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28 Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Love

Growing kids often get hungry between meals.

However, many packaged snacks for kids are extremely unhealthy.
These snacks are often full of refined flour, added sugars and
artificial ingredients.

Snack time is a great opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients
into your child’s diet.

Instead of highly processed snack foods, fill your child’s
tummy with whole foods that will provide energy and nutrition.

Here is a list of kid-friendly snacks that are both healthy and
delicious.

Little Girl Eating Popcorn

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is an
excellent snack for kids because it’s a good source of protein
and calcium. Calcium
is especially important for kids’ developing bones (1).

Some yogurts also contain live bacteria, which benefit the
digestive system (2, 3).

Most yogurts marketed to kids are high in sugar. Instead,
choose plain, full-fat yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit
or a drizzle of honey.

However, make sure not to give honey to infants under 12 months
old, as they may develop a serious disease called botulism (4).

2. Popcorn

You might consider popcorn
to be a junk food, but it’s actually a nutritious, whole grain
food.

As long as you don’t drown it in unhealthy toppings, popcorn
can be a healthy snack for kids. Air-pop your own popcorn,
drizzle it with a little
butter
and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top.

However, use caution when offering popcorn to younger children,
as it can be a choking hazard.

3. Celery With Peanut Butter and Raisins

Celery with peanut
butter
and raisins, which is sometimes called “ants on a
log,” is a fun way to get your child to eat a vegetable.

Cut a stalk of celery into three or four pieces, then spread
peanut butter inside the celery. Arrange a few raisins on top
of the peanut butter.

These three foods combined provide a good balance of
carbs
, protein and fat.

4. Nuts

Hand of a Small Child Reaching for Peanuts

Nuts
are high in healthy fats, along with fiber and antioxidants.
Dietary fat
is important for supporting growth in children (5, 6).

Doctors used to recommend withholding nuts from children due to
the risk of an allergic reaction, but more recent evidence
suggests that introducing nuts at an early age lowers the risk
of this (7, 8, 9).

Nevertheless, nuts can be a choking hazard, so make sure your
child is able to handle the texture before giving nuts as a
snack.

5. Trail Mix

As long as your child is not allergic to nuts, trail mix is a
healthy snack for kids to eat on-the-go.

Most commercial trail mixes contain chocolate candies, which
are high in
sugar
, but you can easily make your own trail mix at home.

For a healthier version, mix nuts, dried
fruit
and a whole grain cereal.

6. Sliced Pears With Ricotta Cheese

Pears are a sweet treat and easy for a little one to eat when
they’re cut into slices. Pears are high in fiber and beneficial
plant compounds (10, 11).

Spread each slice with ricotta cheese to add a yummy source of
protein and calcium to your child’s snack.

7. Cottage Cheese


Cottage cheese
is a fresh and creamy cheese that’s soft
enough for even infants to consume.

Cottage cheese is rich in protein and is a good source of
selenium, vitamin
B12
and calcium. Vitamin B12 is important for proper growth
and brain development in children (12).

You can serve cottage cheese by itself, top it with fresh or
dried fruit or use it as a creamy spread on whole wheat toast.

8. Oatmeal

Bunny Rabbit Porridge Bowl

Oatmeal
is a healthy breakfast for kids, but it also makes a great
snack.

Oats are high in soluble fiber,
which increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the
digestive tract, along with other health benefits (13).

Skip the flavored packets of oatmeal, which are high in sugar,
and make your oatmeal with whole rolled oats. Add a dash (1/8
of a teaspoon) of cinnamon and some diced apples for sweetness.

If you make the oatmeal with milk instead of water, it will add
some additional protein and calcium.

9. A Piece of Cheese

Cheese is
mostly made up of protein and fat, and it’s a good source of
calcium.

Studies have shown eating cheese and other dairy
products
is associated with better overall diet quality.
Full-fat dairy foods significantly contribute to a child’s
nutritional requirements for calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and
vitamin D (14, 15, 16, 17).

Cheese provides children with high-quality protein, which is
necessary for proper growth. Protein will also help them feel
full between meals (18, 19).

Interestingly, some studies have found that children who eat
cheese are less likely to get cavities (20, 21).

10. Veggie Pita Pocket

Some parents think it’s hard to get their kids to eat
vegetables. But if you make it fun for them, they are more
likely to try the veggies.

Spread some hummus in a whole wheat pita pocket and slice up
raw veggies, such as carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and bell
peppers. Let your child pick a few veggies and fill the pita.

