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Toddlers can be some of the most picky eaters. This is the age where they begin to develop food preferences. They’ve likely had a taste of sweets and junk food, so getting them to eat healthy can be a challenge. Small snacks throughout the day are an excellent way to provide nutritious options, so long as your toddler will actually eat them!
Whether your toddler is picky or not, it’s important to give them a variety of snacks you can feel good about throughout your week. To take the guess work out of it, I’m sharing plenty of healthy snack options for toddlers who are picky eaters!
Healthy Toddler Snacks For Picky Eaters
You can create all kinds of healthy snacks that will encourage kids to eat, and love, healthy foods. The goal is to create positive eating habits that will stick with them as they grow. Many of these snack ideas are also gluten free and allergy-friendly. I look for snacks that have no (or limited) added sugar and minimal ingredients.
Apples and Peanut Butter
This snack is a classic, and for good reason. It adds a little more excitement to a piece of fruit. For a healthier or allergy-free option, you can trade peanut butter for other types of butter such as almond butter, sunflower butter, chickpea butter, or cashew butter. You can also use other fruits or veggies that kids love like bananas or celery.
Raisins are a fun snack that can be eaten alone or combined with other snacks, such as pretzels or fruits and veggies. Toddlers also love the individual snack size raisin boxes! You can also use raisins to make your own trail mix.
Not all yogurts are created equal. Many of them are loaded with hidden sugar, making it just as unhealthy as a cookie or donut. However, there are many healthy options some of which are even dairy free and/or have probiotics. The bottled smoothies are great for convenience, but making your own smoothie is another fun option.
Rice cakes made with brown rice are a great gluten free option and have a nice crunchy texture. You can use spreads like nut butter, jelly, or cream cheese on top.
I know, I know. You may be thinking, there is no way my toddler will eat that. Give it a try! Experiment with different hummus flavors and allow your toddler to spread it onto crackers, veggies, or a wrap.
You cannot go wrong with applesauce if you opt for the kind with no added sugar. I prefer the squeezable pouches because they are easy to take on the go, but you can also buy the cups.
Lara bars and cliff bars have a special line just for kids. What I love about them is that they have very minimal ingredients. These are another great option for snack time on the go.
Traditional fruit snacks are full of added sugar. However, now there are many options that offer real fruit without the extra sugar. There are even fruit roll options that have veggies like sweet potatoes.
Veggie sticks are a fun snack that mimic chips. They are usually a crowd favorite among toddlers (and even some adults).
5 Healthy Tips For Picky Eaters
1. Let your toddler pick out their fruits and veggies at the store
Getting your picky eaters involved in the food shopping experience is a great tip that can increase their willingness to eat healthy meals. Bring them along to the grocery store and give them the opportunity to pick out their fruits and veggies, put them in bags, and put them in the cart. Some grocery stores even have child-size carts that your kids will love!
2. Serve snacks in small sizes
Your toddler doesn’t need huge snacks throughout the day. It’s important to remember that after growing so much in their younger years, a toddler’s appetite slows down, so it’s common for them not to eat large meals. Giving them very small portions can be especially helpful if you are introducing a new snack to them that they aren’t excited about. Seeing a small amount will be less intimidating for them. This tip can apply to all toddler meals.
3. Offer choices
Stubborn toddles like to make their own decisions! Give them 2-3 choices of what they can have for snack. This is my favorite tip because it’s a win-win for both parties. As the parent, you can choose a few healthy options, and your toddler ultimately gets to feel like they are in control.
4. Let them help prepare their snacks
Continuing with the theme of independence, allow your toddler to help you prepare their snacks and other healthy meals. You can do this together at the table, or use a counter-height helper chair like this. Tasks like putting a snack into a bowl, spreading peanut butter, or opening an apple sauce pouch are all small ways to let them help.
5. Make snacks fun
If you are having a difficult time getting your toddler to eat healthy foods, I recommend spicing things up! Amazon has all kinds of fun and inexpensive tools to help with picky eating. You can use cookie cutters to make foods into different shapes. There are also smaller tools to cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes.
Many of these kits include colorful silicone containers for small snacks and plastic kid-friendly toothpicks with shapes on the end that your toddler can use in place of a fork. Adding some fun to their food can go a long way!
One last tip is this: the more exposure, the better. It may take your child many times of being exposed to a food before they will try it. Try not to feel frustrated if you’ve given your child something new several times and they still won’t eat it. Keep trying!
If you have a baby and are interested in making your own baby food, you can check out yummy recipes here.
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