Best Baby Snacks

By: Dr. Nazeli Gevorgyan - Updated May 15, 2024 - 10 Minute Read

Best Baby Snacks | The Milky Box

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience often trumps nutritional values when selecting snacks for our little ones. However, as parents, we must prioritize healthy options that contribute to our children’s future health and taste preferences.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of choosing nutritious snacks for babies and strategies for ensuring their snack time is delicious and nourishing.

What Are Good Snacks for Babies?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends introducing solid foods around six months alongside breastmilk or formula, gradually incorporating nutritious family foods to support growth and development, and encouraging healthy eating habits. 

Despite the well-known short- and long-term benefits of eating healthy foods from a young age, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicate that 25% of infants between 6 and 11 months old didn’t eat any vegetables and 17% didn’t eat any fruits daily.

As a parent, it’s crucial to provide your child with a diverse range of nutritious foods with varying tastes and textures. Typically, snacks can be offered when solid foods are introduced. You can establish meal and snack routines by around nine months, aiming for three meals and two or three snacks daily.

Regarding snacks, prioritize nutritious options like age-appropriate fruits and vegetables instead of high-sugar, high-calorie choices such as cookies and candy. Remember to limit your baby’s salt, saturated fats, and refined grains intake. If introducing low-nutrient, high-calorie foods, try to delay and minimize exposure to prevent your toddlers from developing a preference for them over healthier choices.

Consider making homemade baby foods as part of complementary feeding, as they can provide more wholesome options for your little ones. Research comparing the growth and development of infants consuming commercial versus homemade baby foods found that those consuming homemade options had lower body fat levels at 12 months, a trend that continued until age 3.

Avoid salt, saturated fats, and refined grains | The Milky Box

Store-Bought Baby Snacks

The growing popularity of store-bought baby snacks and unhealthy snacking habits among young children are causes for concern due to several factors. Snacks high in sugar and salt often lack nutritional value but are calorie-dense, potentially meeting a child’s energy requirements without providing essential nutrients. 

While the World Health Organization recommends limiting free sugar intake to 10% of total energy consumption, many young children in high-income countries exceed this guideline.

A study has shown that consuming less nutritious sweets like cookies, cakes, and candies is associated with increased weight gain during infancy, underscoring the need to address these snack options to prevent childhood obesity. Excessive sugar intake in infancy may alter taste preferences, elevate blood triglyceride levels, and contribute to a higher risk of dental caries.

Likewise, excessive salt intake during infancy is linked to an elevated preference for salt in young children, which is associated with higher blood pressure, particularly among those with a family history of hypertension.

Many sweet and salty snacks contain partially hydrogenated oils with trans-fatty acids (TFAs), which are linked to various health risks in adults and are considered toxic for children. Their consumption of biscuits, cakes, and wafers may exceed recommended levels.

What to Avoid | The Milky Box

Review Ingredients of Packaged Toddler Snacks

When considering toddler packaged snacks, carefully inspect the ingredient list to choose healthy and nutritious options. The fact that they are labeled as baby/toddler foods doesn’t guarantee their nutritional quality.

A research study analyzed 240 baby and toddler packaged foods in the American market. Findings revealed that 58% of these products had high salt or sugar levels, raising concerns about their nutritional value. 

Nearly half of the items (45%) were classified as high in sugar, including puréed baby food desserts, teething biscuits, fruit snacks, yogurt nibbles, and cereal/snack bars. About 29% of the products listed sugar or its derivatives among the top four ingredients, with 37 items listing sugar as one of the first two ingredients (cereal bars, puffed grain snacks, corn snacks, rice biscuits, and more).

Surprisingly, many of these products didn’t explicitly indicate high sugar content in their branding or names, potentially misleading consumers about their healthiness. For example, teething biscuits, marketed as aids for teething babies rather than cookies, were found to have a high sugar content in some cases despite not listing sugar as one of the first two ingredients.

Baby Snacks: Fruits and Veggies

Use snack times to give your child more fruits and vegetables, showcasing the bright colors and inviting flavors of fresh food. Many kids don’t eat enough of these healthy foods, so snacks are an excellent time to try. Your child might take a few tries to develop a taste for new flavors and textures, so be patient.

Offer a variety of fruits and veggies, including those with a slightly bitter taste, like broccoli, cabbage, and spinach. Pair them with dairy, lean proteins, or whole grains to create balanced snacks, such as grapes and cheese, celery and peanut or almond butter, and banana with entire grain bread.

Additionally, fruits and veggies can be introduced as finger foods, providing small, bite-sized pieces easy for babies and toddlers to pick up and eat with their fingers. Opt for soft fruits and cooked vegetables to minimize choking hazards. Examples include small pieces of ripe banana, peeled peach and pear slices, cooked sweet potato sticks, steamed carrot coins, pepper strips, cucumber sticks, and avocado slices.

Always supervise your baby closely while eating, and introduce new foods one at a time to watch for any potential allergic reactions.

More Healthy Snacks for Babies 

Beyond fruits and vegetables, here are more nutritious snack options for your baby.

Yogurt: Choose plain, full-fat yogurt without added sugars or artificial flavors. You can mix in mashed fruits for natural sweetness.

Cheese: Opt for pasteurized full-fat varieties like milk cheddar, cottage cheese, and cream cheese for a calcium-rich snack option. Avoid mold-ripened soft cheeses like brie or camembert, ripened goats’ milk cheese, and soft blue-veined cheese such as Roquefort due to the potential presence of listeria bacteria.

