Are you looking for nutritious dairy-free snacks for toddlers?
Well, scroll, scroll down folks…and take a look at these delicious goodies!
All of the snacks below are suitable for children with dairy allergies and lactose intolerance. Many of the snacks below also double up as dairy-free snacks for babies.
I know that you’ll be looking for dairy-free kids’ snacks that are not only delicious but also tick the boxes for relevant nutrients. So I’ve got you covered.
Every snack has a description of its key nutrient and why it’s necessary.
And although I’m a big advocate of nutritious snacks for kids, I’ve sneaked in a few dairy-free treats for kids in this milk-free snack list to cover special occasions like birthdays and Christmas.
But don’t worry, there’s no heavy lifting involved in the kitchen (unless you want to of course)!
So whatever the occasion, this list of dairy-free foods for toddlers will delight all hungry bellies.
You might be searching for dairy-free toddler recipes because your child has a cow’s milk protein allergy or has lactose intolerance.
In the case of lactose intolerance, your child’s snacks don’t need to be milk free.
You can include small amounts of foods containing milk in the diet. The key will be to split the foods containing lactose into small regular portions throughout the day (as opposed to a large serving in one sitting).
Having said that, speak with your child’s dietitian for personalised advice as there will be exceptions to this.
For children with a dairy allergy, whether this is immediate (IgE mediated) or delayed food allergy, the following dairy-free snacks will be suitable.
9 Dairy-free snacks for toddlers
Dairy-free soy yoghurt
Soy is one of the best dairy-free plant proteins for children as it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
The protein content of soy yoghurt is also pretty good, which makes it a satisfying snack.
If your child needs extra fat, protein and calories to facilitate weight gain, then add a spoonful of peanut butter or any other nut butter of your choice. This will boost the overall protein and energy content of your child’s dairy-free snack.
For other children, a serving of berries or sliced fruit on the side will also provide your child with a serving of fibre to help prevent constipation.
See How To Help Constipation in Babies & Toddlers for more information.
Most soy yoghurts are also calcium-fortified which is an added but important bonus.
Calcium is a crucial mineral that alongside vitamin D plays a role in depositing calcium for building strong bones and teeth.
Pick dairy-free yoghurts that are fortified with calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Key nutrients to look out for include vitamin D and iodine.
Dairy-free yoghurt also doubles up as a dairy-free snack for babies.
Dairy-free oat yoghurt
This might sound like cheating but there’s a good reason why a second yoghurt option has been featured here.
Oat-based yoghurt is a delicious plant-based snack option for children who need to follow a milk and soy-free diet.
Oat-based yoghurts can be a little low in protein. A sprinkling of chopped nuts or seeds can bump up the protein content substantially.
Remember, to avoid the risk of choking, whole nuts and peanuts should not be given to children under five years of age.
An easy workaround is to chop it, grind it or use nut butter for a dose of healthy fats and protein.
The Oatly range called Oatgurt is also fortified with iodine which is a huge bonus for children who don’t regularly eat white fish.
The Koko Dairy Free Plain Yoghurt is also calcium-fortified but without iodine. This range is particularly interesting as it contains live probiotics (but this shouldn’t be the deal-breaker).
You can use a separate probiotic supplement. You can learn more in this article 12 Best Probiotics For Kids.
Oat-based dairy-free yoghurt also doubles up as a soy and dairy-free snack for babies.
Learn more about dairy-free yoghurt for babies.
Peanut butter on rice cakes, corn thins or dairy-free bread
Who can resist peanut butter? Pick a brand that has no added salt or sugar.
I occasionally love the mixed nut butter that is available on the market.
The advantage of nut butter is that it is an easy source of protein and healthy fats.
Depending on the type of nut butter you go for, these also provide fibre, vitamin E, niacin, biotin, and riboflavin (vitamin B2) which are all important nutrients for normal growth and development, repair of DNA and help the body use dietary fats.
Brazil nuts are particularly rich in selenium. Selenium is key for the normal functioning of the immune system. Chop it and serve on the side. Ground almonds can also be used in baking to replace flour. Perfect for children who require a high-energy diet for weight gain.
