Before Dinnertime Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids


I felt so smug having all my ducks in a row concerning breakfast in the am, lunch at noon (or 1), and then dinner around 6 or 7 depending upon when my husband came home.

But what I didn’t count on was my little girl needing something to carry her through until that later dinner hour.

She has a healthy appetite but if I feed her the wrong snack thing before dinner. Then whamo! Her appetite for my hard worked on dinner is done and I'm miffed.

So I’ve been reading and searching for little snack items that I could put together that had some nutritional value, weren’t empty calories, and had a little bit of holding power but not too much to make her full for dinner.

Here's what works for before dinner snacks in our home.

Fruit: Fruit is always good. It’s refreshing, and sweet so it satisfies that need for sugar. We’re an apple family but pears, cantaloupe, kiwi and strawberries, grapes (cut up for tiny tots) and raisins are very good too. Don't want to chop up any fruit? Get applesauce or frozen cut fruit.


Dairy: Pair the fruit with something that has a little protein. A little yogurt or some cheese is very delicious. Apples and pears go very well with cheddar cheese.


Starch: All kids seem to love starch. Bread, crackers, bagels even unsweetened cereal.  I have to put the breaks on my daughter’s overindulgence of it. For the before dinner snack limit how much starch you include in the snack. 2 or 3 crackers, or a half a piece of bread, whole wheat or graham will hold a bit better. You’re combining it with other items so keep that in mind.


Protein: Peanuts or peanut butter can go well with the fruit and crackers too. Don’t serve the dairy and the peanuts or peanut butter together.

Presentation Counts:
 The idea is to make very small servings of these items and serve them up cute. You’re not trying to fill up your children but offer them a holding snack until the dinner hour. Mix various items together. A little yogurt with fruit. Peanuts with crackers. Serve about the size of a teacup and go easy on the peanuts.


I've been making healthy whole food snacks from Healthy Snacks to Go. Read more about this great resource at Kitchen Stewardship.


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