Why Are Snacks Healthy For Kids?
Childhood is a time for critical growth and development. Healthy snacks give your little ones important nutrients and boost their energy between meals. (1)
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Nutrition is vital in your child’s cognitive functioning and proper physical development. (2)
A 2016 study published in Preventive Medicine Reports showed that healthy diets and physical activity in early childhood can lead to better cognitive and academic outcomes in young children. (3)
In addition, a 2019 Nutrients study showed that consumption of less healthful food groups (e.g., salty snacks, sweet snacks, and sweetened beverages) can lead to poorer academic achievement, including lower math and English standardized test scores. (2)
What’s A Healthy Snack For Kids?
Fruits, veggies, and foods rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and calcium, are healthy snacks to include in your child’s diet.
Healthy breakfast items like toast with fruit toppings or nut butter also make nutritious school snacks in their lunchbox.
What’s The Healthiest Thing To Snack On?
These are our top picks for the healthiest and perfect snacks for your kiddos:
- Fruits and veggies, preferably organic
- Whole foods
- Low sugar snacks
- Gluten-free food
- Foods with healthy fats (e.g., avocado, chia seeds, eggs, flaxseed, nut and seed butters, fatty fish, dark chocolate, walnuts, etc.)
- Cheese such as Swiss cheese, fresh mozzarella (not low-moisture mozzarella), Monterey Jack, parmesan, cottage cheese, romano, cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar (mild), and ricotta
- Healthy carbs (e.g., bananas, carrots, potatoes, prunes, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, etc.)
Benefits Of Creating A List Of Snack Ideas For Kids
Creating a list of options to prepare for the week or month can help make snack time easier, healthier, and more fun for your kiddos.
The list lets you monitor what foods your children are eating, add snack food variety, and introduce new kid-friendly snack ideas to their diet.
Most kids are likely to choose less healthy snacks, such as sweets, if the selection is up to them. They get to make nutritious choices if you have a healthy list they can choose from. (1)
Some moms find it useful to let their older kids and picky eaters choose veggies, fruits, and healthy snacks to buy from the grocery store. Doing so helps encourage them to eat the foods they picked. (4)
We prepared this list of healthy, kid-friendly snack ideas you can make at home, plus some ready-made, store-bought items your little ones might want to try.
60 Healthy & Kid-friendly Snack Ideas
Easy Snack Ideas For Home & School
Snack preparation can be time-consuming. Here’s a hack for the easiest healthy snacks for your preschoolers and older kids: nutritious, pre-packed snacks.
Here are some of our recommendations:
- Serenity Kids Grain-Free Puffs
- Yumi Stage 7: Nutrient-Dense Bites
- Little Spoon Organic Smoothies
- Happy TOT Organics Toddler Snacks
- Happy BABY Organics Baby Snacks
Serenity Kids Grain-Free Puffs
Serenity Kids prepared these grain-free puffs with organic veggies and healthy fats.
These puffs are free from added sugars, rice and other grains, eggs, nuts, dairy, gluten, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
They’re made from savory recipes. These healthy puffs also dissolve upon contact with saliva to reduce choking risks.
Prices for a one-time purchase (20% discount for subscriptions):
- One flavor (six containers) – $32.95
- Variety pack with different flavors (six containers) – $35.95
Yumi Stage 7: Nutrient-Dense Bites
Yumi offers nutrient-dense bites with healthy ingredients like:
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Black beans
- Flax seeds
- Gluten-free oats
- Gluten-free oat flour
These snacks are rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, fiber, copper, magnesium, and vitamin A.
These nutrient-dense bites are made from certified USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic ingredients and are free from added sugars, dairy, gluten, GMOs, and preservatives.
Yumi is a subscription-based, organic food company that delivers healthy snacks and meals to your doorstep.
Meal plans start at $5 per day, depending on the products you pick and the frequency of your orders.
Little Spoon Organic Smoothies
Little Spoon offers cold-pressed, certified organic smoothies that make easy, on-the-go healthy snacks for your kiddos.
These smoothies have hidden veggies and superfoods in snacktime varieties. They don’t contain artificial ingredients or added sugar.
Ingredients can include:
- Greek yogurt
- Purple carrots
- Sweet potatoes
- Oat milk
You can add these smoothies ($2.79 per smoothie) to any Little Spoon organic food subscription.
Happy TOT Organics Toddler Snacks
These healthy snacks are USDA-certified organic and contain nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Happy Family packed snacks under the Happy TOT line include the following, available in different flavors:
- Fruity sticks ($3.99 per 2.54oz bag)
- Multi-grain cookies ($4.39 per 4.4oz bag)
- Fruits, veggies, and oat bars ($0.80 per bar)
- Oatmilk pudding ($1.89 per 4oz pouch)
Happy BABY Organics Baby Snacks
Formulated as healthy snacks for babies, the Happy BABY line is also made using USDA-certified organic ingredients. They’re also packed with nutrients, including choline, iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.
