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© 1995, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This guide discusses the benefits of providing snacks to young children and shares ideas for what good snacks are for these children.

Why do children two to five years of age need snacks?

Snacks are an important part of children's daily food intake. It is difficult for children to get all the nutrients they need to promote growth and development in three meals a day. Also, most children need snacks because they get hungry between meals. Well-chosen snacks can help supply nutrients and energy needs (calories).

As a parent you may say, "My children do not need any more calories, they are overweight." Even children who are large for their age need snacks between meals. Every child can benefit from low-calorie snacks in terms of nutrients and satisfying their hunger.

Children two to five years of age need two planned snacks each day. Try to establish a regular snack time. Schedule snacks two hours before a meal.