Here are five toddler snack ideas for when you’re not at home

Quick notes:

  • These nutritious toddler snacks are great on the go.

  • If you’re buying cereals and yogurts, pay attention to labels.

  • Once you find the right snack, pay attention to how you’re packaging it so it stays fresh.

Sometimes getting toddlers the right nutrition isn’t easy. When you’re on the go it can be especially challenging to find healthy snacks that they’ll love. Luckily, you don’t have to resort to chips and pre-packaged junk food. We’ve got some ideas for things that are easy to make, easy to pack, and nutritious.

Fruit and vegetables

Full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, fruit or cut-up vegetables are a nutrition-loaded snack option for toddlers. It is also easy to find things like berries or grape tomatoes that come in bite-sized amounts or like oranges or bananas that, basically, come in their own packages.

Dehydrated fruit and vegetables

Because they have less water and stickiness than their raw counterparts, dehydrated fruit and vegetables can be a neater snack option for when you’re on the go. You can use a home dehydrator to make them or shop for packaged versions. Some baby food companies even sell pre-packaged versions of dehydrated vegetables, like corn or sweet potatoes, that you might not have thought of making on your own.

Another way to put your dehydrator to work is to make fruit leather, the thin and slightly sticky snack that went by the name “fruit roll-ups” in the ’90s. They’re actually not too hard to make at home with the right recipe.

Cereals and trail mix

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A healthy, whole-grain dry cereal or trail mix can be a great bite-sized snack for a toddler that has the munchies. Be careful to read the nutrition labels before you decide what cereal to offer. Some can be surprisingly low in whole grains and high in sugar, other additives, or even unwanted food dyes and preservatives.

Granola Bars

If your toddler can handle it, a full granola bar can also be a great whole-grain choice for snacking on the go. Most come in their own wrappers which makes packing easier if you don’t have much time. As with cereals and trail mix, be sure to read labels before deciding which one you want to serve.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a great option for toddlers because of its creamy, sweet taste and the ability to serve it frozen or smooth depending on how your child likes it. Another bonus is that you can find it on store shelves in small packages or tubes that are easy to carry when you’re out.

As you’re shopping for it, however, pay attention to the kind you’re buying. Not all yogurts are created equal. While some are high in natural fruit, calcium, and protein, others (often with the most colorful packages) are full of sugar, additives, and food dyes.

Packing tips to keep snacks fresh

The right packaging can make a difference in how easy it is to serve toddler snacks when you’re out.

If you don’t pack a snack the right way, all of the effort you made to identify and buy them is likely to go to waste. Berries can be squished beyond recognition, yogurts can spoil at room temperature, and crackers or cereal can become a crumbly mess. Not only are these destroyed snacks likely to get everywhere, they probably won’t make it into your toddler’s mouth.

What’s the answer? Try to stockpile hard-sided, reusable containers, insulated bags, thermoses, and ice packs. Then, use them to pre-pack your snacks ahead of time. This will likely be your number one strategy to keep snacks fresh and appetizing so you’re ready when toddler hunger hits.

 

A deeper dive — More from the 101:

Meal hacks to encourage kids’ healthy eating: Parenting 101
Here are some tricks to help your kids get the right nutrition.

Nutritious meals your picky eater will love: Parenting 101
Great ideas for healthy meals your child will look forward to.