6 nutritious snacks for picky eaters (2023)

Young children are notorious for being fussy eaters. Until50 percent of kids describe themselves as fussy eatersby their parents or guardians. Trying to feed a fussy toddler is easily one of the most frustrating parts of parenting.

If the meals appealed to the little ones, each one could center on chicken nuggets, pizza or macaroni and cheese. Although these foods are delicious, they don't havethe essential nutrients a growing child desperately needs.

A popular way out of an impasse is to use dessert as a bribe. The promise of something special is often all it takes to break a picky eater's resolve and make him finish his dinner.

Using desserts can be an option for dinner (althoughExperts warn of overkill), but not something to use at snack time. The trick is to put the two together and create a snack that tastes like dessert. It may sound crazy, but there are manyhealthy snacks that are just as delicious as desserts.

It's important to note that being a picky eater isn't limited to young children. for very little30 percent of adults describe themselves as fussy eaters.

The best strategy for children and adults? Offer tasty snacks they can't refuse.

(Video) Is Your Kid a Picky Eater? Do This...

6 snack ideas for picky eaters

Find healthy snack ideas for themorningÖAfternoonit's usually not difficult. Fresh fruits and vegetables are perfect, delicious and nutritious snacks. The problem is that they don't compete with many commonly consumed snack foods. It may be impossible to convince children that they prefer the taste of cucumber over candy.

unfortunately,Most favorite snacks are unhealthy.Chips, fruit snacks, pretzels, granola bars and cookies are far from the most nutritious options for kids or adults. These foods are not only low in nutrients, but also high in nutritional value.refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and sodium.

The good news is that there are great snacks that are just as delicious as these options. Here are six examples of healthy snacks that even the pickiest eaters can enjoy:

Apple Slices and Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is cheat code when it comes to creating a snack. You can add it to almost anything and it will instantly improve the taste. The combination of creamy peanut butter and crunchy apple slices creates a unique texture that can satisfy discerning taste buds.

If apples are not an acceptable option, you can easily substitute bananas. Bananas don't have the same crunchy texture as apples, so they pair well with crunchy or creamy peanut butter. Choosing between different fruits can make it easier for your picky eater to satisfy.

You can also use a different type of nut butter for mixing. Peanut butter may be the best known, but almond butter, nut butter and pistachio butter are all quickly gaining in popularity. These options might be a little more expensive and hard to find, but they might have just the right flavor profile to please your picky eater.

The only downside to peanut butter is that you have to be careful not to overdo it. There isa ton of nutrients in peanut butter, but it is also quite high in calories, saturated fat and hydrogenated oils. It's best to limit your daily consumption of peanut butter to a maximum of two tablespoons.

Homemade track mix

Trail mix is ​​a very popular snack for active people for three reasons: It's convenient, tasty and nutritious. Any snack option that meets all three requirements can be a great option.

Problem is, you might want to avoid buying it at the grocery store. It is very common for store-bought trail mixes to be loaded with added sugar.There's a lot of natural sugar to be foundin the usual trail mix ingredients, so added sugar isn't really necessary for a delicious meal.

The great thing about making your own trail at home is that you can customize it however you like. You can create a trail mix specifically tailored to the taste buds of the picky eater in your life.

(Video) Picky Eating Isn't About the Food | Katie Kimball | TEDxHartford

The most common trail mixes combine salty and sweet flavors. Savory flavors come from lightly salted granola (use whole grains if you can), pretzels, nuts or seeds. These ingredients also add a bit of crunch to pique any restaurant's interest.

Sweet flavors often include dried fruit, chocolate chips, or natural candies. There are bound to be a variety of savory, crunchy, and sweet options to meet your picky eater's high expectations.

carrot and hummus

Hummus is very similar to peanut butter in that you can easily add it to another food and drastically improve the taste. Traditional hummus is made from boiled chickpeas, mashed and mixed with a few other ingredients.

All hummus contains a healthy oil such as olive oil or avocado oil. Salted noodles can be seasoned with a variety of seasonings, allowing for a wide range of flavors.

Eating hummus on its own is a nutritious snack option. However,Add some fresh vegetables to the dishwill take you to another level. Carrots (especially baby carrots and carrot sticks) are one of the most popular vegetables to pair with hummus.

The crunch of the carrot goes well with the creaminess of the hummus. The same goes for celery, peppers, kale chips, zucchini and cucumber slices. There's no wrong answer because hummus goes with just about anything.

