50+ healthier snack ideas for kids (and grown-ups)

chewing on a kale stem

My friends have been super supportive of this little blog endeavor I have going on here. I’m so grateful – and encouraged. A group of us who have been friends since high school got together last weekend to eat lots of yummy food (at Trader’s Point Creamery – one of my favorites!), ditch the kids and boys, and catch up on life. We told old stories, kid stories, and new stories – and the evening went way too fast. It reminded me what a gift friendship is and how fortunate I am to have friends that have known me for more than half of my life.

I think part of why I love food so much is the space it carves out for time to make memories. We took J out for doughnuts when we were in Florida this year – just the three of us – and he woke up this morning and said, “Mama, you remember that time when we were at the beach and I was a good boy and you, Dada, and me rode our bikes so far and then we got a doughnut and mine had sprinkles on it and chocolate and…” I had fun that morning, but I obviously didn’t realize the impact that it had on our little guy. Food was then and so often is the gateway to time shared and memories made.

Enough rambling! Several of my friends over the weekend asked for some healthy, quick snack ideas, so this list is for them. Please add your own ideas in the comments, and maybe we could get enough ideas for a part two post!

Veggies
Obviously, choose these based on what’s in season where you are!

  1. Carrots/celery/cauliflower/broccoli/sweet peppers/cucumbers + hummus or guacamole
  2. Beet/carrot/sweet potato/kale chips*
  3. Pickled veggies (there’s something about the sour flavor that gets our kids to eat anything pickled even if they maybe wouldn’t eat it raw)
  4. Pickles
  5. Roasted veggies (this only works for M, but she loves roasted carrots and sweet potatoes as a snack. I tend to make them as a side at the beginning of the week, and then just keep them in a jar in the fridge for snacks for her throughout the week. J thinks she is weird, so I’m sure this won’t work for lots of kids.)
  6. Cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper
  7. Celery with peanut/almond butter (or sesame seed butter – recipe coming soon) + raisins
  8. Cauliflower hummus with veggies of your choice. Or you could cheat and use tortilla chips since they are already getting veggies in the dip. (I promise it’s delicious!)
  9. Black bean hummus with veggies
  10. Salsa or salsa verde with veggie strips, veggie chips (or tortilla chips)
  11. Kimchi (I realize this might be a stretch. We often make our kids take a spoonful of kraut/whatever-fermented-is-in-the-fridge before they get a meal/snack. I’m sure there will be therapy of some sort for this in their future, but at least their guts will be healthy!)
  12. Lettuce wraps – use romaine or bibb lettuce leaves and then give the kids things to stuff in the lettuce to make a wrap. Some ideas: cheese, hummus, guacamole, shredded/diced veggies, leftover meat from dinner the night before, etc.
  13. Baba ghanoush with veggies
  14. Smoothies. My go-to recipe: frozen berries, plain yogurt, kale (usually frozen), and a bit of local honey. Experiment to find your favorite concoction.
  15. Pumpkin dip with apples or bananas to dip.
  16. Radishes and, especially, Daikon radishes. Our kids think these are chips, and they work great as a carrier of dips. Eat them with the cauliflower hummus above and you’re doubling up on veggies.

Fruits and Nuts
We try to get the kids to eat veggies as a snack first, but fruit is typically their first choice. We base their options on whatever fruit is in season (or preserved/dried in the pantry).