Veggies are loaded with important vitamins and minerals, and
many kids do not eat enough of them (22).

11. Fruit Smoothie

A fruit smoothie is a good way to pack a lot of nutrients into
a small snack.

You can also add veggies to a smoothie. With the sweetness of
the fruit, children might not even realize they’re in there.

Use whole, fresh ingredients in your smoothie and avoid

fruit juice
, which is high in sugar.

There are countless combinations you can try, but here is one
smoothie recipe to get you started:

Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 cups of frozen berries
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 cup of whole milk or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Makes
four servings.

12. Hard-Boiled Eggs

Young Girl Eating a Hard Boiled Egg

Keep hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator for a quick
high-protein snack for your kids.

Eggs are
highly nutritious
and an excellent snack for kids. They
provide high-quality protein and several vitamins and minerals,
including vitamin B12, riboflavin and selenium (23, 24).

Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that
are beneficial for eye health (25).

Furthermore, they are one of the best food sources of choline,
a vitamin that is necessary for proper brain development
(26, 27).

13. Banana Oat Cookies

Homemade banana cookies are a healthy snack for kids, and they
taste like a treat.

These cookies get their sweetness from mashed
bananas
, rather than refined sugar. Refined sugars are
associated with health problems in children, such as increased
risk factors for heart disease, childhood obesity and type 2
diabetes (28, 29, 30).

Banana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips or dried fruit
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place spoonfuls of the
cookie mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15–20
minutes at 350°F (about 175°C).

14. Raisin Snack Packs

Raisins are dried grapes. They contain nearly all of the
nutrients that are found in fresh grapes, but in a smaller
package.

Raisins contain a decent amount of iron, which is a nutrient
that many children do not get enough of. The body requires an
adequate amount of iron to transport oxygen throughout the body
(31, 32).

Moreover, raisins contain plant compounds, including oleanolic acid, which might protect a child’s
teeth from cavities by preventing bacteria from adhering to the
teeth (33, 34).

Raisin snack packs are an easy grab-and-go snack that’s much
healthier than most convenience foods.

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15. Turkey and Avocado Roll-Up

A turkey and avocado roll-up is an easy-to-eat, healthy snack.

Turkey is a good source of protein,
which is responsible for building and repairing tissues in the
body. Protein is also highly satiating, which can help kids
feel full between meals (19).

And
avocados
are full of heart-healthy fats, along with fiber,
folate, vitamins C and K, pantothenic acid, potassium and several
antioxidants (35).

To make a turkey and avocado roll-up, first peel and slice an
avocado. Gently toss the slices in lime juice to prevent
browning. Wrap one piece of turkey around each avocado slice.

16. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries, Ketchup, Mustard and Dip

Sweet
potatoes
are one of the richest sources of vitamin A, a
nutrient that contributes to healthy eyes and skin (36).

Homemade, baked sweet potato fries are a nutritious alternative
to french fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh sweet potato
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • Sea salt

Directions:

Peel and slice the sweet potato. Toss the potato in olive oil
and sprinkle it with sea salt. Bake on a cookie sheet at 425°F
(218°C) for 20 minutes.

17. Pickles

Pickles are cucumbers that have been fermented in salt and
water.

They’re a good source of vitamin K, and they also contain
probiotic
bacteria, which are good for the digestive system (2, 3, 37).

Pickles that contain vinegar do not contain probiotics, so look
in the refrigerated section of the grocery store for pickles
that contain live cultures.

Avoid sweet pickles, which contain
added sugars
.

18. Kale Chips

Kale
is considered to be a superfood because it’s packed full of
nutrients with hardly any calories.
In fact, children can get all the vitamin A, C and K they need
in a day in just one cup of kale (38).

Not surprisingly, most kids aren’t jumping at the chance to eat
kale. But kale chips are a tasty snack that might change your
child’s mind about kale.

Ingredients:

  • A small bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

Tear the kale into pieces, then wash and thoroughly dry it.
Toss the kale in the olive oil and seasonings. Spread it out on
a cookie sheet and bake it at 350°F (about 175°C) for 10–12
minutes.

19. Carrot Sticks and Hummus

Most kids love dip, and providing them with a healthy dip is a
great way to get kids to eat their veggies.

Hummus is one option. It’s a thick, creamy spread made from
chickpeas, which contain fiber, folate and plenty of antioxidants.

Hummus tastes yummy on carrot
sticks or other raw vegetables.

20. Energy Balls

Oat Granola Balls

Energy balls taste like cookie dough, but they’re made with
nutritious whole ingredients.