Nuts and raisins: Give your baby crushed, ground, or smooth nut or peanut butter instead of whole nuts and peanuts to avoid choking. Be cautious when introducing nuts to your baby, especially if there’s a family history of food allergies.

Whole grain crackers or rice cakes: These snacks are typically low in fat and can be a source of dietary fiber and other nutrients. Look for varieties without added sugar and salt and give them with toppings like cheese, nut butter, or hummus for added flavor and nutrition.

Roasted chickpeas: These crunchy and flavorful snacks provide plant-based protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Ensure they are well-cooked and broken into small pieces for safe eating.

Eggs: Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs can be offered as a snack with a high protein and iron content.

Meat: Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or beef can also be introduced as snacks for babies once they are ready to eat solid foods. Cooked and finely shredded or diced meat can be offered as finger foods, providing protein, iron, and zinc.

Healthy Baby Snacks | The Milky Box

Can You Mix Oatmeal with Milk for a Baby Snack?

Oatmeal is a nutritious first snack for your little one. To prepare it, you can mix it with breastmilk or your family's choice of pure and clean European baby formula. This will provide your baby with essential nutrients and ensure that their food is easy to digest and taste. 

Health Benefits 

Oats are an incredibly nutritious food for babies, as they are a gluten-free grain that is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They are easy to digest and offer a range of health benefits, including boosting the immune system, aiding digestion, and promoting healthy growth and development.

European Oat Porridges | The Milky Box

Cultivate Healthy Snacking Habits and Routines

To summarize, here are some critical tips for cultivating healthy snack habits for your baby:

★ Introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables as snack options.

★ Consider preparing homemade nutritious snacks for your baby.

★ Avoid adding salt and sugar when preparing homemade snacks, as your little one’s taste preferences are still developing, and their delicate bodies don’t need added sodium or refined sugars.

★ Be mindful of common food allergies, such as peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and eggs, when offering snacks to your baby.

★ Gradually introduce a variety of textures in snacks to support your baby’s oral motor development.

★ Offer snacks at consistent times throughout the day to establish a routine.

★ Encourage self-feeding with finger foods to promote independence.

★ Limit processed snacks high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat.

★ Model healthy eating habits by enjoying nutritious snacks together with your baby.

★ Stay patient and persistent as your baby explores new flavors and textures.

★ Minimize distractions like TV during snack times to encourage mindful eating.

★ Avoid using TV as a reward to prevent unhealthy associations with food.

★ Set a positive example by limiting your screen use during snacks.

Healthy Snacking | The Milky Box

Smart Snacking for Baby

Remember, the journey towards healthy eating for your little one is about balance, variety, and moderation. While we advocate for nutrient-rich snacks, we also recognize that occasional indulgences in less healthy options aren’t a huge problem when enjoyed in moderation.

Help your baby develop healthy eating habits with The Milky Box, keeping your family informed every step of the way.


1. Choosing Healthy Snacks for Kids - Available at:

2. Elliott, C. D. and Conlon, M. J. (2015) ‘Packaged baby and toddler foods: questions of sugar and sodium’, Pediatric obesity, 10(2), pp. 149–155. doi: 10.1111/J.2047-6310.2014.223.X.

3. Foods to avoid giving babies and young children - NHS. Available at:

4. Huffman, S. L. et al. (2014) ‘Babies, soft drinks and snacks: a concern in low- and middle-income countries?’, Maternal & Child Nutrition, 10(4), pp. 562–574. doi: 10.1111/MCN.12126.

5. Infant Food and Feeding. Available at:

6. Mok, E. et al. (2017) ‘Diet diversity, growth and adiposity in healthy breastfed infants fed homemade complementary foods’, International Journal of Obesity 2017 41:5, 41(5), pp. 776–782. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.37.

7. Moore, A. M. et al. (2019) ‘Associations of Less Healthy Snack Food Consumption with Infant Weight-for-Length Z-Score Trajectories: Findings from the Nurture Cohort Study’, Nutrients, 11(11). doi: 10.3390/NU11112752.

8. Skinner, J. D. et al. (2004) ‘Meal and snack patterns of infants and toddlers’, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 104(SUPPL. 1), pp. 65–70. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2003.10.021.

9. What to feed young children - NHS. Available at:

10. When Should My Kids Snack?. Available at:


Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.

Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.

Nazeli Gevorgyan is a medical doctor from Armenia, and is a researcher in the fields of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others. Dr. Nazeli is passionate with providing women and parents with reliable and high-quality information on healthy options for infant nutrition, breastfeeding, infant formula, and food. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, and pottery. 

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Reviewed by Dr. Eric Wood, ND, MA

Dr. Wood is a licensed naturopathic doctor, with a doctorate degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada. He received his post-graduation certification in Mind Body Medicine at Harvard University.

With 15 years of experience, Dr. Wood is an Associate Professor of Holistic Nutrition at the American College of Health Sciences in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Wood is an educator, clinician, author, media figure, consultant, and owns his own holistic (naturopathic) medical practice in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Wood is currently researching and drafting books on cancer and pediatrics.

Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Wood loves singing with the Miami Lyric Opera and is an avid musician in South Florida. He also loves spending time with his wife and kids.