Here's the ultimate list of healthy snacks for toddlers that can be enjoyed at home, at school, or on the go!
Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas
If you find yourself serving the same snacks day in and out, I can completely relate! As a mom of two littles, I feel like all I do is feed my kids.
That's why snacks NEED to be quick to make. With the simple formula and list that I'm sharing here, you'll be able to whip up simple yet nutritious "mini meals" that will fuel your toddler.
- Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas
- How many snacks do toddlers need?
- Tips for Toddler Snacks
- How to Build Healthy Toddler Snacks
- Fruit Toddler Snacks
- Vegetable Snacks for Kids
- Toddler Snacks with Protein and Fat
- Dairy Snack Ideas for Toddlers
- Whole Grain Snacks for Toddlers
- Easy Toddler Snack Ideas (Real Life Examples)
- Best Store-bought Snacks for Toddlers
- On-the-go Snacks Ideas for Toddlers
- Toddler Snack Containers
- More Toddler Meal Ideas
How many snacks do toddlers need?
If you're like most parents, you probably wonder if your child is getting enough to eat. You may perhaps be surprised and worried that your toddler is eating so much less than when they were a baby.
First, know that this is completely normal! And if your child is eating more than before, that, too, is normal as every child is unique. That's why I always encourage not comparing to other children.
Most toddlers need to eat every 2-3 hours, as their stomachs are small and they need a lot of nutrition. This equates to 3 meals + 2-3 snacks.
However, if your child eats big meals, just one snack may be enough. I mention this because I felt pressured to give my son at least 2 snacks a day, but I noticed he didn't enjoy his meals as much as a result.
Always follow your child's lead.
On the other hand, if you find that your child only wants snacks and not eating meals, here's how to put a stop to snacking all day long.
One of the best things you can do is set a feeding schedule. It will not only help your child eat better as they thrive on routine but it will also make mealtimes less stressful and more enjoyable.
Is your toddler becoming picky?
Arm yourself with these strategies that will transform your mealtimes!
Tips for Toddler Snacks
- Consider snacks as mini-meals. If your child doesn’t eat much during mealtimes, then here’s a great opportunity to fill in those nutritional gaps. For instance, if your child didn’t drink their milk, you can offer other calcium-rich sources like yogurt or cheese during snack time. If veggies get no love during lunch, they might be much more interested in enjoying them with a dip as an afternoon snack.
- Just like with breakfast, build up your freezer stash by doubling recipes, and while you have the cutting board out, prep all your produce in advance. That way you can easily grab what you need for snack time (or any meal) and reduce food waste.
- Serve at least 2 food groups. More specifically protein/fat + fruits/veggies/whole grains. For example, instead of just orange, serve with nut butter or cheese. This will help keep them fuller and more satisfied until the next eating time.
- Snack times can also serve as a great opportunity for veggie exposure.
- Simply pick 2-3 items from below. I've included photos of actual snacks I served to my kids in hopes that they'll be helpful for you In visualizing. They are not meant for comparison.
- As always, modify the size and texture of food according to your child's appetite, chewing abilities, food preferences, and allergies.
How to Build Healthy Toddler Snacks
While it’s easy to pick just carbs, this won't keep your toddler full for long. Therefore, always aim to include some type of protein or healthy fats for a balanced snack.
Choose 1-2 Protein/Fat items + 1-2 items from any of the other categories.
Fruit Toddler Snacks
- Apples (fresh or applesauce)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
- Grapes - be sure to quarter as whole grapes are a choking hazard.
- Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon)
- Oranges (clementines, cara cara)
- Freeze dried or dried fruits
- Fruit pouches (look for ones with fruit as the the only ingredient)
- Homemade Fruit Gummies
Tip: Cut into appropriate sizes - thinly slice or dice the fruits into small pieces that are easy for your toddler to chew and swallow. Avoid cutting them into large chunks to minimize the risk of choking.
Vegetable Snacks for Kids
- Bell peppers
- Broccoli - Your toddler may find cooked frozen broccoli easier to chew and enjoy
- Carrots (shredded, thinly sliced, or cooked)
- Green beans
- Tomatoes - be sure to quarter grape or cherry tomatoes
- Sweet potatoes (these sweet potato rounds and sweet potato tots are so fun!)
Tip: Serve alongside dips to increase the yum factor and the likelihood of your toddler actually eating them. Check out my Veggie-Centered Delights cookbook for how to make ANY bean or yogurt dip with ingredients you have on hand right now.
And if your toddler only wants veggies covered in ranch, BBQ sauce, etc., then let them! It will not magically make all the nutrients in vegetables disappear. I promise :).
Cutting them into fun shapes using this cookie cutter can help spark their interest too!
Toddler Snacks with Protein and Fat
- Eggs - make a large batch of hard-boiled eggs to enjoy throughout the week.
