Healthy Snacks Kids Love

Snacks can amount to a large percentage of our daily calories. Some kids may consume as many as three snacks a day, which could potentially add up to nearly a quarter of their daily nutrient needs. Unfortunately, research shows that for many kids, snacks are desserts or sweetened beverages, such as soda, fruit drinks and sports drinks, that don’t provide many nutrients1.

Make the most of every eating opportunity by preparing delicious (and nutritious) treats with your kids. They’ll enjoy spending time with you in the kitchen learning valuable cooking skills and they’ll be eating healthy foods that add nutrients to their diets. 

Use our Smart Snack Planner to help you make the most of your kids' snacks, then try these healthy combinations: 

  1. Cheese and crackers – Cut up some pieces of cheese and serve with whole-grain crackers.
  2. Veggies and dip – Cut up some broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, or cucumber and serve with a side of yogurt dip or hummus. Try our Tangy Yogurt Vegetable Dip
  3. Fruit and dip – Cut your fruit such as apples or pears into moon-shaped slices and serve with a small bowl of yogurt or cottage cheese. Try Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip
  4. Milk – Chocolate or regular, milk makes a great snack because it provides protein and nutrients that nourish children. Serve it by itself, along with a snack or even with cereal at snack time.
  5. Smoothies – Easy to make by placing fresh or frozen fruit in a blender with yogurt or milk and a little ice. Try one of our favorites: Strawberry Banana Blast.
  6. Popcorn –You pour the oil and let the kids pour the kernels into the pan. Heat on medium high heat, cover and shake until all of the kernels pop.
  7. Frozen YoGurts (yogurt in a tube) – Pop them into the freezer and they are ready to go!
  8. Homemade Popsicles – Pour 100% juice into an ice cube tray, cover with plastic wrap, insert Popsicle sticks and freeze. Delicious!
  9. Trail mix – Let your kids make their own by mixing nuts, cereal and dried fruit.
  10. Ice cream – Whether you serve a scoop with fresh berries or enjoy it on a cone, nothing says summertime like good old fashioned ice cream!

Remember, serve snacks at the table and space them far enough from mealtimes so that kids’ appetites aren’t spoiled!

Andrea Garen, MA, RDN, is the District Wellness Coordinator at Redwood City School District. She coordinates programs and resources available to district elementary schools across all areas of school health. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and mother of two, she is passionate about nutritious food and reality-based eating, which means choosing nutritious foods and preparing them in a way that makes them taste great.

1. Larson N, Story M. A review of snacking patterns among children and adolescents: what are the implications of snacking for weight status? Child Obes. 2013 Apr;9(2): 104-115.
Slideshow
Balanced Nurition for Your Child