Looking for some healthy snack inspiration for little ones? Here we’ve got a variety of balanced healthy toddler snacks that are fun and easy to prepare. Many are make-ahead options as well so perfect for taking on the go!
For those of us with little ones, we know how hard it can be to constantly come up with new, fun and creative ways to serve up different foods. Snacks can be especially challenging since we’re often on the go and so many of the convenient options available in the store are highly processed.
We want easy, but we also want healthy, am I right?!
I strongly believe in limiting the processed and packaged foods and instead sticking with wholesome and fresh foods and homemade goods wherever possible to control what’s actually going into little one’s meals and snacks.
But let’s face it. Some days, it can be SO hard to come up with ideas!
Today, we’ve got a whole slew of ideas for healthy toddler eats, but first, let’s chat about some common snacking questions.
What should I serve my toddler at snack time?
At snack time, it’s best to offer a source of fibre and protein since these two components can keep little ones feeling full and satisfied in between meals. As an added bonus, fibre can help prevent constipation and keep everything in their digestive tract running smoothly, while protein can support growth and development!
Expert tip: I recommend trying to incorporate a fruit and/or vegetable during at least one snack throughout the day to help little ones meet their daily produce requirements.
Examples of protein-rich foods include:
- Nut or seed butter (i.e. peanut butter, almond butter, pumpkin seed butter or sunflower seed butter)
- Cottage Cheese
- Beans & legumes (counts as a source of fibre and protein)
Examples of fibre-rich foods would be:
- Whole-grains (crackers, cereal, toast, quinoa, etc.)
- Beans & legumes (counts as fibre and protein)
Are there things toddlers should not eat?
It’s important not to serve toddlers anything that could pose as a potential choking hazard.
This can include:
- Slippery foods such as whole grapes, berries, cherries or cherry/grape tomatoes (they should be quartered lengthwise)
- Large pieces of meat, poultry, hot dogs and sausage (they should always be cut into smaller pieces)
- Hard or sticky candy, cough drops and chewing gum
- Small, hard foods such as whole nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, whole raw carrots, and dried fruit such as raisins.
- Sticky foods such as large globs of peanut butter (it should be thinly spread) and marshmallows.
Additionally, certain foods may pose as a food safety risk for young children and should be avoided. These include:
- Raw or undercooked meat and poultry
- Raw and undercooked fish or shellfish
- Raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs
- All unpasteurized foods and beverages (i.e. raw milk, unpasteurized juice and ciders)
- Raw sprouts
- Honey, until after the age of one (due to the risk of botulism)
What are good snacks for daycare?
The best types of snacks for daycare are those that are portable and not overly messy.
Some healthier ideas include:
- Cut up fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain crackers (i.e. low sodium triscuits)
- Whole wheat mini pitas
- Sliced cheese or Babybel cheese
- Spinach banana muffins
- Homemade energy bites (i.e. like these Nut-free Apple energy bites)
- Zucchini chocolate chip cookies
- Yogurt and berries (or try this homemade fruit on the bottom yogurt)
How many snacks should I serve my toddler throughout the day?
The amount of snacks served totally depends on your toddler and their overall appetite, but as a general guideline, 2-3 snacks spread evenly throughout the day can be a good place to start.
Should toddlers snack between meals?
Yes, generally speaking, healthy balanced snacks can be a good idea as they offer another opportunity for toddlers to meet their daily nutrient requirements. Plus, toddlers have relatively small stomachs and appetites so they can’t take in a lot of food at one time and therefore need to be provided regular fuel throughout the day.
That being said, it’s generally best to have a set schedule and serve meals and snacks at specific times throughout the day to establish a routine. Typically, as a good rule of thumb, a meal or snack should be served approximately every 2.5 to 3 hours.
For example, one snack could be served between breakfast and lunch, another between lunch and dinner and another right before bed, if your toddler seems hungry. Try to avoid serving a snack right before meal time so that it doesn’t disrupt their appetite.
Should I let my toddler graze?
No, grazing on food all day is generally not recommended when it comes to establishing healthy eating habits. If a child is grazing all throughout the day, they can fill up easily and will be less likely to eat their food at meal times.
What is the best way to transport Toddler Snacks when on the go?
There are lots of different containers available, but one of my favourites are these snacking towers. It keeps food separate, is adjustable and allows you to pack multiple snacks at a time if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time!
How can I incorporate these snacks into Healthy Toddler Meals?
Toddlers generally need to eat every 2-3 hours to stay properly fuelled since they have small stomachs and high nutrient and energy needs. It’s important to offer small quantities of nutritious food throughout the day.
When it comes to establishing an eating schedule, I recommend serving three main meals consisting of three to four food groups (check out these Healthy Kid’s Breakfast Ideas for inspiration) and two to three small snacks in between meals consisting of at least two food groups.
Offer the snack halfway between meals or about two hours before a meal to avoid decreasing your toddler’s appetite at mealtime. Use some of the snack ideas listed to incorporate variety into your toddler’s daily menu.
Now without further adieu, let’s move on to some fun and healthy snack ideas!
Toddler Snack Ideas – 20 Healthy Options
1. Rainbow Fruit Cups with Greek Yogurt Dip
How fun are these rainbow fruit cups?! Simply layer rainbow coloured fruits in a clear plastic cup or mason jar. We’ve used diced strawberries, oranges, pineapple, green grapes and blueberries, but feel free to sub in other fruits that match those colours! Serve along with this Honey Greek Yogurt Dip to add some protein and make this snack even more fun to eat!
