You can help your preschooler eat a better overall diet by boosting the nutrients in snacks. This list of healthy and nutrient dense snack ideas arms you with snacks that are so good for your preschooler, it’s okay if they skimp on dinner.
Fruits and Vegetables – Always a good choice for a nutrient-dense snack. Fresh options are healthy and convenient. Try grapes, apples, bananas, pears, carrots, broccoli, or berries. For added appeal, offer healthy dips like hummus or guacamole. Find more ideas for serving fruits and vegetables –
Nuts and Nut Butters – Peanut butter and other nuts butters are a favorite with preschoolers. And they are loaded with healthy nutrients. Find out the Good News About Peanut Butter.
Use nuts and nut butters to add healthy flavor to fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads and crackers. Add chopped nuts to a bowl of apple chunks for a quick and healthy preschooler salad. For a convenient on-the-go snack, pack nuts and dried fruit.
Edamame – Boiled soybeans in the pod are a tasty and fun snack – just squeeze the pods to pop the beans in your mouth. Frozen edamame takes only a few minutes to prepare – just boil or thaw and serve. Look in the frozen section of your supermarket near vegetables or in the natural/organic section.
Whole Grain Snacks – Many popular preschooler snacks are made from refined grains – crackers, pretzels, most baked goods. Try adding healthier whole grains during snack time with these yummy Whole Grain Granola Snacks. Or choose granola bars with oatmeal or other whole grain as the first ingredient. Also, when choosing snacks, look for whole wheat crackers and pretzels.
Avocados or Guacamole – Avocados have lots of healthy fats plus the fiber found in other fruits and vegetables. Want to serve tortilla chips? Add guacamole for variety and a nutrient boost.
Beans and Bean Dips – Beans are packed with protein, fiber and nutrients. Add beans to snack time with bean dips. Just serve refried beans or hummus with vegetables, crackers, pita bread, or tortilla chips. Or, add refried beans or black beans to a small tortilla, top with a little cheese, and warm up for a filling mid-day snack.
Granola Bars – Certain store-bought granola bars are nutritious but they can also contain lots of added sugar. Look for choices with oats and nuts and pass on those with cookie bits. Homemade granola bars are a great way to control the ingredients and suit the taste of your preschooler.
Fruit Muffins – Muffins made with fresh fruit are easy to prepare at home. Take any muffin recipe and add bits of apple, banana, or dried fruit.
Oatmeal Cookies – If you want to serve cookies, choose one with a healthy ingredient like oats. This packs in more fiber and nutrients.
Low-Fat Cottage Cheese with Fruit Pieces – Low-fat cottage cheese is a healthy dairy option and is goes great with pieces of pear, grapes, or banana.
Fruit Smoothies – Whole fruit in a drink! Just remember to go light on added sugar or honey.
Dried Fruits and Vegetables – Preschoolers seem to enjoy the sweet, chewiness of dried fruits and veggies. They can stick to the teeth, though, so remember to brush!
Lowfat Yogurt – Use this as a dairy option but keep an eye on added sugars. See our Review of Kids’ Yogurt.
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by Kati Chevaux