • Purple veggies: This year at the farmer’s market I’ve found purple peppers and purple carrots.  For some reason he’ll snack on these raw thinly sliced, but not their green/red or orange counterparts.  Strange, but good to know.  (why I made the Purple Polenta!)
  • Lunch meat in the bag: I buy the most natural or organic type possible, usually oven roasted chicken or turkey (too many added flavors and he is turned off).  It’s high in sodium so not the best thing to overdo- but he thinks it’s cool to eat it out of the sack and will eat more of it that way than when I put it on a sandwich.  If I put it on a sandwich with cheese - he removes the bread and then eats the cheese and a few bites of the meat, this way, he eats more and then I am happy that he’s getting more protein.

I’m sure there are many more but I was just trying to pick out some more slightly different ones that you may not have tried.  I’ve googled toddler snack ideas many times and get the usual answers- but O gets bored by stuff which I understand since I do too.  And- for me it’s fun to find something new.  Please let me know if there is anything different that works for you and your toddler!  I always love snack ideas since I have a major snacker on my hands:)  If I get to thinking of more, I’ll either add to this or do a part 2.  If you have a blog, at the bottom of this post I can also link to your site if you have some great toddler snack ideas as well.   Either comment or email, thanks!