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Snack time

Young children need to eat small amounts of food regularly. It is important that they are offered nutritious snacks in between meals in order to meet their nutritional requirements across the day. Try to make sure that a child does not go more than three hours without eating while they are awake.


Resources for early years settings

A poster has been designed as a useful resource for early years nurseries, preschools and childminders who offer snacks to groups of children aged 1-4 years. Click to view Healthy Snacks poster 
We have also adapted this poster for parents to use at home.  Click here to view our Healthy Snacks for Families poster
Avoid giving biscuits, cakes, crisps and sugary drinks, dried fruit or fruit juices at snack time. Below are some simple snack suggestions.

Simple snack recipes


Mini falafels

1 can of chickpeas
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice and grated zest from half a lemon
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Fresh parsley, chopped

  • Rinse, drain and then blend the chickpeas in a food processor until smooth
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  • Roll the mixture into walnut size ballsCover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  • Place 1 tbs olive oil in a pan and fry the falafels for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with cucumber and mint yogurt dip and a side salad

Mint and cucumber yoghurt dip

450g Full fat natural or Greek yoghurt
200g cucumber, washed and grated
Fresh mint

  • Place the grated cucumber into a strainer and press to drain
  • Put the yoghurt in a bowl, add the cucumber and mint and mix well

Serve with vegetable sticks, pitta bread sticks or mini falifels

Salsa dip

4 large tomatoes, chopped into bite size chunks
1 small onion, chopped
¼ small red chilli, chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp olive oil
Black pepper to season

  • After chopping all the ingredients, tip everything into the bowl and mix together.
  • Season with pepper, cover with cling film and chill until needed.

Great served with vegetable sticks or pitta bread.


400g / 14oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g/4oz full fat soft cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
1-2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

  • Place the contents of can (drained) into a bowl with the remaining ingredients and mash them all together with the fork until you get a thick paste

Crusty brown roll with soft cheese, carrot and cucumber sticks

Crusty brown roll- 20g
Soft cheese- 20g
Carrot sticks- 20g
Cucumber sticks - 20g
Glass of milk- 100ml

Toast squares with mashed egg, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes

Toast- 20g
Egg- 30g
Cucumber slices- 20g
Cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters) - 20g
Glass of milk- 100ml

Toast fingers, natural yoghurt (for dipping), banana slices and strawberries

Toast fingers- 20g
Natural Yoghurt- 30g
Banana slices- 20g
Strawberries - 20g
Glass of milk- 100ml

Natural yoghurt with chopped fruit

Natural yoghurt - 60g
Chopped mixed fruit - 40g
Breadsticks - 20g
Glass of milk- 100ml

Oatcakes, cottage cheese and fresh pineapple and apples chunks

Oatcakes - 20g
Cottage cheese - 30g
Apple chunks - 20g
Fresh pineapple - 20g
Glass of Milk – 100ml

Mini soft cheese and pineapple sandwiches

Wholemeal bread - 20g
Soft cheese - 20g
Fresh pineapple - 20g
Grapes - 20g
Glass of milk - 100ml

Cream crackers and soft cheese, with cucumber and carrot sticks

Cream crackers - 10g
Soft cheese - 20g
Cucumber and carrot sticks - 40g
Glass of milk - 100ml

Breadsticks, houmous dip, cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks

Breadsticks - 8g
Houmous dip – 30g
Cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters)– 20g
Carrot sticks - 20g
Glass of milk – 100ml