Whether you’re heading out on vacation, a road trip, a day out of the house, a playdate, or packing a daycare or preschool lunch, these healthy toddler snacks will help keep your toddler full and happy.
I’ve included a nice mix of healthy homemade toddler snack recipes, preschool snack ideas, healthy store-bought toddler snacks, baby-led weaning snack ideas, and a few assembly-only ideas to give you a wide range of options for portable foods that are packed with nutrition. Plus, they all taste great, since I know many of you are dealing with picky toddlers as well as active ones!
How to Pack Healthy Toddler Snacks, Step-by-Step
- Invest in a set of durable containers to help keep the food from getting smushed. These are our favorite containers, whether you like glass, recycled plastic or stainless steel.
- Pack balanced snacks that include a fruit or a veggie and a protein or a fat. It’s great if it includes all of these food groups, but having at least one item of produce and either a fat or a protein means that the snack will keep your toddler full longer.
- Set dedicated snack times to prevent a fun food free for all! Toddlers need predictable routines and snacking can be a distraction, an activity, and something to do while they ride in the car. To avoid this, which can lead to more caloric intake than they really need, have snacks at regular times and sit down to enjoy them. (This also helps to prevent choking.)
- Be flexible! While I always keep a snack or two in my bag for myself and my kids, there’s something to be said for going with the flow. If your toddler doesn’t want what you’ve packed or you happen to be somewhere that has delicious snack options, go for it!
Healthy Snacks for Your Toddler’s Lunchbox
All of these snack ideas can be packed for daycare, preschool, or a day on the go. Adjust portion sizes as needed for your toddler’s appetite and age—and what they usually enjoy eating. Pack the snacks with an ice pack in a cooler bag if needed. And now, the specific toddler snack ideas!
Toddler Snack Idea #1: Blueberry Banana Muffins
Made without gluten, nuts, or dairy, these soft muffins get their flavor from two types of fruit and might be even tastier on the second (or third) day! Try topping them with a drizzle of honey or cream cheese or nut butter if allergies aren’t a concern.
Toddler Snack Idea #2: Soft Granola Bars
These slab granola bars are a perfect make-ahead toddler snack. They are egg-free and have healthy fats and complex carbs—so they’ll provide balanced energy for your little ones. Try adding some snipped dried fruit to the batter!
Toddler Snack Idea #3: Sandwich Cubes
Whether your little one likes nut butter and jam, cream cheese and apple butter, cheese, or lunch meat, a simple sandwich, diced up is easy to pack and really satisfying for little bellies.
Toddler Snack Idea #4: Banana Spinach Muffins
Serve up fruits and veggies in this bright, protein-packed muffin. Call it a “Hulk muffin” or some other silly name to entertain the kids! These muffins are a favorite homemade toddler snack since the batter comes together easily in the blender.
Toddler Snack Idea #5: Hummus
Try packing a little container of hummus with whole grain crackers or easy to eat veggies for a balanced toddler snack.
Toddlers Snack Idea #6: Cheese and Healthy Crackers
Crackers are almost always universally appealing to toddlers and there are many good options that have nutritious ingredients. We like the Bitsy’s Brainfood options and stock up on them when we can. If your toddler can’t do dairy, add in protein from hummus, nut butter, beans, or a nondairy milk with protein like Ripple.
Toddler Snack Idea #7: Fresh Fruit
Small apples, pears, and bananas, vertically cut grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and cubed melon are a few of our favorite fruits to take on the go. Pair with cheese, nut or seed butter, milk, or yogurt for a balanced snack.
Toddler Snack Idea #8: Fresh Veggies
Snap peas, thinly sliced carrot sticks, sliced or cubed cucumber, sliced zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, and thawed frozen peas or corn are great options for packable toddler veggies for snack time. Pair with cheese, nut or seed butter, milk, or yogurt for a balanced snack.
Toddler Snack Idea #9: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls
With natural sweetness and the flavors of a favorite dessert cookie dough, these little bites are yummy and nutritious. In the case of a peanut allergy, use sunflower seed butter. (These also work well with almond butter.)
Toddler Snack Idea #10: Blueberry Date Snack Cake Bars
Moist, flavorful, and super yummy, these gluten-free snack bars are a nice on-the-go option for toddlers. Just wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap or tuck into a compartment of a lunchbox.
