As adults, we all have food preferences that we feel are pretty much set in stone. Some research has shown that our early experiences shape these likes and dislikes later in life. In fact, scientists believe that what we eat in the first 1,000 days of our life greatly impacts our tastes.1
Introducing your kids to nutrient-rich snacks while they are young is key to setting your little one up for a lifetime of wellness and adventurous eating. Use these toddler snack ideas to help you plan enjoyable and healthy snack options.
Good Snacks for Toddlers
If you’re a parent of a toddler, you’re concerned about every aspect of your young child’s development—including ensuring that they get the nutrition they need. But this is also a critical time to help them form a balanced relationship with food and a healthy lifestyle.
When building a roster of healthy snack ideas for the toddlers in your life, make sure you consider these suggestions:
- Opt for whole foods that are rich in essential nutrients
- Avoid overly processed and high-sugar treats
- Cook or cut certain foods to reduce the risk of choking
- Select finger foods that your child can easily pick up and handle
Need some inspiration to start your snack planning? These 10 toddler snack ideas all support the goal of healthy and open-minded eating for your little one.
#1 Fresh Fruit
Looking for an easy snack idea? If you want to make sure your toddler gets all their essential vitamins, fresh fruit is an excellent choice for snacking. Fruits are colorful and packed with a natural sweetness your child will love.
Curious about which fresh fruits you should add to your child’s snack food routine? Try these, sliced, chopped, or mashed—don’t forget to remove the pit if necessary:
#2 Peanut Butter and Crackers
If your child doesn’t exhibit an allergy to nut products, peanut butter is a delicious source of protein in between meals. Of course, peanut butter isn’t the only option. Other nut, or even seed, butters, such as almond or sunflower seed butter, are tasty fair game as well.
Many parents choose to spread a thin layer of their child’s favorite nut butter on whole-wheat crackers or bread for a protein- and whole-grain-rich snack that’s easy for your child to gobble up.
#3 Low-Sugar Cereals
Low-sugar cereals are another portable and an excellent source of whole grains and minerals. While many cereal options pack in added sugar, look for options that take it easy on sweeteners. They are out there! It just may take a little research through the nutrition labels while at the grocery store.
Yogurt can present an easy foray into the world of dairy products for young children. It’s easy to eat and often slightly sweet or fruity, which your little one is likely to enjoy. It’s best to choose a plain yogurt with no added sugar! If you have a picky eater that doesn't like plain yogurt, try greek yogurt with a little fruit puree, or even thawed frozen fruits, on top.
You can also feel better knowing that your child is benefiting from vitamin D and calcium for bone health. Some yogurts have added probiotics, which can help balance their intestinal flora.
#5 Bio-K+® Drinkable Probiotics
While yogurt is a delicious way to introduce probiotic drinks into your child’s snacking routine, why not go straight to the source? Bio-K+ drinkables are a probiotic snack for adults and children. While you can drink the whole bottle, we recommend giving your children a half bottle portion size.
Not only do our probiotics come in a variety of yummy flavors, but they’re also safe to drink every day. Every 3.5-ounce bottle is chock-full of benefits, including:
- Containing 50 billion probiotics for 100% probiotic content
- Having an easy-to-drink liquid consistency
- Contributing to healthier digestion
- Supporting immune health
- Keeping intestinal flora balanced
Delicious, nutritious, and easy to devour, this powerful snack is kid- and parent-approved.
#6 Edamame or Dairy
Protein is essential for your growing toddler. Soy and dairy can be a great way to sneak it into your child’s snack-time. Try offering a few pieces of cooked edamame or slices of cheese in bite-size pieces. Be cautious with edamame as it can be a choking hazard for small children.
#7 Cooked and Fresh Vegetables
We can’t forget the veggies! While they’re also important at mealtimes, fresh and cooked veggies can acquaint your child with a rainbow of options that help you meet this food group’s daily criteria.
Incorporate these veggie options in your toddler’s snacking schedule:
- Cooked carrots sticks
- Mashed peas
- A mashed sweet potato
- Steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets
- Mashed avocado
#8 Dried Fruit
Sometimes you don’t have time to pre-slice or mash fresh fruit for toddler food. If you’re on the go, dried fruit can be a delicious snacking alternative. If you’re worried about added sugar in store-bought dried fruit, look for formulas that don’t incorporate any added sugar.
Dried fruits that are ready for a family road trip, day care or school snack include:
Make sure you carefully slice or chop dried fruit so that it’s easy for your child to enjoy and doesn’t pose a choking risk.
#9: Whole Grains
It’s never too early to encourage your child to consume heart-healthy whole grains and avoid empty carbs. Help your toddler appreciate and love whole grains with some of these snack choices:
- Slice of whole-grain bread with nut butter
- Whole wheat tortilla cut up in bite-sized pieces
- Graham or whole-grain crackers
- Whole-grain breakfast cereals
Another way to add healthy proteins and foster an adventurous palate in your toddler is to serve them hummus.
Made with fiber- and protein-packed chickpeas, this creamy, savory treat is a perfect complement to whole-wheat pita, tortilla slices or crudités. It’s not difficult to make at home either with a blender or food processor.
Keys to a Successful Snack Time
Along with getting your snack menu in order, planning a snack schedule can be a winning recipe for success. Make sure everyone in your house and those who care for your child are on the same page with these snack-time priorities.
- Set designated snack times – Similar to the way you plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your child, consider creating specific snack times for each day. You can choose a mid-morning and mid-afternoon time or perhaps a morning, afternoon and bedtime snack routine. Whatever you decide is best for your little one, stick with it so that your child understands it’s a part of their routine.
- Choose the snacks for your child – Present an item you know they like, along with a few pieces of new foods. And don’t forget to remain persistent even if your child refuses certain items or ignores others. Keep trying, and don’t be dismayed by their still-learning palate.
- Adjust the schedule as necessary – While observing consistent snack times is a good thing, there is no benefit in sticking with those times if they fill up on snacks and don’t eat their meals. Rethink snack time intervals and portions to make sure your toddler is ready to eat during a meal but also doesn't feel deprived throughout the day.
Make Healthy Snacking a Treat with Bio-K+
These healthy toddler snack ideas can be an exciting and explorative experience for your young child. You can introduce healthy food between meals to increase your little one’s openness to new flavors—along with an early and lifelong appreciation of nutritious foods.
If you’re like most parents who are short on time but also want the very best for their children, Bio-K+ can help. Our drinkable probiotics come in conveniently sized portions with delicious flavors and different dietary base. We stand by our high-quality, clinically backed, 100% probiotic formula, and we’re eager to share it with you and your loved ones.
De Cosmi V, Scaglioni S, Agostoni C. Early Taste Experiences and Later Food Choices. Nutrients. 2017;9(2):107. Published 2017 Feb 4. doi:10.3390/nu9020107