Inside: Need preschool snack ideas for the whole class or just your child? Here are 50 healthy snacks, with a printable list.
Whether your child attends a half-day or full-day preschool program, there’s probably a snack involved.
As a registered dietitian, I think preschool snacks can serve a lot of good purposes. It’s a great way to build community in the classroom, as children gather together to eat. Snack time helps build fine motor skills, like pouring drinks, serving food, and observing good table manners.
Class snacks can also help expose kids to new foods and different flavors. And they help keep kids nourished between meals, especially for full-day preschools.
So if you need to provide a snack for your child–or occasionally, the whole class–here’s a list of ideas for you.
50 Healthy Preschool Snacks
Preschool snacks to bring for the group
If family members rotate providing the snack, your child’s teacher will likely share some guidelines with you–be sure to follow them, since there may be life-threatening food allergies in the class such as peanut, tree nut, and dairy.
Also, two notes: Aim for snacks lower in added sugar when you can, and opt for fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.
- Fruit & veggie rainbow: Arrange cut fruits and veggies in ROYGBIV fashion on a tray
- Homemade applesauce
- Yogurt parfaits with fruit
- Sliced veggies such as carrot sticks, cucumbers, and bell pepper + dip cups
- Whole grain crackers and cheese sticks
- Tortillas rolled up with sunflower seed butter and banana slices
- Whole wheat pita triangles with hummus
- Cottage cheese with cut fruit
- Home baked mini muffins
- Pinwheel sandwich wraps: Place a slice of deli meat and cheese on a whole grain tortilla, roll up and slice
- Trail mix made with whole grain cereal pieces, dried fruit, and mini pretzels
- Guacamole and whole grain chips
- Air-popped popcorn (for kids 4 and older)
- Ants on a Log: Spread Laughing Cow cheese inside a celery stick and dot with raisins or dried cranberries
- Green smoothies: Blend spinach, frozen bananas, pineapple, and water
- Salsa and whole grain chips
- Fruit salad: Fill ice cream cones with cut berries
- Whole bananas: Write each kid’s name on it with a marker
- Mandarin oranges
- Apples w/ old-fashioned peeler
Tip: If your child’s preschool provides a group snack but you’re not pleased with what’s served, talk to the preschool teacher and director. They may be open to a discussion and ideas for improvement. And of course, always be polite!
Store-bought snacks for preschool
Because of allergies, some classrooms require that all school snack items be individually pre-packaged, with clear labels. Check with the teacher about class allergies and whether you should avoid products made in the same facility as allergens such as nuts and tree nuts.
- Squeeze pouches (such as GoGo Squeez)
- Cheese crackers (such as Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies)
- Granola bars
- Individual bags of snack mix (such as Chex Mix)
- Small bags of chips such as PopCorners
- Yogurt tubes or cups
- Cheese sticks
- Applesauce cups
- Fruit cups
- Freeze dried fruit
- Allergy-friendly packaged snacks like EnjoyLife
- Individual cups of hummus (check for class allergies–some hummus contains sesame, which is an allergen for some people) + mini pita
- Individual cups of guacamole + small bags of chips
- Individual cups of whole grain cereal
- Mini boxes of raisins
*Look for brands of Annie’s and Cascadian Farms granola bars that are labeled “Made in a Peanut Free Facility”
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Preschool snacks to pack for your child
- Apple slices + cheese
- Sunflower seed butter sandwich cut into a fun shape with cookie cutters
- Hard-boiled eggs + berries
- Plain yogurt with fruit and honey
- Mini bagel or waffle with cream cheese or Laughing Cow cheese
- Cottage cheese with sliced fruit
- Hummus with pita and cucumber slices
- Homemade muffin + milk box
- Snap peas + whole grain crackers
- Individual kefir or yogurt drink + banana
- Homemade bar + milk box
- Deli meat rolled up + whole grain crackers
- Tortilla spread with nut or seed butter + jelly
- Air fryer tofu bites + Triscuit Thins
- Mini protein pancakes + yogurt cup
When packing a snack for your child, keep a few things in mind:
- Use containers that are easy for little hands to open
- Aim for 2-3 food groups, such as fruit and dairy, or vegetables and a protein-rich food
- Stick with familiar foods for your child’s preschool snack
- Include an ice pack if you’re packing perishable items for food safety (we use these Pack-It lunch bags that have built-in cold packs)
- Check in with your child to see if they’re liking their snack and if it’s enough (or too much) food
- Encourage your child to help pack their snack to build skills and independence
Components of healthy preschool snacks
- Sunflower seed butter (and other nut and seed butters if allowed)
- Ground flaxseed (include it in baked goods)
Great source of protein:
- Dairy products like cheese and yogurt
- Deli meat
- Mashed beans
- Nut and seed butter (if allowed)
Fruits & vegetables:
- Fresh fruit (cut into smaller pieces when needed)
- Fresh veggies (cut into smaller pieces when needed)
- Fruit cups and applesauce
- Dried and freeze-dried fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain crackers
- Whole grain cereal
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Popcorn (for kids 4 and older)
Questions about Preschool Snacks
Are there any foods I definitely shouldn’t pack?
Yes, you’ll want to avoid foods that are known choking risks. These foods are all considered potential choking risks for children younger than four. Avoid these foods or, in the case of items like grapes and tomatoes, cut into small pieces. Get more advice on preventing choking from the USDA.
- Whole grapes
- Cheese cubes
- Very hard pretzels
- Whole cherry tomatoes
- Whole hot dogs
- Globs of peanut butter
- Whole baby carrots
Is it okay to pack cookies and other sweets for my child?
Yes! It’s fine to include those kinds of fun snacks sometimes. When “treat foods” are neutralized by making them available, kids may be less likely to obsess about them. Just be sure that most snacks are also made up of “meal foods” too (like fruits and vegetables) and include a variety of foods in their snacks throughout the week.
What portion sizes are right for preschoolers?
Here are some suggested portion sizes for different age groups from the American Academy of Pediatrics. But keep in mind that every child is different. Your child’s appetite may be smaller or larger than another child’s.
What’s a good drink for preschoolers?
Kids ages 2-5 should drink water and milk (dairy or non-dairy), plus small amounts if they’re given juice, according to expert groups like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Juice is actually discouraged in daycare and preschools, since it’s high in (natural) sugar and calories, can fill tummies so kids aren’t hungry for food, and can be a culprit in toddler diarrhea. See more advice here: Healthy Drinks For Kids.
Got any snack recipes for preschoolers?
Yep! Check out the snacks below:
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