Snacks are Important

Parenting in the Early Years

Snacks are Important

Snacks can make important contributions to good nutrition. With all the energy your toddler/preschooler uses, his stomach can't hold enough to keep him from getting hungry between meals. Offer snacks midway between meals.

Remember the division of responsibility in feeding. You are responsible for the when (scheduled snacks), where and what. Your child is responsible for how much he eats or if he chooses to eat at all.

Snacks are often mistaken as "treats". Remember that snacks are "mini-meals" and are meant to add to the nutritional requirements for healthy growth and development.

Plan snacks to include a serving from at least two food groups.

Be creative! Here are some ideas to get you started:


  • Whole wheat bread
  • Bagel (cut into small pieces)
  • Crackers
  • Dry cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Rice Cakes


  • Carrots & Green beans (well cooked and cut)
  • Steamed broccoli and cauliflower
  • Cooked yams and potatoes
  • Peas (mashed)

Try fresh vegetable dipped in yogurt, cottage cheese or spread with peanut butter.


  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Pears (sliced)
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Plums (all pitted and sliced)
  • Orange or Grapefruit sections (cut into pieces)
  • Dried fruit and granola


  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt


  • Canned tuna
  • Peanut butter (smooth, spread thinly)


Use water, milk, and vegetable juices rather than soda, powdered or canned fruit-flavored drinks. (Do not let children drink milk or juices other than at meal or snack time. They will fill up and not get the necessary nutrients at their meals!)