Baby snack options from Happy Family Organics include:
- Teethers ($3.99 per 1.7oz box)
- Puffs ($3.49 per 2.1oz canister)
- Yogis (freeze-dried, organic yogurt drops with fruity flavors) – $3.59 per 1oz bag
What Are Some Healthy Snack Ideas For School?
These are some delicious, healthy snacks you can prepare for your kiddos’ snacks in school:
- Banana Oat Cookies
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Celery With Peanut Butter & Raisins
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Baked Potato
- Toast With Nut Butters Or Fruit Toppings (e.g., Avocado)
- Finger Foods With Chia Or Hemp Seeds And Guacamole
Banana Oat Cookies
Bananas are rich in potassium and are considered “superfoods.”
They’re also naturally sweet. You don’t have to add sugar in preparing your child’s banana oat cookie snacks for school.
Oats and oatmeal are rich in fiber, calcium, and iron.
Hard-boiled eggs are among the easiest and most nutritious foods your child can eat for snacks or lunch.
Be sure to peel the hard-boiled egg and cut it in half or quarters before putting it in your child’s lunchbox. A few slices of cherry tomatoes or cheese can also make a good addition to this snack.
Celery With Raisins & Peanut Butter
Spread peanut butter on top of a celery stalk and arrange some raisins. This snack, also known as “ants on a log,” can be a playful way to encourage your kids to eat veggies.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Air-fry or bake sweet potatoes to create this snack item. It’s a good idea to use healthy oils if you opt to fry them.
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, vitamins, and dietary fiber.
You can prepare baked potatoes in similar ways you did for the sweet potatoes. This starchy tuber is also rich in fiber and has antioxidants.
Toast With Nut Butters Or Fruit Toppings (e.g., Avocado)
Breast and toast are popular snack ideas and finger foods for toddlers and older kids.
It’s a good idea to use whole-grain bread instead of white bread to prepare these healthy snacks. Popular toppings include avocado, shredded cheese, peanut butter, and jelly.
Finger Foods With Chia Or Hemp Seeds And Guacamole
Finger foods made from sliced fruits and veggies with chia or hemp seeds and dip like guacamole are also delicious ways of adding texture and different flavors to your child’s snacks.
Snack Ideas For Kids To Enjoy At Home
These foods make snacks fun at home, but you can also use these as snack ideas for school:
- Veggie pita pocket
- Baby carrot sticks with hummus
- Banana quesadilla with peanut butter
- Quesadilla with cheese & beans
- Sandwich with cottage cheese
- Bell peppers & guacamole
- Veggie sticks & hummus
- Bowl of oatmeal or other whole-grain cereal
- Oatmeal-based snack items
- Frozen fruit popsicles
- Turkey & avocado roll-up
- Chicken roll-up
- Carrot & veggie salad
- Crunchy roasted chickpeas
- Cauliflower breadsticks
- Whole-grain bread with almond butter
- Veggie-rich bread
- Tomatoes & cheese
Veggie Pita Pocket
Spread hummus and add veggies like lettuce, cucumber, and carrots in a whole-wheat pita pocket. Your kids can also pick the other stuff they want to add, such as shredded cheese, bell peppers, etc.
Baby Carrot Sticks With Hummus
Baby carrots are sweet and crunchy. They make a great pair with hummus.
You can cook them until soft instead of giving them raw to your child.
Banana Quesadilla With Peanut Butter
Spread peanut butter (or other nut butters) on a tortilla and add banana slices. Fold the tortilla in half and cook on a non-stick pan lightly sprayed with oil for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
Quesadilla With Cheese & Beans
Another option is to use cheese and beans in your quesadilla.
Sandwich With Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese comes in low-fat, fat-free, or full-fat options. Those with lower fats can have higher protein content.
No matter which one you choose, cottage cheese is a good option to add to your children’s snacks because it’s rich in calcium.
Bell Peppers & Guacamole
Bell peppers contain vitamin C and carotenoids, which are plant compounds that are good for your child’s eyes.
They make a good combination with guacamole, made from avocado.
Veggie Sticks & Hummus
Put slices of raw carrots and cucumbers on your child’s plate or lunchbox, then add some hummus.
Bowl Of Oatmeal Or Other Whole-Grain Cereal
A bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal can be easy to prepare, but make sure to check the temperature before giving this snack to your child.
You can opt to add slices of banana, strawberries, blueberries, or other toppings.
Oatmeal-Based Snack Items
Oats make a great base for other snack items, such as homemade granola or energy bars.
They also make a delicious cookie base, although you might consider trying a recipe with no added sugars and fewer chocolate chips.
Frozen Fruit Popsicles
Plenty of store-bought popsicles are made of artificial flavoring. You can provide your child healthier choices by preparing your own at home.
Purée berries or frozen fruits and some fruit juice in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds and insert the popsicle sticks. Freeze overnight.