Greek yogurt and blueberries

Earlier, we talked about how dessert can effectively motivate a picky eater to finish their meal. But what if desserterasEat? Pairing Greek yogurt with a handful of blueberries, pomegranate seeds or fresh raspberries will taste like dessert for even the most picky eaters. The highly nutritious snack masquerades as sweet and pleasurable. It's the perfect Trojan horse for picky eaters.

The key is to make sure you're using Greek yogurt. Plain yogurt usually hastwice the sugar compared to Greek yogurt.It's not as bad as ice cream, but it's more sugar than you need for a "nutritious" snack. You can also look for plain Greek yogurt to avoid the added sugar in flavored varieties.

Still, plain Greek yogurt isn't exactly astimulatingSnack option. That's why flavoring it with blueberries or other berries can help. There isFew foods are as good as blueberries, and not many taste as delicious. A handful of blueberries is enough to add delicious flavor to Greek yogurt and create an ultra-healthy snack.

If your picky eater doesn't like blueberries, you can simply swap them out for another fruit. So there's no wrong answer for what fruits go with Greek yogurt.You have a long list to choose from.!


You can also add some whole wheat granola or almonds, cashews or pistachios for a crunch. You can serve your Greek yogurt-based concoction in a bowl or blend it into a nutritious smoothie.


One way to avoid a fussy toddler is to play an eating game. They might not focus as much on their demanding tendencies when they're having fun. An easy way to do this is to ask them to make their own snack. Cracker sandwiches are an option to confuse snack time with play time.

A biscuit sandwich is exactly what it sounds like. It's two cookies with a variation of the filling in the middle. It's a very simple recipe that can be delicious with the right ingredients.

Peanut butter is an option that goes well with cookies. It can also be paired with cream cheese for a silky sweet yet tangy taste. You can also use deli slices to make cookie sandwiches for a protein boost. The possibilities are limitless.

The biggest downside to biscuit sandwiches is that they may not be particularly nutritious. If you're looking for totally healthy snack ideas, the other foods on this list might be better options.

Cookies are generally not as unhealthy as chips, althoughThey can be quite high in sodium.It's best to use low-sodium whole-wheat crackers for this snack.


You might be surprised to learn that popcorn is on this list. It's usually not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a healthy and nutritious snack. It's a pretty healthy option though.You open it and look at the spices and sauces.

Even the pickiest eaters love popcorn; It shouldn't be too convincing to eat yours out of a bowl at snack time.

The tricky thing is, most popcorn is loaded with butter and salt. You don't have to be a nutritionist to know that these two aren't the healthiest sauce options. The great thing about popcorn is that you have a few options that make it tastier without being harmful to your health.

Cinnamon is a great option as it has a very strong flavor and zero calories. You can also use cocoa powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, or grated Parmesan cheese if the cinnamon is too strong.

(Video) Picky Eaters: 6 Strategies for Helping Kids Eat Healthy

Mix and match to please your picky eater

Young children are generally not very interested in trying new foods. Once they find something they like, they tend to stick with it. This can be good news for parents, though.Your food preferences are balanced and healthy.

Unfortunately, you often gravitate towards unhealthy foods that are loaded with fat, sugar or salt. This is especially true for snack foods with options like chips, crackers, and white bread toast.

Hopefully the above list includes at least a few food options your picky eater will enjoy. It may take some mixing and matching to find the perfect snack, but this should be a solid starting point!

Hopefully your picky eater's palette of flavors will expand over time. Then the real fun begins as you can introduce them to some of the more exotic flavors!


Popcorn as a Snack: Healthy Success or Diet Freakshow? | American Heart Association

Healthier Cookies for Snacks and Parties | consumer reports

Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt: Is There a Better? | AARP

The Health Benefits of Peanut Butter | Denver Health Medical Plan

Yes, adults can be fussy eaters. That's how you stop. | washington post

(Video) Mom’s 13 Tips & Tricks for Picky Eaters | How To Get Kids to Try New Foods | MyRecipes

Anti-Bribery Strategies for Picky Eaters | Action for healthy children

Six Essential Nutrients to Keep Children Healthy | good health

Picky Eaters: How to Help Change a Child's Eating Habits | National Children's Hospital


6 nutritious snacks for picky eaters? ›

Salmon, fish sticks, eggs, turkey lunch meat, yogurt, or mozzarella string cheese. Beans and grains. Soy products like soy milk or tofu. (You can even try soy "chicken" nuggets).

