Snacks for kids? Easy enough. Healthy snacks for kids? Admittedly, a little trickier. While feeding kids healthy snacks should be a priority, let’s face it, often it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to make wholesome, good-for-the-body treats. (And sometimes it's just impossible to resist a bag of chips!) But guess what? Making healthy snacks—and getting your kids to eat them—can be done. All you need is a little inspiration and preparation.
Recipe developer Karen Biton-Cohen has whipped up two dozen healthy snack ideas for kids. And the best part? Most are pretty easy to make (some can even be made in under five minutes). Twenty-four healthy snacks for kids means fresh ideas five days a week for an entire month. You’ll even have leftover options if you want to make a swap.
Looking for healthy snacks for kids at school and after school? Check. Want recipes for healthy snacks for kids on the go? They’re here. And the one that’ll be a hands-down winner with parents: easy-to-make healthy snacks for kids. And because you're probably busy all day long, there are options for store-bought healthy kids snacks too. Happy snacking!
Healthy snacks for kids at school
When considering what to pack in your child’s lunchbox, look for healthy snack ideas that’ll stave off hunger pangs until lunchtime—without spoiling her appetite. So that sugary cereal bar? Not the best choice. These alternatives are tasty and easy to make too.
1. Hummus and carrot sticks
Ditch the pita chips (think of all that salt) and serve wholesome hummus (pre-made is fine) with sweet, crunchy baby carrots.
2. DIY trail mix
Combine your family’s favorite unsalted nuts, seeds and dried fruit to create your own trail mix. You get to put in all the good stuff your child likes and avoid the saltiness of store-bought trail mix. (Note: If your child attends a nut-free school, you can always swap out the nuts for pretzel sticks or mini crackers.)
3. Pretzel sticks with cheese
Use pretzel sticks as “tooth picks” for cheese. Cut cheddar (or another type of hard cheese) into bite-sized cubes. Pierce each cube with the end of a pretzel stick.
4. Crispy, crunchy chickpeas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Spread the seasoned chick peas evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until deeply golden and crunchy. Allow to cool then bag into a sandwich bag.
5. Skewered melon balls
Use a melon baller to scoop out melon and watermelon. String the balled melon onto toothpicks for easy eating.
Healthy after school snacks
Which kid doesn’t want an after school snack? Now that school’s out, your child has time to slow down and eat—and you have a little more time to make them something slightly more complex and creative. Here, six healthy after school snacks that’ll tide over even the hungriest kid until dinner time.
1. Honey roasted peaches with greek yogurt and granola
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pitted peach halves skin-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey. Bake for 20 minutes until peaches are charred along the edges and tender in the center. Top each half with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle with granola.
2. Apple peanut butter “sandwich”
Slice one apple into rounds. Using a cookie cutter, remove the core and seeds of each apple ring. Spread each ring with peanut butter and scatter raisins on top. Place another ring over the top to create a “sandwich.” (Note: If your child has a nut allergy, replace the peanut butter with a seed butter, such as sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or raw tahini.)
3. Avocado toast strips
Toast multi-grain bread. Cut into strips—perfect for little hands to grab—and top with mashed avocado, cherry tomatoes and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
4. Mini broccoli cheddar frittatas
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Finely chop 1 cup of broccoli florets (or use pre-cut store-bought ones) and steam in the microwave for about 45 seconds, or until tender. Whisk together 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons milk, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chopped broccoli. Pour mixture into greased mini muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through.
5. Oven-baked sweet potato fries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sweet potato into even-sized wedges. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread wedges in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender and crispy.
6. Zucchini tots
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, 1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan and 1 egg together. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out mixture and squeeze out excess liquid. Shape into a tater tot and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Serve with ketchup.
Healthy Snacks for kids on the go
Whether they're headed to the park or just to the backyard, kids are always on the move. You're probably looking for snacks that are portable and easy to eat with little hands. These healthy snacks for kids can be toted in a snack bag or a cup, making them an ideal choice for your nonstop kid.
1. Fruit smoothies
Blend fresh blueberries, strawberries, frozen bananas, greek yogurt and a splash of milk. So refreshing on hot summer days!
2. Frozen blueberry yogurt bites
Coat fresh blueberries in yogurt (vanilla-flavored works well) and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for one hour, or until completely frozen.
3. Tropical chia seed pudding parfait
Combine 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons agave (or maple) syrup and refrigerate overnight. Serve with fresh pineapple chunks.
4. Peanut butter Cheerio clusters
In a bowl, melt 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey) and 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds, until smooth. Add 3/4 cup Honey Nut Cheerios (or another lightly sweetened whole grain cereal) to the bowl and toss to coat. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside to harden, about 10 minutes. (Again, if your child has a nut allergy, replace the peanut butter with a seed butter, such as sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or raw tahini.)
Fun healthy snacks for kids
It’s not impossible to whip up fun healthy snack for kids. Think fruit paired with dark chocolate or rolled oats mixed with chocolate chips. These recipes balance good-for-you ingredients with flavorful spices and, in some cases, a dose of guilty pleasure chocolate.
1. Banana boats
Slice banana in half lengthwise and top with almond butter, honey and shredded coconut. (Add a few chocolate chips for extra fun!)
2. Nutella rice cakes with fresh fruit
Spread Nutella on thin brown rice crackers and top with sliced strawberries.
3. Chocolate-covered mandarin oranges
Melt bittersweet chocolate in the microwave (start by popping it in for 60 seconds, then take it out, mix and add additional 20 second intervals until smooth) and dip each mandarin orange slice in the melted chocolate. Place on parchment paper and refrigerate until the chocolate is solid, about 10 minutes.
4. “Cookie dough” bites
Grind 1 cup cashews (or slivered almonds) and 1/2 cup rolled oats in the food processor until a fine meal forms. Add 3 tablespoons agave syrup (or honey), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Process until “dough” comes together. Fold in 1/4 cup chocolate chips and shape into bite-sized truffles.
Store-bought healthy snacks for kids
Let’s face it: there will be times you simply won’t have the time or energy to whip up your own homemade snacks. Here are four store-bought brands that offer healthy snacks for kids, so even when the family is on the go, you can keep your snack options healthy.
1. Chobani champions
You probably already love the protein-rich Greek yogurt brand. These super-portable Chobani tubes make the yummy yogurt easy to eat—and fun too!
Chobani Kids All Natural Low-Fat Greek Yogurt Tubes, $4 for 8, Freshdirect.com
2. Popcorn with punch!
When it’s not coated in movie theater “butter,” popcorn is definitely a healthy snack—especially when it comes from Quinn Popcorn. These portable popcorn treats come in compostable paper bags free of chemicals, so you don't have to worry about the health concerns often associated with microwavable popcorn. And thanks to the dairy in the parmesan-flavored option, you get a little protein in there too.
Quinn Parmesan and Rosemary Popcorn, $4, Target.com
3. String cheese, please
Organic Valley's Stringles is string cheese made just for kids. Available in mozzarella, colby jack and cheddar, Stringles is a good source of calcium and certified organic.
Organic Valley Stringles, $7, Amazon.com
4. Granola on the go
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a Kind bar. Made with all-natural, vitamin-rich goodies, these granola bars taste great too.
Kind Bar Blueberry Vanilla & Cashew, $15 for a box of 12, Kindsnacks.com
(Note: Some of these snacks may be considered a choking hazard for children under the age of 4. Please take safety precautions or avoid serving certain snacks altogether.)
Published July 2017