17 Healthy Snacks Ideas Your Kids Will Love

17 Healthy Snacks Ideas Your Kids Will Love

When kids are at home, you’ve probably heard them call out “I’m hungry!” too many times. Children can sometimes mistake boredom for hunger, and they may not crave the snacks that provide the nutrition they need. So, it can be challenging to come up with healthy snacks that kids would enjoy.

It’s always funny to me when people ask what my kids ate when they were little. I’m sure many of them think that because of the work I do, my kids must have been perfect eaters – or that I had some special tricks up my sleeve that made them beg for broccoli and other healthy foods.

Truth be told, my kids were no different from most other kids. They had their likes and dislikes and they needed frequent snacks to fuel their active and growing bodies. But there were several really healthy foods that they were almost always willing to eat. I just downplayed the “healthy” part, because once you tell kids something is “good for you,” that’s one of the surest paths to rejection.

Mix and Match These Healthy Snacks for the Whole Family

Here are some snack ideas that your kids – and you! – will love:

tuna fish crackers

1. Tuna Fish Cracker Sandwiches

Many kids turn their noses up at fish, but they’ll eat tuna salad. Like all fish, tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and is rich in protein. Try mixing canned tuna with mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise, and then serve with some whole-grain crackers. Kids love to make their own little cracker sandwiches.

2. Smoothies

A lot of kids fall short when it comes to meeting their calcium needs, and many don’t eat enough fruit, so smoothies can help fill both gaps. They’re quick and easy to make, and kids love to make their own. If you’ve got low-fat milk, protein powder, and some frozen fruit or bananas at hand, your kids can take it from there.

3. Carrots and Hummus

Kids and vegetables often don’t mix, but sweet, crunchy, raw carrots are an exception. Carrots are rich in beta carotene to help support healthy-looking skin and eyesight, and they’re also a good source of fiber. Add some protein-rich hummus and they’ll be getting a healthy, balanced snack.

4. Oatmeal

Naturally rich in fiber and B-vitamins, a bowl of oatmeal makes a great snack on a cold day. Try making it with nonfat milk or soymilk rather than water to boost calcium and protein. Then sweeten lightly and stir in some diced fruit like bananas or apples.

healthy oatmeal for kids

5. Strawberries and Yogurt

Kids love strawberries and they’re packed with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Crush and use to top vanilla yogurt which provides much-needed calcium.

6. Turkey Sticks

Wrap a slice of turkey around a stick of string cheese for a fun-to-eat snack loaded with protein and calcium.

7. Nut Butter on Crackers or Apple Slices

Even if your kids eat peanut butter sandwiches all the time, they’re still usually perfectly happy to eat peanut butter for a snack, too.  You can try different nut butters – like almond or cashew – and then let kids spread it on whole-grain crackers, rice cakes or sliced apples.

Peanut butter on apple slices

8. Vegetable Soup and Low-Fat cheese

Heat a cup of vegetable or tomato soup and top with some grated low-fat cheese.  Kids will get a serving of veggies and some protein to keep them satisfied.

9.  Turkey Jerky and Fruit

The flavor contrast of jerky and sweet fruit is irresistible.  Look for low sodium varieties of jerky and serve with watery fruits such as melon or kiwifruit for a delicious treat. Kiwifruit is loaded with vitamin C, and melons are a terrific source of potassium that also help with hydration.

10.  Warm Vanilla Milk

Heat a cup of low-fat milk with a few drops of vanilla and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Kids love this “grown-up” drink that provides plenty of protein and calcium.

11. Edamame Soybeans

Drop 1 cup of frozen edamame soybeans (in the pod) into boiling water for a few minutes.  Sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce. They’re a great source of plant-based protein, and they’re fun to eat.

Edamame

12.  Protein bars

Instead of granola bars – which tend to be made mostly of refined carbohydrates and offer very little nutrition – look for protein bars that provide at least 5 grams of protein. Bars that include nuts, fruits, and seeds will provide additional nutrition.

13. Half a sandwich on whole-grain bread

It’s a rare kid who won’t eat sandwiches, so why not offer half a sandwich for a snack?  For kids who are old enough to make their own, lay out all the ingredients – and include some cut veggies like cucumber slices or tomato – and let them make their own. Kids are more likely to eat vegetables when they’ve put them into their own creations.

14. English-muffin pizza

A classic treat that kids love. Top split English muffins (preferably whole grain) with some prepared pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, then toast until bubbly. A well-balanced treat with a boost of vitamin C from the tomato sauce.

15. Deviled eggs

Cut hard-boiled eggs in half, remove yolks and mash with avocado; then restuff egg halves and sprinkle with paprika or chili powder.  Fun to make and eat, and they’re loaded with protein and B-vitamins.

16. Frozen Protein Pops

Make your favorite smoothie with milk, protein powder, and fruit, and pour into popsicle molds. Kids love getting creative in making these protein and calcium-rich treats.

Fruit and protein pops

17.  Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Drain, rinse and pat dry a 1-pound can of garbanzo beans. Toss with 2 tsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes until crunchy. Even kids who don’t like beans will love this crunchy, high-protein snack.

And Don’t Forget the Water

Kids also need to stay well hydrated too. Plain water is great, but a small amount of flavor may actually encourage your kids to drink more.  Make it interesting by adding chunks of fruit to amp up the taste.

Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND –Sr.Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan BowermanM.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan Bowerman earned a B.S. in biology with distinction from the University of Colorado, and received her M.S. in food science and nutrition from Colorado State University. She is a registered dietitian, holds two board certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a certified specialist in sports dietetics, and a certified specialist in obesity and weight management, and is a Fellow of the Academy.