Turkey & Avocado Roll-Up
Wrap a thin turkey slice around an avocado slice. You can use a toothpick to let the roll stay in position. Bake or air-fry until golden brown.
Chicken Roll Up
Instead of turkey, you can opt for chicken. Use this to wrap an avocado slice or any veggie your child likes. You can also use cheese instead of a veggie slice.
Carrot & Veggie Salad
Mix shredded or thinly sliced carrots and other veggies, including cabbage or lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, and cucumber. Sprinkle some raisins, nuts, peeled sunflower seeds, cheese, or their favorite salad ingredients.
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
Sprinkle seasonings like garlic powder, ground black pepper, or some light chili (if your child likes it spicy) on chickpeas and roast for 20-30 minutes or until crispy.
Prepare breadsticks using cauliflower instead of flour. You can top this snack with some cheese for added flavor.
Whole-Grain Bread With Almond Butter
If your kiddo doesn’t have nut allergies, almond butter can be another good option for their snacks.
What’s great about cooking your own bread is that you can add any ingredient you like, such as carrots and zucchini, to make it healthier.
Tomatoes & Cheese
They’re popularly used as pizza toppings, so adding them to a piece of toast and calling it pizza might be one way of encouraging your child to eat this snack.
Fruit Snacks For Kids
Fruits are rich in vitamins to boost your child’s immune system. It’s good to add fruits to your child’s diet.
Here are some ways to do it:
- Sliced pears with ricotta cheese
- Fruit sticks with nut butters
- Fruit cups
- Frozen grapes or berries
- Frozen fruit sticks
Which Chips Are Good For Kids?
Chips have long been considered junk food, but veggie-based chips can be healthy choices for your children’s snacks. It’s best to prepare these chips using an air fryer or oven to minimize the use of oil.
- Veggie-based chips
- Kale chips
- Homemade tortilla chips with guacamole
- Crispy seaweed snacks
Whole-grain crackers are a healthier choice than those made with refined flour. You can add some healthy toppings for added taste and texture.
- Whole-grain crackers with nut butters
- Whole-grain crackers with cheese
Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids’ Parties: Bars & Packs
The snack ideas we listed above can make a great choice for kids’ parties, but you can also add the following to your list:
- Homemade granola bars
- Raisin snack packs & other dried fruits
- Crispy lentils
- Fruit smoothie
- Vanilla shake
- Whole-grain waffles
Dairy Snack Ideas For Kids
If your child doesn’t have a dairy allergy, these are some snack ideas to try:
- Yogurt (e.g., Greek yogurt) & yogurt drinks
- Cheese sticks & other snack cheeses
- A piece of cheese (cottage cheese, fresh mozzarella, etc.)
Road Trip Snack Ideas
Make road trips fun and healthy with these snack ideas:
- Muffins with blueberry & chocolate chips
- Homemade trail mix
- Fresh fruits (e.g., apple slices, bananas, etc.)
- Peanut butter & jelly sandwich
What Should A 5-Year-Old Eat Daily?
Your preschooler needs to eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal daily to meet their energy and growth needs.
Homemade food and snacks with fruits, veggies, meat, and milk are ideal for your child.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t cook or prepare everything for your kiddos, mama. Healthy store-bought foods are also good options for your kids (or yourself).
Guide To Choosing The Best Healthy Snacks for Kids
There isn’t a perfect snack that suits everyone. Here are some ways to pick healthy snacks for your little ones:
- You can prepare freshly squeezed juices or smoothies at home. Freezing these overnight or for a few hours can keep them cold until your child’s snack time.
- Whole foods, including whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and other unprocessed foods, are an ideal choice.
- Check the label and pick low or reduced sodium options.
- Add texture to veggies and fruits using hemp seeds, chia seeds, hummus, and guacamole. Avoid using store-bought sugar sprinkles.
- Check the portion or serving size.
- Protein and healthy fats can help your child feel fuller for longer.
Safety Tips & Snacks To Avoid
Recalled Baby Food & Snacks
When choosing store-bought snacks, monitor food recalls and safety alerts.
Some popular name brands selling baby foods and snacks for toddlers or older kids:
- Nurture, Inc. (HappyBABY and HappyTOT)
- Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)
- Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Earth’s Best Organic)
- Campbell’s Plum Organics
- Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice)
- Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)
Potential Choking Hazards
- Hard, large chunks of meat, veggies, or fruits
- Long, stringy food such as melted mozzarella cheese or uncut spaghetti
- Round, slippery food like uncut berries (you can slice or smash them to reduce choking risks)
Try to avoid foods with added sugars or processed foods, including:
- Processed fruit juices
Allergy, Sensitivity, & Intolerance
Some children have allergies, sensitivities, or intolerance to certain foods. Monitor your child for symptoms such as: (5)
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach pain
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Swelling of lips, mouth, or throat
- Rapid pulse