Once your wee cherub can start bringing pieces of food up to their mouth (not to mention anything else they find), they’re ready for snack foods.
The trouble is, it’s all too easy to resort to giving them sugary snacks like Cheerios or other cereal morsels.
Thankfully, the following Cheerio alternatives are super easy to prepare, even on a busy schedule. Here are 20 tasty snack ideas to offer your little one instead!
1. Yogurt Melts
These cold, coin-sized treats can be super soothing for your little one during teething and are easily made at home too if you want to make big batches!
Yogurt melts are ideal for babies 8 months and over and are packed full of calcium, probiotics, protein, and healthy fats — all of which help support your baby’s growing bones and teeth, muscles, gut bacteria, and brain development.
Ripe and soft bananas make a classic baby snack and can be served as finger food for babies 9 to 12 months old (split lengthwise and cut into 3 “strips”) or in a mashed form on a pre-loaded spoon for younger babies.
Bananas are loaded with potassium, folate, and vitamins C and B6, giving your little one energy, increasing iron absorption, and developing the nervous system!
3. Shredded Cheese
In small doses, regular full-fat cheese is a great source of calcium and protein, contributing to healthy teeth and bone growth, making your baby feel fuller, and even helping to prevent cavities.
At 9 months, you can start feeding them small handfuls of shredded, soft, mild cheddar cheese, either in mounds or as a topping on toast.
4. Snack Puffs
Light and tasty snack puffs like these cute star-shaped bites are sure to be a hit with your little one.
They are made with whole grains and natural fruit flavorings and contain 6 essential vitamins and minerals, including iron and choline for healthy brain development.
These are ideal for your 6-month-old when he/she moves onto solids, and the dissolvable quality means they aren’t a choking hazard. Sixty pieces (½ a cup) is suggested per serving.
5. Organic Teething Crackers
In the terrors of teething, your baby needs something gentle and tasty to gum.
Organic teething crackers/wafers like these are a delicious and soothing snack that’s easy for a baby to grasp and is appropriate for those 4 months and up.
While the nutritional benefits are minimal with these crackers, they are certified non-GMO and free of gluten (ideal for little ones with celiac disease).
Each four-wafer serving introduces them to interesting new flavors too like blueberry, spinach, and purple carrot.
6. Peanut Puffs
Tasty and quick-dissolving peanut puffs are great for babies as early as 4 months.
This brand in particular was developed by pediatricians advocating regular early consumption of peanuts to help prevent peanut allergies.
These contain protein, potassium, and calcium to support bodily growth and brain function and can be served in small handfuls, crumbled into a puree, or softened with breast milk for a cereal-like snack.
7. Soft-Baked Snack Bars
Soft-baked bars are the perfect width for little ones to grab hold of. You can start your 12-month-old on snacks like these wholegrain fruit bars, but be sure to break the bar in half or thirds for safer portion control.
Look for brands like this made with real fruit and grains as these are packed with 9 essential vitamins and minerals including iron and zinc to help with their immune function and neurological development.
Once your little one is on solids (6 months), you can feed them pieces of soft, well-cooked pasta. Graspable tubular pasta shapes are best and can be topped with a simple sauce or toppings.
All pasta types provide a good source of healthy, energizing carbs, but aim for wholegrain pasta as this will give them plenty of fiber and B vitamins to boost brain development and the production of healthy red blood cells.
You can start your little bean off with beans as a snack food at around 6 months — just take care to introduce them slowly and in small portions (1-2 tablespoons) as the high-fiber content may make them quite gassy and uncomfortable.
Serve cooked beans gently mashed with the back of a spoon. This can be any low-sodium canned beans like kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, or baked beans.
Boiled or steamed green peas can be served in whole, individual form as finger food for your 10-month-old and are usually too small to pose a choking hazard.
For younger ones just starting on solids though (6 months), peas are best served mashed or in pureed form.
Babies can also have peas in the form of whole sugar snap peas, but not until 12-14 months due to the crunchy nature.
In all forms, peas are an excellent source of protein and fiber, fuelling their neurodevelopment and immune function.
On their own, crackers don’t provide much in the way of nutrition (although wholegrain types do provide energy and contribute to healthy gut bacteria).
Crackers are therefore best used as a base for super nutritious toppings like greek yogurt and mashed avocado!
Babies can have crackers from age 6 months as long as they have a soft dissolvable quality and are easy to gum.
