Snacking can help stave off hunger and provide much-needed nutrients if you provide healthy snacks for kids.
Ditch junk food for snacks (like potato chips and cookies) since they provide empty calories.
Healthy snack ideas include nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.
Make healthy snacks kid-friendly by following a few tips to make nutritious foods more appealing.
If your kids are like most, they like to eat at least one or two snacks a day. Done right, snacking can be a good thing, as it helps keep hunger at bay. The key is to choose healthy foods for snacks instead of junk food. While breakfast, lunch, and dinner will provide the majority of your child’s calories and nutrients, snacks can absolutely factor into a healthy diet. While it can be challenging to choose kid-friendly snacks that will deliver the vitamins and minerals kids need, keeping a list of go-to healthy snacks can help.
If you want to keep your child happy and energized, read on for [x] healthy snacks for kids!
What Are Good Healthy Snacks For Kids?
Ditch the junk food with empty calories, such as potato chips, cookies, candy, and soda. Processed foods (often sold in bags and boxes) typically contain little to no nutrients and a lot of added sugar and salt.1 Instead, stock your fridge and pantry with healthier options packed with nutrients that help support children’s normal growth and development. Need ideas for good snacks for kids? Try these healthy snack ideas: 1,2,3
Fresh fruit (apple slices, bananas, blueberries, grapes, orange slices, strawberries)
Dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, cherries, dates, mango, raisins)
Whole-grain pita bread spread with hummus (made from chickpeas)
Roasted chickpeas (baked in the oven, lightly coated with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs or spices for a flavor kick)
Lean deli meat (such as low-sodium ham, turkey breast, chicken breast)
Cottage cheese with fresh or canned fruit mixed in (try peach slices or pineapple chunks)
Home-made snack mix (a mixture of dried fruit, nuts, and whole grain cereal)
Whole-grain, low-sodium tortilla chips and salsa
What Are Good Healthy Snacks For School?
While any of the foods from the above list provide a nourishing snack, some are a little more portable than others, making them a perfect school snack. Good grab-and-go options include:
Fresh fruit (like apples, bananas, grapes) and veggies (carrot sticks, cucumber slices)
Fruit cups (packed in their own juice, no added sugar)
Nuts and seeds
Individual containers of yogurt or applesauce
Low-fat string cheese
How Can I Make Snacks More Kid-Friendly?
The key to providing fun, healthy snacks for kids is taking a kid-friendly approach. Follow these tips to make nutritious food more appealing to kids.4,5
Provide “finger foods.” To make healthy foods appealing to kids, offer snacks that kids can eat without using utensils to make them easier (and more fun) to eat.
Think about presentation. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of soft foods (think bread or tortillas). Thread fruit chunks or cheese on wooden skewers to make kebabs.
Give snacks a fun name. Try naming healthy snacks to make them more kid-friendly, such as a “broccoli forest” (florets that kids can dip in hummus) and “ants on a log” (celery sticks smeared with peanut butter and topped with raisins).
Set up self-serve snacks. Foster children’s independence by encouraging them to help themselves to healthy snacks. Use plastic bags or containers to portion out individual servings of nuts, seeds, crackers, and popcorn. Set up a reachable shelf or drawer in the fridge filled with yogurt and string cheese. Wash and cut up fruits and veggies into bite-size pieces. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the table.
Make snacks interactive. Let kids dip whole grain noodles in marinara sauce. Ask them to “paint” tortillas with hummus. Challenge them to create faces on their plates by arranging dried fruit into eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Spell words with nuts and seeds.
The Bottom Line
Snacking offers you additional opportunities to help nourish your children with healthy foods! Rather than focusing on specific foods, encourage kids to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods. Instead of junk food for snacks, stock your fridge and pantry with nutrient-packed foods kids can nosh on, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Consider adding a children’s multivitamin to your kid’s daily routine such as kids gummy vitamins to help ensure they address their nutritional gaps. And by following a few of the above tips, you can make snacks that are both healthy and fun to eat!
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Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.