Once you have started on the great adventure of introducing solids, your little one will grow up quickly and become used to more mealtimes per day.
By the time babies turn 10 months old, they are usually on 3 meals per day (breakfast, lunch and supper), as well as 2 to 3 snacks. These ‘in-between meals’ are a great opportunity to get some extra nutrients into your little one and help them expand their world of healthy foods.
Our in-house paediatrician Sophie has put together some information on how to turn your baby’s snacks into real energy boosters.
Give every snack a nutritious purpose
Snacks are a great way to introduce an extra source of nutrients. Boiled eggs, for example, can provide protein as well as zinc and vitamin B12. Fresh fruits and vegetables can provide vitamin C. Complex carbohydrates, such as a slice of whole-wheat bread will keep your little one satisfied for longer.
Try to stay away from ultra-processed foods, such as heat-treated pouches, and highly-refined carbohydrates, such as rice puffs. Their nutritional value is low and your little one will be hungry soon after eating them.
Open up a world of new and healthy flavours
Snacks are a great way to introduce new and different flavours. Steamed florets of broccoli can easily be carried around in a box and are a great finger food for hungry babies in between meals. Slices of banana and peanut butter are easy to prepare and will get your little one used to tasty nuts.
Portion size matters
When thinking of the size of a baby or toddler snack, we tend to overestimate their needs. Think of a snack as a little fuel boost to keep them until their next meal. Ideal portion sizes are approximately the size of your little one’s hand. Our recipe suggestions further down give an indication of a good snack size.
Teach healthy eating habits
Snack time is still a mealtime. Unfortunately, as adults we have learned to snack while doing all kinds of other activities. This can lead to over-eating. You can use your little one’s snack time to help them establish a healthier behaviour. Make sure your baby can focus on the meal and avoid distracting them, e.g. by sitting in front of a screen.
Look for cues of hunger and satiety. Let them eat only when they are hungry and allow them to stop when they are full. Depending on their level of activity, growth spurts, teething, tiredness and plenty of other reasons, their appetite will change from day to day.
Some healthy snack ideas:
- ½ banana with smooth peanut butter - this is a great way to introduce nuts to your little one. Bananas are a source of energy and the peanut butter adds some healthy fats
- 1 small pot of whole fat yogurt - boost your little one’s bones with calcium
- 1 boiled egg, cut in slices - Vitamin B12 keeps your body’s nerve and blood cells intact
- Small cubes or strings (4 - 6) of cheese - it is a great source of protein and calcium and zinc supports your little one’s immune system
- Steamed veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots - not only are they easy to prepare but they also get your little one used to healthy flavours, keep them in a box and take them with you when you are out and about
- ½ slice of whole-grain bread with avocado - combine complex carbohydrates for energy supply with yummy and healthy fats from avocado
- Berries, which little ones love to dip in cottage cheese, if they are really hungry