What are 6 healthy snacks? ›

6 Simple Snack Ideas and Healthy Foods for Older Adults
  • Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are a great snack because they are easily portable, nutritious, and quite satisfying. ...
  • Greek Yogurt with Fresh Berries. ...
  • Celery with Nut Butters. ...
  • Vegetables with Hummus. ...
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs. ...
  • Protein Smoothie.

What snacks have protein for picky eaters? ›

Salmon, fish sticks, eggs, turkey lunch meat, yogurt, or mozzarella string cheese. Beans and grains. Soy products like soy milk or tofu. (You can even try soy "chicken" nuggets).

How can an extremely picky eater eat healthy? ›

Here are five tips to help a picky eater eat healthy:
  1. Drink your veggies. You don't love spinach, but you do love fruit. ...
  2. Swap meat out of burgers. ...
  3. Sneak in healthy grains. ...
  4. Improve your pasta dish. ...
  5. Experiment with prep.

What are the 7 sensible snacks? ›

Sensible Snacking
  • Celery sticks with 2 teaspoons peanut butter or 2 Tbsp. PB2 Powder.
  • Baby carrots with 2 Tbsp. Bolthouse dressing.
  • 1 low-fat spreadable cheese wedge with 3 whole grain crackers.
  • 4 melba toast with sliced tomato and 1 slice melted part-skim mozzarella cheese.
  • Raw vegetables with 2 Tbsp. hummus.
  • ½ cup edamame.

What are 2 healthy snacks? ›

Some examples include:
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Frozen fruit.
  • Fruits canned in water or their own juice.
  • Whole grain bread, crackers and cereals.
  • Lower fat yogurt.
  • Lower fat cheese.
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds and their butters.
  • Hummus.
Mar 1, 2021

What is a healthy chewy snack? ›

Chewy: Raisins

“Rich in fiber and iron with no added sugars, raisins can combat both a chewy and sweet craving at the same time while serving as a much better alternative to a chewy candy,” explains Palinski-Wade. Raisins also make the cut for being one of the best foods for your heart.

What are the best protein snacks for ADHD kids? ›

Avoid carbohydrate-only meals and snacks — adding a protein like nuts, cheese, seeds, bean-based dips, yogurt, or milk allows the food to be delivered into the body in a steadier way that optimizes energy levels for conditions such as ADHD.

What are 3 tips for picky eaters? ›

Approaches to Try
  • Try eating the food first to show them you like it. ...
  • Make funny faces with the foods on their plate. ...
  • Give them a choice of different foods to try. ...
  • Serve new foods with foods you know they like.
  • Try freezing small bites of leftover foods. ...
  • Wait a couple of days before offering the food again.

How do you satisfy a picky eater? ›

Cut foods into interesting shapes. Create a smiling face on top of a casserole with cheese, vegetables, or fruit strips. Set a good example by eating well yourself. Ideally, eat at least one meal together as a family every day or try for 3 to 4 times per week.

What is the picky eater rule? ›

Tips for parents of picky eaters

Meals and snacks should happen at roughly the same times every day. A meal or snack should happen about every 2–4 hours. Consistent place: Your child should have to sit in a chair or booster seat for every meal or snack. Avoid letting your child get up until the meal or snack is over.

What nutrients would a picky eater miss out on? ›

Extreme picky eating can lead to both long- and short-term deficiencies and other health concerns like mood disorders and hyperactivity. Deficiencies in magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and B6 have been shown to have the biggest impact on mood, behaviour, and intelligence.

What are six possible reasons for picky eaters? ›

Causes of picky eating include early feeding difficulties, late introduction of lumpy foods at weaning, pressure to eat and early choosiness, especially if the mother is worried by this; protective factors include the provision of fresh foods and eating the same meal as the child.

How do you break picky eating in adults? ›

As a first step, she suggests opening up about your picky eating when dining with others, allowing yourself to feel heard and understood. Give yourself “points just for having an experience with food,” she said, rather than beating yourself up if you don't like something.

What is the #1 snack in the world? ›

64 percent of respondents claimed to have eaten chocolate as a snack in the past month. But 62 percent had also eaten fresh fruit; 52 percent, vegetables; and 51 percent, cookies or cake. For Americans, however, the snack scale is considerably different, largely because of their unmatched love for potato chips.

What is the number 1 snack? ›

As this infographic shows, Cookies are the most popular snack food, with 59 percent of snackers saying they eat the sugary comfort food regularly.