  1. Whatever fruit is in season. In the summer, the kids looove berries and peaches. In the fall, they can’t get enough apples and pears. We had some pears last week, and J ate three in one sitting. I’m not so sure that was my best mom move ever.
  2. Dried fruits of any variety – we always have organic dried mangoes, raisins, and craisins on hand for quick snacks on the run
  3. Apple chips*
  4. Nuts! Our kids love cashews and pistachios best, but we typically have walnuts and almonds around too. Grant’s favorite snack is a homemade trail mix of dried cherries, walnuts, and almonds.
  5. Yogurt-covered raisins (these are a special treat in our house)
  6. Apples/bananas with nut/seed butter
  7. Sara Bars
  8. Frozen berries. In the summer months, we go to Spencer’s Farm about once a week to pick all of the local berries we can possibly freeze and preserve. I use lots for jams and things, but I also freeze a ton. I wash them off, put them on large baking sheets in the freezer, and then, once frozen, I put them in plastic bags or large jars in the freezer. The kids think the frozen berries are a special treat throughout the year.
  9. DIY grain-free granola bars – these look amazing, and I will definitely be trying to recreate them soon.
  10. Roasted nuts. Spicing things up a bit makes them exciting. Some ideas: maple, honey and chai (oh my!), rosemary, spicy. Be adventurous and come up with your own combo.
  11. Seeds: pumpkin/squash, sunflower (again, roasting makes them tastier and crunchier). Add these to your trail mix or just eat them plain.
  12. Olives (this seems like a veggie to me, but Google says it’s a fruit)
  13. Apple/pear sauce (easiest-recipe-ever coming soon)
  14. Cinnamon almond cookies. J loooves these (as does Grant!).
  15. In the summer, we make popsicles with homemade fruit/veggie juice. J will eat anything in popsicle form. If you don’t have a juicer, you could use yogurt, kefir, or store-bought juices (just watch out for the ingredients).
  16. Multi-grain crackers without the grain. I haven’t made these yet, but they’re on my to do list so I’ll keep you posted.
  17. Along similar lines as the Sara Bars, peppermint brownie bites would be perfect for December.
  18. Almond butter dip for any fruit you have around. Or I think I would maybe just go after this with a spoon.
  19. Oranges and grapefruit (and clementines, tangerines, and the like).  We only get these December – February when the citrus truck comes through once a month from Florida, but my mouth is already watering just thinking about them. And J told me yesterday, “Mama, when the citrus truck gets here, I’m going eat NINE ORANGES all by myself!”

Protein

  1. Hard-boiled eggs
  2. Eggs in a hole (these take a bit longer, but really only about 5 minutes)
  3. Leftover meat or poultry from the night before + cheese (we call these “cheese sandwiches” at our house)
  4. Cheese and apples or grapes
  5. Egg muffins (J loves these. We loosely base them off of this recipe, but they’re super flexible based on what you have laying around. Bonus = they freeze well!)
  6. Beef/venison beef jerky. We use our dehydrator to make local venison jerky that is extra delicious, but I found this oven recipe if you don’t have a dehydrator and want to give it a shot.
  7. Plain yogurt. Add-ins: dried fruit, granola, jam, vanilla extract, local honey, berries.
  8. Steamed edamame with sea salt. Our kids think these are the coolest, but we eat them in moderation.
  9. Roasted chickpeas (these are soo delicious on salads too)
  10. Tzatziki with veggies (I use that recipe but just use more plain yogurt instead of sour cream)

Grains/Sweets
We’ve been trying to really cut down on grains at our house – even the whole grain variety – so I try to avoid them for snacks to give us more room for grain “treats” at regular meal times. But if you’re not on the no-grain train, here are some ideas:

  1. Popcorn! M is a popcorn-eating machine. It’s really something to see. Try some of these variations.
  2. Pecan Maple Breakfast Cookies
  3. Power Balls
  4. Carrot cake muffins (we all love these – I may have even put some frosting on some one year and gave J them for his birthday)
  5. Maple almond bites. My sister-in-law is allergic to dairy, so I made these for her a few years ago. But now we love them too!
  6. Pumpkin/banana/zucchini whole grain quick breads. J thinks these are dessert. Whatever recipe you use, it’s easy to sub out whole grains and use honey or syrup in place of sugar.

What would you add to the list?!

*My sweet husband knows the way to my heart and recently bought me a deydrator for my birthday/anniversary/Christmas gift, which makes all of the recipes with asterisks much easier and possibly a bit tastier. I’ve made all of these things with the oven up until September when the dehydrator arrived on the front porch. So experiment with your oven or start off with a less expensive dehydrator first to see if/how much you use it.

Comments

  1. Kelli says

    Thanks, Sara! I cannot WAIT to try some of these recipes! They will be perfect to pack in lunches- cant wait to learn some tricks! Thanks for all the recipe links too! So accessible! Your blog is amazing! xo

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