24 Healthy Snacks for Kids and Toddlers That Are Fun and Easy to Make
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. Twenty-four healthy kids snacks means fresh ideas five days a week for an entire month. You’ll even have leftover options if you want to make a swap. Plus, many of the snacks can be modified and turned into healthy snacks for toddlers to accommodate younger kiddos. These ideas offer healthy snacks for kids at school, after school and on the go, many of which you can whip up in minutes or even buy (after all, you’re probably busy all day long). Happy snacking!
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 their appetite. Skip that sugary cereal bar and try these alternatives that are tasty and easy to make too.
1. Hummus and carrot sticks
Ditch the salty pita chips and serve wholesome hummus (pre-made is fine) with sweet, crunchy baby carrots. For toddlers, make sure to cut the carrots into thin slices and cook them until they’re soft to avoid a choking hazard.
2. Hard-boiled eggs
The best part about hard-boiled eggs is that they’re quick and easy to make, plus they can be made in bigger batches. Boil up some water and throw in as many eggs (with the shells on) as you’d like. You can store any leftovers in the fridge for about a week. Slice them up or cut them into smaller pieces if placed into a lunch box. If serving as a healthy toddler snack, you can offer the egg whole.
3. Pretzel sticks with cheese
Use pretzel sticks as “toothpicks” for cheese. Cut cheddar (or another type of hard cheese) into bite-sized cubes. Pierce each cube with the end of a pretzel stick. To turn this into a healthy snack for toddlers, grate the cheese and replace the pretzels with whole wheat toast or tortilla cut into small pieces.
4. Spiced chickpeas
To make this healthy snack for kids, first preheat the 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 chickpeas 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 transfer into a sandwich bag. To modify this into a healthy toddler snack, instead of baking the chickpeas for an added crunch, cook or steam them after spicing to ensure they’re soft enough to eat. You may also want to mash them before serving up to your tiny tot.
5. Skewered melon balls
Use a melon baller to scoop out melon and watermelon. String the balled melon onto toothpicks for easy eating. If making a healthy snack for toddlers, first make sure the melon is soft enough for them to eat. Then, rather than balling the melon, cut it into small bites (with the rind removed).
What 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 snacks for kids after school that’ll tide them over until dinner time.
1. Honey roasted peaches with greek yogurt and granola
Preheat the 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. For younger kids and toddlers, cut the peaches (skin removed) into smaller pieces, spread a thin layer of yogurt over each and nix the granola. Or, consider blending the roasted peaches (skin removed) after baking them and mixing the puree into the yogurt instead.
2. Apple peanut butter “sandwich”
Slice one apple into rounds. Using a cookie cutter, remove the core and seeds of the apple rings. 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.) To make this into a healthy toddler snack, cut the apples into small pieces and cook them until they’re soft enough for your kiddo to eat. Allow them to cool and then spread a thin layer of peanut butter on each bite. Omit the raisins if making this snack for a toddler under 18 months old.
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. To modify this healthy snack for toddlers, first ensure the bread doesn’t have any seeds, nuts or grain kernels. Cut the lightly toasted bread into small pieces, topping it with mashed avocado and finely chopped cherry tomatoes.
4. Mini broccoli cheddar frittatas
Preheat the 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 a greased mini muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through.
5. Oven-baked sweet potato fries
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sweet potato into even-sized wedges or thin matchsticks for toddlers. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread potatoes in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender and crispy. If serving to a toddler, ensure the fries don’t get too crispy and remain soft enough to mash.
6. Zucchini tots
Preheat the 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. To make this snack toddler-friendly, cut the tots into halves or quarters so they’re small enough for your little one to eat.
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 kids snacks can be toted in a snack bag or a cup, making them an ideal choice for your nonstop kiddo.
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. Before serving this healthy snack to toddlers, cut the blueberries into halves.
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. To make this into a healthy toddler snack, skip the pineapple chunks, adding cut up strawberries or blueberries instead. Plus, make sure all the seeds are fully soaked and soft enough to eat.
4. Peanut butter sandwich bites
Grab two slices of whole wheat toast (avoid any bread with nuts or grains for toddlers) and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on each, bringing them together to make a peanut butter sandwich. Using a cookie cutter, cut fun shapes out of the sandwich and put these into a sandwich bag to take with you. For toddlers, spread the peanut butter in thin, even layers and cut the sandwich into bite-sized pieces to avoid any choking risks.
It’s not impossible to whip up fun healthy snacks 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 a banana in half lengthwise and top with almond butter, honey and shredded coconut. Add a few chocolate chips for extra fun! For younger children, slice the bananas into smaller bites and top with a thin layer of almond butter. Skip the other toppings, as they may pose a choking hazard.
2. Nutella rice cakes with fresh fruit
Spread a small amount of Nutella on thin brown rice crackers and top with sliced strawberries. To turn this into a healthy snack for toddlers, ensure the strawberries are sliced small enough and choose a thin, softer cracker for younger tots. Spread a very thin layer of Nutella on top and serve!
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. When serving this snack to toddlers, cut the oranges into small pieces and remove the skin membrane along with any seeds before serving.
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. To make a toddler-friendly version, omit the chocolate chips and cut the truffles into halves or quarters before giving them to your little one.
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 and toddlers, so even when the family is on the move, you can keep your snack options healthy.
1. Little Chobani Probiotic
You probably already love this protein-rich Greek yogurt brand. These compact Chobani drinks and pouches make the yummy yogurt easy to eat—and fun too!
Buy it: Little Chobani Probiotic, Chobani.com
2. Once Upon a Farm
Jennifer Garner created Once Upon a Farm Fruit to offer healthy snacks for kids. The brand offers several healthful snack pouches, including fruit and veggie blends, smoothies, overnight oats and variety packs. Not only do these healthy kids snacks pack a nutritious punch, but they’re also easy to travel with.
Buy it: Once Upon a Farm Blends, OnceUponaFarmOrganics.com
3. Yumi Puff Pack
Puffed cereals and snacks are safe for babies, toddlers and older kids. Yumi offers both beet and cauliflower puffs that make for easy, portable healthy snacks for kids.
Buy it: Yumi Variety Puff Pack, HelloYumi.com.
4. Cerebelly Smart Bars
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a soft-baked granola bar. These toddler-friendly, smoothie-inspired bars are made with all-natural, nutritious ingredients and taste great too.
Buy it: Cerebelly Smart Bars. Cerebelly.com
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.
About the expert: Karen Biton-Cohen is a recipe developer and food photographer. She received her bachelor’s in fine arts and photography from Tufts University in Massachusetts and later completed her culinary training at the Israeli Institute of Culinary Arts. Since then, she’s worked with several brands, restaurants and publications to develop recipes and food imagery.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.