15 Healthy Toddler Snacks That Aren’t Cheddar Bunnies
When my toddler’s snack phase started, I swore up and down I would nip it in the bud. (I would not be a slave to my child’s snacking whims! She would eat three square meals with gusto!) Now, I have two kids, and some days snacks are their only sustenance. (It wasn’t surrender, though! I made a conscious decision not to stand on principle…and yet, I have googled “scurvy” more than once.) Bottom line: I want to know that the snacks I offer my kids are meeting their basic nutritional needs. If any of this sounds familiar, you probably share my concern. Throw these 15 healthy toddler snacks into the mix and enjoy the peace of mind.
1. Mini Babybel Cheese
When string cheese loses its allure, swap it out for these cute mini wheels. Buy them in your favorite variety (mozzarella, Gouda and others)—I can vouch that the white cheddar isn’t too sharp for tots. Your kid will get a good dose of calcium (and protein too). Oh, and the wax shell is a bonus. Even little hands can manage to unwrap these cheese disks without help and it keeps them busy for at least an extra 30 seconds.
2. Biena Chickpea Snack
If you typically overlook your own snacking needs and end up settling for your kid’s soggy pizza crusts, you might want to introduce crunchy chickpeas to the snack rotation. The simple sea salt seasoning and satisfying crunch of these chickpeas will win over your kid, and with six grams of protein and tons of fiber, this is one nutritious nosh for both of you.
3. Philippine Brand Tree Ripened Dried Mangoes
These dried mangoes have quite a following and definitely deserve to be a snack-time staple. While there is a small amount of added sugar, these guys are not sickeningly sweet and they serve up an impressive amount of vitamin C. They’re naturally tree-ripened, so these mango slices aren’t too chewy and tough for kids to eat.
4. Imagine Yogurt Crisps
What exactly is a yogurt crisp? It’s a really clever cracker for kids—but this snack is slightly sweet, so feel free to call it a cookie. Made with yogurt and real fruit, these bite-size biscuits boast eight grams of whole grains and four grams of protein per serving. They’re a good source of calcium too.
5. Clif Kid Organic ZBar
Soft, chewy and loaded with whole grains, these granola bars get points for kid-friendly flavors (and also for having the appearance of a frosted brownie, so not a hard sell). But rest assured, the carbs and fats here have substance. This snack will give your kid’s dietary fiber intake and energy level a significant boost, just not in that sort of scary, manic, I-just-ate-a-brownie way.
6. GoGo SqueeZ On the go Applesauce
This applesauce is so sweet your child will slurp it up eagerly, never suspecting that her afternoon pick-me-up had no added sugar—just juicy apples and a decent amount of fiber. Parents rave about these in slushy form too. Pop one in the freezer, use it as an ice pack for the Babybel cheese puck on your way out and then offer it as a semi-frozen treat on your way back home. Brilliant.
7. Zone Perfect Kidz Nutrition Bars
At last, a healthy snack that you won’t have to sheepishly offer and hope for the best. When your child sees the image of a cupcake and rainbow sprinkles on the wrapper, he will probably take it without asking. That’s OK, though: This “yellow cupcake bar” has 23 essential vitamins and minerals, five grams of protein, no artificial ingredients and a flavor that parent reviewers say pleases the small people. Hats off to the wily marketing team at Zone Perfect Kidz. You really get us.
8. Mott’s Fruit Snacks
Kids love fruit snacks because they’re sweet and gummy and kind of like candy. But not all fruit snacks are created equal. Parents and kids approve of Mott’s fruit snacks because they are flavorful but not cloying and made with only natural ingredients (juice concentrates from pears, apples and carrots). Best of all, one package of fruit snacks takes care of your kid’s vitamin C needs for the day.
9. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
Remember when you were a kid and you secretly liked Fig Newtons but still groaned about getting them in your lunch box because they’re so obviously a humdrum healthy cookie? Well, kids don’t whine about these fig bars—they’re big, fresh and definitely not trying to pass themselves off as a cookie. They also have the good stuff (protein and fiber) and none of the bad (high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients and preservatives).
10. BelVita Soft Baked Banana Bread Breakfast Biscuits
Serve it with a cup of milk and this banana bread can pass for breakfast on those mornings you are running late for school drop-off (or at least that’s what our friend said). This baked good is only slightly sweet, so there’s no sugar rush, it’s fairly filling and it’s a good source of dietary fiber.
11. Healthy Harvest Apple, Almond, Cheese and Carrot Snack Pack
Yep, this is the snack that you wanted to leave the house with and you did it with no effort, ’cause the heroes at Healthy Harvest did the work for you! This straightforward snack tray has something for every kid, and the whole package provides ten grams of protein, plus tons of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. It’s so healthy and so convenient, we could cry.
12. SunChips Whole Grain Snacks
It’s no surprise that these clever not-potato-chips have stood the test of time. They pack an impressive 14 to 19 grams of whole grain per serving and have no artificial flavors. The ingredient list is short, the chips are salty and ever-so-slightly sweet, and they are definitely better for your kid than Doritos but just as delicious.
13. Crispy Green Freeze-Dried Fruit
These single-serving banana chip snack packs are just so tasty. They consist of one sole ingredient (bananas) and are extra crispy like chips. They’re literally just dried-out (no sugar added) bananas that by some magic taste really good. It’s not a meal substitute, but it’s a fantastic wholesome nosh when you have high hopes for dinner.
14. Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame
While this crunchy snack is actually marketed for people on a plant-based diet (parents, a collective laugh?), they are shockingly kid-friendly. They’re loaded with iron and protein for energy, mildly seasoned with only sea salt and sufficiently dehydrated to please the pickiest child’s palate. Your kid won’t know the difference between crunchy edamame and a Corn Nut, but you do.
15. Good Health Veggie Stix
Will your kid eat freshly cooked vegetables? Well, that’s a mealtime experiment...and if it fails, serve up some veggie stix. (Parenting is all about knowing when to compromise, right?) But really, this veggie-based snack is packed with vitamins A, C, E, B6 and K, so it really is a solid plan B. (Also, they taste like extra-crispy french fries, so they shan’t be snubbed!)