2. Mini Sweet Potato Muffins
These cute little muffins are packed with nutrients due to the addition of sweet potato! How many muffins are loaded up with vitamin A, C, fibre and potassium? Not many! These mini muffins are tough to beat. And they’re so tasty!
3. Almond Butter Hemp Seed Banana Bites
What goes together better than banana and nut butter? To make this healthy snack, slice a banana into 1/2 inch slices, top with thinly spread almond butter and a sprinkle of Hemp hearts! If you want to make them nut-free, simply sub in sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or Wow butter instead of the nut butter.
4. No-Bake Carrot Cake Energy Bites
These energy bites pack a nutritious punch due to the addition of ground nuts, carrots and dates! The best part is, these little bites are naturally sweetened so no added sugar is required!
5. Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Cups
Quinoa can be a little bland on its own, but when you pack it together with broccoli and cheddar cheese and bake it in a mini muffin tin, it’s suddenly transformed into delicious little bites that are totally kid-friendly! These can be made in advance for a convenient savoury snack that toddlers will love.
6. Yogurt & Frozen Blueberries
This snack is so simple, but so tasty! Simply add frozen blueberries to regular or Greek yogurt (or try cottage cheese) and allow it to thaw in there for a few minutes to release all of those juices. The yogurt adds a nice dose of protein and calcium, while the blueberries provide the fibre. Best snack EVER!
7. Healthy Mini Carrot Zucchini Muffins
These veggie muffins are perfect for toddlers because they’re bite-sized and packed with moisture and flavour! There’s also no added sugar so you can feel good about serving them to your little one as a healthy little treat!
8. Sweet Potato Lentil Tater Tots
Veggies are so much more fun to eat when they’re packaged into the shape of a tot! These tater tots are especially unique since they also contain protein and iron from the lentils. But you’d never even guess they’re in there!
9. No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls
Energy bites serve as good snacks for toddlers on the go since they’re freezer-friendly and relatively mess-free. As a bonus, this recipe is simple enough that little ones can help prepare them. Get your toddler to help add the ingredients to the bowl, mix together the ingredients or roll the mixture into balls!
10. Yogurt Stuffed Raspberries
This is such a fun and creative way to serve up raspberries! Raspberries are amazing on their own, but filling them with some yogurt is just an added bonus and a great way to add in some extra protein and calcium. Stick to a plain or no sugar added yogurt for the healthiest option. The ultimate fun finger food for toddlers!
11. Pita Wedges with Hummus
If you’re looking for a more savoury option, you can’t go wrong with pita wedges and hummus. We love this Sweet Potato Hummus, but feel free to sub in your favourite hummus flavour! To make the pita crispy, lightly brush with some olive oil, spruce up with desired seasonings and bake the wedges in the oven to dip into the hummus!
12. Leftover Pancakes
Who says pancakes can only be served at breakfast time? Leftover pancakes serve as a great snack option. Try out these Mini Banana Egg Pancakes — they are so easy to make and are perfect for taking on the go!
13. Grapes & Cheese Cubes
Cheese is just one of those foods toddlers love. And what goes better with cheese than some fresh juicy grapes? Be sure to cut the grapes in half if small or quarters if they’re larger in size to minimize any risk of choking.
14. Homemade Raspberry Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt
So many of the store-bought fruity yogurts are loaded with sugar. With these homemade yogurt cups, you still get plenty of flavour, but can control how much sugar is going into each serving! Package it up in mason jars for an easy snack on the go!
15. Nut-Free Apple Oat Energy Bites
Many packaged snacks and bars contain nuts or nut butters, so if you’re looking for a nut-free snack option, these energy balls are for you! They contain juicy little bits of apple for a dose of vitamin C and refreshing bite to eat!
16. Sweet Potato Fries
Baked sweet potato fries make a great toddler food since they’re soft, easy to hold and chew, and are naturally sweet in flavour. Try out these easy Cinnamon Paprika Sweet Potato fries, or feel free to flavour them up with desired seasonings.
17. Simple Green Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to pack in fruits and veggies and they taste delicious! This smoothie recipe only contains four ingredients and is such a fun colour that’s perfect for toddlers!
18. Mini Blueberry Banana Muffins
Blueberries and bananas form a delicious combo and naturally sweeten these tasty mini muffins. Try topping them with a thin layer of almond butter or peanut butter to add some extra protein and healthy fats!
19. Avocado Egg Salad on crackers
Most toddlers love foods that have a crunch factor. Rather than serving crackers by themselves, top them with some extra flavour, protein and healthy fats with a quick and easy avocado egg salad. Simply mix a hard-boiled egg with a quarter of a mashed avocado, squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkle of garlic powder and finely chopped chives or make up a batch of this 5-Ingredient Avocado Egg Salad for the whole family to enjoy.
20. Healthy Banana Cookies
If you’ve been on a hunt for some healthier cookie recipes for toddlers, look no further. These banana oatmeal cookies are soft and chewy, but contain no added sugar since they’re naturally sweetened with banana. Plus, you can customize the toppings for the ultimate fun and healthy treat!
Looking for more healthy toddler snack ideas? Check out these:
- Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes
- Easy Zucchini Fritters
- Broccoli Cheese Tots
- Chicken Avocado Poppers
- Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal
- Mini Almond Butter Muffin Bites
- Mini Turkey Apple Meatloaf Muffins
- Spinach Zucchini Frittata Fingers
Sarah M says
I have felt stuck recently on snack ideas and love basically all of these! Thank you for the inspiration!
Elysia Cartlidge says
You’re very welcome! I know what it’s like to get stuck in that snack rut!