Healthy Snacks for Toddlers and Preschoolers (page 2)

By — California Childcare Health Program
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

Fresh Vegetable-type Snacks

(frozen or canned vegetables without added sodium are also acceptable)

  • soft-cooked vegetables—carrots, asparagus, green beans, pea pods, sweet potato strips, broccoli or cauliflower served with a cottage cheese, hummus, or yogurt (dairy or soy) dip
  • green pepper slices, tomato wedges or zucchini strips served with creamy peanut butter, cream cheese or cottage cheese
  • grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, or cheese and veggie quesadillas. * Avoid “chunky” peanut butter, raw celery and carrots because they are a choking hazard.

Dairy-type Snacks

  • yogurt with applesauce or pureed fruit
  • flavored or plain yogurt (dairy or soy) or cottage cheeses combined with fruit
  • pudding
  • slices of cheese or “string” cheese (dairy or soy)
  • homemade frozen “juice pops” with calcium- fortified juices (combine yogurt—dairy or soy— with 100 percent fruit juice, and add pureed or very soft fruit)
  • fruit shake (blend together cow’s milk or soy/rice milk with fruit and add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg) Use low-fat products only for children over 5 years old.

Bread-type Snacks

  • mini flavored rice or corn cakes
  • pumpkin, zucchini, banana, or cranberry bread — bran, corn, apple, banana, or blueberry muffins
  • homemade soft pretzels or bread sticks
  • non-sugared cereals
  • whole grain crackers, breads or bagels with various soft cream cheese spreads, creamy peanut butter, jelly, cottage cheese or hummous

Meat-type Snacks

  • hard cooked eggs (wedges or slices)
  • kabobs made with any combination of cheese, fruit, vegetables and sliced or cubed cooked meat or tofu (remove the toothpicks before serving!)
  • pita pocket filled with lean sliced meat, tuna, hummous, tofu, cheese (dairy or soy), lettuce and/or tomato
  • English muffins or pita bread topped with tomato sauce, grated cheese (soy or dairy) and lean cuts of meats or tofu, baked, and cut into quarters
  • pita bread, flour or corn tortillas with beans or canned chili, sprinkled with grated cheese (soy or dairy), and topped with plain yogurt or sour cream if desired

Notes to Remember

  • If using dairy, soy products or citrus fruits, be sure children are not allergic or intolerant to them before serving.
  • Limit liquids as snacks. Avoid juice drinks, sodas, or soft drinks, in particular those with caffeine. Use only juices that are 100 percent juice. And always encourage children to drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid offering high-sugar cookies, doughnuts, brownies and similar other baked goods (such as Oreos, Hostess Cupcakes, etc.). Avoid snack foods that will stick to the children’s teeth and the roof of their mouths, which may cause gagging and can contribute to dental decay.
  • Don’t be swayed by advertising, as many prepared foods (such as Lunchables) are marketed as kid-friendly, but are actually poor in nutrition.


The Child Care Nutrition Resource System. Provides recipes, resources and information on preparing nutritious meals and food safety. Dairy Council of California at

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