“What are some good snack ideas for kids?”
This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked as a child nutritionist. And it’s a big reason I wrote the book, The Smart Mom’s Guide to Healthy Snacking.
Did you know that approximately 28% of the total daily calories and 39% of added sugar in your child’s diet comes from snacks?
Given these snacking trends in U.S. children, it’s no wonder parents are looking for new, healthy snack ideas.
Learn why snacks can be so useful and get inspired with a list of 51 snack ideas for kids that will both satisfy and nourish your child!
Benefits of Having a Snack List for Kids
We all tend to gravitate to the same old, same old when it comes to snacks and snacking.
Chips, crackers, cookies, maybe the occasional apple…
A 2013 New York Times article described the addictive nature of junk food, which is one of the reasons for repetitive snacking.
I thought it would be helpful to brainstorm some kid snack ideas you can use in your home.
Why do I like a list of snack ideas for kids? There are many reasons:
1. It’s Easy to Expose Your Child to New Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas
Having a snack list allows your child to see he doesn’t have to go for chips, cookies and crackers all the time.
He can see the possibilities for yummy, nutritious snacks and look forward to snacks throughout the week.
2. A Snack List Increases Snack Food Variety
The more snack ideas you have, the more snack food options you can offer.
More variety increases the likelihood of more nutrition, not to mention widening the flavor palate (as long as you follow the 90-10 Rule for sweets and treats).
3. You Give Your Child a Choice
I developed this snack idea list for families in my private practice a long time ago. Parents and children can review a healthy snack list and decide together which snacks to serve for the week.
A child can simply circle the snacks that sound interesting and good to eat.
51 Snack Ideas for Kids
Hungry kids are cranky kids.
Toddlers and active older children need snacks to hold them over between meals. Ideally, snacks should satisfy hunger and have loads of nutrients. After all, your child is growing!
You know your child best. What does he like to eat? What is he willing to try?
Most of the snacks below contain carbohydrates (fruit, cereal, dried fruit, vegetables) and a healthy fat (nuts, nut butter) or protein (low-fat cheese, yogurt, tuna).
Create new snacks with your child’s favorite foods by following the same easy food group pattern.
Here’s a list of 51 snack ideas to use as a starting point.
- Dry cereal and dried cherries
- Oat-O’s, peanuts, and carob chips
- Shredded wheat, low fat milk, blueberries
- Layered yogurt, granola, strawberries
- Skewered cantaloupe and cheddar cheese cubes
- Apple and cheese slices
- Banana dipped in peanut butter
- Strawberries dipped in strawberry cream cheese
- Clementine and cheese stick
- Applesauce cup and graham crackers
- Hummus and flat pretzels
- Hummus and baby carrots
- Tortilla with melted cheese (quesadilla)
- Baked potato with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and salsa
- Air popped popcorn
- Toast with butter and jam
- Toast with nut butter and banana
- English muffin with butter and honey
- Banana or other fruited muffin and 6 oz. milk
- Deli meat wrapped around a cheese stick
- Snap peas and red peppers with Laughing Cow cheese
- Coconut yogurt and mini chocolate chips
- Nuts and dried fruit
- A cup of chicken noodle soup and crackers
- Tomato and cottage cheese
- Oatmeal cookies and milk
- 100% Orange Juice popsicle
- Half of a sandwich and a glass of 100% fruit juice
- Cheese and crackers
- Peanut butter and pretzels
- Mini bagel and cream cheese
- Homemade trail mix (cereal, nuts, dried fruit)
- Red grapes and cheese kabobs
- Pepperoni mini pizza (pita, sauce, cheese and turkey pepperoni)
- Black olives and feta cheese
- Frozen yogurt popsicle
- All fruit popsicle
- Oatmeal and berries
- Low fat chocolate milk and whole grain crackers
- Mozzarella and tomato skewers
- Tuna fish salad and crackers
- Chicken salad and green grapes
- Tossed salad with cheese cubes and dressing
- Low fat Ranch dressing and veggies
- Smoothie made with frozen berries, yogurt and milk
- Celery sticks with cream cheese or nut butter
- Chocolate hazelnut butter and graham crackers
- Melon balls with a dollop of Greek Yogurt (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew)
- Avocado spread on whole grain crackers
- Whole grain waffles swiped with peanut butter
- ½ grilled cheese sandwich and vegetable juice
- Have your child run through these snack ideas and circle the ones that seem enticing to him.
- Include some of these on your grocery list and in your weekly plan for food.
- Keep a rotation of nutritious snacks in your weekly meal plan and add a few new ones now and then.
After-School Snack Ideas
The scramble after school for good snacks is real.
When kids come home, they’re hungry. Sometimes they’re hangry. Many kids need a snack break before they take on the chore of homework. Other kids are re-fueling with a snack before they head out for sports practice.
Regardless of what your child is doing after school, having some healthy options at the ready helps everyone.
After-school snacks should be simple to prepare and easy to grab and go. Individual containers such as yogurt, granola, fruit in a cup and even cereals are easy for young children and busy teens to snack on without too much preparation.
Snacks for Kids with Braces
The list of foods not allowed with braces is a tough adjustment for kids.
Braces are a common part of the teen years, and it shouldn’t be about restriction. Keep a variety of filling snacks for kids with braces available so they have options to choose from when your active teen is hungry between meals.
Try to avoid sticky and hard foods that damage braces such as
- Hard pretzels
- Hard foods: taco shells, hard cookies, candy, corn chips
Here are some examples of snacks for kids with braces:
- Crackers and cheese
- Soft fruits such as grapes, berries, bananas and other fruits cut in small pieces
- Half of peanut butter and banana sandwich
Road Trip Snacks for Kids
You want to hit the road with your family without hitting the rest stop concessions and fast-food restaurants.
What are some ideas?
Keep it simple when travelling so you don’t have to worry about packing yet another bag or making a mess of the car.
Pack snacks that don’t need refrigeration such as
- Dry cereal
- Trail mix
- Granola bars
- Homemade muffins
- Pieces of fruit (the ultimate portable snack)
For longer trips, try packing a small cooler with protein and vegetables for balance such as
- Vegetable sticks
- Cheese sticks
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Individual yogurts
- Milk or 100% juice boxes
Evening Snacks for Kids
Is it okay to eat at night?
Late-night snacks don’t have to equal the unhealthy habit of eating cookies, chips or ice cream in front of the TV at night. Depending on what time your family eats dinner and whether your child is active with evening sports or activities, your child might be hungry at night
Aim for small snack portions at night. It’s probably best to stay away from high-sugar and rich foods that may affect your child’s quality of sleep.
Filling snacks for kids can be part of a healthy diet. Growing children need a lot of energy and nutrients but you don’t have to rely on meals alone to meet your child’s nutrition needs.
Try some of these 51 high nutrient snacks to round out your child’s daily diet so they have the energy and focus they need to thrive in school and in play.
What’s your favorite snack to serve your child?
Need More Help with Kids’ Snacks?
I wrote an entire book for parents who want to raise smart snackers! From a simple acronym “Snack Smart” to snack ideas, healthy recipes and more, learn my unique approach to parenting children around snacks and snacking.
Also, check out our Healthy Snack Planner for Kids!
Enjoy podcasts? I’ve talked about snacks for kids on The Nourished Child too!