You can make these snacks with either ground flaxseeds
or whole
chia seeds
, both of which are a source of fiber, protein
and antioxidants.

They’re a healthier alternative to commercial granola bars,
which are usually high in sugar and artificial ingredients.

Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1/3 cup of unfiltered honey
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 1/2 cup of ground flaxseed or whole chia seeds
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of dried fruit

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll the mixture
into small balls and refrigerate. For a treat, replace the
dried fruit with chopped
dark chocolate
chips.

21. Bell Peppers and Guacamole

Bell
peppers
are naturally sweet and highly nutritious. They
provide a good source of fiber, vitamin C and carotenoids
(39).

Carotenoids are plant chemicals with multiple health benefits,
including supporting eye health (25).

Bell peppers taste delicious dipped in guacamole, a creamy
spread made from mashed avocados.

22. Whole Grain Crackers and Nut Butter

You can make your own sandwich crackers by spreading a little
nut butter, such as almond butter, on whole grain crackers.
This snack has a good balance of protein, carbs and fat.

However, choose crackers for your kids carefully. Many crackers
are full of refined flour, hydrogenated oils and even sugar.

Instead, choose crackers made with 100% whole grains
and seeds and avoid crackers with added sugar.

23. A Piece of Fruit

Two Small Boys Eating Watermelon

A piece of
fruit
is a convenient and healthy snack for kids.

Most fruits contain fiber and important nutrients like vitamins
A and C and potassium (40).

Bananas, apples, pears, grapes, peaches and plums are examples
of fruits that can be used for grab-and-go snacks.

Cut fruits like pineapple, cantaloupe and mango into bite-size
pieces and store them in small containers for convenient
snacks.

24. Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadilla

A quesadilla made with peanut butter and banana is a healthy
and tasty snack.

Peanut butter is a great way to give your child a source of
healthy fats and some protein.

And bananas are a good source of potassium and vitamin B6, in
addition to containing a good amount of fiber (41).

This simple recipe combines peanut butter and bananas in a
yummy snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1/8 tsp of cinnamon

Directions:

Spread the peanut butter over the entire tortilla. Slice the
banana and arrange the slices on half of the tortilla. Sprinkle
the
cinnamon
over the bananas and fold the tortilla in half.
Slice it into triangles before serving.

25. Olives

Olives are
rich in healthy fats and packed with powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants are important because they protect the body from
damaging molecules called free radicals (42).

Olives are soft and easy for kids to eat. Make sure you
purchase pitted olives for kids or remove the pit before
serving them.

Different varieties of olives have their own unique flavor. If
you have never offered olives to your child before, start with
mild-flavored black olives.

26. Apples and Peanut Butter Dip

Apple slices
and peanut butter are a delicious combination.

The skin of an apple contains pectin, a soluble fiber that
feeds friendly gut bacteria and improves digestive health
(43, 44).

Peanut butter has a thick consistency, which may be difficult
for kids to use as a dip.

Mix a little bit of plain, full-fat yogurt into two tablespoons
of peanut butter to make a smooth, creamy dip for apple slices.

27. Frozen Fruit Popsicles

Homemade Popsicles

Frozen fruit popsicles are a yummy treat for kids, and they’re
actually quite healthy.

Most store-bought popsicles are full of refined sugar or

high fructose corn syrup
and artificial flavors.

But you can easily make your own at home, and your kids will
likely enjoy helping.

Purée frozen fruit or berries and a small amount of fruit juice
in a blender. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or small
plastic cups. Cover with foil and insert a popsicle stick into
the popsicles through the foil. Freeze overnight.

28. Half of a Sandwich

Sandwiches don’t have to be just for mealtime. A half of a
sandwich can also make a healthy snack for kids.

To build a healthy sandwich, start with whole wheat bread,
pick a source of protein and include a fruit or veggie, if
possible.

Here are some examples of healthy sandwich combinations:

  • Ham, cheddar cheese and thinly sliced apples
  • Mozzarella cheese and tomato slices
  • Peanut butter and banana slices
  • Turkey, Swiss cheese and pickles
  • Ricotta cheese mixed with finely chopped veggies
  • Fried egg, avocado and tomato
  • Cream cheese and cucumber slices

Take Home Message

Many kids get hungry between meals.

A healthy snack can provide kids with energy and help them get
the nutrients they need on a daily basis.

Offer your kids whole, unprocessed foods at snack time instead
of pre-packaged snack foods.

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