Best Toddler Snacks
Best Toddler Snacks
February 3, 2023

Best Toddler Snacks

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Best Toddler Snacks

Toddlerhood is an adventurous time for your little one. All the walking, running, climbing and playing they’re learning to do keeps their little bodies busy, and to make sure they’re properly fueled, pediatricians recommend toddlers eat three meals and two to three snacks per day, on average.

Just like the full-sized meals you give your toddler, their snacks should be nutrient-dense. Think of each snack time as a mini meal—plenty of vitamins and minerals, not just empty calories. And whether you go for store bought snacks or homemade, there are a ton of healthy options so your little one can experience a wide variety.

When looking for healthy snack ideas for your toddler, there are a three important things to keep in mind:

  • Choking hazards. Until your toddler’s molars have come in and they’ve mastered the jaw movements needed for chewing (sometimes not until they’re three or four years old), avoid foods that are:
    • Hard: raw fruits and vegetables (for carrots, apples, etc, make sure they’re cooked until soft), granola, hard candy, pretzels and nuts
    • Chewy: tough or chewy meats (including hot dogs and sausages), gummy candy, chewing gum, dried fruits, marshmallows and nut butters (more on how to give your toddler peanut butter below)
    • Larger than bite size, especially whole grapes, cherries and cherry tomatoes (be sure to cut these into lengthwise quarters)
    • Crumbly, or small enough to be missed when chewing, especially seeds (including in whole grain breads).
  • Common food allergies. If you haven’t tested your toddler for a certain food allergy yet, give them only small amounts at a time, and not with any other foods. Watch closely for any reactions, and report any reactions to their pediatrician.
  • Added sugar. If you’re giving your toddler store bought snacks, keep an eye on the nutrition label. Added sugar isn’t recommended for children under two years old, and children older than two shouldn’t have more than 25 grams of added sugar per day. But keep in mind that that doesn’t include natural sugars like those found in fresh fruit and many other healthy foods.

How to give your toddler peanut butter

Nut butters, including peanut butter, are a tricky food for toddlers for several reasons. It’s one of the most common (and dangerous) food allergies, and it’s considered a choking hazard because it can get stuck inside the airways.

If you’ve already tested your toddler for nut allergies and determined that they won’t cause any reaction, the best way to feed your toddler peanut butter or any other nut butter is to spread it very thinly on bite-sized pieces of bread or soft fruits. Never give your toddler globs or spoonfuls of peanut butter, and remember that peanut butter is still a choking hazard even for adults.

Best Toddler Snacks

Even if your toddler is really active, remember that their tummy is still tiny compared to an adult’s—they only need about 1,000 to 1,400 calories a day. So don’t overload their plates at meals, and keep their snack size to about what would fit inside a snack cup.

Keep everything bite-sized (toddler bites, not grown-up bites). Whether you’re serving fruits, vegetables, grains or pre-packaged snacks, make sure they’re no bigger than one to two centimeter slices or half-inch chunks.

Here’s a big list of easy, healthy snacks for toddlers:


  • Apples, peeled and cored
  • Applesauce
  • Banana slices
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries, large ones cut in half
  • Raspberries, large ones cut in half
  • Strawberries, remove tops and cut into quarters
  • Cherries and grapes, cut into lengthwise/vertical quarters (sort of almond-shaped)
  • Mandarins and clementines, peeled with as much of the pith removed as possible, then separate the slices
  • Peaches, fresh or canned
  • Pears and mango, fresh or canned
  • Kiwi fruit, peeled
  • Melons, all seeds removed
  • Avocado, peeled and pit removed

Veggies and Legumes

  • Carrots, cooked until soft or, if your toddler has their molars, left raw in very thin matchstick slices
  • Broccoli and cauliflower, cooked until soft and large stalks separated
  • Peas
  • Beans, cooked until soft enough to mash
  • Potatoes, peeled and cooked until soft enough to mash
  • Sweet potatoes, peeled cooked until soft
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut into lengthwise/vertical quarters (sort of almond-shaped)
  • Edamame, removed from pods
  • Cucumber, peeled
  • Zucchini and squash, peeled and cooked until soft
  • Pumpkin, all seeds removed and cooked until soft


  • Yogurt, whole fat, regular or Greek
  • Mild cheese (cheddar, provolone, mozzarella), cut into small matchsticks (cubes can be too chewy for young toddlers, and string cheese could present a choking hazard)
  • Cottage cheese, whole fat
  • Milk, whole fat


  • Toast slices, especially with a thin spread of nut butter or mashed avocado
  • Waffles and pancakes, whole wheat
  • Muffins, especially with fruit (but no nuts, since they’re hidden and could be a choking hazard)


  • Chicken and turkey, boneless, skinless and cooked thoroughly, cut into small pieces without stringy parts or cartilage
  • Low-mercury fish (like tilapia, salmon, trout and crab), skinless and cooked thoroughly, ensuring all bones are removed
  • Ground beef, thoroughly cooked and diced into small pieces
  • Deli meats
  • Eggs, thoroughly cooked as hard boiled, scrambled, omelettes or egg muffins (add cheese and veggies, but be aware of any large chunks that may be tough to chew)
  • Nut butters, only after having tested your toddler for nut allergies
  • Hummus


Be sure to give your toddler a variety of food groups at each snack time. That doesn’t mean a huge portion, though; just a few bites of each different food. Pro tip: serve fruits and veggies with dips like greek yogurt, hummus and guacamole or spread a very thin layer of nut butter to get more food groups in (and make it fun for your little one to dip and dunk).

Amylia Ryan is the Associate Editor at Babylist, where she writes and edits content on health, wellness, baby products and more. Before dedicating herself to helping new parents learn all about life with a baby, she worked in book publishing as an editor. She still sometimes edits books on the side, but the majority of her free time is dedicated to her two children.

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