By 12 months, your toddler’s appetite should be growing by the day and encompassing a wide range of family foods. But while some snacks are firm favourites, others may well get hidden down the side of the sofa! Nevertheless, encouraging a taste for healthy snacks is important at this stage, especially as she’s also likely to be encountering less wholesome snacks like biscuits and cakes at playgroups.
Your toddler’s appetite is likely to go through phases. Some days it’ll seem like she wants to eat all day, while on other days she may not eat much at all. It’s also likely that because you’re offering her more finger foods and chunkier snacks, she might not eat as much at mealtimes, but it’s still important to give her regular snacks, especially as she’s becoming more active and using up energy quickly. Try not to let her get a taste for sweets or crisps, as these will put her off the healthy snacks you’ve invested so much time in getting her to eat, and don’t let her snack too close to mealtimes.
Great snacks to try
- Smoothie. Blend together a banana and a selection of other soft fruits to make a vitamin-rich cocktail that your baby will love drinking. Choose fruits that don’t have pips to avoid choking, and thin down with milk or yoghurt if it seems too gloopy.
- Pitta and hummous. Toddlers love the messy interactivity of dipping. Warm a pitta bread in the toaster, slice it into strips and let her dunk it into hummous: a good source of fibre and protein.
- Grapes. Perfect for sweet-toothed tots, and for snacking on the go. Wash and chop seedless grapes in half to minimise the risk of choking; use a mixture of black and green grapes for a colourful, child-friendly snack.
- Veggie sticks. Slice cucumber, carrot and red pepper into strips for a healthy snack that also provides water content. A quick and easy way to help your baby towards her five-a-day.
- Eggy bread. A filling snack that provides protein and carbs for an energy boost in between meals. Beat together an egg and some milk, dip both sides of a slice of bread or brioche into it until it’s coated, and then fry in a little oil or butter until golden.
- Fromage frais. Packed with calcium, which makes it ideal for replacing dropped milk feeds. Let your toddler spoon-feed herself, or look for fun, child-friendly packaging ideas like squeezy tubes and pouches.
- Malt loaf. A healthier alternative to cakes and biscuits, this sweet snack can be served plain, toasted or buttered, and is full of dried fruit for a quick energy fix.
- Oat cakes with cream cheese. Oats are a fantastic source of long-lasting energy and keep your toddler feeling fuller for longer. Top with cream cheese or cottage cheese for a tasty calcium hit.