Daycare Snack Ideas – CACFP Approved!
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Do you need help with great daycare snack ideas for your childcare program? Here are some guidelines you can use to spark your creativity and make your snack planning easy. If you’re wondering about the child food program for daycare providers, check this out.
All of these ideas are CACFP approved snacks that are healthy and that kids will love.
Snack Ideas for Daycare?
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for daycare at participating care centers.
For snacks, the program requires you to select two of the following five components: milk, meat or meat alternate, vegetable, fruit, or grains. I love that the requirements allow us to serve a fruit and a veggie for snack. What a great and healthy idea for our kids!
Check out this daycare food menu meal planning guide for more ideas on how to plan out your menus well. These resources are going to be a great help to you! And if you want to buy menus already planned out, check out Daycare Time Solutions for monthly menu plans, click on shop all and menu plans for menus that meet food program requirements. Or if you want a sheet with a sample week and shopping list to get you started, check out this planning pack.
Below I have listed tons of nutritious daycare snacks. If you need help making sense of the CACFP requirements, I’ve created a quick cheat sheet to help you understand the main rules. And remember to check this out for how to navigate CN labels on processed foods.
I’ve also got more support for running a home daycare as well as printable shopping lists, menu planners, daycare reports and more at our Etsy shop!
Daycare Snack Ideas
Whether you are needing daycare snack ideas for toddlers, babies, or preschool kids, it’s easy to come up with lots of delicious snacks.
My ideas for healthy snacks for daycare are listed below and sorted by each of the five CACFP components.
CACFP Snacks with Milk
- Milk and whole wheat crackers such as wheat goldfish
- Milk and carrot sticks
- Milk and raisins
- Milk and grapes
- Milk and oranges
- Milk and apples
- Milk and celery sticks
- Milk and cucumbers
- Milk and cherry tomatoes
- Milk and whole wheat toast
- Milk and homemade whole wheat bread
- Milk and whole wheat pancakes
- Milk and whole wheat bagels
- Milk and peanuts
- Milk and cottage cheese
- Milk and cheese sticks or slices
- Milk and graham crackers
- Milk and slices of ham (you can take a whole ham to the deli or butcher and have it sliced however thick you like it for making into sandwiches or small sticks)
- Milk and pretzels
- Milk and cereal
(Some approved cereals include: Best choice: Bran Flakes, Corn Crisps, Frosted Shredded Wheat, Happy O’s, Nutty Nuggets, Rice Crisps and Wheat Crisps, Great Value: Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, Crunchy Oat Squares, Shredded Wheat, Toasted Corn, Toasted Rice, Toasted Wheat and Toasted Whole Grain Oats, Frosted Mini Wheats, Frosted Mini Wheat Little Bites, Plain Mini Wheats, Plain Cheerios, Multi Grain Cheerios, Complete All-Bran, Fiber One, Shredded Wheat, Frosted Mini Spooners, Blueberry and Strawberry, Grape Nuts, Grape Nuts Flakes, Alpha Bits, Whole Grain Honey Bunches of Oats plain, almond and vanilla, Kix, Berry Berry Kix, Honey Kix, Total, Plain Life, Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Wheaties)
CACFP Snacks with Meat or Meat Alternative
- Cottage cheese and pretzels to dip
- Cottage cheese and carrot sticks to dip
- Cottage cheese and peaches
- Peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla
- Ham and cheese with whole wheat crackers
- Cheese slices and apple slices
- Cheese slices and bananas
- Cheese sticks and sugar snap peas
- Refried beans on a whole wheat tortilla
- Boiled eggs and oranges
- Deviled eggs and cherry tomatoes
- Sunflower seeds and grapes
- Yogurt and strawberries
- Yogurt and cucumbers
- Yogurt and whole wheat crackers
- Yogurt parfaits with berries, yogurt and granola