- Peanut butter, nut butter, or seed butter
- Nuts and seeds (chopped)
- Baked goods made with any of the above
- Bliss Balls - These energy balls are so great to have on hand for a quick, grab-n-go snack! Also try these peanut butter bliss balls, apricot balls, and carrot balls are so delicious.
Dairy Snack Ideas for Toddlers
- Cheese (cubed, shredded, slices)
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt smoothies
- Plain yogurt (pouches, tubes, cups are great portable options)
- Flavored yogurt - your toddler won't eat plain yogurt? Try this easy strawberry yogurt, vanilla yogurt, or mango yogurt.
- Yogurt fruit dip
Whole Grain Snacks for Toddlers
- English Muffin
- Granola - here's a no added sugar granola recipe
- Toddler muffins
- Rice or grain cakes
Easy Toddler Snack Ideas (Real Life Examples)
These are some real life examples of snacks I've served to my kids recently. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, I hope these ideas are helpful along with these easy school snack ideas!
Make Ahead Ideas
- Overnight Oats or Quinoa - Just grab a jar from the fridge and a spoon and you're good to go!
- Lentil balls - you will love how versatile these are! If you don't have any cooked lentils then make these oatmeal balls!
- Dips - Kids love to dip and it can really help make food interactive. Serve with veggies, crackers, bread, fruits. Make a large batch and freeze in individual portions. Pictured is Broccoli hummus. You can also use store-bought!
- Chia puddings - Here are all the variations you can try
- No Bake Cereal Bars - These healthy rice krispie treats and peanut butter cheerio cereal bars are so easy to whip up. Simply make the night before and refrigerate.
- Waffles + fruit/vegetable. Pancakes are great too! Pictured: Pumpkin waffles
- Vegetable tots - Like these sweet potato tots. If you want to learn how to make ANY veggie-loaded tots, check out my cookbook! SO easy and freezer-friendly.
- Cookies - try sweet potato chickpea cookies , banana cookies, zucchini bread cookies
- Muffins - Tip: Devote one day to grating, slicing, or cutting vegetables into fun shapes (these food cutters are amazing!). Makes for an EASY snack item.
- Bars - like these banana oatmeal bars or Skout organic bars (use code "MJ" for 25% off).
- Rice cakes or crackers
- Any baked goods - pictured pumpkin bread
- Banana - set up a toppings bar!
- Sweet potato toasts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Give the potatoes a good scrub and dry.
- Can leave the skin on or off. Cut off the tips of the sweet potato.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the sweet potato lengthwise into ⅓-1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on lined or greased baking sheet. Spray or brush oil on both sides.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings. Store leftover slices in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat in the toaster or toaster oven until hot and edges get crispy.
- Toasts - here are 20+ quick and fun ideas to try!
No Cooking Required Ideas
Don't have a freezer stash or any precooked items? No problem! Here are some examples of how I used the list above to quickly put together a simple, nutritious snack.
- Crackers + cheese + fruit/vegetable (pictured: tomatoes)
- Cereal + Freeze Dried Strawberries + Milk
- Canned beans + rice cakes + apple + orange bell pepper
- A snack tray: edamame + cheese + cereal + watermelon + orange bell pepper + carrots
Best Store-bought Snacks for Toddlers
Every.single.day, we are in the kitchen making 3 meals AND snacks. It is exhausting and relentless. So let's give ourselves plenty of grace.
There will be days when you rely heavily on packaged foods, and that's perfectly OK! There is no shame in that! They exist for a reason. Here are the best store-bought snacks for kids.
Also, don't feel like you have to serve multiple foods all the time. Yes, offering variety is important, but it doesn't have to be at every eating opportunity.
Just two items are enough as long as there's a protein/fat food included. Again, this is key in making sure your child feels full until the next meal.
- Hard boiled egg + pouch
- Pumpkin Lentil Bars (from the freezer ) + veggie straws
- Cereal Bars + Babybel cheese - you can absolutely include store-bought bars. I've just found them to be so expensive, and I can easily make them at home with ingredients I already have on hand. Give these peanut butter strawberry bars a try!
- Peanut butter Rice Cake + apples + Goldfish
On-the-go Snacks Ideas for Toddlers
Here’s a list of healthy, simple, and easy to store and carry healthy travel foods for the family, including babies and toddlers.
These are great for playdates, picnics, and school lunch boxes.
Toddler Snack Containers
Here are some of my favorites for when we are out and about
- Reusable bags - a great earth-friendly option. Simply throw in the washer and good as new! I also love that my toddler can zip it up on his own.
- Stainless steel container - I've found this size to be perfect for toddlers!
- Reusable pouch - if you want to take smoothies on the go, this is a great option! Fill, stick in the freezer, and grab as you walk out the door.
- Popsicle molds - these can double as a mini snack tray (see below!). So fun to fill each holes with different bits and pieces of food. If you want a larger one, I love this freezer tray.