Need ideas for healthy snacks for toddlers? This list is specifically aimed at kids ages 1-3, with homemade and store-bought ideas for home and on the go.
*Originally published on 9/21. Updated 5/23*
Let’s talk about healthy snacks for toddlers. I think a lot of the snack idea posts are aimed at kids in general, but there always seem to be quite a few ideas on the lists that aren’t safe for small children, mostly because of the choking hazard. So I wanted to put together a list of toddler-safe snacks.
Healthy Kids Snack Ideas
We all know that most toddlers seem to want to eat all the time, but remember that grazing all day isn’t ideal. Try to stick to meal and snack times when possible so they have a chance to start listening to their bodies, recognizing hunger and fullness cues, etc.
Should a 2 year old have snacks?
Snacks are a great idea for young children and are a great way to get extra nutrients in that they may not eat at actual mealtimes. Most toddlers do best with 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks. Try to snack mid-morning, mid-afternoon and, if necessary, after dinner.
What are some healthy meal ideas for toddlers?
If you’re looking for ideas for baby meals vs. snacks, I’ve got you covered, too. They are here 150+ Kids Lunch Ideas! with pictures of real plates, I have served my children from 1-3 years old. And if that’s enough, here’s another one 100 healthy baby food.
Dangers of drowning a small child
When considering what snacks and foods to give your toddler, it’s important to remember that there are several options that often lead to choking in this age group. These are things that are either hard, hard to chew, like gas, sticky, etc., so we want to avoid them.
Here are some common choking hazards for young children:
- Round foods such as hot dogs, sausages, cherry tomatoes and grapes
- Hard foods like apples and carrots and other hard raw vegetables
- Spoon or spread the nut butter thickly on the bread
- Marshmallows, whole nuts, chewing gum, hard candy, chips and popcorn
The dangers of drowning a small child have changed.
The good news is that you don’t have to avoid these foods completely. Here’s how to modify common choking hazards to make them safer for young children:
- For round foods, cut lengthwise into quarters
- For hard fruits and vegetables: grate, cut into matchsticks, dice and roast, steam or roast to soften.
- Spread peanut butter thinly on toast
- Cut whole nuts into very small pieces and consider softer nuts like cashews / pecans / pistachios vs almonds / peanuts.
Marshmallows, chewing gum, hard candy, chips and popcorn should be avoided
Is popcorn a healthy snack for toddlers?
Popcorn is a major choking hazard for children under the age of 4, so I would advise against serving it to young children. If you’re looking for something similar, popcorn or rice cakes are safer than popcorn kernels.
Healthy snacks for babies and toddlers
If you are looking for snacks for older kids, I have a few posts to check out. These lists include some snacks that are good for toddlers, but not all.
- 60+ healthy packaged snacks for kids
- Healthy Costco Snacks
- Healthy Walmart Snacks
- The best Trader Joe’s snacks
- Healthy Amazon Snacks
- Free packaged snacks of peanuts and tree nuts
- Healthy snacks after school
And many of these snacks would be great in lunch boxes, so if you need more lunch box ideas, check out my A month of easy packed lunches for kids resource!
Healthy snack ideas for toddlers
So let’s dive right into toddler snacks, shall we? Here are some of my favorite healthy snack ideas for toddlers. And remember, they’re good for older kids too!
Healthy snacks for toddlers
Here are some snack ideas that I make at home.
- Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get extra fruits and vegetables into your little one’s diet. Mix with some milk or yogurt and you’ve added protein and calcium, among other important nutrients. Spinach, zucchini, and cauliflower are easy vegetables to add to a smoothie without changing the taste or texture too much. My boys love a combination of frozen mixed berries, spinach, milk and a little orange juice. This Peach zucchini Smoothie Bowl this is also a favorite Silken Tofu Mixed Berry Smoothie! We love this too! simple strawberry pineapple smoothie.
- Muffins / bars– For young children, my favorite is my favorite Sweet Potato Banana Bites – but almost all of mine kid-friendly baking recipes are great for this age and packed with things like beans, lentils and veggies. My friend and fellow RD Min has tons too Healthy Baby and Toddler Muffins here.