Check out these super cute pig yogurt bowls. Every kid would want this! And for more super fun snack ideas, check these out:
- Spooky Halloween snacks for daycare
- Winter themed snacks for Christmas, snow, and Valentine’s
Daycare Snack Ideas with Vegetables
- Refried beans and tortilla chips
- Pickles and whole wheat goldfish
- Pickles and cottage cheese
- Tomato salad (like pico de gallo, but not too spicy) with tortilla chips
- Carrots with refried beans
- Carrots with pretzels
- Celery with peanut butter
- Celery with Ritz crackers
- Cucumbers with whole wheat soft pretzels
- Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Cucumbers with grapes
- Avocados with Ritz crackers
- Sugar snap peas with apples
- Cherry tomatoes with yogurt
Healthy Snacks for Daycare Using Fruit
- Apples with peanut butter
- Blueberries with yogurt
- Strawberries with cheerios
- Raisins with sunflower seeds
- Kiwi with whole wheat banana bread
- Homemade banana bread
- Watermelon with string cheese
- Cantaloupe with cucumbers
- Oranges with whole wheat goldfish crackers
- Pineapple with whole wheat pancakes
- Peaches with yogurt
- Grapes with celery sticks
- Cherries with pretzels
- Pears with frosted mini wheats
- Bananas with milk
Daycare Snacks for CACFP Whole Grain Requirement
These snack ideas meet the CACFP whole grain requirement and this post has a free printable list of all the grain-based, creditable choices by brand that you can take to the store when you shop. Huge lifesaver!
- Ladybugs (whole wheat English muffins with strawberry jam and raisins on top for the dots)
- Whole wheat toast with cinnamon sugar and carrot sticks
- Cheerios with milk
- Whole wheat muffins with apples
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
- Whole wheat waffles with peaches
- Whole wheat pancakes with carrot sticks
- Oatmeal with raisins
- Homemade flavored oatmeal
- Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Frosted mini wheats with oranges
- Whole wheat goldfish with peaches
- Ritz crackers with cottage cheese
- Pretzels with melon
- Whole wheat bagels with cream cheese and cheddar cheese
- Ritz crackers with cucumbers
- Whole wheat tortilla wrap with cream cheese and carrot sticks
- Whole wheat tortilla wrap with mayo and cucumbers
Daycare Snacks for Babies
Baby snack ideas can be a little more limited. Once babies are 6 months old, they can have supplements to breast milk or formula. For snack, they may have bread, crackers, infant cereal, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, fruit, vegetables, or a combination of both.
CACFP requirements don’t have to be overwhelming. Check out more daycare meal ideas here:
- Daycare breakfast ideas
- Daycare lunch ideas
- MORE daycare snack ideas
- Toddler meals for picky eaters
- Dirt cheap meals for daycare
- 5 minute meals for daycare
- CACFP Approved Cereals for Daycare
Once you start thinking of snack ideas, they keep coming. Use these as inspiration for daycare snacks that fit into your budget and that kids love.
If you have more ideas, leave them in a comment and I’ll add them to the list.
Check out these great tools for childcare providers too!
- Tons of printables for activities for daycare, worksheets to help you run your business, and more.
- Daycare provider helps such as paperwork helps, products, and planners to save you time and money.
Keep in mind that most food programs require a double serving of cottage cheese or a 3rd creditable item to count as a snack!!
Really? I didn’t know that. I wonder why? Mine does not.
cottage cheese is a meat alternate .. 2oz is equivalent to 1oz which is fine for 3-5 year olds
Thanks for the information.
Thanks so much Christina! I will be using this for my child care provider training on Thurs pm! I will refer them to your website. 😉 You rock!
Great, so glad it can help!
The USDA does allow it …Thanks for letting us know 🙂 GREAT WORK !!
snacks are not allowed to serve just raisins, or just sunflower seeds or pickles as one food group…fyi
Thanks for your comment. The USDA allows it, but not all food programs do.