I get it. You’re busy, and you’re on a budget, but you still want to pack a wholesome snack for your child. What follows are some ideas for quick, easy, healthy preschool snacks that won’t break the bank.
As a preschool teacher, I’ve seen countless snacks sent with the children in my class. Some are fantastic while others are, well… not so beneficial.
Before I continue, I’d encourage you to be familiar with your preschool’s snack policy. Most likely it includes being peanut or nut-free. It may also include other things.
Disclaimer: The following suggestions are to be used at viewer discretion as every child and preschool is unique.
Fruit and Vegetable Snacks
- Fresh Fruit/Veggies
- A classic for excellent reason! Sending fresh fruit or veggies for your child is super healthy.
- I recommend cutting the fruit for your child rather than sending the fruit whole, unless you expect them to eat the whole thing. I have had many a time when a child eats one or two bites of an apple or banana, then throws the rest in the garbage.
- When cutting fruit, and with small round foods such as grapes and cherry tomatoes, be aware of their potential as choking hazards.
- Possible fruit or vegetables: banana, apple, orange, peach, pineapple, grapes, berries, melons, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomato, snow peas, bell peppers, and so on.
- Frozen Veggies/Berries
- Recently I discovered a forgotten bag of green beans in my freezer. This quickly became one of my quick and easy go-to preschool snacks.
- Put a small handful in the microwave for a minute or two. Let them cool briefly, then stick them in a container.
- I like to add a touch of salt and oregano to spice it up, but that’s optional.
- Possible frozen items: green beans, broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mixture, peas and corn, berries, Brussels sprouts, or anything really.
- Cooked Veggies
- This is another of my favorites. It’s healthy while still being quick and easy. My favourite is broccoli. I take enough to fill my small snack container, cut into easy finger-food size, then stick the pieces in the microwave with a touch of water for a minute. The microwave softens the broccoli so it’s easy to eat without dipping. I often add a touch of salt and spices such as oregano or coriander.
- Possible veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage (in small portions), among others.
- Dried Fruit
- I enjoy dried fruit. However, use your own discretion as to how healthy or not these are. Store-bought dried fruit may have additives or could be a concern if your child’s teeth are not being brushed well. However, they are certainly healthier than many other options.
- Possible dried fruit: raisins, banana chips, cranberries, dates (pitted), mangoes, apricots (pitted), etc.
- Individual applesauce cups can be a healthy option, especially if you get the unsweetened kinds. However, be sure your child is comfortable using a spoon by themselves before sending this snack with them.
- Fresh Fruit/Veggies
- Have leftovers from a meal your child enjoys? Why not send them along as a snack. Just be sure your child is able to eat the leftovers independently, whether that means using a spoon or whatever is needed.
- Options: pasta dishes, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets, pizza, pancakes, perogies, or rice with lentils or other sauce, to name a few.
- It’s often a good idea to include a source of protein in your child’s snack
- Protein options: cheese, cream cheese, slices of meat, pepperoni sticks, scrambled eggs, a hard-boiled and shelled egg, and so on.
- Beans, hummus, and yogurt can also be included for protein. I’ll give more ideas regarding those below.
- Hummus can be sent as a dip for veggies, or spread on pita bread, a tortilla, or a slice of bread.
- Fruit yogurt is another good and common preschool snack item. I discourage sending yogurt tubes as those easily make a large mess when squeezed. Individual yogurt cups, or pouring a small amount of yogurt into a reusable container works well if your child is confident using a spoon. Yogurt drinks are also decent options.
- This one might sound weird, but don’t cross it off the list too fast. Next time you dump a can of chickpeas or black beans into something, eat a few plain. I knew a child who enjoyed snacking on chickpeas. I would only give beans in small amounts, and along with other snack items. They are a simple healthy addition to preschool snacks.
- While I don’t recommend sending a snack consisting entirely of these sorts of foods, having some along with fruit, veggies, or other foods can make a snack feel more complete and filling.
- Crackers – there are many types of crackers available. Some are far healthier than others. Check the ingredients for things such as artificial colour or flavouring. For a bit of variety, try rice crackers, pretzels, or plain graham crackers.
- Cheerios or other low sugar cereal that can be eaten dry is another option to consider.
- Pita bread, tortillas, naan, and chapatis are among the many types of breads you could send with your child. Perhaps spread a little cream cheese, jam, or hummus on it to add flavour. (Be wary of chocolate spreads as they often contain nuts.)
- Raisin bread – buy or make your own. Cut a slice, butter it, and place it in a container for snack. With store-bought raisin bread, I prefer to toast it lightly before buttering.
I hope this list has given you some more snack ideas that are practical, affordable, and easy to do, while being wholesome and healthy. Do you have a favourite preschool snack for your child? Comment below.