Many of us would love to be able to make all of our food from scratch, but unfortunately, that just isn’t a reality most of the time – especially when it comes to snacks. Healthy snacks are especially important for children, who sometimes eat small amounts as often as every three to four hours. Children need frequent meals and snacks because they have smaller appetites and their growing bodies require fuel to grow, not to mention to prevent hunger-induced meltdowns. (Read more about smart snacking for families in this post.)
With all of the snack options and new items in grocery stores, choosing healthy food for kids can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. A good guideline is to aim for a snack that includes at least two of these food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy.
Here are some specific snack ideas that you can mix and match to create a delicious, healthy snack for your child. The options below are great for both picky eaters and kids with more adventurous taste buds!
Fruits and Veggies:
- Fruit and vegetable puree pouches – These are handy for on-the-go snacking and come in a variety of flavors!
- Unsweetened applesauce – This can be purchased in cups or pouches.
- Fruit cups in 100% juice – There are many varieties to choose from, including mandarin oranges, pineapple, peaches, pears and more!
- Raisin boxes – These are an old standby and a good source of iron.
- Freeze-dried fruit – Another alternative to dried fruit, which often has a good bit of added sugar.
- Prepped veggies – Look in the produce department for snack sizes of baby carrots, celery sticks, bell pepper strips and other raw, portable veggies.
- Fruit – Apples, oranges and bananas are easiest to transport, but any fruit will do!
- Granola bars* – Choose those with 10 grams of sugar or less. Click here for some of my favorite options.
- Fruit and nut bars* – If nut allergies aren’t a concern, these are a great option. Fig bars are also good.
- Whole grain crackers – Try a variety of different flavors!
- Pretzel chips* – Typically containing less fat than potato chips, these are a nice spin on pretzels.
- Yogurt tubes – These are portable and don’t require utensils. Freezing them makes transportation easier and you can enjoy them as a frozen treat.
- String cheese – They come in various flavors and varieties, and there’s just something fun about eating it!
Other Healthy Options:
- Hummus and pretzel snack packs* – These make great grab-and-go snacks. Plus, it’s easy to add a bag of baby carrots on the side, too!
- Trail mixes* – There are lots of options for trail mixes, and many are individually packaged.
- Nut or seed butters* – Many are available in snack-sized portions and pair well with crackers or fruit.
*Based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, certain foods like nuts, seeds, hard pretzels, etc. may pose choking or allergy risks for children under the age of 4. Please consult your child’s pediatrician before serving these foods to children under age 4.