What is a nice healthy snack? ›

Apples and peanut butter are a match made in heaven — both nutritionally and flavor-wise. On one hand, apples are a fiber-rich fruit. On the other hand, peanuts provide healthy fats, plant-based protein, and fiber — pretty much all of the filling nutrients you should look for in a snack ( 15 , 16 ).

Are Ritz crackers healthy? ›

These snacks are high in fat and calories because they contain high-calorie processed ingredients such as canola oil, palm oil, and refined sugar. Eating Ritz on a regular basis can help you lose weight, but it can also mean you're eating way too much.

What are better food choices snacks? ›

When you want a snack, choose fruits and vegetables, whole grains that have 3 grams of fiber or more, and protein-rich foods, such as peanut butter or low-fat yogurt or cheese. Avoid snacks that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.

What are the top 10 snack foods? ›

Top 10 Greatest Snack Foods
  1. 1 Potato Chips. I love the chips and is also fantastic. ...
  2. 2 Oreos. ...
  3. 3 Cookies. ...
  4. 4 Pop-Tarts. ...
  5. 5 Cheese Crackers. ...
  6. 6 Tortilla Chips. ...
  7. 7 Popcorn. ...
  8. 8 Mixed Fruit.

What can I snack on instead of junk? ›

18 Healthy Foods to Eat When Cravings Strike
  • Many people get the urge to eat unhealthy foods, especially when they're on a diet. ...
  • Fresh Fruit. ...
  • Greek Yogurt. ...
  • A Hot Drink. ...
  • Snack Bar. ...
  • Dark Chocolate. ...
  • Fruit and Nut Butter. ...
  • Cottage Cheese.
Mar 13, 2017

How do picky kids eat healthy? ›

Offer a variety of healthy foods, especially vegetables and fruits, and include higher protein foods like meat and deboned fish at least 2 times per week. Help your child explore new flavors and textures in food. Try adding different herbs and spices to simple meals to make them tastier.

What snacks help with poor appetite? ›

Eat nutritious foods such as yoghurt, cheese or bread/English muffins/crumpets with nourishing toppings like avocado, cottage/ricotta cheese, or nut butters. Drink milk-based drinks such as plain and flavoured milk or smoothies. Sip on water throughout the day.

What tastes sweet but has no sugar? ›

Try dates, raisins, figs, berries, pears, and really any other delicious fruit. Fruit-based purees and jams and sauces, such as applesauce, with no added sugars can also bring a big sweet reward to your treats.

What foods calm ADHD kids? ›

Foods rich in protein — lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy products — may have beneficial effects on ADHD symptoms. Protein-rich foods are used by the brain to make neurotransmitters — chemicals that help brain cells talk with each other.

What is brain food for kids with ADHD? ›

A high-protein diet.

Beans, cheese, eggs, meat, and nuts can be good sources of protein. Eat these kinds of foods in the morning and for after-school snacks. It may improve concentration and possibly make ADHD medications work longer.

What are easy ADHD friendly foods? ›

Many diets lack omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential and research shows can help people improve their ADHD symptoms. You can increase omega-3 fatty acids by adding tuna, salmon, other cold-water white fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and olive and canola oil in your diet.

What age does picky eating end? ›

Do remember that picky eating is often “developmentally normal.” Children across the globe go through a picky eating phase from about age 2 to about age 4.

How do you break a picky eater child? ›

  1. Gently encourage trying new foods and eating more food (amounts and types).
  2. Model! ...
  3. Offer a variety of options during meals or snacks (2-3 different foods is a good amount). ...
  4. Have meals together as a family as much as possible.
  5. Keep mealtime conversation positive or neutral.
Jun 28, 2018

Is picky eating my fault? ›

It's always the parents' fault. Experts have previously suggested that extreme picky eating could be considered an eating disorder. Now, a new study has emerged that says children who are picky eaters are likely the result of overbearing parenting.

What not to say to a picky eater? ›

7 things not to say to a picky eater
  • "You are such a good eater!" ...
  • "You are such a picky eater!" ...
  • "Clean your plate; there are starving children in (fill in the blank)." ...
  • "You have to eat all your vegetables or there will be no dessert." ...
  • "Eat all your dinner or you don't get dessert." ...
  • "I was so bad at lunch today!
Jun 28, 2011

Should you force a picky eater to eat? ›

Encourage her to try the foods you serve, but don't force her to eat them. Set a good example by eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein. Ask your daughter what fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods she is willing to try.

