There are tons of prepackaged snacks out there for kids (just turn on the TV in the mid-afternoon and you’re sure to be inundated with commercials for them), but rarely are they actually nutritious.
Healthful, convenient snacks seem like they’re hard to come by but they are out there — you just have to look past all the sugary, enticingly packaged alternatives. We’ve gathered a list of nutritious, kid-friendly snacks that work well as after-school energy boosters or lunchbox staples that even picky eaters will like.
8 Grab-and-Go Easy Snack Ideas for Kids
Who says you have to resort to Twinkies and GoGurt? There’s no prep work involved here; just look for these in your supermarket and throw them in your child’s lunchbox.
- Snack-size boxes of raisins
- Snack size bags of unsalted mixed nuts
- Pre-cut veggies and low-fat dip (carrots, celery, peppers)
- Organic granola bars (Look for ones that contain natural sweeteners like honey and cane juice rather than candy and artificial ingredients.)
- Whole grain Fig Newtons
- Individually packaged string cheese or cheese slices
- Unsweetened applesauce cups (with or without a sprinkle of cinnamon on top)
- Fresh fruit (a handful of grapes or berries, or a container of fresh fruit salad or pineapple chunks work well)
8 Easy, Breezy, Healthy Snack Ideas and Recipes for Kids
These snack ideas require very little effort but produce very happy kids.
Hummus and crackers:
Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron. It comes in tons of flavors (but you can easily make your own) and can be served with salt-free crackers — whole wheat or whole grain are best — or cut-up veggies (celery, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, green beans … anything your kids will try).
Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll it in crushed cereal (Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Rice Krispies) and freeze.
Ants on a Log:
This classic snack is a keeper for a reason! Spread celery sticks with *peanut butter (the more natural, the better). Top with raisins.If your child has a peanut allergy, spread cream cheese on the celery sticks instead!
Cheesy Apple Pockets:
Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon, which helps to regulate blood sugar.
Potatoes are packed with Vitamin C and potassium, and sweet potatoes have vitamins A, B6, C, and folate. Instead of offering potato chips after school, microwave a small potato and top it with low-fat cheese and salsa. Or top a sweet potato with a pat of butter and a few shakes of cinnamon.
Or make your own chips! Cut a sweet potato into very thin slices and lay them on a cookie sheet. Gently rub with oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, and bake until crisp.
Peanut Butter Treats:
Peanut butter is a perennial kid favorite, so it’s a great way to get them to eat fruit. Spread peanut butter on banana slices or apple slices, or slather it on a flour tortilla, add a whole banana and roll it up.
Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids
This is the easiest way to load your child’s diet with the goodness of fruit and give them a kick of calcium, too. Use low-fat plain yogurt to keep the sugar content down, and add a drizzle of honey or a splash of juice for a natural sweetener. Keep some frozen (no sugar added) fruit in your freezer to toss in, along with a ripe banana. Here are a few tried and true combinations:
- 1 medium banana
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 heaping spoonful peanut butter
- frozen strawberries
- splash of low-fat milk
- 1 medium banana
- 1 cup orange juice
- handful of frozen strawberries
- 3 frozen peach slices
- low-fat plain yogurt
- frozen raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
- splash of low-fat milk
- drizzle of honey
Fancy, Tasty Parfaits
If your kids don’t want to drink their yogurt, make it into a fun, eye-catching parfait. Layer low-fat yogurt with mandarin oranges and blueberries (or the fruit of their choice) in a tall glass. Top with crunchy granola and/or some festive sprinkles.
Kids love to dip their food (everyone knows a toddler who wants to dunk everything in ketchup!), so make snacktime fun and they’ll gobble up these healthy treats.
- Dip pretzels in mustard.
- Dip baby carrots and cherry tomatoes in low-fat ranch dressing
- Dip strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt
- Dip graham crackers in applesauce.
- Dip baked tortilla chips in bean dip.
- Dip animal crackers in low-fat pudding.
- Dip bread sticks in salsa.
- Dip a granola bar in low-fat yogurt.
From the American Dietetic Association
Healthy Recipe for Kids
Funny Face Omelette