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May 15, 2009 02:28 PM

Help! I need Toddler-friendly healthy snacks without High Fructose Corn Syrup, etc.

Help! I'm a new mom and my 12 month old daughter has been eating pretty traditional snack foods--you know, those dry and thus easy to carry around when on the go foods, animal crackers, nilla wafers, graham crackers, saltines, toasted O's, etc. Problem is most of these have high fructose corn syrup!

I'm at a disadvantage because as a kid I didn't like vanilla wafers (too artificial tasting), animal crackers (too dry and bland) and graham crackers (just taste weird). I know that I probably just have a weird palette, but I need some good product recommendations and maybe even some recipes for making snacks on my own. I'm NOT much of a baker so hopefully there are some easy things to make ahead of time to feed her throughout the week at snacktime.

I found some good oyster crackers made by Trader Joes and also Olde Cape Cod (actually since I like them I found them helpful during bouts of morning sickness) and Toasted O's are easy to find in health food sections, but all the graham crackers at my grocery store had HFCS so I just bought the one with the most fiber.

We are big fans of organic rice cakes-you can get them lightly salted and they are easy to take along in the diaper bag. We're just getting tired of eating them everyday!
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. My daughter is 5 1/2. Her mother breast fed her for over a year. We then went initially to baby foods until I stated making healthier home made versions. She doesn't snack much - but I keep raisins, cheeses, home made bread, and can make musubi or sushi or MW an artichoke for a snack. Our daughter is with each of us half the time. Neither of us have ever given her purchased cookies, snacks, or soft drinks. Although this is Dana Zsofia's week to be with her Mom, her Mom just dropped her off for the afternoon and evening. Dana Zsofia was hungry. I told her what I'm preparing for dinner (salmon); so she decided to snack on a bowl of oatmeal and wait for dinner later. Another snack is cooked pasta (stored in the ref) with a drizzle of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. She can have this snack if the rest of her meals have been healthy for the day.

    1. My 20 month old loves snapea crisps, raisins, nuts, Pirate's Booty and veggie booty (or the Trader Joe's version), stone wheat crackers, and fruit. We also buy Trader Joe's brand cats cookies, animal crackers and Cinnamon Schoolbook letter cookies. She also eats cheese and yogurt (less portable, but healthy).


      1. Our son is now about two years, five months, and he's gone through a lot of different phases. Saltines and graham crackers were popular around 12 months as I recall. Freeze dried fruit from Trader Joe's, particularly the mangosteens were a hit. He also likes some regular dried fruit, but I think 12 months may have been a bit early for that. The freeze dried is easier to eat. Cheese is good and fresh fruit. There have been periods when he seems to be on an almost all fruit diet. He really likes watermelon, and he can tell good fruit, like Maine blueberries in season, from dull industrial fruit like mass produced Mexican blueberries. Small round fruits like grapes and blueberries should generally be cut in half at 12 months.

        I made a batch of saucisson sec, which he likes sliced thinly, but that's probably too hard for 12 months. He has a taste for spicy foods.

        2 Replies
        1. re: David A. Goldfarb

          Mine eats salami. Kids like foods with flavor more than you think.

        2. our grandaughter (now 7) LOVED (at very early age) and still does - snacking on edamame. She enjoyed getting it out of the pod too.

          6 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            My 4 yo daughter also loves edamame beans and has been eating them a little over a year now. For a 1yo, you could probably cook them a bit more, shell them first. She also likes cheese strings and yogurt sticks, TJ and Market of Choice has organic varieties. Another quick to-go snack is baby carrots. They might be too crunchy for a 12 month old so you could quickly steam them so they're a bit softer. She loved blueberries when she was quite young. She's a big fruit eater particularly berries so I try to get as much as I can when they are in season.

            1. re: Green Omnivore

              Thanks! I'll have to try cooking edamame myself for her--I usually only get it in trail mixes or at restaurants. I'm sure she'll love that. Question, how long does it keep once you cook it?

              1. re: mamma_spice

                you might try all sorts of different beans --- garbanzos, kidneys, navy, pintos, lentils, all make great finger foods for young ones

                hummus and pita - is that too complex a flavor combo for your toddler?

                as a kid, I loved sliced tomato and cheddar drizzled with italian dressing

                i also loved rice cakes spread with apple butter or apricot jam

                1. re: Emme

                  Oh yes, she loves hummus and pita. Her first real hummus (when she was a baby her "hummus was just pureed chickpeas and roasted garlic with oil--now she is old enough for tahini) was at Jazz Fest in New Orleans!
                  Thanks for reminding me, we are out of apple butter! Got to go to the farmers market soon!

                2. re: mamma_spice

                  Sorry for the late reply! I get them frozen at Trader Joe's. I boil them for 5-8 minutes for the regular ones or only 3-5 minutes if they are pre-cooked. If you are worried that they are too big, you can squish them in half before serving. I think they should keep for a few days in the fridge. They are quick to make so there's no need to make a huge batch. TJ also sells them pre-cooked and pre-shelled in their produce section. The best by date is usually a week or so but they never last long in my house.

            2. Trader Joe's has lots of healthier snacky options. The dried fruits are great, and kids love something that takes a while to chew and eat. If you are up to baking, you can try oatmeal cookies or homemade graham crackers. Both are simple, and you can start with half of a recipe.

              My cousin (now 8) loved oatmeal with salt and pepper as a snack. Not really portable, but good if you're home.

              4 Replies
              1. re: cheesecake17

                Interesting, oatmeal with S&P. I think I would like that! I crave savory foods and always preferred my cottage cheese with s&p instead of sweet fruits! DD is still acquiring a taste for pepper (I hope!) she freaks out whenever she gets a taste of black pepper. I've been seasoning her veggies and some other foods separately in the meantime.
                She does LOVE oatmeal!
                I've been looking for graham flour--where do you buy it?

                1. re: mamma_spice

                  My mother bought some from either a local health food store or Whole Foods.

                  I saw a recipe online that was vegan and didn't use graham crackers. I can look for it if you're interested.

                  Also, my friend's kids love Glenny's soy crisps. They actually think they're potato chips. They have that crunchy but melt in your mouth texture

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Great! I'll have to try the crisps. Any recipes are appreciated!

                    1. re: mamma_spice

                      here's the graham cracker recipe.


                      I remember making graham crackers with a friend ages ago, and adding colored sprinkles. Turned out yummy..