Wholewheat Ritz crackers and Baby Rice Rusks are a good option. Try soaking them in water or breast milk beforehand if you notice your little one having trouble with them.
This tasty superfood is an awesome snack to introduce to your baby as the rich source of antioxidants not only helps regulate baby’s blood pressure and bowel habits but also helps to fight cancer, strengthen bones, and boost cognitive development!
Serve blueberries up to your 6-month-old in mashed or pureed form (or as quartered/halved berries after 12 months due to the choking risk).
Around the time your little one starts blowing raspberries (6-7 months), this is the perfect time to introduce actual raspberries into their diet!
Serve them in pureed form between 4 and 6 months or diced into quarters from 6 months onward.
Their naturally soft nature means chopped raspberries are not a choking hazard, and they come with amazing benefits for your baby such as support for their neurological development, immunity, and metabolism thanks to ample amounts of zinc, folate, and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
14. Cooked Vegetables
You can start offering your little one boiled or steam-cooked veggies in mashed or pureed form from around 6 months old before graduating to finely chopped cooked vegetables at around 8-10 months.
Small sticks of cooked carrot or small broccoli/cauliflower florets make great graspable foods, especially little trees of broccoli as they have natural handles!
These fiber- and mineral-rich veggies contribute to optimum growth, helping your baby fight off chronic diseases in later life.
15. Scrambled Eggs
Eggs make a versatile snack for your little one once they’re on solids (6 months plus), and the iron and quality protein they get from them provides energy, helps them feel fuller for longer, and even helps with their concentration as they grow.
You can serve up some scrambled eggs on a pre-loaded spoon for your little one, or alternatively, offer bite-sized chunks of an omelet or a hard-boiled egg cut into quarters.
This delicious and refreshing snack is rich in vitamins A and C, which strengthens their immune system to fight off colds and infections.
Due to the textures involved, it’s best to wait a little later into the solid food stage (around 8-10 months) before introducing watermelon to ensure your baby has their chewing ability well practiced.
Cut the fruit into small bite-sized pieces, or freeze them to make teether popsicles!
17. Lightly Mashed Meatballs
As whole meatballs can be a choking hazard, lightly mashing some soft-cooked meatballs can be a tasty snack option for your 6-month-old (they can eventually chew small chopped meatball pieces around 9 months).
Regardless of the meatball type (beef, lamb, chicken, etc.) meatballs are a great source of iron, protein, and numerous B vitamins that all go toward increasing your baby’s energy, helping with red blood cell formation, and contributing to a healthy nervous system.
18. Toast With Healthy Topping
Like crackers, toast is a great vehicle for introducing other healthy new snack foods to your baby.
From 6 months on, feed your little one lightly-buttered toast dipped in egg yolk or yogurt. You can also include tasty toppings like mashed avocado, mashed banana, or almond butter.
Cut the toast into fingers or “soldiers,” and opt for wholegrain bread when possible as this is packed with things like magnesium, phosphorus, and fiber — boosting bone and cell growth as well as helping your little one stay regular.
19. Diced Pancakes
Pancakes are super easy to make and can be as healthy (or as treat-like) as you wish depending on your choice of toppings and batter mix!
Once on solids, offer your 6-month-old bite-sized chunks of a wholewheat pancake rolled up with pureed fruit, or serve them small pieces of these yummy mini banana pancakes.
Wholewheat pancake batter provides your baby with a great source of fiber, carbs, iron, and calcium that all help to develop strong bones, stabilize blood sugar, and improve immune cell function.
20. Baked Oatmeal
Baked oatmeal in the form of bars and fingers makes a delicious snack food once your baby’s eating solids (6 months) since they’re soft enough to chew without teeth. They’re so easy to make and customize too!
Oatmeal is packed with great stuff that promotes a healthy heart, gut function, and cell function thanks to various nutrients including zinc, folate, and magnesium.
Stick to one cup of baked oatmeal served via spoon or one full snack bar/finger as a healthy serving size.
Cheerios aren’t the only small and simple snack food for your baby; there are numerous tasty and healthy snack options to choose from (with things like toast, crackers, and pancakes providing endless possibilities in terms of toppings and flavors!).
We hope that you’ve honed in on a few of the nutritious nibbles mentioned above to make feeding time more interesting for your tot. Happy snacking!
Rebecca is a seasoned copywriter and researcher with over a decade of experience, specializing in parenting topics. With a passion for all aspects of raising children, from breastfeeding to potty training.