When should I introduce snacks to my baby?

- Marie Fortier

There are many parents who ask me about introducing snacks into their baby's daily routine.

When should I introduce snacks without compromising his sleep or meals?

Around 7 months old, it is possible to give your baby a healthy snack in the morning and another one in the afternoon, depending on the length of his naps. If the baby sleeps well and wakes up close to mealtime, it is best to favor family meals over snacks. However, if he is awake between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. or between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., you could easily offer him a small and healthy snack with a glass of milk or water.

The key timeframe is to let at least an hour to an hour and a half between snack time and the family dinner. Some older children may also eat a third snack during the bedtime routine if the family dinner is eaten on the early side. 

What can I offer my little one that is both nutritious and easy?

There are many nutritious, easy and quick options for parents. I'm just listing a few suggestions here, but you can find many more online.

For snacks, choose fruits, yogurt, cheese and other healthy foods such as:

- Smoothies you make yourself with his milk, some yogurt, avocado and even silky tofu! Your baby will have a snack that is very rich in nutrients. He can drink it, but also take it as an ice stick!
- A few slices of apples with a little peanut or almond butter is a popular combination.
- A homemade muffin or cake made with olive oil and whole wheat flour are generally enjoyed by the whole family. You can also make a recipe containing legumes – which will result as an even healthier and more sustaining snack. Also, you can replace the sugar with applesauce, bananas or date puree. Nobody will able to tell the difference!
- Whole grain rice cakes or crackers with a little nut butter or hummus make a quick and nutritious combination.
- Snacking cereals can also be a convenient option, but make sure to choose them with whole grains (preferably multigrain cereals) and 8 g of sugar or less. The less sugar, the better!

I imagine that these few pieces of information can guide you through this stage of life with your infant.

See you soon,

Marie Fortier, the baby expert