At our school's Early Year's Center, we have quite a lot of experience with snack time. Healthy snacks are essential for fueling developing young minds as they learn and grow throughout the school day. Offering a variety of snacks is important for complete nutrition and to be sure snack time stays interesting and fun.
Here are a few INTL* Preschool-tested snacking tips that you can adapt for your own child at home.
Offer Preschooler-Approved Healthy Foods
Young children are often picky eaters, so here is a list of foods that we know from experience will appeal to a vast majority preschool-aged children.
- Cheese (gouda, cheddar, string cheese)
- Plain yogurt with a small amount of jam or honey mixed in
- Mini bagel with cream cheese
- Whole wheat sliced bread with all-fruit spread
- Whole grain low-sugar cereals
- Crackers (whole wheat/salt-free pretzels, whole grain crackers, rice cakes) with cheese
- Fruits (banana, orange, apple, grapes, clementines, fruit salad, dried fruits/raisins)
- Dried seaweed snacks
- Lightly salted popcorn
- Veggie sticks with hummus
Make Snack Time Fun!
- Make fun shapes with cookie cutters. A boring piece of bread becomes a fun snack when cut into the shape of a flower. Smaller cutters transform fruit or vegetable slices into appealing but healthy treats.In addition to choosing the right foods, adding a small touch of whimsy and novelty to snack time can go a long way towards stimulating a young child's appetite for healthy foods.
- Offer a variety of snacks in an ice cube tray for a visually appealing treat. Kids love having the agency to make their own pick among an assortment of healthy choices.
- Let kids play with "designing" their food. Have them add raisins to a celery stick with peanut butter and it becomes a fun "ants on a log." Help them stick a green pepper stick onto a clementine with a toothpick and it becomes a "pumpkin." "Playing" with food engages kids' imaginations as well as appetites.
- Bake healthy treats together. There are many recipes online for healthy baked treats (such as muffins). If you have the time, whip up a batch with your child. Baking together will help your child learn about measurement, learn to follow directions, and refine their fine motor skills.
- Chat with fellow parents about what snacks their kids enjoy. You might even conspire to introduce each others' kids to new healthy foods, because a new taste can be much more appealing when tried with a friend.
Here's to happy & healthy snacking!
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.