Last year, I whipped up a blog post all about zero waste & vegan snack ideas, but realized it might be beneficial for other eco minded parents out there to write a post about zero waste toddler snack ideas! Don’t get me wrong. My toddler, Vasco, still eats packaged snack foods. We aren’t a completely waste free household. BUT we do our best and try to serve low waste snacks as often as possible! I’ve compiled a list of foods that you can probably find with minimal or no packaging at the grocery store. Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters so I’m hoping you can find a few things in this post that your little one will enjoy. Happy snacking!
Fresh Fruit: The easiest, no hassle zero waste snack for toddlers is definitely fresh fruit. Bananas, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Kiwis, Pineapple, etc. Vasco’s personal favorite fresh fruits are mangoes and mandarin oranges. If you can purchase fruit when it’s in season, even better! We bought a ton of strawberries during strawberry season a few months ago. We loved eating them fresh, but also we froze quite a few of them to use later in smoothies.
Hummus: Most brands of hummus are sold in plastic tubs, but did you know it’s super easy to make hummus at home! You can find plenty of recipes on Pinterest for homemade hummus. However, here are a couple that I’ve picked out that look really great:
How To Make Hummus from ScratchEasy Homemade Hummus
Honestly, Vasco likes to eat hummus straight with a spoon, haha! However, you could also cut up some carrot sticks or slice bell peppers for dipping. If you’re up for a challenge, you could even make your own crackers from scratch Zero Waste Chef style to go with your fresh made hummus. I haven’t tried making crackers myself but it could be a fun kitchen experiment.
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Granola Bars: Kids love granola bars! While again you’ll probably only find plastic packaged ones at the grocery store, they’re actually pretty simple to make at home. Here are a few recipes I found on Pinterest that you could try out:
Vegan Granola BarsThe Perfect Soft Granola BarSeeds: Another favorite of Vasco’s, pumpkin seeds! If you have a bulk store in your town, you’ll probably be able to find pumpkin seeds there. Your toddler might also like sunflower seeds. Again, check your bulk foods store and see if they have some available.
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Dehydrated Fruit: My parents gifted me a food dehydrator machine for Christmas this past year, and we have enjoyed trying out different dehydrated fruits! Dehydrated strawberries are a personal favorite of mine. There are so many different foods you can prepare in a food dehydrator, or you could also purchase dehydrated fruits directly from the grocery store like raisins, craisins, or dried mango. Bulk food stores commonly stock dried fruits. Nut Butter: PEANUT BUTTER. Yep, it’s a favorite of both Vasco and I. We like to eat peanut butter lollipops, aka peanut butter on a spoon, haha! There are heaps of other kinds of nut butters out there though if your child doesn’t like peanut butter or is allergic to it. You could pair peanut butter with a banana or apple slices as well.
Smoothie: Vasco eats a smoothie pretty much every single day. It’s an easy way for me to fill him up on greens. His favorite smoothie is with banana, blueberries, strawberries, lots of spinach, lots of peanut butter, vegan protein powder, and Ripple mylk. You can really use whatever fruits you have on hand though or whatever fruits you have that are past their prime. We like to keep frozen fruit stocked regularly so we can prepare a smoothie whenever!
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“Nice” Cream: My brother gifted me a Nice Cream Maker several years ago and we LOVE IT! Vasco literally thinks he’s eating ice cream when all it usually is is a frozen banana mixed with peanut butter! The nice cream maker really does make such a delicious, perfectly textured treat. This is the wonderful option for hot summer days.
Popsicles: Another fun summer zero waste toddler snack is homemade popsicles. I got a secondhand popsicle mold from our local Buy Nothing Group to make popsicles at home. I’ve also seen some beautiful stainless steel popsicles molds, if you want something plastic free. You can make your popsicles as simple or complex as you choose. We often make them with just orange juice alone.
Guacamole: Ok, Vasco used to adore guacamole. It was another snack that he liked eating directly from a spoon. However, he’s become pickier with age and won’t eat this anymore. I’m crossing fingers, he will one day change his mind because I absolutely love guacamole and would love to make it regularly for our family. This is another snack that would be great with sliced bell pepper for dipping!
Homemade Fruit Leather: As I mentioned previously, I have a food dehydrator machine at home. On my “to try” list of things to make with my dehydrator is homemade fruit leathers. We still buy fruit leathers in plastic packaging (*gasp*) but I’m hoping to change that soon.
Homemade Apple Sauce: Did you know that it’s pretty easy to make homemade apple sauce? This is especially fun to do in the fall during apple season. My favorite type of apple to eat fresh and make into sauce is Honeycrisp!
Chia Pudding: I know chia pudding isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but some children absolutely love it. It’s super simple to make and chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and protein. All the more reason to feed them to your toddler! Also, it’s fun that you can make chia seed pudding in many different varieties. Check out 32 Chia Seed Pudding Recipes for some fresh recipe ideas!
Kale Chips: This is one of those “no my child won’t eat it but maybe yours will” snack ideas! If I make kale chips for Vasco, I’m certain he would just feed these straight to the dog. However, maybe you have a child that loves salty snacks! This could be a great healthy, waste free snack option for your little one.
Do you have some zero waste toddler snack ideas to add to our list here?? What is your little one’s favorite? Please share in the comments section! I’m always looking for new things I can feed my picky eater so I’m all ears 🙂
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