6 Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

​I don't know about you, but my toddler lives for snacks. Snacks for breakfast, snacks for lunch, snacks before snacks, and snacks on the go. This morning, my daughter even asked for a snack while she was still eating breakfast!

It can be challenging to put together healthy snack options for toddlers, especially in light of many different allergy and food restrictions in child care and other settings. But it is important to offer your toddler a variety of healthy snacks, because good nutrition habits are set while your children are young. 

In general, it's OK not to offer your child an endless supply of snacks. As parents, we tend to think that our child needs a constant stream of snacks or a tantrum will result. Every child is different, of course, but even toddlers can learn that meals should be eaten together and they don't need a snack for every occasion.

That being said, however, snacks are a necessary lifesaver for parents of toddlers sometimes, so it's a good idea to arm yourself with some go-to healthy snack ideas. Oh, and one more thing: if your toddler is not much of a meal-eater and insists only on snacking, don't beat yourself up about it. Be consistent about offering healthy meals and limit any excess sugary and processed snack items, but it may take a while before your toddler gets into a routine with eating habits.

Chia Pudding

chia pudding,

What toddler wouldn't love pudding, right? Chia seed pudding not only has the fun creamy texture that your little one will love (and yes, I imagine there will be some smearing on the table or high chair involved), but it's also packed full of good fats, protein, iron, and calcium. You can add lots of mix-ins to chia pudding, including fresh and frozen fruits.

String Cheese

string cheese
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Barring any dairy restrictions, string cheese can be a great snack for little fingers. String cheese is chock full of calcium to help those developing teeth and bones and toddlers might have fun pulling the cheese apart, too. Just be sure to monitor your toddler to make sure he or she is old enough for string cheese—sometimes a toddler who bites off a big chunk of cheese instead of pulling off the string cheese could be at risk for choking.

Mini Muffins

mini muffin,
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If you swap out some traditional ingredients, such as using apple sauce or mashed banana instead of sugar and oil, add in plenty of healthy mix-ins, such as ground flax seed, and incorporate a touch of honey or fresh fruit, you can whip up a mini-muffin that will make both of you happy. For example, a carrot-cranberry muffin is the perfect combination of flavor and nutrition that your toddler needs.

Orange Slices With A Twist

orange slice, orange
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Most kids love oranges for snacks, but for toddlers, even oranges can be a little scary for a snack, because again, they can tend to bite off more than they can chew.

My husband started serving orange slices to our kids with a twist he remembered from his own childhood—simply slice up the oranges, then cut a ridge into one side of the rind, allowing the orange slice to be opened up horizontally. That way, your toddler can have the fun of eating every orange segment one-by-one, without fear of choking. Sure, they may get a little extra sticky in the process, but it's definitely worth it.

Red Pepper

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I'll be the first to admit that my toddler does not healthy 100 percent of the time, but one snack that always surprises me is red pepper slices. All four of my children have loved red pepper slices, even as toddlers. It must be the sweet flavor, but either way, give it a go the next time you want to serve up something crunchy—and don't forget the dip. All-natural hummus makes a great choice for little ones who love to dip.

Sweet Potato Fries

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For a nutritional twist on french fries, try your hand at making your own sweet potato fries at home. Not only are sweet potatoes gluten-free, but they pack a ton of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as 100 percent of Vitamin A the your toddler needs in a day, Plus, they are delicious. You may have to let your toddler dip these treats in some low-sugar ketchup for maximum snacking potential. Make your own at home by slicing, drizzling with coconut oil or olive oil, then roasting in an oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

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