When you think about healthy snacks for kids, there are a few clear winners. Obviously, fruit is always a smart choice. But every mom needs a backup — especially when those blueberries you just bought yesterday have already managed to go bad. (Surely this is a situation every mom has faced before. Why have the berries betrayed you?) As for the kids themselves, it’s safe to say they don’t care as much as you do about nutritional value. They’re looking for fun, easy snacks to make, which is something to keep in mind when you’re out grocery shopping to restock their blueberry inventory. You definitely want to have nutritious choices available that your little ones really like.
Finding fun healthy snacks for kids can be maddening, but it’s more necessary than you may think. Snacks aren’t just meant as a way to appease your kids; they’re also important for their body and brain development. “Parents should think of snacking as a way to give their kids extra fuel for growing healthy and strong,” Los Angeles nutritionist Melissa Halas-Liang, RDN, told WebMD, adding, “Snacks shouldn’t just be empty calories; they should be used to fill in the nutrition gaps in your kid’s eating.”
Although there are plenty of healthy snack options out there, some require a lot of prep work. But we’ve compiled a list of no-fuss options for little ones to enjoy if you’re feeling a bit unmotivated. Bonus? They’re great for home or school.
Healthy Snacks for Kids
1. Grape and Cheese Kabobs
If you trust your children with skewer sticks, this could be a fun and convenient snack that’ll provide them with calcium and vitamins C and K. Grapes have a ton of antioxidants in them that’ll help keep your children healthy throughout the winter. (Or at least healthier, as winter is a tough season to avoid getting a cold.) You might not think of cheese as being the healthiest snack — especially if you happen to eat a lot of it at once, and same — but aside from calcium, it’s also a great source of protein. And protein helps keep kids satisfied and full.
2. Baby Cucumbers and Hummus
In general, hummus is a wonderfully healthy and tasty dip for vegetables. While ranch dressing is the more popular option, hummus contains plant-based protein. It’s also high in fiber, which is an added benefit for kids who may suffer from constipation. If baby cucumbers aren’t their thing, some pretzels would also work as a great vehicle for hummus. There are also plenty of different kinds of hummus on the market, and you can even make your own hummus if you feel handy in the kitchen (or worry about extra additives).
3. Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey Roll-Ups
One of the easiest ways to make a sandwich even more portable? Turn it into a roll-up. This snack could also serve as a meal in a pinch, as it includes a ton of nutrition. Peanut butter isn’t the healthiest of snacks (at least not the kind with added sugars), but it’s not too bad for growing kids — especially since it contains a lot of healthy fats. If your child eats a vegetarian diet, peanut butter is a good way to get extra protein. Honey is a great way to add in additional sweetness, but it may not be necessary. That said, if you’re a honey fan, you’ll be happy to know that quality honey often contains a lot of antioxidants and can be a much better alternative to sugar.
4. Breakfast Muffins
Muffins are great to grab on-the-go, and they’re even better when they’re made at home. That way, you can have a good visual idea of what you’re putting in each muffin. You can also make a variety. Breakfast muffins can be made with wholesome ingredients like carrots, squash, yogurt, and zucchini. If your kids aren’t big fans of vegetables, they may change their minds when eating them in a new form. This is a great way you can incorporate different fruits and veggies into their diet while keeping them happy and full.
5. Trail Mix
Trail mix will always be a fun and customizable snack that your kids can bring anywhere. Well, anywhere that doesn’t have any type of peanut or tree nut restriction. (So, certain schools may not allow it if you’re primarily looking for healthy snacks for kids at school.) If your trail mix contains almonds, you’ll know your kids are getting their fiber intake. Macadamia nuts are also good for blood pressure, in case your child has been carrying a lot of extra stress this year. Cashews supply a great amount of zinc. Of course, trail mix isn’t just nuts. You can also fill yours with raisins, cranberries, sunflower seeds, or even dark chocolate chips.
6. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has become incredibly popular in the last few years, and the reason why is understandable. It’s lower in sugar than standard yogurts, and also contains a good amount of calcium and necessary probiotics. It’s one of the top healthy snacks for kids’ lunch boxes if your child is still physically attending school. And, it comes in plenty of different varieties, meaning that kids won’t quickly get bored of it. Studies show it also lessens cases of type 2 diabetes, which is yet another win for the popular snack.
Popcorn isn’t just for the movies! It’s the original low-calorie snack. We’re so used to the over-buttered, greasy, movie-style version, it’s easy to forget that popcorn is actually a whole grain. So while enjoying the low-fat bite, steer clear of the butter or other popcorn toppings. Also, keep in mind that popcorn can be a choking hazard for young kids.
8. Celery with Peanut Butter and Raisins
This unique snack is filled with fruit, veggies, and a sweet-and-salty protein your kids will love. It’s crunchy, chewy, and sweet all at the same time. Your kiddo will dig the flavor, and you’ll love its health benefits. Plus, it’s got that nostalgia factor going for it. Do you remember snacking on this growing up?
9. Orange Ice Pops
It’s never too cold for an ice pop! Just ask your kid. The next time your little one wants a sweet ice treat, make your own filled with vitamins and natural sweetness. Instead of giving them frozen treats packed with preservatives and sugar, make sure you have:
- Orange juice
- Greek yogurt
- Orange zest
- Vanilla extract
First, mix your orange juice and honey in a pan over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Then mix it in a blender with the yogurt, orange zest, vanilla, and a bit of salt. When it reaches a thick puree state, pour it into the popsicle molds and leave it in the freezer overnight or for about five hours. You can also do this with other 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices.
10. Strawberry Salsa
Give your child something sweet, salty, and colorful. To make strawberry salsa, you’ll need strawberries, grapes, frozen corn, green onion, cilantro, olive oil, raspberry vinegar, lime juice, salt, and tortilla chips. This fresh spring snack is packed with flavor and nutrients your little nugget will love.
11. Banana oat cookies
Bananas are filled with potassium and are a great source of vitamin C. Now, imagine it as a cookie. Smash three ripe bananas into a bowl with coconut oil, oats, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Once everything is mixed, put spoonfuls of the banana blend onto a metal pan. Then put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Your kiddo won’t be able to tell they were made from fruit.