Snacks, drinks and vegetarian diets for toddlers
Toddlers find it very difficult to sit still long enough to get through an entire meal – and so healthy snacks are a great way to fill them up between meals.
Be sure to serve snacks that have a high nutritional value and aren’t just junk food; full of empty calories, sugar and salt.
Suggestions for snacks include:
- Freshly cut fruit and vegetables – or you could grate carrots and apples
- Slices of cheese
- Plain savoury biscuits with a little spread such as peanut butter or cream cheese
- Fingers of wholemeal toast with vegemite
- Home-made iceblocks
- fruit smoothies
- Hard boiled eggs
- Yoghurt – fruit, or plain with a little brown sugar sprinkled over
- Home made biscuits
Don’t offer whole nuts to toddlers.
Recipes that kids love:
- Banana Bread
- Chicken Bake with unmentionable vegetables
- French toast soldiers
- Fruit juice slushies
- Fruit skewers
- Heavenly hash
- Lollipop lamb
- Rainbow Fried Rice
- Always offer water first – it’s the best way to quench a thirst.
- Always keep water handy so your child can get a drink whenever she wants to.
- Make sure that she sees you enjoying a drink of water.
- Dilute all juices with water to cut the sugar content.
- Avoid serving cordial or fizzy drinks – they have no nutritional benefits and are full of sugar (and some also have added salt)
- Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks are not appropriate for children and should never be given.
If you’re not a meat-eating family, you’ll need to make sure that your child is eating enough of the other food groups to maintain good growth and a healthy body. While a vegetarian diet can supply all your child’s nutrients, it’s difficult for a young child to maintain a vegan diet, as they can quickly become deficient in vitamin B12, calcium, iron and protein.
- Milk, cheese and eggs are all great sources of animal protein.
- Dried beans and peas, seeds and nuts give vegetable protein – you’ll need to be careful how you present nuts as they can cause choking in children less than 5 years.
- When vegetable protein is eaten with whole grain cereals you get a complete protein (which is as good as animal protein). It contains all the building blocks your body needs. Examples are soy beans with brown rice, or wholemeal bread with peanut paste.
- Include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet.
Find more on feeding toddlers:
- Top tips for feeding toddlers
- How do you define a fussy eater?
- Browse Kidspot's recipes for food kids love
- Find tips for encouraging a fussy eater
- Find snack suggestions
- How much milk should toddlers be drinking?
- Chat with other mums, share your experiences, tips and advice on the Kidspot Forum.
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