Healthy Snack Ideas For Toddlers (That They Will Actually Eat)


June 28, 2023


While every child is unique, most parents would agree that finding healthy snack ideas for toddlers (that they will actually eat) can be challenging. Toddlers are busy finding new things to explore about the world everyday, which sometimes can make it difficult for them to stop and eat.

This can often feel like keeping our toddlers well-fed and nourished is an impossible task. However, as a pediatric dietitian and toddler mom, I have some tricks for providing your little ones with snacks that are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients to keep them well nourished.

What Are Healthy Snack Ideas For Toddlers?

Small children require specific nutrients during this key period of rapid growth. Things to look for when planning out healthy snack ideas for toddlers are snacks that ideally have a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well as essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D. If your toddler doesn’t like or cannot eat dairy products, this article on Milk Alternatives For Toddlers is worth the read!

Tips For Picky Toddler Eating

When it comes to food preferences every child really is unique, however there are some things you can do to help encourage your toddler to try new foods. As a dietitian and a mom I know how frustrating it can be when your child is refusing to eat something you prepared for them, but the most important thing to remember is to keep the pressure low and just keep trying. Repetition really does make a difference over time! And so do these simple tips!

Change the shape: If your child refuses to try a food consider changing the shape. Instead of a turkey/cheese sandwich try roll-ups cut into mini-circles. If they won’t touch a bell pepper stick, try offering half a bell pepper as a bowl with some hummus or cheese inside.

Offer A Snack Plate: Choose a few small snacks and place them on a cutting board or in a muffin tray. The unique approach to serving can often be enough to make snack time feel more fun and get your toddler interested in eating.

Offer Choices: Toddlers LOVE doing this for themselves, which means that when they are given choices they often feel more in control and seen. So choose two options that you are okay with serving for snack time and let your toddler pick from those two options.

Add “sprinkles”: If my child isn’t interested in trying a snack or meal I prepared I ask if she would like to sprinkle something. This could be some cinnamon/sugar, parmesan or shredded cheese. Sometimes just the act of being involved and adding something they choose can be enough to get them interested in eating.

Add a dip: Toddlers LOVE dipping! So add some greek yogurt, hummus, or other dip to your toddlers snack choices and see if that helps to increase their consumption (especially of fruit/veggies).

Healthy Snack Ideas For Toddlers

Savory Toddler Snack Ideas

  1. Crinkle Cut Veggie Sticks with Hummus: Hummus is an excellent source of plant based iron, which busy toddlers need to grow! Cut carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers into wavy sticks using a crinkle cutter, and serve them with a side of hummus. Choosing vitamin C rich veggies like bell peppers will help your toddler’s body better absorb the iron in the hummus.
  2. Mini Fun Shaped Sandwiches: Create bite-sized sandwiches using cookie cutters and a whole grain bread for fun mini sandwiches that are perfectly toddler size. A few of my favorites are: cream-cheese with this no-added sugar chia jam, peanut butter and banana, and hummus and cheese.
  3. Mini Quesadillas: Fill small whole wheat tortillas with cheese and thinly sliced vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini. Heat them in a skillet until the cheese melts and the tortilla turns golden brown. Cut into bite-sized wedges for your toddler to enjoy.
  4. Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers: Offer a variety of cheese slices along with whole grain crackers. This combination provides protein, calcium, and fiber while satisfying your toddler’s cravings for something crunchy.

Sweet Toddler Snack Ideas

  1. Fruit Kabobs: Make snacking fun by threading colorful fruit pieces onto skewers. Use a variety of fruits like strawberries, bananas, grapes, and melon. The vibrant colors and the different textures will make these kabobs irresistible to your toddler. Pair with a few slices of cheese and this is one of my favorite go-to healthy snack ideas for toddlers.
  2. Yogurt Parfait: Layer plain yogurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of granola. This snack is not only visually appealing but also provides a good source of calcium and essentials vitamins.
  3. Rice Cakes with Nut Butter: Choose mini whole grain rice cakes and spread a thin layer of nut butter, like almond or peanut butter, on top. You could also spread some cream cheese, or even have your toddler dip them into hummus or cottage cheese for added protein.
  4. Mini Banana Egg Pancakes: These are one of my favorite healthy snack ideas for toddlers. I will make a batch whenever we have some bananas going bad and are always a hit. Just mix 2 bananas, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup tahini, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, and cinnamon/vanilla to taste. Pour into a pan with some ghee or butter using a mini cookie scoop and cook until each side is slightly brown.

Frozen Toddler Snack Ideas

  1. Frozen Banana Bites: Slice bananas into rounds and dip them in Greek yogurt. Roll the yogurt-coated bananas in crushed cereal or granola and freeze them until firm. These frozen treats are perfect for hot days when you don’t want to do ice cream.
  2. Smoothie Popsicles: Blend together your toddler’s favorite fruits with yogurt and a splash of milk. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. These homemade popsicles are a healthier, no-added-sugar alternative to store-bought ones.

Reminders For Addressing Picky Eating

When it comes to toddler snack ideas, remember to offer a variety of foods and flavors, and choose consistent times for them to stop to eat. While you can do your best to encourage them to try new things, it’s also important to keep the pressure low and never force or threaten. If you feel as though your child is eating less than 20 foods it may be time to reach out to your pediatrician for additional support, as children who become very picky can have a harder time meeting their nutrient and energy needs.

For most toddlers, a little selective eating is developmentally normal, Hopefully, these healthy snack ideas will be a success for your family and a great way to introduce wholesome foods into their diet while keeping their taste buds satisfied. Happy healthy snacking!

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Meet Meg

Mom of two, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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