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10 Easy Peasy Healthy Snack Ideas for Picky Eaters

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

A cute little girl with pigtails holding a granola bar in her hands

Are you tired of trying to come up with snack ideas for your picky eaters? Do you find yourself constantly battling with your kids over what they will and won't eat?

Fear not, because there are plenty of delicious and healthy snack options that even the pickiest eaters will (learn to) love. As an experienced Healthy Eating Coach for kids, and a mom to two reformed picky eaters, here is a list of some of my favorite snacks, packed with nutrition and worthy of putting on repeat as you work to get your picky eaters on board.

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Why is snack time important for picky eaters?

Picky eaters can be difficult to feed, and snack time is no exception. But snack time is important for picky eaters because it gives them an opportunity to try new foods and get the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Snacks can also help prevent hunger between meals, which can lead to overeating or unhealthy food choices.

Snacks should be a part of your child's daily routine, and it's important to make sure they're getting a variety of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. This can be a challenge for picky eaters, but by offering a variety of healthy snacks, you can encourage your child to try new foods and develop a taste for healthy snacks.

The challenges of finding healthy snack ideas for picky eaters

One of the biggest challenges of finding healthy snack ideas for picky eaters is finding foods that your child will actually eat. Picky eaters often have very specific preferences and may refuse to try new foods. This can make it difficult to provide a variety of healthy snacks.

Another challenge is finding snacks that are convenient and easy to prepare. As parents we are busy and don't often have a lot of time to spend on snack prep. This can lead to relying on processed or packaged snacks, which may not be the healthiest option.

8 healthy snack ideas for even the pickiest eaters

  1. Fruit or Fruit Kebabs: Whether it's sliced apples, grapes, or a juicy orange, fruit is a great option for picky eaters. Not only is it sweet and tasty, but it's also packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that growing kids need. Cut up fruit on kebabs can make for a fun snack and craft activity for the kids as they make and 'brave taste' their rainbows on a stick. These multi-colored heart bamboo sticks are short and sweet and just the right size for your kid chef.

  2. Homemade trail mix: Mix together some nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and whole-grain cereal for a satisfying and healthy snack we like to call 'Healthy Party Snack Mix'.

  3. Fruit and veggie smoothies: Or 'Super Hero Power Shakes' as we call them: Blend together your child's favorite fruits (and veggies) with some tolerated yogurt or milk or 100% juice for a snack that is both healthy and tasty. (We throw in a small handful of fresh spinach leaves to add no extra taste but lots of extra nutrients)

  4. Energy Bites: Homemade energy bites are a tasty and healthy snack that can be made with a variety of ingredients such as nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Check out our feeding tip article that has a simple, yummy recipe for making energy bites at home.

  5. Apple slices with nut butter: Slice up some apples and serve with your child's favorite nut butter (or SunButter if your child is nut-free) for a tasty and nutritious snack.

  6. Yogurt parfait: Layer dairy or plant-based yogurt with fruit and granola in a cup or jar for a delicious and healthy snack.

  7. Veggie sticks with hummus: Serve up some baby carrots, celery sticks, or other veggies with some hummus or other nutritious dip for a healthy and satisfying snack.

  8. Cheese and whole-grain crackers: Pair some cheese with whole-grain crackers for a nutritious and filling snack.

  9. Homemade popsicles: Blend together some fruit and yogurt or milk, pour into popsicle molds, and freeze for a healthy and refreshing snack. See our super easy homemade popsicle recipes post here.

  10. Roasted chickpeas: Toss some chickpeas with olive oil and seasonings, then roast in the oven for a crunchy and flavorful snack.

A mother in the kitchen helping her daughter use a kid chef knife

Snack time prep tips for busy parents

As a busy parent, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthy snacks for your picky eater. But with a little planning and preparation, snack time can be easy and stress-free.

One tip is to prep snacks in advance. Cut up fruit and veggies and store them in the fridge for easy snacking. Make a batch of homemade trail mix or roasted chickpeas and store in an airtight container for a quick and healthy snack.

Another tip is to involve your child in snack prep. Let them help pick out fruits and veggies at the grocery store or help chop veggies for a snack. This can help encourage them to try new foods and make snack time more enjoyable for everyone.

How to encourage picky eaters to try new snacks

Encouraging picky eaters to try new snacks can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can try to make it easier. One tip is to offer small portions of new foods alongside familiar foods. This can help your child feel more comfortable trying new things.

Another tip is to make snack time fun and interactive. Try serving up snacks in a fun and creative way, like using cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of fruits and veggies or letting your child assemble their own yogurt parfait.

Toddler snack ideas for picky eaters

Toddlers can be especially picky eaters, but there are plenty of healthy snack ideas that they'll love. Here are a few toddler-friendly snack ideas:

  • Banana pancakes: Mash up a ripe banana and mix with an egg for a quick and easy pancake batter. Make mini pancakes that you can even serve with a dollop of nut butter for a healthy and delicious snack with boosted protein.

  • Sweet potato fries: Slice up a sweet potato into thin strips, toss with olive oil and seasonings, and bake in the oven for a healthy and tasty snack.

  • Frozen yogurt bites: Spoon some yogurt onto a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Serve as a healthy and refreshing snack.

Snack time alternatives to processed and packaged snacks

Processed and packaged snacks can be convenient, but they're often high in sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives. Here are some healthy snack alternatives to processed and packaged snacks:

  • Fresh fruit: Apples, bananas, oranges, and berries are all healthy and convenient snack options.

  • Veggies and dip: Baby carrots, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes are all great options for dipping in hummus or guacamole.

  • Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and can be made in advance for easy snacking.

Making snack time easy for parents and healthy for picky eaters

Snack time can be a challenge for picky eaters, but with a little creativity and planning, it can also be a fun and delicious way to get the nutrients your child needs to grow and thrive.

Ultimately, the key to finding healthy, winning snack ideas for picky eaters is to offer a variety of options and to get creative with your choices. Don't be afraid to try new things and encourage picky eaters to step outside of their comfort zones. With a little bit of experimentation and some patience, you can find the perfect snacks to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Build a Better Eater book for parents of picky eaters

Looking for an easy, go-to guide to tackle picky eating once and for all? Get the short eBook or paperback written by a professional eating coach and behavioral therapist.

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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