Toddler Snack Idea #11: Snap Pea Crisps and Fruit
This crunchy snack is not too salty and not too crisp, so they are easy for toddlers to eat. They also have protein and fiber, making them a smart snack choice. Pair with an easy fruit like a banana, apple, or a pouch of applesauce.
Toddler Snack Idea #12: Banana Snack Cake
Plain, with raisins or blueberries stirred in, squares of this snack cake are one of our favorite toddler snacks. They hold up well, especially with an ice pack in your bag, and they offer a balanced snack with whole grains, protein, and fruit all in one convenient package.
Toddler Snack Idea #13: Oven-Dried Strawberries
Like store-bought freeze-dried fruit for babies and toddlers, only less expensive, think of these strawberries as a sweet and super healthy chip. This is one case where making homemade toddler snacks is far better on your budget than buying them at the store.
Toddler Snack Idea #14: Simple Quinoa Breakfast Bars
Loaded with whole grains including oats and quinoa, these bars would make a lovely morning or afternoon snack (in addition to a great breakfast!) for kids.
Toddler Snack Idea #15: Yogurt Pouches
Because I’ve been squirted enough times and had to change enough shirts, I always vote for putting yogurt into this reusable pouch over store bought yogurt pouches. But I do love the lower sugar yogurt tubes from Siggi’s and Stonyfield, so if your toddler can reliable eat them without making a royal mess, pack them. These are some of our favorite healthy store-bought snack options.
Toddler Snack Idea #16: Leftovers!
Whether it’s oatmeal, smoothie, or a bit of dinner—cubed meat or chicken, beans, pasta salad—snack time is an excellent time to get in a little extra nutrition, so using leftovers as mini meals is a smart toddler feeding strategy.
Toddler Snack Idea #17: 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bars
Super simple and super yummy, these bars pair well with milk (or coffee for the adults!).
Toddler Snack Idea #18: Cheesy Oat Crackers
A batch of these crackers never lasts long in our house—and they are a fun component to a packed toddler lunch box. And it’s nice because this homemade toddler snack packs whole grains, protein, and less salt than many store-bought cheese crackers.
Toddler Snack Idea #19: Pumpkin Almond Butter Muffins
Sure, it’s not pumpkin season all year long, but it’s always a great time of year to make a batch of these cinnamon-y muffins. They pack lots of Vitamin A and protein.
Toddler Snack Idea #20: Low-Added Sugar Dry Cereal and Milk
Breakfast cereals with low added sugars are always a nice option for toddler snack-time (and they can be a little more economical and nutritious than puffs…though we do love Puffs too!). We like plain Cheerios, Kix, puffed whole grains, and unsweetened Shredded Mini Wheats.
Toddler Snack Idea #21: Low-Added Sugar Snack Bars
Mini Larabars, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, My Super Foods Granola Bites, Ella’s Nibbly Bars… we love these little snacks since they are sized right for toddlers and have a nice mix of protein, fat, and fiber. (These Horizon milks are also nice to take on the go.)
Toddler Snack Idea #22: Allergy-Friendly Banana Muffins
These little muffins are big on flavor and they store really well either chilled or at room temperature. They also have a balanced mix of ingredients—protein, whole grains, fat, and fruit—so they are an all-around great toddler snack free from the top food allergens.
Toddler Snack Idea #23: Strawberry Chia Fruit Leather
With intense berry flavor and a bit of chia seeds for protein and fiber, this toddler fruit leather is a favorite.
Toddler Snack Idea #24: No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Sure, these could easily be dessert, but when paired with a cup of milk, they are a pretty delicious snack. Chop them into smaller cubes for younger kids if needed and use Sunbutter for kids with nut-allergies.
Toddler Snack Idea #25: Leftover Pancakes
I’m not sure what it is, but so many toddlers love snacking on whole pancakes! Pack a few small ones leftover from weekend breakfast and let them snack to their hearts’ content. This is also a favorite preschool snack idea and baby-led weaning snack.
P.S. Looking for more healthy store-bought toddler snacks?
My Master List of Healthy Snacks for Kids has all of my favorites!