Find out how to build a healthy snack for your child. You’ll find lots of ideas right here along with a printable parent’s guide to show you how to combine foods to make snacks boost your child’s nutrition.
Why are snacks important for kids?
Small children have small stomachs! So snacking is an important opportunity to keep your child topped up with energy and extra nutrients between meals. It’s helpful to think of snacks as ‘mini-meals’ as this helps you plan snacks using the same healthy foods that you serve at mealtimes rather than offering typical ‘snack foods.
What type of foods should I serve at snack time?
For a varied snack, try to choose one food from two or three of these groups.
Fruits and vegetables
Thin apple slices*
Tinned Fruit (in natural juice)
Frozen fruit (cooked)
A cup of veggie soup
Thin red or yellow pepper sticks
Leftover steamed veggies
Corn on the cob
Plain rice cakes
Wholegrain low sugar cereal like reduced sugar Cheerios
Strips of pita bread
Homemade mini muffin
Smooth Nut Butters
Salmon Pate (tinned salmon with cream cheese or yoghurt)
Cheese-grated or cubes or sticks
Sliced turkey or chicken
*YOUNG CHILDREN Big chunks of food can be dangerous for children under four and cause choking. Grate or slice raw veggies and hard fruits lengthways or cut into small pieces or serve cooked. Squash peas and other round foods. Don’t offer chopped or whole nuts, seeds or popcorn. Read more about choking hazards.
Here’s a printable copy of this Snack Guide
Make “Parent Provides; Child Decides” your motto.
Don’t expect your child to eat everything you serve but do serve things you don’t expect your child to eat! I know that my kids may never taste the quartered cherry tomato, but I know they must be continually exposed to this food. If they never see it, how will they ever eat it? I’m willing to sacrifice one uneaten cherry tomato a few times of the week. However, if you really can’t bear the thought of food waste then eat it yourself afterwards, everyone’s a winner!
A Week in Snacks for kids
Small kids need two to three snacks per day, and older kids may need two. Of course, if your kids are in school or childcare, you can adapt the snacks to make them suitable for little lunchboxes or their morning snack provided by the childcare provider.
Offering 14 different snacks every week isn’t realistic. It’s natural to give a variation of the same snack several days in a row. For example, you might serve grapes every day while they’re fresh. That’s no problem, try though to change slightly, so your kids don’t come to expect the same snack all the time. One day it could be grapes with cheese and oatcakes, another day grapes with milk and rice cakes, another, grapes with yoghurt and seeds. You get the picture!
Sit down at the table.
Eat these snacks when possible at the table and without distractions like TV, tablets and toys. Offer milk or water as drinks.
READ MORE >>> How to manage toddler snacks?
A 7-day snack plan
|Apple slices with Dip (natural Greek Yoghurt with some almond or peanut butter)
|Mandarins with dry cereal (low sugar oat Cheerios)
|Wholegrain rice cake with hummus and quartered cherry tomato
|Strawberries with Greek Yogurt and milled flaxseed or Flaxseed crunch
|Smoothie made with frozen berries, milk and oats
|A small cup of veggie soup with wholegrain toast
|Wholegrain crackers with smooth peanut butter and banana
|Carrot sticks and breadsticks with cream cheese
|Hard-boiled egg with avocado slices and wholemeal toast
|½ whole-grain bagel with jam and smooth peanut butter
|Pepper slices with grated cheese and oatcakes
|Pear with a savoury flapjack
|Homemade mini muffin or scone with cucumber slices
|Sliced grapes with cheese cubes and breadsticks
Out and About Snacks for kids
My advice is to only bring a snack with you if you miss a scheduled snack time. Don’t carry one for the sake of it! These are simple to prepare and quick to put together.
- Pancake with raspberries
- Milk with banana
- Rice Cake with cheese slice and carrot sticks
- Low sugar oat cheerios and blueberries
- Milk with melon slices
- PB&J sandwich (smooth peanut butter and jam)
- Savoury muffin with cucumber sticks
For more tips on how successful and enjoyable mealtimes check out my online Feeding Your Toddler course.
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