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50 Healthy Snacks for Toddlers, Kids, and Picky Eaters

50 Healthy Snacks for Toddlers, Kids, and Picky Eaters | The Picky Eater

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Coming up with healthy and delicious snacks for your kids can be a challenge, especially when you have picky eaters! But toddlers and kids don’t have to live off of sugary snacks and junk food. There are lots of fantastic healthy toddler snacks that taste great, and are not filled with unhealthy ingredients or lots of processed sugars. Here is my list of over 50 healthy snacks for toddlers that both kids and parents will love!

Tips for Packing Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

  • Make sure you have a good set of containers (I like choosing stainless steel containers or these reusable ziptop bags because they’re durable, are easy to clean, and are environmentally friendly – avoid plastic ziptop bags if you can!)
  • Make sure your snacks have at least one fresh produce item (fruits or veggies), protein, and a grain – that’ll keep your child full and satisfied much longer than a refined processed snack would!
  • Keep things colorful – we eat with our eyes first (and more color will mean more fruits & veggies!)
  • Add crunch – there are lots of healthy snacks for kids that are crunchy, salty and delicious (without all the refined grains and processed ingredients in most packaged snacks).
  • Mix and match! Below you’ll find snack ideas for toddlers and kids organized by food category (e.g. dairy, veggies, fruit) – but the ideal snack box has a little bit of everything for your kids to choose from!
  • Always serve a preferred food, don’t give too many options. If you have a picky eater, always include a small amount of one food you know they’ll eat. And then make the rest of the items small portions of newer foods you want them to try. That way they can’t fill up on the one thing they like, but they also won’t have only unfamiliar foods in their snack either!

Healthy Fresh Fruit Snacks for Toddlers

Fruit is one of my ultimate favorite snack ideas for toddlers. Kids are naturally drawn towards sweet foods, and fruit is naturally sweetened, so it will be something they enjoy munching on. But while they’re eating it, they’re also getting lots of valuable and nutritious vitamins and minerals to keep their body strong and healthy.

I recommend lower glycemic fruits to help keep your kids’ blood sugar steady. Also, never use dried fruit as a snack – way too much added sugar / concentrated fruit sugars! You can use freeze dried fruit in a pinch, but I recommend sticking to fresh if you can. For a more filling snack, pair these fruits with plain Greek yogurt or nut butter!

Low glycemic fruits that are great for snacks include:  

  • Apples or Pears, cubed or thinly sliced
  • All the Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) – cut berries for smaller kids
  • Clementines or oranges
  • Stone Fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, pluots, cherries, etc). Many of these will require being cut and pitted before serving.
  • Melon (cantaloupe, green melon, watermelon) – sliced or cubed
  • Avocado, cubed, sliced, or on toast (or guacamole!)

Use these fruits only once in a while or sparingly (they are higher glycemic):

  • Bananas, for when you are on the go or your child needs a boost of energy (but no more than 1 banana a day)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya

Healthy Snacks For Toddlers: Fresh Veggies!

If you want your kids to eat their vegetables, one easy way to encourage them to do that is by giving them something to dip the vegetables in.

Figuring out how your kids best like eating veggies is important too: do they like them best raw, steamed and seasoned, sauteed with spices, roasted?

Prepare your child’s veggies in their favorite way, and that will help to get them to eat it. When it comes to dips, avoid processed salad dressings (like ranch), and stick to more natural dips like hummus, yogurt, tahini, nut butter, olive oil, pesto, etc.

healthy snacks for toddlers - toddler snacks - fresh fruits and vegetables including carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and grapes on a table at a children’s party.

Best raw veggie snack ideas for kids: 

  • Celery Sticks
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumbers, sliced into sticks or diced
  • Snap peas
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Best steamed veggie (or sauteed/roasted) healthy snacks for toddlers:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Corn
  • Sweet Potato

Healthy Toddler Snacks: Dairy

As long as your child isn’t allergic to dairy, dairy based snacks can be a great snack option as they are low in sugar, all natural, and packed with protein. When it comes to dairy, try to choose organic when you can!

Here are some of my favorite dairy snack ideas for kids:

  • Plain yogurt: either whole milk or lowfat, Greek or regular. Greek, lowfat yogurt is one of my favorite snacks for kids or for picky eaters – because you can mix it with some fresh fruit and homemade granola (or a healthy cereal) and just about anyone will eat it!
  • Cheese, sliced, cubed, or string cheese – pair it with some whole grain crackers, raw veggies, apple slices, or enjoy on its own
  • Cottage cheese – great on its own with some black pepper on top, or with berries and granola. Choose whole milk or lowfat depending on your child’s preference.
  • Cream cheese – on whole grain crackers, on a sprouted wheat bagel or english muffin, on sprouted wheat bread, or as a dip for cucumbers, tomatoes, etc!
  • Homemade smoothies made with lowfat milk or plain greek yogurt. Transfer to a water bottle and enjoy on the go!

