Every day after school, my preschool son comes home and asks for a snack. He ate lunch before noon and had a small snack at 3 p.m., so it’s no wonder he is hungry by 6. Unfortunately, with me just walking in and setting down my laptop bag, I’m in no shape to put a full meal on the table in a matter of moments. In the summer, we usually head straight to the pool anyway, so a snack is a must for swimming.
I don’t want to load him up with sugar and calories, and I like to view snacks as a way to get the good stuff — fruits, veggies, and dairy — on his plate. And while I’m not watching his weight, I do want to be sure I don’t fill him up before dinner or hand him any unnecessary calories.
Here are our favorite after-preschool snacks for toddlers:
Have a hungry toddler? 1 of 8
Click through for 7 healthy, simple snacks for toddlers!
Cheese and crackers 2 of 8
This is a personal favorite of mine — it combines protein and carbs! When we have snack as a family, I usually pull out cheese and crackers to satisfy my guys. This one is pretty filling, though ... so use it when dinner is a few hours away. Try whole wheat crackers to punch up the nutrition and fiber.
Peanut butter and vegetables (or fruit) 3 of 8
An old camp staple! An easy way to get in a vegetable with a taste he will love from the peanut butter. Add some raisins for "ants on a log" fun! Peanut butter is a great source of protein and good fats, so it's the perfect brain food!
Del Monte Fruit Burst 4 of 8
These are a staple in our home. They're easily portable and travel well in a lunch box, and they are satisfying but not filling, with 1 1/2 servings of fruits and veggies in each pouch. See also: They have no high fructose corn syrup! We keep ours in the fridge, so they act like mini-smoothies for our preschooler. One pouch will run 80 calories, so it is the perfect size!
Granola bars 5 of 8
These are great for on-the-go energy and usually come in at just over 100 calories. I've also been known to pair these with a yogurt or cheese stick the mornings we are running late to daycare!
Yogurt 6 of 8
My son LOVES yogurt. While he likes eating it the traditional way — out of a cup with a spoon — he also likes the squeeze tubes and drinks available. Greek yogurt packs more of a punch with protein, but a toddler-size serving of yogurt (half of a regular serving) will run about 75 calories.
Yogurt raisins 7 of 8
These little raisins pack a punch of fiber, but they are sweet enough to fool your toddler into thinking he's eating a treat! I like to serve them with a small side of pretzels or Goldfish to get in some carbs, too. There's roughly 130 calories in 1/4 a cup, but I doubt you want your tot to eat that many!
Fruit 8 of 8
Keep it simple, mom. At the end of a hectic day with your toddler bouncing at your feet and whining for a snack, simply sit her down at the table with a bowl of grapes, slices of apple, or a banana. Packed with the good kind of sugar and carbohydrates, it should hold her until dinner without spoiling her appetite!
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