16 Healthy Snacks for Kids
Humanity has accomplished quite a lot in our short time on Earth. We discovered fire, invented the wheel, built civilizations, split the atom, and even sent a guy to the Moon – not a bad start.
But despite all those achievements, we’re still struggling with a simple feat: getting our kids to eat healthy! Parents have tried it all, but nothing seems to work. Those little ones still seem to go for the most sugary, salty, starchy snacks around, and TV commercials don’t help (and you know what, they’re right, those cartoon characters on the cereal boxes are awesome).
Trust us, we’ve been in that same spot, but with a few fixes, you can turn things around and introduce healthier snacks that our kids actually love.
We’ve listed 16 healthy choices for kids below, so give them all a shot and see what sticks. You’re bound to find something that hits the spot.
1. Fresh Veggies
Nothing too complicated to start the list here; just fresh, clean, raw veggies make a great snack if you know how to prepare and present them to your kids.
Don’t just plop a gnarly piece of broccoli on their plate – unless you want a tantrum on your hands. Instead, carve up entry-level veggies like cucumbers, celery, carrots, and bell peppers of every color. Small, bite-sized rectangles are the shapes that seem to work best, but you can also break out the cookie cutters and make fun, funky shapes that your kids will be dying to get their hands on.
2. Fresh Fruit
For those kids who just can’t get enough sweets, fruit is a great way to move them away from the sugar bomb cereals and candy-style snacks. There is still a good amount of natural sugar in things like berries, pears, and pineapple – but none of the nasty additives and fat.
Chop up a quick fruit bowl for your kids when they get home from school or send them on their way in the morning with a medley of different cuts. They will learn to love the variety of flavors and textures that each fruit has to offer and (hopefully) learn to steer clear of the candy (at least in moderation, because we sneak a chocolate bar every now and then, too).
The problem with so many pre-packaged snacks these days is the crazy amount of carbs in each serving. Even if you aren’t that concerned about calories, there needs to be some balance to your kids’ snacks – that means healthy fats and protein, too.
A simple turkey-and-cheese roll-up is a wonderful, tasty snack that kids have no problem eating. They’re quick to prepare, make almost zero mess, and pack a lot of protein in just a few bites. Roast beef, ham, chicken – it’s all good. You can even fit some veggies in there for crunch—and the fun packaging of these snacks means that your kids will actually want to eat them.
4. Nuts and Seeds
If your kids don’t have nut allergies and love a crunchy snack, you’re in luck. Nuts and seeds are super portable, easy to eat, and offer a lot of quality fats and protein per serving.
Avoid the products that come loaded with salt and sugar – we’re trying to keep it healthy here, people! Offer only the roasted nuts and seeds with minimal sodium, and make sure you keep an eye on those portion sizes.
It comes in slices, sticks, and even mini-wheels wrapped in wax – what’s not to love? Cheese is portable, versatile, and quite filling for kids in need of a quick and nutritious snack, and nothing has amazing snack vibes quite like peeling a cheese stick open.
You won’t know what they like until you serve a few different varieties of cheese, so try them all and see what they enjoy. Few other snacks offer this amount of quality protein and fat, so make it part of the daily diet early on if you can.
6. Trail Mix
When shopping for trail mix, don’t be led astray. So many of those grocery-store mixes are jam-packed with sugar, salt, and other unwanted additives. They’re basically candy. Steer clear of those and go for the organic stuff if you can!
Better yet, make your own granola at home with some simple ingredients like oats, honey, cinnamon, nuts, seeds, and little pieces of dried fruit. You know exactly what’s going into each batch and won’t have to worry about serving up anything suspicious.
7. Mini Sandwiches
Kids love snacks that are bite-sized and cute, so you can play Honey-I-Shrunk-My-Sandwich to get them familiar with different arrangements of bread, meat, cheese, veggies, and condiments.
