Little girl with pepper

Top tips for healthy snacks

It can be difficult to know what snacks to offer children, especially when some of their favourite foods may not be available at the moment. The top tips and guidance below will hopefully give you some ideas for tasty, healthy snacks that the whole family can enjoy.

  • Young children need 3 small meals each day with 2 healthy snacks in between
  • A child’s stomach is the size of their fist – keeping snacks small means children will still want to eat at mealtimes
  • It’s a good idea to offer a starchy food as part of 1 snack daily e.g. (toast or rice cakes). Perhaps offer these starchy snacks when your child is hungrier
  • Where possible, offer fruit or vegetables as part of every snack – fruit and veg in season is often cheaper, or try tinned fruit in juice (drained and rinsed if in syrup)
  • Think of snacks as ‘mini meals’ – eat them sitting down and from a plate, where possible
  • Remember, you can always swap things from the same food group – for example, if you can’t get crackers, try breadsticks, pitta bread, crumpet or toast
  • Milk (full-fat for children aged 1-2 years) or water are the best drinks for young children

Healthy snack ideas

  • Cheese and breadsticks with cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
  • Toast and mashed banana or nut butter (if no allergies)
  • Oatcakes with soft cheese spread
  • Cheese and sliced apple
  • Crackers with mashed hardboiled egg
  • Tinned fruit in juice – or drain and rinse if in syrup
  • Frozen berries defrosted and added to plain, unsweetened yoghurt
  • Pitta bread with tuna or hummus
  • Vegetable sticks, e.g. carrot, cucumber, pepper, celery
  • Fresh fruit slices, e.g. melon, apple, plum – peeled for very young children
  • Toasted tea-cake or fruit bread
  • Rice cakes with grapes cut in quarters
  • Fruit or vegetable faces – decorate a scotch pancake with fruit or veg sticks to make a face
  • Mini vegetable quiches – see our recipe here and check out our other recipes

For lots more healthy snack ideas, have a look at First Steps Nutrition’s Eating well: snacks for 1-4 year olds. You can download it here:


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Girl with apple
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