Healthy Snacks for Toddlers and Young Children
When planning snacks for toddlers and young children, remember to choose foods that aren’t choking hazards. Make sure snacks are nutritious and easy to prepare. Avoid junk food and foods with too much added sugar and salt.
Avoid foods that are known choking hazards:
Hot dogs (unless cut into bits, such as quarters lengthwise before being sliced)
Whole grapes, whole cherry tomatoes
Hard candies, including jelly beans
Raw carrots, celery, green beans, or any hard vegetable
Seeds (such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds)
Large chunks of any food such as meat or potatoes
Large chunks of peanut butter — always use the creamy kind, and spread it thinly onto a cracker or toast. Never give a heaping spoonful of peanut butter to a toddler.
Below is a brief list of healthy snack ideas for young children:
Fresh Fruit-type Snacks
(Canned fruit packed in light syrup or water is also
acceptable). Be sure it is cut into small slices, not small circles:
Apples Peaches Frozen fruit cubes (Freeze pureed applesauce, crushed
Pears Apricots fruit juice, or any fruit into cubes.)
Gelatin with canned or fresh fruit (be sure to cut fruit in small pieces no larger than ¼ inch cubes for infants and no larger than ½ inch cubes for toddlers)
Fresh Vegetable-type Snacks (Frozen vegetables or canned vegetables
Soft-cooked vegetables such as carrots, asparagus tips, green
Raw vegetable strips served with small amounts of cream cheese. Avoid raw celery and carrots because they are a choking hazard.
Yogurt with applesauce or pureed fruit
Orange Creamsicles made from orange juice, yogurt and water
Yogurt dip with bananas
Yogurt Frost (Combine yogurt and fruit juice and add pureed or very soft fruit, if desired.)
Fruit Shake (Blend milk with bananas or a peach and add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Be sure to blend very well.)
Bagels with various soft cream spreads (Avoid
Flour or corn tortillas with refried beans, canned chili and sprinkled
with grated cheese, possibly topped with yogurt or sour cream
Potato skins sprinkled with shredded cheese, broiled and topped with
either yogurt or sour cream
English muffins or pita bread topped with spaghetti sauce, grated
cheese and lean cuts of turkey or other lean meats, broiled or baked
and cut into fourths
Quick breads or muffins made with carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, bananas,
dates and squash (Other fruits and vegetables may be used.)
Pita bread with lean sliced meat such as chicken or turkey, cheese,
lettuce and tomato in an open pocket
Kabobs made with any combination of cheese, fruit, vegetables and
sliced or cubed cooked meat (remove the toothpicks before serving).
Parfait made with yogurt and pureed or chopped fruit
Notes to Remember:
If using milk, yogurt, or citrus fruit, be sure the children have no intolerances or allergies before serving.
Limit liquid snacks, especially sweetened fruit juices. Give children water and milk when thirsty. Avoid using sweetened cookies like Oreos. Instead, use graham crackers, animal crackers and plain cookies like Vanilla Wafers. Avoid sticky snack foods that will stick to the child’s teeth.