Are picky eaters born or made? ›

Some children are naturally more sensitive to taste, smell and texture. Other children develop picky eating habits by modeling their parents' fussy eating habits. Picky eating habits are more likely to develop when parents punish, bribe or reward their children's eating behaviors.

Is being a picky eater ADHD? ›

Picky eating and ADHD often go hand-in-hand.

In fact, researchers at Duke University found a high correlation between selective eating problems and ADHD. Additionally, many children with ADHD are more predisposed to crave sugar due to the surge of dopamine that sugar delivers to the brain.

Are picky eaters on the spectrum? ›

If you have a picky eater with autism, know that you're not alone. A recent review of scientific studies found that children with autism are five times more likely to have mealtime challenges such as extremely narrow food selections, ritualistic eating behaviors (e.g. no foods can touch) and meal-related tantrums.

Is being a picky eater a genetic thing? ›

Innate and genetic taste sensitivities play a key role in the development of picky eating behaviors in young children but are not the only factors involved.

What are picky eaters at a higher risk for? ›

Picky Eating May Signify Mental Health Disorders

In a study published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, by Duke Medicine, severe pickiness was associated with higher incidents of anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

What is food neophobia? ›

Food neophobia is generally regarded as the reluctance to eat, or the avoidance of, new foods. In contrast, 'picky/fussy' eaters are usually defined as children who consume an inadequate variety of foods through rejection of a substantial amount of foods that are familiar (as well as unfamiliar) to them.

Can picky eating be fixed? ›

The concern for many parents regarding picky eating behaviors is how long they'll last, or if they could become permanent. But never fear, as Murray assures, picky eating will usually fix itself over time.

What are the 6 best foods? ›

Healthy foods to eat every day: 6 of the best
  • Lean protein.
  • Cruciferous vegetables.
  • Different colored vegetables.
  • Berries.
  • Nuts.
  • Olive oil.
  • Summary.
May 27, 2021

What are healthy snacks 101? ›

Snack Suggestions
  • Trail mix and cheese.
  • Veggie sticks and hummus.
  • Hard boiled egg and fruit.
  • Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole.
  • Cottage cheese and fruit.
  • Energy balls.
  • Whole-grain toast with nut butter.
  • Apples and cheese.
May 1, 2022

Is there a healthy snack? ›

Consider these nutritious snack choices depending on your preference:
  • Crunchy—raw vegetable sticks, nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, apple.
  • Creamy—cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus, avocado.
  • Sweet—chopped fresh fruit, dark chocolate.
  • Savory/Salty—cube or slice of cheese, roasted chickpeas, handful of nuts, nut butter.

What are the 7 most healthiest foods? ›

Top 10 Foods for Health
  1. Water. Drink 8 to 12 cups of water daily.
  2. Dark Green Vegetables. Eat dark green vegetables at least three to four times a week. ...
  3. Whole Grains. Eat whole grains sat least two or three times daily. ...
  4. Beans and Lentils. Try to eat a bean-based meal at least once a week. ...
  5. Fish. ...
  6. Berries. ...
  7. Winter Squash. ...
  8. Soy.

What are the 20 most healthy foods? ›

What are the top 20 healthiest foods?
  1. Avocado. Nutrient-dense and with just half a fruit counting as one portion of your five-a-day, avocado is a useful addition to the diet. ...
  2. Blackcurrants. ...
  3. Brussels sprouts. ...
  4. Buckwheat. ...
  5. Chia seeds. ...
  6. Egg. ...
  7. Garlic. ...
  8. Gouda.
Mar 3, 2023

What is the 6 basic food? ›

There are six major nutrients – water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

What healthy meal has all 5 food groups? ›

A salad allows you to fit all food groups in one meal. For example, make your salad with spinach, orange sections, cooked brown rice, roasted chicken and cottage cheese. The cottage cheese replaces commercial dressing.


(Emily Norris)
2. healthy things to eat for picky eaters! (from a picky eater herself)
(Sydney Kay)
(Emily Norris)
4. Healthy Meals & Recipes for Picky Eaters
(MOMables - Laura Fuentes)
5. Picky Eating: Strategies for Dealing with Picky Eaters - Shara Wagowski, RD
(NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital)
6. Weight Loss Foods for Picky Eaters
(Dr. Rachel Paul, PhD RD)


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