- Oatmeal. It’s not just for breakfast. Make it with milk for protein and stir in a spoonful of peanut butter for healthy fats. Top with berries or some chocolate chips. You can even make a large batch ahead of time, freeze in muffin tins and thaw in the microwave. Find out how for my post Freezer Prepared Oatmeal Cups.
- Energy bars – Use mine Go-to energy bar recipe and process them really well in a food processor to avoid large chunks. Then press into the pan and cut into strips to make them thinner and roll into balls.
- Trail Mix: Homemade trail mix is so easy and can be customized based on your child’s favorite toppings. Give this baby a try! Walnut–Free Little one Path Mix or make your own combination using cereal, small crackers, dried fruit and small nuts if they are larger (nuts can be a choking hazard for young children). Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are a great option for younger kids or things like Hippies or Harvest.
- Fruits – berries, kiwi, mandarin orange, banana, fruit leather, raisins, grated apple + yogurt
- Vegetables – Matcha Carrots, Peas, Corn, Cucumbers, Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Ranch/Hummus/Laughing Cow (kids plates)
- Egg – Any form is great. I usually cut the hard-boiled eggs into quarters, but you can also try it egg wraps or mini egg muffins, or even fried eggs on toast with avocado – cut into slices to make them easier to store.
Easy little snacks
- Cottage cheese. Serve it on its own or pair it with whole grains and some fruit to spice up a yogurt parfait. It can be high in sodium, so as always, variety is key. And if they’re not a fan, low-sugar yogurts (or plain yogurt mixed with fruit is great, too.)
- Hummus. Perfect for dipping raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, cucumbers and bell peppers (be careful with raw vegetables – they can be a choking hazard for small children). You can also serve with crackers or chips or add to pizza or sandwiches.
- Avocado. An excellent source of healthy fats. Mash it up for avocado toast, make guacamole for dipping, or just slice and serve.
- Nut butter. Healthy fats help keep them full. Add peanut butter or other nut/seed butter to oatmeal, drizzle over banana slices, or spread on toast, waffles, or donuts.
- Whole grain cereal. Check out my listing Low sugar porridge for children. Pair with milk, yogurt or hard-boiled eggs.
- Mini pizza – These English muffin pizzas perfect size for a toddler’s snack and easy for little hands to handle. Store the batch in the refrigerator and microwave as needed.
- Quesadillas – add some chopped vegetables or chicken and dip them in the sauce.
- Waffle / toast – Fill them with healthy fats like peanut butter or avocado, cut into sticks or halves to make them easier for little fingers to handle.
- Donuts – Try these Whole wheat pancakes. My kids love it when I make them the size of silver dollars or make them bigger and cut them into little triangles with a pizza cutter.
Healthy snacks for little ones when traveling or on the go
Here are some prepackaged snacks that I often have on hand for quick snacks both at home and on the go:
- Bars – Larabar minis, Happy Family Organic & Nature’s Bakery Baked Ins are some of our favorites. Check out my list of healthy store-bought granola bars for kids for more kid-friendly options
- Here are the dry mini bars
- Innerpeas/Harvest snaps
- Trisquit dilutes
- Canned beans and peas
- Stonefire Mini Pitas
- Cereal – Cheerios and Chex are good options for young children. You can also soak cereal in some milk to make it safer for little ones to eat with a spoon.
- Skinny Pop Mini Cakes or Safe & Fair Popcorn Cakes – remember that regular popcorn is a choking hazard.
- Freeze dried fruits
- A good granola bite is made
- Bitsy’s Crackers
- Soozy’s Muffins
- Veggie’s Made Great Muffins
- Mini Cookies, Dave’s Killer Bread Thinly Sliced or Brownberry Bread with Peanut Butter or Avocado
- Appetizers with seaweed
- Thin brown rice cakes
- Horizon Organic Shelf Stable Milk
- Zego Fruit and Chia Bars
- My Superfoods Granola Bites!
- Olives (quartered and pitted)
- Annie’s Whole Wheat Bunnies
- Yogurt/Kefir – Chobani, Siggi’s & Stonyfield have good low sugar options
- Mamma Chia Squeeze Bags
- “Serenity” children’s bags. they have many meat and vegetable options
- Enjoy Life Fruit and Seed Blends
- Waffles – we love Kashi and Kidfresh Foods
So here are some great kid-friendly snack ideas for you!
– Lindsey –