13 Daycare Snack Ideas For Toddlers, From a Registered Dietitian

daycare snack ideas for toddlers

Are you struggling to find daycare snack ideas for toddlers? If so, you’re not alone. It sounds so simple, yet it can become so complicated.

With my first son, I stayed home for the majority of his “daycare years,” so I really wasn’t prepared for what I faced when my youngest started daycare at such a young age.

It can be hard to find healthy, yet snacks to appease tiny taste buds and picky eaters. Once they are in a bigger daycare, it’s likely that you won’t have to pack snacks. However, if they are in a small home environment, you may be asked to pack their own meals and snacks.

In this article, I’ll provide you with some of my favorite nourishing daycare snack ideas for toddlers. I’ll also share a few of the best toddler utensils and the best toddler snack cups I’ve found to pack your snacks in!

*This article includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Best Toddler Snack Cups and Toddler Utensils

  1. Munchkin Stainless Steel Snack Catcher With Lid
  2. Stainless Steel Containers For Dips and Condiments (perfect for ranch or yogurt dip!)
  3. Housavvy Toddler Tumblers Stainless Steel Cups With Lid
  4. Kirecoo 2 Set Toddler Utensils (comes with a carrying case and is easy on the go!)
  5. Bentgo Kids Chill Lunch Box- Bento Style (comes with a removable ice pack!)

These are just a few of my favorite toddler snack cups and utensils for daycare, and on the go, I plan to compile a full list later, but this should get you started for now!

15 Daycare Snack Ideas For Toddlers

With that being said, here are 15 of my top choices for daycare snacks for toddlers. 

string cheese and apple slices

1. String Cheese and Apple Slices

One thing we never go without at our house is string cheese. Both of my boys love it, and it is so easy to bring as a filling toddler snack for on the go. For sanitary reasons, you could send individual string cheese along with pre-packaged apple slices, or you can slice your own and send in a Ziploc bag.

*Tip: To keep the apples from turning brown, you can give them a spritz of lemon juice.

2. Applesauce Pouches

Applesauce pouches are easy and convenient. They make for perfect daycare snacks for toddlers. Be sure to choose a brand without added sugars!

3. Protein Balls

My kids absolutely love homemade protein balls. We typically try to make a batch for the week every Sunday. But, let’s be honest, they are usually gone by Wednesday because they are so delicious and the whole family enjoys them. Check out the recipe I use here.

Greek Yogurt

4. Yogurt

Yogurt is another favorite among my picky eaters. It’s so versatile and can make so many different snacks. Full-fat Greek yogurt makes for a great high-protein, filling snack. It also is less messy since it’s super creamy and tends to stay on the spoon.

5. Fresh Fruit Cups

These are easy to make ahead of time and store in stainless steel containers. I suggest getting various fruit like kiwi, strawberries, sliced apples, and mandarin oranges and chopping them up very small. Package them in with a low-sugar lemonade to add flavor and prevent the fruit from turning brown.

cold cut sandwiches

6. Cold Sandwich Quarters

Sandwiches are a quick and easy daycare snack or meal for toddlers. I try to stick with the all-natural, lean, nitrite-free deli meat. You can also use chicken or tuna salad as a substitute for deli meat. When I have time, I sometimes use a sandwich cutter to make fun shapes.

7. Nut Butter and Jelly Roll-Ups

I make these pretty frequently for my boys. They’re pretty easy to make and are a nutritious, filling daycare snack for toddlers. 

How to make peanut butter and jelly roll-ups:

  1. Get two slices of whole grain bread and remove the edges.
  2. Use a rolling pin to flatten each slice.
  3. Spread a thin layer of nut butter and a thin layer of natural jelly. (you can use honey, too!)
  4. Simply roll up and cut into 1 inch thick.

8. Veggie Sticks and Hummus

Slice carrots or your child’s other favorite veggies into matchsticks. Portion out hummus in individual containers. Serve dipped together for a healthy, protein-packed toddler daycare snack. If you’re having trouble getting your child to eat veggies, you can learn more about vegetables for picky eaters here.

Cottage cheese and peachers

9. Cottage Cheese and Peaches

Oh, what a classic! I remember when I was a little girl eating cottage cheese and peaches at my grandmother’s house. My boys still love this combo today. I recommend whole-fat cottage cheese topped with thin-sliced peaches or a fruit of your choice. 

10. Triscuits with Cheese

Pair sliced cheese or cheese cubes with Triscuits! 

11. Milk and Cereal

I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m in need of a quick pick-me-up or snack, I love a good bowl of milk and cereal. And most toddlers do, too! Be sure to choose a low sugar cereal such as cheerios, corn flakes, or puffed rice cereal. You can also serve plain, dry cereal for a snack without the milk for an easy on-the-go toddler snack.

Nut butter banana bites for toddler daycare snack idea

12. Nut Butter Banana Bites

We like to pair peanut or almond butter with bananas for an easy afternoon snack. It also is a good daycare snack idea for toddlers. (and bid kids alike!) Simply cut the bananas into small slices and spread the nut butter on top. Place a slice on top to make a “sandwich.” They’re perfect for feeding little mouths!

13. Granola Bars

Store-bought granola bars are probably one of the easiest daycare snacks for toddlers. However, all store-bought granola bars are not the healthiest. I always recommend choosing one without added sugars or a ton of additives. One of my favorites is the Rx Kids Bar. My (almost) 2 year old and 5 year old LOVE them.

Check Before Sending Toddler Snacks For Daycare

Some daycares have more strict rules than others. Many larger facilities do not allow in outside food unless you have a note or special dietary needs. However, there are still many facilities that allow toddler daycare snacks in.

You’ll always want to ask to make sure what you’re bringing is OK. You’ll also want to keep everything labeled really well with your child’s name, especially if you are sending in foods because your little one has allergies.

Summary

If your little one is just starting daycare, it can be scary to know what to bring. Not to mention other moms that frequently check out what’s in your kiddo’s lunch box. By mixing things up trying different daycare snack ideas for toddlers, it will help you have peace of mind knowing your little one is healthy and nourished while you’re working.

P.S. If you’re thinking about taking a trip with your little one and need more snack ideas, check out my favorite 25 toddler snacks for a plane article!

Frequently Asked Questions

What snacks should I give my 2 year old?

The best snacks for two-year-olds are greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, matchstick veggies and hummus, and no sugar added granola bars.

How do I bring toddler snacks to daycare?

After getting approval from your facility, package your daycare snacks in a stainless steel container to keep them fresh. If they need to be cold, use a lunch box with an ice pack. 

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