At 8:29 every morning students at Oak Village Academy are engaged in free choice time or outdoor activities… And a minute later one of our teachers announces that it’s “snack time.” The students hear those words, and excitement immediately spreads across everyone’s faces. Well, almost everyone…
There are still three students on tricycles racing each other around the patio, one yelling “You’ll never catch me, Dorothy!” But snack time is here, and the students are presented with two choices in their lunch boxes. Their parents packed both a morning and afternoon snack. But which one to take? Eat the favorite first? Or save it for the afternoon?
Now there’s a chorus in the background of lids being popped off and packages being opened and food being unwrapped. Morning snack time is in full effect—this happens every day at Oak Village academy in our preschool and daycare classes.
So that’s 10 snacks a week, and 40 a month, and… well… it’s just a lot of snacks. #TooManyChoices
But little do the students know, their parents agonize over what type of snack to pack. Some look at the sugar content. How many carbs are in this granola bar? Make sure there’s no peanuts, please. And sugar? Well, just about everything has sugar—added or natural. Ugh. What’s parent to do for snacks? As if packing lunch wasn’t hard enough, you have to make two more choices about snacks!
Oh, what parents do for their children…
Let’s start with some snacky guidelines
Before we give you the ultimate list of snack foods for preschool students, let’s go over some of the don’ts:
First, good eating habits start at home… And most children will eat what their parents have in the cabinets. If there are no chips, donuts and candy bars in the house, a young child will not ask for them. As for McDonald’s? Well, good luck!
Instead, introducing new and healthy foods at home is a good way to develop good eating habits and ensure that your child is receiving the proper nutrition. There are always picky eaters, but—as with lunch—snacks should be devoured like Cookie Monster eating a cookie!
Just don’t give them a cookie… unless it’s a vegan sugar-free cookie. LOL #MissionImpossible?
But it is possible to pack a snack that is nutritious and high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein… while at the same time avoiding prepackaged processed foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. Here are two good rules of thumb:
- No sugary snacks
The leftover slice of birthday cake your child enjoyed last night would be a wonderful surprise at snack time, just totally inappropriate. We recommend you leave that for dessert… at home… after dinner. Cakes, pies, candy bars? Nope. Nope. And nope. And let’s talk about juice boxes. Most contain as much sugar as soda. Even 100% juice has a lot of sugar… How about milk or water as an alternative?
- It should be a snack, not a meal.
Three meals and two snacks a day should suffice most children’s appetites. But portion size matters, and snack should be just that: a light portion that carries the students over from breakfast to lunch… and from lunch to dinner.
So enjoy our list of snacks, and consider mixing and matching to bring all the flavor. Please feel free to contact us with things we missed or should include. #AllWelcome!
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Preschool Snacks
- Apple slices (dip in lemon juice to prevent browning)
- Grapes (cut in quarters)
- Orange slices
- Thawed frozen corn
- Cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters)
- Carrot (sticks or shredded)
- Thawed frozen peas
- Thawed edamame
- Celery sticks
Shelfable Preschool Snacks
- Dried mango
- Dried apricots
- Apple chips
- Freeze dried fruits
- Fruit leather
- Low sugar cereal
- Cinnamon bread
- Graham crackers
- Cheese crackers
- Veggie chips
- Quinoa chips
- Mini rice cakes
Dairy Preschool Snacks
- String Cheese
- Plain or low sugar fruit yogurt
- Cheese (sliced, diced or cubed)
- Liquid Yogurt/Kefir
Protein Preschool Snacks
- Cubed/sliced chicken or turkey
- Beef or turkey jerky
- Sliced roast beef or ham
- Sunflower seeds
- Crispy roast chickpeas
- Hard boiled eggs
And remember how much your child looks forward to preschool snack times… The effort you make puts a big smile on their face!