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For most kids, healthy foods can seem unappealing. These easy healthy snacks for children will prove them wrong! Even the pickiest eaters will like something on this list. And believe me, after watching over 100 children in my daycare career, I KNOW picky eating!
For more info on how to actually get kids to eat healthy food, check this out! It’s going to change your life!
Healthy snacks for picky eaters
To offer healthy snacks for children, you don’t want to die in the kitchen. So these healthy snacks are easy too!
Good eating habits start young. When your child is young you have almost all control over what they eat. Help them to make healthy choices that will energize and fuel their little bodies. There is no reason for toddlers to eat lots of salty or sugary snacks. Here are some snack options that will power their bodies with nutrients and energy.
Fresh Fruit is one of the best snack options for toddlers because they really enjoy the sweet taste of fruit. Give your daughter a banana. Cuts grapes in fourths and watch her enjoy them. Give her orange and apple slices. Try some different types of fruit too like kiwis, pears, melons, etc. Just make sure the fruits are cut into small chunks or slices so as not to cause choking.
Try these fruit kabobs for a fun twist!
Fruits are full of different nutrients that children need. Some examples are potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. The nutritional benefits vary with the type of fruit served. Fruits are also a great source of dietary fiber. The USDA says that toddlers need one cup of fruit per day.
Fruit juice is not a good substitute. Even fruit juices that “have no sugar added” have much more sugar content than just a piece of fresh fruit. Sugary fruit juices also have a damaging effect on your toddler’s teeth. Consider giving your child all of her fruit in solid form along with a cup of water.
Healthy snacks for kids
Yogurt is a treat for kids, and a great way to help them get plenty of calcium. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which help boost your child’s small immune system. The proteins in yogurt are easy to absorb, making them ideal for rapidly growing little bodies.
You can offer your tot plain yogurt mixed with berries or fruit pieces for an added nutritional punch. You can also give them pre-packaged yogurt cups from the grocery store. This yogurt is made with whole milk and has added DHA for brain development.
You can also make these fun yogurt fruit parfaits.
Vegetables can be tricky to serve to your child. Lots of picky eaters turn their noses up at “green things.” Fortunately, there are a few tricks to help you make these nutritious foods appear more appetizing.
Try slicing sweet potatoes very thinly and baking them until crisp. These sweet potato chips are delicious and a great alternative to potato chips. Sweet potatoes are also full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber. Try roasting carrots or butternut squash to make a tasty bite-size snack.
Healthy snacks for toddlers
Most toddlers love cheese, and that’s a good thing because it’s a great source of calcium. It is low in sugar compared to other dairy products so it’s better for your little one’s teeth. It also contains a fair amount of good proteins. Try feeding your child part-skim cheese sticks, Sargento reduced-fat Elmo cheese shapes, or just reduced-fat cheese cut into easy-to-handle cube shapes.
Toddlers love to chow down handfuls of cereal. Sometimes that’s a negative thing when the cereal of choice is sugary and has virtually no nutritional value. Try giving your child whole-grain cereals. Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates and won’t break down into sugar as easily as others.
MultiGrain Cheerios are an improvement over the infinitely popular original Cheerios. It has more fiber and iron, and your toddler may not even notice that you made a switch.
Eat the colors of the rainbow
This is a cute little song that promotes healthy eating from a well know children’s television program. I pack baby carrots and broccoli in small zip-lock bags and remind my kids about eating the colors of the rainbow.
They sing the song and keep track of the colors now. I’m still working on getting them to eat a variety of vegetables but this is definitely a step in the right direction. I also cut apples into wedges, orange slices, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes and put them into zip lock bags as well. These make great healthy snacks for children and adults.
Baby carrots are the perfect snack on their own, but if they seem bland, add a couple of tablespoons of hummus on the side. Carrots are full of beta carotene, which protects vision and protects against macular degeneration. Hummus is a low-fat alternative to creamy veggie dips that often contain enormous amounts of fat.
The key to keeping popcorn as a healthy snack is to make sure it is air-popped. Investing in an air popper is key and worth dishing out the extra cash. Avoid loading your popcorn with butter and salt and enjoy the natural taste of this yummy classic snack.
Ready to Go Healthy Snacks
Teddy Grahams, graham crackers, animal crackers, raisins, popcorn, and Goldfish crackers have always been a hit with my kids. I usually pack these items in small colorful containers or a zip lock bag.
Peanut butter and jelly or turkey on whole wheat slices of bread cut into four squares packed in a colorful container.
Try some of these suggestions to help your toddlers and older children develop as well physically as they possibly can. Make an effort not to offer your child french fries, cookies, candies, or other treats with empty caloric values.
Finally, planning is the key to healthy eating and providing healthy snacks for children. Start by making small changes and be flexible. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Remember you are your child’s greatest influence and healthy eating habits can soon be just that – a habit! It’s never too late. So let’s get it started!
For fun and cute ideas for daycare snacks, check these out too:
- Spooky Halloween snacks for daycare
- Winter themed snacks for Christmas, snow, and Valentine’s
- Valentine themed snack ideas!
For CACFP Food program ideas, check these out: