Typically speaking, babies don’t tend to need snacks until they are about 1 year old. Whilst weaning is advised from 6 months onwards, babies can self-regulate their feeding and drinking, meaning they will only take what they need at mealtimes.
When you start weaning, you’ll likely give your baby 3 meals a day, alongside their usual milk consumption, so babies shouldn’t really need snacks until they reach their first birthday. This is because crawling, walking and generally being more active means that they are using up more energy, so may require one or two snacks during the day if they get hungry with their milk feeds.
However, coming up with snack ideas which are healthy can be quite tricky, so here are 5 healthy baby led weaning snack ideas you can use to give to your weaning baby.
At this stage of your baby’s development, nutrition is vital. Snacks that you give your baby should form part of their meal plan and contribute significantly to their nutritional needs. When it comes to making your own healthy snacks, try to include 2 or 3 different food groups.
- Fruit and Vegetables – fresh, frozen or tinned in natural juice.
- Starchy carbohydrates – bread, rice, potatoes pasta
- Proteins – fish, eggs, meat, beans and pulses
- Dairy products and alternatives
- Oils and spreads
These healthy snack ideas are perfect for eating at home or packing up to enjoy on the go. These ideas all contain at least 2 of the recommended food groups for babies and toddlers older than one year old.
- Cucumber sticks, pitta bread fingers and houmous
- Half a crumpet, cut into fingers, with cream cheese spread
- Cheese cubes with halved cherry tomatoes and a couple of plain crackers
- Cheese on wholemeal toast
- Mini egg mayo sandwiches, using one piece of bread cut into small triangles or fingers
These snacks can be altered to suit your baby’s nutritional needs and are perfect for both at home snacking or on the go. They can get quite messy, however, so be sure to use a weaning bib or coverall bibs to minimise the cleanup afterwards!
There is nothing wrong with using shop-bought snacks every now and then. Especially for foods that you wouldn’t usually make, such as pesto or the popular melty puffs. However, this can quickly become expensive and might not be the most nutritious. Some baby snacks can be high in sugar, whereas snacks for older children may be high in salt.
So, coming up with snack ideas for a weaning baby can be quite straightforward, so long as you keep nutrition in mind and keep them as healthy as possible.