Peanut Butter Puffs, Veggie Sticks & Other On-the-Go Snacks Your Little Ones Will Love
Does it ever feel like just when you’ve finally gotten used to your baby’s latest schedule or routine, it’s time to add in something new? You’re not alone! Starting solids and rotating in regular meals and snacks can throw some parents (*raises hand*) for a loop.
A typical eating schedule can vary from baby to baby – don’t worry, you’ll get into the swing of things with your family’s own unique routine – but a good starting point is three meals and two snacks. Once your little one has started eating solids and you’ve safely introduced common allergens (more on that here if you are looking for a primer!), it’s time for the fun part: stocking the fridge and pantry with healthy snacks!
When shopping for healthy options, it’s wise to keep convenience in mind and opt for snacks that travel well so they can keep up on-the-go. Empty tummies can make for grumpy kiddos, and the last thing you want when running errands across town is a meltdown. Fortunately, if your pantry is packed with healthy grab-and-go treats, you won’t have to think twice as you’re readying the diaper bag -- just snag whatever’s in reach as you head out the door!
From peanut puffs to veggie sticks, we’ve rounded up some of the best healthy snacks to keep stocked in a bustling household.
1. REAL VEGGIE STICKS
If you spend 10 minutes on the weekend slicing and bagging fresh veggies, you’ll have convenient grab-and-go snacks in the fridge all week. Some of the most popular options for toddlers include carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and celery. Remember: you know your little one best, but most experts recommend cutting into sticks to reduce the risk of choking (we love the helpful progression guide here on how to cut and serve food for toddlers!). In general, vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which is why the USDA recommends that children between 2 and 4 years old eat between 1 to 2 cups of vegetables daily. This amount only increases as kids get older, so the earlier they learn to love the taste of veggies, the easier it gets!
Whether you prefer to buy block cheese and slice it yourself or stock up on pre-portioned servings, it’s a classic favorite that little ones love. Plus, it’s high in protein, calcium, and vitamins – which means you’ll love giving it to them, too. For maximum nutritional value, look for pasteurized products that are low in sodium (less than 100mg per serving) and tout natural ingredients. For lunch boxes or errand running, opt for string cheese or Babybel - these variations hold up well for several hours and don't get that “slimy” feeling that other cheese forms develop. Picky toddlers will be pleased!
3. PEANUT BUTTER PUFFS
Nuts and nut butters are packed with nutritional benefits for kids of all ages. Additionally, the LEAP Study found that introducing peanut protein early – and keeping it in your child’s diet regularly – can prevent a peanut allergy from developing.* However, whole nuts and sticky nut butters can be choking hazards, messy for babies, and the baby aisle is almost entirely allergen-free. That’s exactly why Mission MightyMe created a delicious solution: Peanut Butter Puffs and Nut Butter Puffs, the only baby-friendly puff of its kind, which packs the power of 5 nuts (almond, cashew, hazelnut, peanut and walnut) into one yummy, quick-dissolve puff. Kids of all ages love these nutty snacks…guaranteed!
4. FRUIT BARS
There are so many great, healthy granola bar alternatives for littles these days! Packed with real fruits and veggies and designed for little hands, fruit bars are a must-have pantry staple for lunch boxes or after school snacking. A few of our favorites are Dino Bars (fruit bars in edible paper), Cerebelly Smart Bars, and Skout Organic bars, which have some options to help you keep nuts in little diets.
5. APPLE SLICES
Apples are packed with lots of vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy development, including vitamin C and potassium. If you want to prep apples in advance, like veggie sticks, you can keep them from turning brown by soaking the slices in a saltwater solution (roughly ½ teaspoon of kosher salt per 1 cup of water) for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse before storing into airtight containers for the week ahead. If you don’t have any kosher salt on hand, you can also use a solution of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of water.
6. TODDLER TRAIL MIX
Trail mix is often a no-go for little ones because of the “real nut” factor. Enter peanut and nut butter puffs for toddler trail mix! Start with our nutty puffs, then layer in some healthy, yummy, and safe toddler ingredients - each batch can be different depending on what you’ve got in the pantry: apple chips, dry cereal (we like Cheerios or Chex, which are great for babies), yogurt melts, shredded coconut, freeze-dried berries, cherries or classic raisins. Toss together to keep on hand, or mix up on the spot and serve. Either way, make sure you pop into a spill proof snack cup like this one from our friends at Morepeas. Less stress = less mess!