If you love a turkey-and-swiss or ham-and-cheddar sandwich yourself, why not create a mini version for your kids as a quick snack? Keep it light on the mayo and work in some different vegetables, so they learn to like things like lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and more.
At first glance, the average kid is not going to like the look of yogurt. It’s gooey and might have a weird smell. That’s why parents might need to toss in some extras like berries, granola, or a drizzle of honey to sweeten the deal.
If you can get your kids into yogurt, that’s a huge accomplishment! It’s one of the healthiest foods on the planet, as long as you avoid the sugar-loaded cartoon-logo yogurts from the store.
9. Chips and Dip
This snack doesn’t have the healthiest reputation, but it’s all about making small tweaks to the standard setup. Instead of greasy chips and calorie-bomb dips, go for low-fat chips and a cleaner dip like guacamole, hummus, or salsa.
Kids love the interactive experience of making their own bites (and sometimes making a mess in the process), but this can be a nutritious snack if you play your cards right, so no sweat.
We usually think of smoothies as an adults-only type of snack, but there’s no reason why kids can’t enjoy this treat as well! You can load up your blender with fresh fruit, almond milk, and superfood extras like chia seeds to make a tasty smoothie, then pour a bit for the kids as well.
If you are feeling super bold, make things greener by adding some spinach or kale. This might be a dealbreaker for some kids, but after one sip, they’ll be intrigued.
11. Snack Bars
It’s a standard part of every parent’s toolkit – throw a couple of snack bars in the kids’ backpacks for good measure. They’ll get eaten eventually, right?
These bars are typically harmless, but there are definitely some that hide extra salt and sugar behind the innocent exterior, so watch out. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own snack bars in the oven, so try out some healthy recipes with all-natural ingredients for the week ahead.
12. Pickles and Olives
Many kids will raise an eyebrow at glowing green snacks like pickles and olives, but all it takes is one bite to make them do a 180. Before you know it, you’ll be mixing up little platters of funky flavors of pickled veggies, which are great for nutrition and the immune system.
13. Nut Butter
There’s something about peanut butter that kids just seem to crave. Maybe it’s the salt, the healthy fats, or the fact that it makes a huge mess in a matter of seconds! And who can blame them? We crave it too!
We don’t know the secret formula behind peanut butter’s success, but you should take advantage of this ingredient – and other nut butter from almonds and cashews – when making healthy snacks for the kids. Try to keep that mess to a minimum.
There are few foods with a more complete nutritional profile than eggs, which explains why kids are generally on board with them at breakfast time. Since you might not be able to scramble eggs or make an omelet any time of day, hard-boiled eggs are great to keep in the fridge.
Teach the kids how to peel off those shells, sprinkle a little salt and pepper, and enjoy a protein-blast snack whenever they want. Nab a cute egg cup, and they’ll be even more likely to eat them.
15. Healthy (Vegan) Pork Rinds
Pork rinds are surprisingly healthy, but can be too crunchy and intimidating for kids. With our Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds, we’ve made this snack more accessible to everyone while raising the bar for taste and nutrition!
These snacks are free of animal products, gluten, dairy, and all those weird extras you don’t want for your kids. Try out all the flavors and make snack time a breeze.
16. Crunchy Puffs
We all miss a meal now and then, and sometimes kids just don’t get with the program at dinner time. You can always make up for lost calories with our Outstanding Puffs that satisfy on every level.
Huge crunch, fantastic flavors, and an impressive nutrition facts panel – this snack does it all, and your kids won’t hesitate to empty the entire bag at once.
Getting kids to eat healthily isn’t easy, but these snacks will definitely help you out in your effort.
Once they realize that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, the hard part is over! You can introduce new and nutritious ingredients all the time with ease.
That’s our philosophy at Outstanding Foods – healthy eating can be fun and carefree, as long as you do a little research and pick the right snacks. All you need to do now is accept your “World’s Best Parent” Award and bask in the glory.