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Healthy Snack Ideas for Babies and Toddlers: Creating Healthy Eaters, One Snack at a Time

Hey All, anyone dealing with the joy and the rapture of excessively picky eaters? My kids were the WORST, but they're finally all at a point where they are willing to try new things, even if they are green! I credit following these five food tenets with helping my kids to become more adventurous eaters:

1.) Expose kids to as many foods as you can, with a variety of colors, shapes and textures. Start early!

2. Let kids try the food off of your plate. My kids often try things they wouldn't normally try because they see me eating it, and they always want to have whatever I have. This is why I usually wait until they're in bed to eat dinner. Scavengers and thieves, every last one of them.

3.) Don't force, but encourage kids to take one taste, and only one taste. If they really don't like it, they won't have to have any more. Often at my house this involves bribery. For example, you can have more potatoes if you try one bite of zucchini.

4.) Get kids excited about being healthy. Take them to the farmer's market and let them pick out whatever appeals to them. Get them involved in the kitchen.

5.) Set out a few plates of healthy fruits and vegetables just before dinner is ready and create your own vegetable happy hour. You'll be surprised how kids will eat what is in front of them, especially if they are really hungry.

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If you're still in the weeds and struggling to find ANY foods your kids will eat today, I see you. If you're pulling your hair out because all of the foods that your kid loved last last week are suddenly disgusting to him now, I have your back. I give you the snack deas that worked for my own three picky people, and also hope that it won't always be like this.

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Yogurt tube popsicles- Super simple idea here. Just put one of those yogurt tubes in the freezer for a healthy and satisfying popsicle. These are great for babies who are teething! If you're into making your own, here's a link to buy the tubes.

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Smoothies- Healthy smoothie recipes are everywhere for a reason. I love that you can pack them full of veggies, protein and healthy fats and they can still have a milkshake flavor and consistency. I love that they can be thrown into a sippy cup for maximum portability. My favorite smoothie secret ingredients are: Vega Protein and Greens tropical protein powder, hemp seeds, mango and spinach mixed with ice, almond milk and greek yogurt. The color turns out neon green and my kids love it!

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Yogurt or smoothie bites- I used to make these all the time for my babies, when they were babies. Line a plate with parchment paper and place small dollops of greek yogurt or smoothie onto it and place it in the freezer. When frozen these make delicious and healthy little bites that most kids can't resist.

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Egg cups- Scrambled eggs in a muffin tin have to be up there as one the greatest ideas in history. Make these bad boys ahead and kids can get all the health benefits of an omelet in a minute or less. You can mix and match cheese and veggies as much as you want until you find what your kids will eat. I love all of the ideas in the image above from Life Made Sweeter.

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Photo credit: Fresh April Flours

Hard-boiled eggs- Believe it or not, my kids love hard-boiled eggs. I always hated them as a kid, but they have inspired me to give them another try. I love this recipe for making them in my Instant Pot. There are no pots on the stove and no watched pots to deal with. I usually make a large batch on Sunday and then simply rinse out the pot before reusing it to make a large batch of soup for my lunches that week.

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Photo credit: Ambitious Kitchen

Chocolate zucchini muffins- A friend of mine recently made these and they were delicious. I highly recommend making these for breakfast or snack time and then using the leftover zucchini for dinner. Remind your child that the dinner zucchini is the same one from the muffins he or she had earlier. Who knows? It could work.

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Homemade Trail Mix in a Muffin Tin- Take some safe foods like cheerios, or pretzels and mix in some newer foods like sunflower seeds, pistachios and dried fruit.

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Banana bread granola- If I'm being totally honest, this stuff is like crack to me, and I can no longer keep it in my house. The recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite food bloggers, The Minimalist Baker. It's full of healthy fats and fiber and is a perfect snack for kids, just not for an almost forty year old mom struggling to keep the weight off. ;)

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Photo credit: Baby Foodie

Oatmeal cups- Like the egg cups above, I love how portable these are, and that they can be made ahead and customized any way you want. The flavors suggested by Baby Foodie in the link above look delicious!

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Wrap Pinwheels- Simply spread your child's favorite spread on a whole wheat wrap or tortilla and top with their favorite things. Next, roll it up and cut it into bite size circles. My kids favorites are: almond butter, bananas and chia seeds, hummus, cucumber and roasted red peppers and tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese. That last one can be put in the toaster oven for a few minutes for maximum deliciousness.

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Photo credit: CD Kitchen

Spinach and Black Bean quesadillas- This can be adjusted to your child's taste, but the black bean and spinach combo seems to be the favorite at my house. Quesadillas are a great way for kids to get extra veggies because the cheese distracts them!

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Soup, there it is- My kids love the healthy soups I make, and I make sure they are always chock full of veggies. Their favorites are my vegan lentil soup and Greek lemon chicken soup.

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Photo credit: Healthy Little Foodies

Veggie fritters- I recently made a version of these with some leftover spaghetti squash that I knew wasn't going to get eaten otherwise. I love that you can really take any leftover veggie that sautés well, throw in an egg and some flour or bread crumbs and you're good to go. The rainbow fritters above are made with gluten free chickpea flour, and look amazing.

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Photo credit: Ikea

Muffin Tin Dip Spread- On one side of a muffin tin add hummus, greek yogurt, nut butter, etc. and on the other add sliced fruits and veggies like apples, cucumbers, carrot sticks, snap peas. Encourage children to try different food and dip combinations.

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Photo credit: The Minimalist Baker

Kale Chips- My kids and I are all salty food fiends, so sprinkle some sea salt on these babies and we are all over them. I love getting one of those giant bags of kale and making two or three batches. They usually don't make it past day one, I kid you not.

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Photo credit: The Nutrition Adventure

Banana sushi- I love this as a cute snack or dessert idea! I've actually never tried this one, but I think I will have to now.

* Remember that babies and toddlers have tiny stomachs and don't need to eat as much as we do, so any of these snack ideas could also be used to replace another daily meal. Variety is important in your child's diet, but think of it in terms of weeks and months, not days. If your toddler only wants egg cups today, let them eat all the egg cups! They will try something new tomorrow or the next day, and by then there is a good chance they will hate the egg cups anyway. Isn't parenthood fun?

Happy healthy eating to you and your munchkins! With a little patience, some cursing under your breath, (ok, a lot of cursing under your breath) and time, I swear you will have your own (sometimes) healthy eaters. Good luck, and God speed to you all!

♥ Erin