Need ideas for healthy snacks for toddlers? This list is specifically geared towards kids 1-3 years old, with homemade and storebought ideas for at home and on the go.
*Originally published 9/21. Updated 5/23*
Let’s talk about healthy snacks for toddlers. I think a lot of snack ideas posts are geared towards kids in general but there always seems to be a fair amount of ideas on the lists that aren’t safe for toddlers, mainly because of choking hazards. So I wanted to put together a list of toddler-safe snacks.
Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas
We all know that most toddlers seem to want to eat constantly but remember that all-day grazing is not ideal. Try to stick to set meals and snack times when possible so that they have a chance to start listening to their body, recognizing signs of hunger and fullness etc.
Should a 2-year-old have snacks?
Snacks are a great idea for toddlers and a great way to get some extra nutrients in them that they might not eat at actual meal times. Most toddlers do best with 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day. Try a snack mid-morning, mid-afternoon and potentially after dinner if needed.
What are some healthy meal ideas for toddlers?
If you’re looking for ideas for toddler meals vs snacks I’ve got you covered as well! Here are 150+ Toddler Meal Ideas with pictures of actual plates I served my kids from ages 1-3. And if that’s enough, here’s another 100 Healthy Toddler Meals.
Toddler Choking Hazards
When considering what snacks and foods to give your toddler, it’s important to remember that there are several choices that frequently lead to choking in this age group. These are things that are either hard, hard to chew, a similar size to their windpipe, sticky etc so we want to avoid them.
Here are some common choking hazards for toddlers:
Round foods like hot dogs, sausages, cherry tomatoes and grapes
Hard foods like apples and carrots and other hard raw veggies
Nut butter by the spoonful or thickly spread on bread
Marshmallows, whole nuts, gum, hard candy, chips and popcorn
Toddler Choking Hazards modified:
The good news is you don’t have to avoid most of these foods completely. Here’s how to modify some of the common choking hazards so they’re safer for toddlers:
For round foods: cut lengthwise into quarters
For hard fruits and veggies: grate, cut into matchsticks, dice and saute, steam or roast to soften
Nut butter: spread thinly on toast
Chop whole nuts into very small pieces and consider softer nuts like cashews/pecans/pistachios vs almonds/peanuts
Marshmallows, gum, hard candy, chips and popcorn should be avoided
Is popcorn a healthy snack for toddlers?
Popcorn is a huge choking hazard for kids under age 4 so I’d really recommend holding off serving it to younger kiddos. If you’re looking for something similar, popcorn cakes or rice cakes are safer than popcorn kernels
Healthy Snacks For Kids and Toddlers
If you’re looking for snacks for older kids, I have several posts to check out. These lists will have some snacks that are good for toddlers but not all of them:
60+ Healthy Packaged Snacks For Kids
Peanut & Tree Nut Free Packaged Snacks
And a lot of these snacks would be great in lunch boxes so if you need more lunch box ideas, check out my 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 these are good for older kids too!
Healthy Snacks Toddlers
Here are some snack ideas that I make at home:
Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get extra fruit and veggies into your toddler’s diet. Mix with a little milk or yogurt and you have added protein and calcium, among other important nutrients. Spinach, zucchini and cauliflower are easy veggies to add to smoothies without altering the taste or texture too much. My boys’ love the combo is frozen mixed berries, spinach, milk and a little orange juice. This Peach Zucchini Smoothie Bowl is also a fav, along with this Silken Tofu Mixed Berry Smoothie! We also love this simple strawberry pineapple smoothie.
Muffins/bars– My favorite for young toddlers are my Sweet Potato Banana Bites – but almost all of my kid-friendly baking recipes are great for this age and are packed with things like beans, lentils and veggies. My friend and fellow RD Min also has tons of Healthy Baby and Toddler muffins here.
Oatmeal: It’s not just for breakfast! Make it with milk for protein and stir in a scoop of peanut butter for healthy fats. Top with berries or a few chocolate chips. You can even make a big batch ahead of time, freeze in muffin tins and thaw in the microwave. Learn how in my post for Freezer Prep Oatmeal Cups.
Energy Bars – Use my go-to energy bar recipe and process them really well in the food processor to avoid big chunks. Then press into a pan and cut into bars so they’re thinner vs rolling into balls.
Trail Mix: Homemade trail mix is SO easy and can be adapted based on your child’s favorite add-ins. Try this toddler Nut–Free Toddler Trail Mix or make up your own combination using cereal, small crackers, dried fruit and small nuts if they’re older (nuts can be a choking hazard for young toddlers). Freeze-dried fruits and veggies are a great option for younger kiddos or things like Hippeas or Harvest Snaps!
Fruit – berries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, bananas, fruit leather, raisins, grated apples + pb yogurt dip
Vegetables – matchstick carrots, peas, corn, cucumber, roasted sweet potatoes + ranch/hummus/laughing cow (toddler dips)
Eggs – Any form is great! I usually cut hard-boiled eggs into quarters but you can also try egg wraps or mini egg muffins, or even a fried egg on toast with avocado – cut it into strips to make it easier for them to hold.
Easy Toddler Snacks
Cottage Cheese: Serve it alone or pair it with whole-grain cereal and some fruit for a twist on a yogurt parfait. It can be high in sodium so as always, variety is key! And if they’re not fans, lower sugar yogurts (or plain yogurt with fruit mixed in is great too!)
Hummus: Perfect for dipping raw veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers and bell peppers (be careful with raw veggies- they can be a choking hazard for young toddlers). You can also serve with crackers or chips or add to pizza or sandwiches.
Avocado: A great 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 butters to oatmeal, drizzle on banana slices or spread on toast, waffles or pancakes!
Whole Grain Cereal: Check out my list of Lower Sugar Cereal for Kids. Pair with milk, yogurt or a hard-boiled egg!
Mini pizza – These English muffin pizzas are the perfect size for toddler snack time and easy for little hands to handle. Keep a batch in the freezer and microwave as needed.
Quesadillas – add some shredded vegetables or chicken and give them a sauce to dip in.
Waffles/toast – Top them with a healthy fat like peanut butter or avocado, cut into sticks or in half to make it easier for little fingers to handle
Pancakes – Try these Whole Wheat Pancakes. My kids love when I make them silver dollar sized or make them bigger and cut into little triangles with a pizza cutter.
Healthy Snacks For Toddlers When Traveling or On The Go
Here are some packaged 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 toddler-friendly options
That’s it dried fruit mini bars
Canned beans & chickpeas
Stonefire mini pitas
Cereal – Cheerios and Chex are good options for toddlers. You can also soak cereal in some milk to make it safer for toddlers to practice eating with a spoon.
Skinny Pop Mini Cakes or Safe & Fair Popcorn cakes – remember regular popcorn is a choking hazard
Mini bagels, Dave’s Killer Bread thin sliced or Brownberry bread with peanut butter or avocado
Brown rice thin cakes
Horizon Organic shelf-stable milk
Olives (quartered & pit removed)
Annie’s whole wheat bunnies
Yogurt/kefir – Chobani, Siggi’s & Stonyfield have good lower sugar options
Serenity kids pouches – they have lots of meat and veggie options
Enjoy Life fruit and seed mixes
Waffles – we like Kashi and Kidfresh Foods
So there you go! Lots of toddler-friendly snack ideas for you!