Toddler Snacks That Are Packed With Protein (Legumes, Nuts, Meat)

Protein makes a great snack for kids, toddlers, picky eaters, even adults! This is because protein helps keep you fuller longer and is super satisfying.

When it comes to nuts, make sure you find nuts that have no added ingredients other than an organic oil and salt (if they are roasted and salted). Raw nuts will have nothing added but also have the least flavor. Of course, make sure there is no sugar added – candied nuts don’t count as a healthy toddler snack!

Here are some of my favorite protein rich snacks for toddlers: 

  • Hummus: as a dip for veggies, with whole grain crackers or sprouted wheat bread, or whole wheat pita
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Any chopped nuts (age 2+): peanuts are highest in protein, walnuts are highest in healthy fats. Cashews and pecans are a longtime kid favorite – so choose whichever ones your kids enjoy!
  • Any beans as finger foods: edamame, black beans, kidney beans, white beans
  • Cubed tofu – roasted or raw
  • Nut butter or sunbutter – by itself, on sprouted wheat bread, on whole grain crackers, or as a dip for fruits or veggies!
  • If you eat meat, cubed chicken or turkey are your best bets. I’d avoid deli meats because of the nitrites.
  • Hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs (with any mix-ins they like)
healthy snacks for toddlers - toddler snacks - homemade granola bars with nuts and seeds

Healthy Snacks for Picky Eaters and Kids: Pre-Packaged Store-Bought Snacks  

Store bought snacks aren’t necessarily a bad thing! While fresh snacks are great for ensuring no added sugar and no processed ingredients, there are actually a lot of great shelf stable snacks out there that work well for kids and picky eaters too!

Some of my favorite healthy snacks for picky eaters, or snacks for kids in general are:

Toddler Snacks: Bars and Other Fun Snacks

These are great homemade healthy toddler snack ideas that also double as filling snacks! Use them as an after dinner “dessert” or as a mid-afternoon pick me up for your kids.

healthy snacks for toddlers - toddler snacks - smoothie bowl with banana slices, strawberry, blueberries, granola and pomegranate seeds.

Combination Snack Ideas for Kids

There are lots of ways to mix and match the kid and toddler snacks above so that your child enjoys their snack every day of the week!

Here are some of our favorite combinations: 

  • Whole-milk plain yogurt (Greek or regular) with berries (or your child’s favorite fruit) and a few crushed nuts or homemade granola on top
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers
  • Chickpea / legume based pastas + a low sugar organic pasta sauce and parmesan cheese (this makes a great mini meal too!)
  • Sprouted wheat bread with mashed avocado or nut butter
  • Raw veggies with hummus or your child’s favorite dip
  • Hard-boiled egg and carrot sticks
  • Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
  • Plain rice cakes with nut butter + your child’s favorite fruit or veggie
  • Half a whole-wheat English muffin or mini bagel topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella—a snack-size pizza!

And so many more!

Basically, any veggie or fruit + protein + high fiber whole grain makes the perfect toddler snack! Protein helps with growth & development, fiber helps with digestive and heart health, and both will keep your child full and satisfied much longer than a sugary snack would. You might not be able to do a fruit / veggie for every snack, but I recommend doing it for at least once snack during the day.

Toddler Snack FAQs

How Many Snacks Should My Toddler Eat Every Day?

Honestly, it really depends on your child! Typically I recommend no more than 2-3 snacks per day. If your child doesn’t have a big appetite, 1 snack or no snacks some days may be ok too. You should follow your child’s lead, but any more than 2-3 snacks per day will run into the “grazing” problem — your child will constantly be snacking and then won’t be hungry for mealtime!

Is Snacking Healthy for Kids?

In general, eating snacks is healthy for kids as long as the snacks themselves are balanced, low in sugar and incorporate whole grains, veggies/fruits, and protein! The benefit of snacks is that it helps you sneak in some extra nutrients into your toddler or young child, since kids tend to have smaller stomachs so they can’t eat as much in one sitting – so they need more mini meals throughout the day.

How Long After a Meal Should My Toddler Eat a Snack?

Typically, it’s good to have a schedule for snacks so that your kids know what to expect and aren’t asking for snacks all day long. I recommend spacing snacks out to be about 2-3 hours after a meal (and in between big meals). For example, you could have one snack after breakfast, lunch, and maybe a tiny snack after dinner (like a healthy dessert) before bed.
I follow this schedule for my kids on a typical day:
– 8am breakfast
– 10/1030am snack
– 1230pm lunch
– 3pm snack
– 530/6pm dinner
– 730pm bedtime snack
All of the snacks don’t happen every day. Some days my kids are less hungry and if that’s the case, I just skip snack time!

I hope this guide to healthy snacks for toddlers helped you find the best snacks for your kids and your family!

Looking for more meal ideas? Check out these posts:

If you have tried these snacks for kids or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

 

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