Here are some healthy baby snacks that are easy to prepare and are perfect for babies 9 months and up. Rotate through these finger foods for fun and delicious snacks that your baby will love.
It's great that we have so many wonderful options to choose from when it comes to baby foods, but it can also leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted from decision fatigue.
The good news is babies don't need a lot of snacks, if any at all! More on this in the FAQ section below.
What I encourage you to do is consider snacks as mini-meals and aim to include at least two food groups.
If unable, make sure the one food that you do offer is an iron-rich food. Their iron needs are so high that we want to seize every opportunity to get this essential nutrient into their tummies.
Next in priority is healthy fats, which are so crucial for optimal brain development
Finally, start with just a small amount and offer more if your baby seems interested. This will help reduce overwhelm and minimize food waste.
Safety tip: ALWAYS make sure your baby is sitting upright at a 90 degree angle to minimize choking. That means no eating in the carseat or while walking around.
Healthy Snacks for Babies (9 months and up)
I specifically mention that these snacks are for babies 9 months and older. You do not want to offer your baby snacks earlier than this age because there's no need for them. 1-2 meals along with breastmilk and or formula is plenty.
But if your baby does start showing interest in more food on top of their milk and meals, then here are some easy and balanced ideas! These also make for a great addition to baby meals.
At this age, your baby is working towards picking up small pieces of food using their pincer grasp. You can start cutting food up into bite-size pieces or keep them large so they can practice taking bites. Here are 50+ finger food ideas.
Snacks for One Year Olds
At this age, solid food takes priority over breast milk and formula. Most older babies need to eat every 2-3 hours, as their stomachs are small and they need a lot of nutrition. This equates to 3 meals + 2-3 snacks.
Here are some healthy food ideas for 1 year olds as well as a sample meal plan.
However, if your toddler eats big meals, just one snack may be enough. I wanted to share this because I felt pressured to give my son at least 2 snacks a day, as many health organizations recommend. However, I noticed that his interest during mealtimes diminished drastically.
Again, ALWAYS follow your child's lead.
Iron-Rich Snacks for Baby
If you're able to offer just one food, choose one from this list
- Cooked salmon or sardines (fresh or canned) - you can serve on its own or mash and combine with yogurt or avocado. You can also spread onto toast.
- Edamame - Flatten with your fingers to split in half.
- Ground beef, chicken, or turkey crumbles
- Teether crackers with pumpkin seed butter (try this homemade teething biscuit)
- Lentil balls
- Pureed or mashed beans - can be as easy as flattening canned beans with your fingers. You can also spread onto toast.
- Scrambled eggs
- Hard-boiled eggs, chopped into smaller pieces
If you want to learn how to prepare other specific food(s), check out my How To Series!
Baby Snacks - Fruits
To make it easier, I've provided examples of how you can incorporate fruits with an iron-rich food.
- Unsweetened applesauce stirred into yogurt or oat pudding
- Unsweetened applesauce with peanut puffs
- Avocado spears rolled in hemp seeds
- Chia pudding
- Banana Pancakes
- Banana French Toast
- Soft cooked apple with thinned out peanut butter
- Ripe mango spear rolled in flax seeds
- Flatted blueberries with ricotta cheese (add flax or hemp seeds)
- Combine baby food pouch with fortified infant cereal
- Pear hummus
- Mango chia jam toast
Healthy Baby Snacks - with vegetables
- Sweet Potato Rounds with various toppings
- Pureed or mashed green peas
- Tofu with broccoli
- Edamame with tomatoes
- Cauliflower with pumpkin seed spinach hummus
- Vegetable oatmeal balls or fingers
- Iron-fortified dry cereals or baby puffs with zucchini
- Savory French toast
- Vegetable omelette
- Butternut squash strip or diced with a drizzle of tahini
- Beet chickpea dip with soft cooked broccoli floret
- Carrot spear with thinned out peanut butter
- Finely grated carrots mixed into iron-fortified cereal or oatmeal
- Red cabbage strip or shreds with tofu
Baked Baby Snack ideas
Remember that your baby doesn't need a whole lot for their snack. Start with just several bite-size pieces (or if offering as a big piece, a half of a muffin or patty).
Store-Bought Baby Snacks
Here are some great convenient options. Always look at the ingredient list. The shorter the better with real ingredients, and the first 3 ingredients should be whole fruit, vegetable, or whole grains.
They should also contain no added sugars, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding until 2 years of age.
- Plain yogurt (without added sugars) - or try homemade flavored yogurt like this strawberry yogurt, blueberry yogurt, mango yogurt, or peanut butter yogurt
- Sprouted bread (this brand has one with no added salt)
- Dry cereals
- Yogurt Smoothie Melts (use code MIN5 for $5 discount)
- Baby puffs
- Peanut puffs
- Fruit or Vegetable Pouches - Regardless of the brand, look at the ingredient list and make sure all you see are whole foods. Try several and see which ones your baby enjoys and rotate through.
- Freeze-dried fruit - dissolves easily in your mouth
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to start off by saying that if you were told that your baby MUST have snacks along with their meals, this pediatric registered dietitian is here to make your life so much easier.
Prioritize milk and meals.
The current recommendation is to start with just ONE meal a day at 6 months or when your baby is showing all the developmental signs of readiness (grab this FREE handout if you are unsure).
Then progress to three meals at around 9 months. You don't want to start weaning from breastmilk/formula at this point. Rather, you're ADDING solid foods to your feeding schedule and GRADUALLY replacing breastfeeding and/or formula with these foods.
While snacks are not a must for babies, we also have to consider the uniqueness of each child and their appetite.
If between 9-12 months and your child IS showing interest in more food in addition to their 3 meals and milk, then you can try incorporating no more than 1 snack per day to help tide them over until the next eating opportunity.
Remember, Ii your baby is growing, following their unique growth curve, and happy, they are eating the amount of food that’s RIGHT for them, even if it’s less or more than the recommendations or what you think they need to be eating.
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Best Healthy Baby Snacks
Iron-rich Baby Snacks
Fruit Snacks for Baby
Vegetable Baby Snacks
- If between 9-12 months and your child IS showing interest in more food in addition to their 3 meals and milk, then you can try incorporating no more than 1 snack per day to help tide them over until the next eating opportunity.
- Aim to include at least 2 food groups. If unable, make sure the one food that you do offer is an iron-rich food.
- Finally, start with just a small amount and offer more if your baby seems interested. This will help reduce overwhelm and minimize food waste.