Check out these healthy snack ideas for toddlers, and some tips and tricks to make them fun and interesting!
A toddler’s small stomach does not allow him to eat large meals. Snacking allows toddlers to get the nutrition that they need in small portions throughout the day.
Because toddlers often get a large portion of their daily nutrition from snacking, it is important that parents and caregivers provide a variety of healthy food choices that allow toddlers to get the nutrition they need and introduce them to new healthy food options.
Related: Be sure to help them start their day the right way with these great toddler breakfast ideas!
So here’s helping you with just that. Read on to discover some healthy snack ideas for toddlers.
Finger foods are always a favorite with toddlers and are simple to prepare and easy for parents to carry with them on the go. Toddlers will be able to practice their small motor skills and self feeding skills by eating healthy finger foods, which is perfect if parents need some time to prepare dinner or care for other siblings.
Many finger foods contain protein, which helps toddlers feel full longer including, string cheese, kidney beans, and soy beans.
Fresh fruits such as, blueberries, grapes (cut in half or fourths for younger toddlers), bananas, and peaches provide a wide variety of vitamins and are generally eaten without a fight.
Related: 60+ Muffin Recipes
Snack Ideas For Toddlers: Tips & Tricks
Expand the Definition of Snack
Many parents think of snacks as crackers or other nutritionally empty foods to keep their toddler happy until the next meal.
Snacks provide toddlers with essential nutrition and do not need to be limited to a short list of food. Snacks for toddlers are really just smaller meals.
Any healthy food option can be served as a snack and allows toddlers to get the nutrition that they need to properly grow and develop.
A small handful of pulled chicken, a slice of cheese, and a fruit or vegetable makes a wonderful snack for toddlers and can be easily prepared if using leftovers from a previous meal.
Related: 50+ Freezer Meals
Make Healthy Foods Fun
Toddlers are very visual and are often willing to eat just about anything if it is presented in an appealing way.
Fruit kabobs are fun for older toddlers to eat and allow parents to serve several different types of fruits. Dip is always a hit with toddlers and can be used to encourage toddlers to eat raw vegetables, meat, or fruit, depending on what type of dip is served.
Serving the same food in a variety of different ways often encourages toddlers to try a food that they may have rejected in the past.
A toddler who refuses to eat corn can be served corn on the cob for a fun way to eat the same food choice.
Sandwiches cut into a variety of smaller shapes using cookie cutters are fun for toddlers to eat and can often be filled with extra vegetables that toddlers may not be willing to eat on their own and are perfect for snacking between meals.
This can be another cool trick to implement if you’re looking for some fun snack ideas for toddlers.
Another idea is to turn eating into an educational game. Here is a great printable breakfast activity, and you can think of similar games for snack time!
Allow Toddlers to Help Prepare Snacks
Helping in the kitchen is a great way to allow toddlers to feel more independent and allow them to participate in choosing the foods they eat.
Related: Read about the Benefits of Cooking with Toddlers
Simple tasks such as scooping cottage cheese into a bowl or stirring honey into a cup of plain yogurt will thrill toddlers and make them more willing to try new foods.
Toddlers can make their own fruit salad if parents provide several bowls, each containing a prepared and cut fruit choice and allow toddlers to use a spoon to scoop the fruit into their own bowl and then mix it together before eating.
Toddlers learn to love whatever food options are most familiar to them. Serving a variety of healthy foods for snacks throughout the day will help provide toddlers with high-quality nutrition and teach them valuable habits for a healthy lifestyle.
Related: Easy Weeknight Meal Ideas
Our Favorite Easy & Healthy Snacks for Toddlers (around 1-year-old and up)
- Fresh or frozen blueberries
- Smoothie melts (no added sugar and shelf-stable!)
- Crunchy snap peas
- Shredded carrots with ranch
- Yogurt or Yogurt pouches (easier for on the go)
- Applesauce or other fruit pouches (bonus if they have veggies in them!)
- String cheese (cut into pieces for younger toddlers) or sliced cheese
- Mini muffins
- Plain Graham crackers
- Plain Cheerios
- Rice-based puffs
- Homemade yogurt drops (just pipe small dollops of greek yogurt onto parchment paper and freeze)
- Hummus and items to dip in it (veggies, tortillas, crackers)
- Mini Pancakes (freeze them and pop them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds)
Go-to Convenience Toddler Snacks
We are in the car for almost 2 hours a day, and having easy to grab and easy to eat toddler snacks are essential for our toddler diaper bag.
These are our favorite store-bought snacks (you can find variations of them for diet restrictions or healthy based ones in the organics section of any supermarket as well! These are also great for those days when you are in a rush to pack your toddler’s lunch for daycare too!
- Roasted chickpeas (make your own using this recipe for roasted chickpeas, or get store-bought roasted chickpeas for convenience!)
- Goldfish crackers
- Pretzel sticks
- Annie’s Bunny Grahams
- Fruit gummies or Fruit snacks
- Smoothie melts (dairy-free, no added sugar, and a favorite of ours!)
- Yogurt Pouches (the kind that do not have to be refrigerated prior to opening—just don’t keep these in a warm car!)
- Nutri-grain bars (soft and easy to dole out small pieces on the go
- String Cheese or Baby Bel cheese
- Ritz Crackers (I always keep a sleeve in my car)
- Bagged Mini Muffins
Finding snacks that toddlers will eat doesn’t have to be tricky! It really is just thinking about something that is safe and easy to eat, doesn’t require a lot of clean up, and offers them a healthy way to keep all that energy up all day long!