Smooth peanut butter on toast doubles up as a fabulous and easy dairy-free snack for babies.
We can’t possibly forget fruit as a snack option when putting together a list of toddler food.
Children and grown-ups should be eating 2 portions of fruit a day to meet the daily target of fibre, vitamin C and other micronutrients that have an antioxidant role in the body.
Offer fruit whole, sliced or chopped to make a delicious fruit salad for an afternoon or after-school snack for older children.
Keep the fruit bowl topped with your child’s favourite fruit so that they reach for this nutritious snack first.
Sometimes children just want something sweet. Most brands of dark chocolate are milk-free (but it pays to double-check by reading the label for words that can mean milk).
A few squares of dark chocolate aren’t going to break the sugar bank either.
You can find dark chocolate-topped rice cakes for a more substantial snack or take with you to birthday parties. This way, your child doesn’t need to miss out on fun foods at parties and special occasions.
Dark chocolate also contains small amounts of iron, calcium and potassium.
You can replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate in recipes for an easy swap. For example, you can make your own dairy-free biscuits or flapjacks by replacing any milk chocolate with dark chocolate. Just remember to use a dairy-free spread (and not butter)!
Dairy-free recipes for toddlers
Fruit Bread (milk-free recipe)
Who doesn’t love baking bread? Perhaps you already make your own bread as your child follows a dairy and soy-free bread. If that’s the case, throw in a handful of raisins to your usual bread recipe or take inspiration from Milk Free Wholemeal Fruit Bread.
Raisins and other dried fruit tend to be high in iron.
Iron is an important mineral in children’s diet as it supports normal immune function and cognitive function and also helps with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Dried fruit that is the richest source of iron include apricots, raisins, figs and prunes.
Oat & Raisin Cookies
Oat and raisin cookies are easily a firm favourite in our home. My daughter remains on a dairy-free diet (though can manage some dairy in her diet). Delia Smith’s original oat and raisin recipe is a winner. You can adapt it as an option for dairy-free snacks for kids.
Oats as a base are fantastic as it provides fibre. Fibre is important to help relieve symptoms of constipation, and increase faecal bulk which can help make poop soft.
Oats also contain beta-glucans which help the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol. This makes it a nutritious base for dairy-free snacks for toddlers.
Easy dairy-free snacks for toddlers
Hummus & carrots with breadsticks
This is another staple in our home! Just remember to also serve the hummus with a side of sliced vegetables and breadsticks to fill up hungry bellies.
Chickpeas and sesame are the base of hummus recipes. This provides fibre, slow-releasing carbohydrates and a little bit of iron and calcium.
When selecting breadsticks, if you buy these, choose a brand that is low (green) or medium amber for salt (amber on the traffic light labelling system). You want to select a brand with the lowest amount of salt per 100g. You can also toast pita and slice these up into pita fingers.
Popcorn is an easy dairy-free snack you can buy. Contrary to popular belief, popcorn is prepared with oil instead of butter so this is an easy snack to buy if you are out and about.
Having said that, always read labels if you are looking to buy dairy-free snacks for toddlers.
Popcorn is high in fibre which is insoluble in water. If your child loves to eat an entire bag in one go, pre-portion it out into smaller containers so that they are not tempted to do so.
Otherwise, your child might experience a bit of gas and bloat afterwards! If bloating and changes to their poop pattern are frustrating for your child, learn more about my Gut Health Programme for kids here.
Popcorn will have added salt. It pays to read labels so that you can choose a brand with lower amounts of added salt. This is particularly important if your kids are anything like mine. They eat popcorn almost every day!
The supermarket snack aisle will often boast a series of dairy-free snacks for toddlers. These can often contain a mountain of hidden sugars with confusing messages like (contains 1 serving of fruit and vegetables) when it doesn’t. If your baby or toddler needs a milk-free diet and you are looking for nutritious snacks that are tasty and free from milk as an ingredient, then this list of staple snack ideas will tick the box for important nutrients and fill hungry bellies.
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