Snacks are not recommended for babies under 1, why, because they still need to have plenty of space for milk which provides them with important nutrients.
Once babies are 1, most will need 2 snacks a day – one between breakfast and lunch and one between lunch and dinner. This is not fixed though so find a routine which works for you and baby around naps, school runs, work and life generally.
What is the purpose of a snack?
To get more nutrition.
Why is this important?
Babies tummies are small so they can’t fit much in at a time so they need small and frequent meals to get what they need.
So what should a snack be?
A snack is a small version of a meal. Think about what your baby is having at meals and then work out what else they need to have. For example, if they are having a portion of fruit or veg with each meal, then they will need one at each snack to bring them up to the recommended 5. If they have milk at breakfast but no other dairy or dairy alternative at meals then give them some dairy (eg yoghurt or cheese) for snack.
- Pitta bread and homous or cream cheese
- Vegetable sticks and homous (soft vegetables until they are able to chew them properly)
- Crumpets or wraps
- Breadsticks (beware of the salt content)
- Cheese cubes
- Cheese biscuits
- Fruit – dried fruit is best kept for mealtimes to limit damage to teeth
- Crackers (beware of salt content)
- Toast and peanut butter
- Rice cakes with cream cheese or peanut butter on them
- Raisin bread (beware of added sugar content)
- Yoghurt – ideally plain yoghurt. It should be full fat until they are 2.
- Plain popcorn – for older toddlers
- Pancake – homemade ones freeze really well and you can make them with no salt or sugar.
And always provide them with water alongside their snack (or milk).
How much snack?
Some of this is trial and error. If you give too big a snack, then they won’t want their next meal. Start small and if they need more, encourage them to ask for it.
Having a set snack time is helpful because it avoids grazing and can help avoid pacifying with food. It also helps provide routine. For safety and social reasons it’s a good idea to get your child to sit down for a snack.