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!

Further Reading

  • Christmas is a joyful time of year, however as a parent it can also be busy and sometimes stressful. Between planning festive gatherings, shopping for the perfect gifts, and decorating your home, thinking about the perfectly portioned festive meal for your toddler can be an added challenge. The Infant & Toddler Forum is here to help you create an easy and delicious Christmas plate that will save you time but more importantly, that your toddler will enjoy!

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  • As Christmas approaches it can be difficult to plan activities for toddlers! Between decorating, shopping and cooking it may be a challenge to find time to include fun active play with your little one. The Infant & Toddler Forum is here to help with our top tips for maintaining healthy, fun activities for your toddlers during the festive season!

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  • Halloween is one of the most exciting activities to celebrate for toddlers! The anticipation of dressing up in their favourite costumes and going trick or treating can be a thrilling experience, however as a parent it can be difficult to find the balance for your toddler between joining in the fun and maintaining a healthy diet. This Halloween we wanted to provide healthy, easy to make snacks that will help avoid a sugar overload while maintaining a festive atmosphere that your toddler will love! Each snack has been created for little tummies to enjoy.

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