Move over, Cheerios: There are some new baby snacks in town. Many are much more nutritionally dense than the snacks we grew up with, which helps fill them with good things, especially if your kid eats like a bird. Better yet, many of today’s snacks help cut down on mealtime messes (and inevitably, hosing down the high chair), which means you don’t need baby bathtime three times a day.
All babies must eventually wean from breast or bottle, and most will start making that journey around 4-6 months. The standard advice is that if your baby sits with little help or support, and they lean forward when food is offered, they can start solids. (but check with your pediatrician first) Of course, they need to start small. Most babies start with mushy foods like baby cereal, pureed fruits, and steamed, mashed vegetables. This (along with chomping on things like teething toys, silicone bibs, and your finger) helps them develop the jaw muscles necessary to start eating more solid foods.
One popular method for teaching tiny humans to eat solid food is called “baby-led weaning.” The gist of BLW is to skip spoonfeeding and jump straight to letting baby try new foods, tastes, and textures while feeding themselves (while supervised, of course). This has led to an explosion of healthy, bite-sized baby snacks for your kiddo to explore. Here are some of the best kinds on the market that you can take on the go for portable yums … and don’t forget the snack cups!
Best Baby Snacks
I was so skeptical when I opened a box of these yogurt melts a few Christmases ago on behalf of my 6-month-old. Freeze-dried yogurt did not sound appetizing, in my opinion. But I knew it was not my palette that needed convincing, so I let my daughter try some.
Let me tell you, kids go GAGA over these things. Honestly, it’s to the point where you might need to limit the amount you give your baby, since there is some added sugar in these. But the convenience, price, and taste make them a win in my book. Note: For beginning chompers who tend to stuff their mouths too full, you might want to break these in halves (or even quarters) the first few times.
These are frequently called teething biscuits and for good reason. Their large size and thin shape make them easy for teething babies to hold onto and gnaw while their little chompers grow in. They disintegrate fast enough that you’ll have fewer worries about your little one choking on a hunk of wafer, but of course, you’ll want to always supervise their snack time. (I still broke mine up into teeny-tiny pieces — call me paranoid.) Happy Baby has three different flavors of these gluten-free wafers, including pea/spinach, sweet potato/banana, and blueberry/purple carrot.
Ok folks! It’s time to talk pouches. While obviously, the most nutritionally complete snack would be an actual mashed fruit, vegetable, or shred of meat, it’s just not feasible to do so on the run. Safety is still important on a busy outing to the park, at daycare, at church, or in the car, so pouches are a good compromise.
The Serenity Kids brand only sources ethically-grown meats for these protein packs, which, by the way, get AMAZING reviews. This parent in particular has super high standards for what baby food they’ll buy (low sugar, organic, only wholesome ingredients) and still vouches for these.
Best Baby Snack Puffs
If you’ve waltzed through your local grocery store’s baby food section, you’ve likely seen these on the shelves. Gerber is one of the most popular brands for baby food, and they’ve got a huge selection to accommodate every set of tastebuds. Plus, the price isn’t half bad for a food that has a 50/50 shot at ending up in your baby’s mouth or on the floor.
These puffs in particular melt much better in the mouth than, say, Cheerios, making them a safer baby snack alternative. This is especially true if you have a “delayed” teether, and your baby needs to gum all their solids for a while.
When I first saw the packaging for these, I definitely thought they were in the wrong aisle in the store. But while they might look like concession stand food, they’re made specifically with babies in mind. These corn puffs are covered in peanut butter dust, giving them 4g of protein for a scant 0.7oz of puffs. They also come at a great price point. Best of all, they’re an easy early introduction to one of the most common allergens- peanuts. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said that “there is now evidence that early introduction of peanuts may prevent peanut allergy.” So snack away (with the doc’s approval, of course)!
While most baby puffs have corn, wheat, or rice as their primary ingredient, these guys use chickpeas! The result is a far more nutritious snack, bursting with fiber (20% daily value in one serving!) This is something most baby snacks miss since they focus on purees and sweeter flavors. In contrast, Hippeas have a lot of savory flavors like BBQ that many people seem to like. Just know that these aren’t specifically made for babies, so save these for tots who are already into eating more balanced foods and consider breaking them into pieces for newbies.
Cheese puffs were my daughter’s favorite snack when she was little, but I always felt guilty about basically giving her baby Cheetos. Enter the LesserEvil Paleo puffs. They technically don’t even have cheese! Just coconut oil, sweet potato powder, and nutritional yeast, among other, all-natural ingredients. These non-dairy snacks are also certified Paleo (which I didn’t even know was a thing), so even if you avoid dairy, you can snack on them, too! Note: Since these aren’t specifically made for babies, you might want to break these into pieces and/or save them for older toddlers who have some dining experience under their (teeny tiny) belts.
Best Organic Baby Snacks
Great news for all you organic fans out there! There are plenty of pouches in the world to go around. Some reviewers note that while your child might start eating organic baby pouches like these at around 9 months, toddlers still love them, too. This is great news if you have a kid in the terrible twos (or threes, or fours…) who doesn’t eat anything that looks “funny” and you need to sneak some veggies in their diet.
Plum Organics is another one of those big names in baby food. If you haven’t tried before, this variety pack is a great introduction and means you can focus on just buying the flavors your kid really likes next time around. I was also delighted to see I’m not the only one who’s specifically bought at least ten of these for a reason: Apparently, all great minds take these empty bottles, rip the labels off, and turn them into a kid bowling alley. It’s a win-win for your baby!
Fresh Bellies is a company that provides kid-friendly dehydrated fruits and veggies. They believe that not all kids foods should have fruit mixed in because it teaches kids to only like the taste of sweetness. Instead, they bake their snacks with fresh herbs & spices for unique, savory flavors. There’s also no added salt or sugar. Plus, they’re organic, non-GMO, preservative-free. What’s not to like about these?