Ten healthy snacks for kids
If you need help choosing healthy snacks for kids then you’ve come to the right place.
Regardless of whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, much to my dismay no one believes me when I recommend fruit or a bit of yoghurt as healthy snacks for kids.
You may be looking for healthy snacks either because you are worried that your child is overweight or because they tell you that they are constantly hungry over the school holidays!
Planning the snacks for kids pays off for everyone. The children know in advance what’s on offer and parents can relax knowing that the pantries are stocked with healthy snacks for the kids.
Here are my suggestions for ten healthy snacks for the kids that are quick and easy to make.
I know that looking after your child’s health is fundamental as a parent. There can be uncertainty about what to offer children as a healthy snack but the fruit really is one of the perfect options.
It’s a source of fibre helping to keep their bellies full whilst topping up their daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
Don’t forget that fibre is also important to feed the trillions of microbes that live in your child’s gastrointestinal tract. During the early years, your child’s microbiome continues to develop so make sure that they get enough fibre to feed the good bacteria that live and grow in their gut.
Children need to eat at least two servings of fruit a day as part of their Five-A-Day portions. Keep the fruit bowl full so that they can help themselves when hungry in-between meals. Fruit should always be one of the first things that they reach for when hungry and is also a perfect toddler snack.
By teaching them this healthy eating habit, they’ll continue to eat fruit as a snack throughout their life.
If you need to make it a little more exciting, why not serve watermelon slices or fruit salads with chopped mint through this? It really only takes less than five minutes to chop up a couple of pieces of fruit and herbs.
For school why not invest in one of those trendy and fun-looking fruit-shaped storage boxes that can be attached to a key ring? These will help prevent bananas and apples from getting bruised in the school bag.
I especially like Biona organic rice cakes with amaranth. Rice cakes generally provide around 3g of fibre per 100g but this particular type provides 4.2g per 100g.
At home, these would be perfect with a thin smear of nut butter but for school, why not slap on hummus, or Vegemite or serve it on its own? These are all appropriate for children following a vegan, vegetarian or milk-free diet.
These rice cakes also provide a decent amount of protein due to the presence of Amaranth which is an ancient grain that is naturally gluten-free. Like quinoa, it also contains the full sequence of essential amino acids.
As a variation to rice cakes, these provide at least 7-10g of fibre per 100g making it a high-fibre healthy snack for kids.
Serve on its own or at home you could prepare a fish-based sandwich filler like this smoked salmon rillette in the article “12 child friendly fish recipes to delight”.
Sliced seasonal vegetables
During the summer sweet cherry tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers and corn are all in season.
They are perfectly sliced and can be dipped into a selection of dips prepared from beans or beautiful purple beets to make hummus-like dips.
If your child is not following a dairy-free diet then you can offer a portion of cream cheese. Some children may enjoy eating these raw and on their own.
When you pop these into your child’s lunch boxes they make great snacks for kids.
You can try sending them with the sliced vegetables daily for at least two weeks before they will cave in and eat them when hungry. Mix up the colours of the vegetables so they look visually appealing too.
A source of protein and calcium yoghurt is useful, particularly as a toddler snack.
Some varieties (particularly milk-free yoghurts) can be high in sugar so it’s a good idea to learn how to screen nutrition labels for these.
I recommend reading “How To Choose The Best Children’s Yoghurt”.
A few simple tips for transporting yoghurt is to freeze it first so that the yoghurt thaws out in children’s lunch boxes during the warmer days.
If you are sending them with sliced fruit and vegetables in their lunch boxes then the frozen yoghurts could keep these cool.
If your child’s preferred brand is higher in sugar, try not to worry too much about this. Balance the rest of their snacks using the nutritious choices listed in this article of healthy snacks for kids that are quick and easy.
Home-made mixed fruit bread rolls
You can buy commercially made easter buns or bread rolls but if you are prepared to invest a little bit of time baking with the kids, you’ll be rewarded with a supply of delicious home-baked fruit bread rolls that the kids will love!
I’ve prepared these fruit bread rolls in a variety of ways using a different combination of dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
I especially loved using part spelt flour instead of strong white bread flour mixed with wholemeal flour which resulted in very soft textured bread rolls.
Spelt is fabulous as it is another grain that is high in fibre (> 7g per 100g). The sweet and nutty spelt flour that I used was lower providing only 4.7g fibre per 100g but provided higher levels compared to standard self-raising flour.
Wholemeal flour by far provides the highest proportion of fibre by up to 10g per 100g. Fibre is important for hungry bellies as it helps fill them up and keeps them full for longer.
Home baking also helps minimise their intake of any added preservatives and additives. It’s a great activity with the kids during the weekends. Get them to help you shape the dough into circular dough balls ready for baking in a hot oven.
A family favourite kids love popcorn!
You can prepare these at home and store them in air-tight containers.
This recipe is for wild rosemary popcorn which makes a delicious change.
Corn kernels are also incredibly budget-friendly and are available all year round. Just be mindful of how much oil and salt are added when preparing it.
Apart from this, it’s a delicious source of fibre and a bowl can be happily shared amongst friends after school or if added to your child’s lunch box.
Homemade flap jack
Public Health England has recommended that children reduce their intake of added sugars. Although breakfast cereals and sweetened drinks are one of the biggest sources of added sugar in children’s diets, baking can be another.
If your child enjoys the taste of sweetened foods then don’t despair. They don’t need to completely give up sweetened foods.
Instead, I would encourage you to bake together so that you can control the overall amount of added sugars.
This milk-free fig and dark chocolate flapjack is a strong contender but I’ll be honest, it does contain a fair amount of sugar. You could try reducing the brown sugar by half and try adding a banana instead to sweeten it naturally.
The final recipe should then be lower in added sugars. Alternatively, keep the portion sizes small and try not to make this the hero snack.
Offer it with fruit, sliced vegetables and any of the other healthy snack options described in this post.
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The humble toast often gets overlooked but is a brilliant snack. It’s a smart carbohydrate providing the right sources of energy from carbohydrates, and fibre and when topped with protein like hummus or similar dips prepared using tahini can be a filling and nutritious mini-meal.
For children who are not following a vegan or vegetarian diet, you could consider using eggs or fish like tinned tuna to prepare an open sandwich.
For an after-school snack, nut butter that has been oven roasted in its skin without added oil is perfect over toast.
Savoury mini muffins
As another opportunity to bake with your children, why not whip up savoury muffins using the mini muffin hole trays as a healthy snack for kids?
You can choose from a variety of fillings such as sun-dried tomatoes, green peas, beans, tofu, sweet corn, grated courgette or carrots and so on. If you need a dairy-free muffin, skip the cheese but use fresh herbs for delicious flavours.
For egg-free baking, flax eggs prepared using ground flax seeds will do the trick. Soy or oat-based yoghurt and creme fraiche could be used to replace cheese and yoghurt in recipes.
Have you got a recipe to share?
Roasted chickpeas or green lentils
A fabulous nut-free crunchy healthy snack option for kids.
Experiment with different spices at home to sprinkle over the chickpeas before roasting in the oven.
- mild curry powder
- garam masala
- ground cumin
Make sure that the chickpeas or green lentils are thoroughly cooked and then dried before coating them in oil and any of the spices described above.
After tossing well to coat evenly with the spices, spread it out on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven for up to 40 minutes.
Due to the risk of choking, you may wish to avoid these for children under the age of five years.
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