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Healthy Snacks Ideas for a Picky Eater

If you have a picky eater at home, you know how challenging it can be to come up with healthy snack ideas day after day. One of biggest recommendations for picky eaters is to try and offer variety as much as possible. This can be extremely tricky if your child only like a handful of foods.

I recommend looking at variety a little differently. It can be something as simple as cutting sandwiches up the middle instead of diagonally. Try a different brand of cracker. Vary the shape of the noodles you offer. These small changes can help prevent children from getting too fixated on a specific brand, color, shape, etc. without it being overly difficult for you as the parent.

Try to find foods that are similar to foods that your child already likes. If your child likes red apples, try offering green from time to time. If they like goldfish crackers, offer cheez its. Eventually you can work towards expanding the palate further, but these steps, while appearing small to you, can be huge to your child.

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Snack Ideas

I generally recommend offering an iron containing food, a higher energy food, and a fruit or vegetable at most meals or snacks. I’ll provide some options for each of these that you can use to mix and match. You don’t need to offer all 3 at every meal/snack, but I find having these categories can make coming up with ideas a little simpler.

Some of these foods count in multiple categories. You can use them in whatever category makes the most sense at that meal or snack.

Iron Containing Foods

  • Almond butter
  • Beans
  • Beef
  • Breakfast cereal (fortified)
  • Chicken
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Egg
  • Green peas
  • Hummus
  • Kale
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta (enriched wheat or bean)
  • Pork
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Tuna
  • Turkey

Higher Energy (Fats)

  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia
  • Nuts
  • Nut Butters
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine Nuts

Higher Energy (Carbohydrates)

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Bagels
  • Beans
  • Biscuits
  • Bread
  • Brown Rice
  • Bulgur
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Cornbread
  • Couscous
  • Cream of Rice
  • English Muffins
  • Grits
  • Kamut
  • Lentils
  • Millet
  • Muesli
  • Naan
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Peas
  • Pita
  • Pizza Crust
  • Potatoes
  • Pretzels
  • Ramen
  • Tortillas
  • Waffles
  • White Rice
  • Wild Rice


  • Dragonfruit
  • Fig
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Jackfruit
  • Kiwi
  • Kumquat
  • Mango
  • Melon


  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Salad Greens
  • Snap Peas
  • Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Winter Squash

Putting It All Together

So how do you actually build healthy snacks for your picky eater? It’s simple! Just pick a food from each category. They don’t need to “go together.” Choose at least 1 food that your child usually likes. Try to mix up how you serve it. You can also check out this printable version that includes the food lists plus some snack ideas for inspiration.

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